What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the policy that outlines minimum requirements students must meet, in order to remain eligible for federal and selected state financial aid (i.e. federal loans, grants, etc.).
While a student may be academically qualified to take courses, that does not guarantee they are eligible for financial aid. SAP has requirements beyond Southeast's academic standing policy, which can be found in the current year's undergraduate bulletin or graduate bulletin.
Federal regulations require every Title IV institution to have a policy establishing standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress, for students who receive financial aid.
Minimum Requirements of SAP
Southeast reviews progress at the end of every semester, including summer (if applicable), to verify that the following three requirements are met.
- Cumulative GPA. Undergraduate students are required to achieve at least a 1.75 cumulative GPA if they have attempted less than 48 credit hours and a cumulative 2.0 GPA by the time the student has attempted 48 hours or more. See the full policy for additional requirements regarding transfer students. Graduate students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA each semester.
- Completion Rate (PACE). All students are required to maintain at least a 67% completion rate. PACE is calculated by dividing cumulative earned hours by cumulative attempted hours. The following things lower the completion rate: withdrawing from hours after the published 100% refund period, failing courses, and retaking previously passed courses for a higher letter grade. Note: While a course is considered "earned" (for SAP) when a "D" or greater is received, your specific program of study may require a higher grade to meet the degree requirements.
- Maximum Timeframe. For financial aid purposes, students must complete their degree within 150% of the program length (measured in credit hours). For example, a student enrolled in a 120-credit hour degree must be able to complete their program within 180 attempted hours.
Step 1: Unofficial Transcript - Access your unofficial transcript through the Southeast portal to view your current overall GPA and overall GPA hours. (How to view the unofficial transcript)
Step 2: GPA Calculators - Predict your cumulative/semester GPA using one of the following:
GPA Predictor -Use your overall GPA and GPA hours from your unofficial transcript to see how an additional semester will improve your cumulative GPA. Be sure to indicate the credit hours for each class and whether any course is a repeated course.
Semester GPA Calculator - Determine what your semester GPA will be if you receive various grades in your current coursework. This is helpful for students on a contract (probationary semester) who have a specific GPA requirement for the semester.
Step 1: Determine Current PACE - View your current PACE through the Southeast portal, including your attempted hours and earned hours. (How to view your current PACE)
Step 2: Predict Future PACE - To predict how an additional semester will impact PACE, increase the attempted hours to include the number of course you are taking, and increase the earned hours by the number you will successfully complete. Then, once again divide your earned hours by the attempted hours total. Remember that courses count as earned hours as long as you receive a grade of "D" or greater. Any course that is started and not dropped within the published 100% refund period, or those in which an "F" grade is earned, count as attempted hours. To determine when the published 100% refund periods are for any course, make sure to review the Student Financial Calendar.
Note: Repeating a course in which you have already receive a "D" or greater will count as additional attempted hours, but will not increase your earned hours (since you can only earn credit for a course once).
Calculating Maximum Timeframe
Step 1: Bulletin - Review the undergraduate bulletin or graduate bulletin [LINK to Bulletin] (for your catalog year) to determine the total number of hours needed for your degree. This total can be multiplied by 1.5 to determine the maximum time frame allowed for your program.
Step 2: Hours Attempted + Hours Needed to Graduate - View your overall attempted hours through the portal. The combined total of your overall attempted hours and the remaining hours needed for your degree must fit within the max time frame determined in step (How to view overall attempted hours)
If you are unsure if you can complete your degree within the maximum timeframe allowed, consult your academic advisor.
Students who fall below any of the three minimum requirements at the end of a semester will be given a warning semester and will be notified through their Southeast email address. During the warning semester the student will still be eligible to receive financial aid; however, the student must meet the minimum SAP requirements by the end of the warning semester.
If the minimum SAP requirements are not met by the end of the warning semester, the student is placed on Unsatisfactory Academic Progress (USAP). Students on USAP cannot receive federal/state financial aid and remain ineligible until they complete the required hours to make up any deficiencies, or successfully appeal the USAP standing.
NOTE: When taking additional courses to makeup deficiencies, students still have the option to enroll in an Installment Payment Plan and/or seek a private/alternative loan, despite their inability to receive traditional financial aid.
All appeals are reviewed by a committee and decision notifications are sent via the student's Southeast email address.
Appealing for GPA or PACE:
If a student loses financial aid eligibility and had extenuating/mitigating circumstances which significantly contributed to their inability to meet the requirements of SAP, they may submit an Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Appeal .The appeal should include a personal statement explaining the reason(s) the minimum requirements were not met and supporting documentation.
Appealing for Maximum Time Frame:
If a student has been placed on USAP due to reaching the "maximum timeframe" allowed, they should review the Maximum Timeframe Appeal Directions for specific guidance.