Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy and Procedure

In order to administer federal financial aid from any federal programs as an eligible university, 34.CFR 600, and 34 CFR 668 Standards for Participation in Title IV, HEA Programs, Bethune Cookman University, as a condition for participation in federal student aid programs establish and maintain a satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy that monitors and adheres to the following:

Academic Standards:

To maintain Financial Aid (SAP) standards a student must meet or exceed both the qualitative - cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) and quantitative - successful completion of attempted credits hours (PACE) standards, and stay within the Maximum Time Frame to complete his or her course of study. Students requesting consideration for Federal financial aid must demonstrate a positive forward movement toward their degree. 

SAP Calculations:

Students must meet the standards listed as follows:

 GPA (Qualitative) for all Undergraduate and Graduate students:

Semester Hours            Class               Min Accept Standing                  

0-27                             Freshman                     2.00      

28-57                          Sophomore                   2.00                

58-91                              Junior                          2.00    

92 and up                       Senior                        2.00

0-36                              Graduate                     3.00    

PACE (Quantitative) for all students is 67% (completion ratio) of earned hours of all attempted credit hours. The number of earned hours are divided by the number of attempted hours cumulatively at the end of each semester. (Accepted transfer and Remedial courses are included in this calculation in both earned and attempted)

 Maximum Time-Frame for all students (Undergraduate and Graduate) is 150% of the credit hours required to complete the degree program. (Including all institutionally accepted transfer credit and remedial credit hours).

 The academic standard for students enrolled in the same educational program(s) is the same for all students whether or not the student is receiving Title IV assistance.

SAP Review Period:

At the end of each semester, a SAP review will be made to all students ensure compliance with the Financial Aid SAP standards (listed above). The minimum credit hour completion rate and the GPA standard are assessed at the end of each semester. If a student does not earn the minimum grade point average and/or earn the minimum number of credit hours required, he/she is placed on financial aid warning for the next semester attended. If a student is not meeting SAP minimum standards at the end of the semester on financial aid warning the student is placed on financial aid suspension. 

 Grade Effects on SAP Calculations:

Grades reflecting Satisfactory Completion:

The following grades are considered to demonstrate satisfactory course completion: A, B, C, D, and S (Satisfactory).

Grades reflecting Unsatisfactory Completion:

The following grades will be counted towards the cumulative GPA and attempted credit hours (PACE), and do not demonstrate satisfactory course completion: F, U, I (Incomplete), WF(Withdraw Fail).

DR (Drop), Needs Repeating (NR), No Grade (NG), W and WD, Drops, withdrawals, incompletes, repeated and non-credit coursework will only be counted towards the attempted credit hours (PACE) A/SAP standards.

Issuance of "I" (Incomplete) Grades

Instructors may issue an “I” or Incomplete grades to students who, for legitimate reasons, have not completed coursework at the time final grades must be submitted. At the time the request is made, the student must be passing the course with the required minimum grade for the course. At the discretion of the instructor, an “I” grade may be given to a student who is experiencing extraordinary personal challenges but who has not formally requested an Incomplete grade. The “I” grade is similar to an “F” grade until it can be resolved or revert back to a letter grade. An incomplete grade can last up to 6 weeks into the following semester. At such time that the grade change is made, a current review of the student’s SAP status will be reevaluated and the updated SAP status will be recorded.

Remedial Courses and Repeated Courses:

Remedial courses

Remedial courses count as attempted hours and completed hours, but do not impact the GPA.

Repeated Courses

As per federal policy, courses being paid for using federal financial aid dollars, and which are successfully completed with a grade of "D" or higher can only be repeated once. For courses repeated, only the most recent grade is included in the students cumulative GPA. However, each time a student attempts a course, even if that course is part of a forgiveness or amnesty policy whereby credits attempted and grades earned in prior semesters are excluded from the GPA, it must be included as part of the cumulative attempted credit record for the measuring of pace of progression. Therefore, repeated courses, regardless of the prior grade, reduce a student’s capacity to meet the pace of progression standard. See the Universities Course Repeat Policy for further clarification.

Financial Aid SAP policy allows for a student to receive Title IV funds for retaking a course he or she failed, and if a student withdraws before completing the course that he or she is being paid Title IV funds for retaking, that is not counted as his or her one allowed retake for that course. However, if a student passed a class once, then is repaid for retaking it, and fails the second time, that failure counts as their paid retake, and the student may not be paid for retaking the class a third time.

Transfer Credit Hours

All students attending Bethune-Cookman University institution are required to stay within the maximum time frame of 150% of program pursued that is required by federal regulations. Transfer credits that are accepted and that count toward a student’s degree do not count in the calculation of the GPA, however will be included in the calculation of both attempted and earned credit hours (In other words, transfer credit hours are only included in the PACE calculation and not GPA or Maximum Time Frame calculation).

Second Bachelor’s Degree or Second Master’s Degree

Student’s seeking a second undergraduate or second graduate degree must appeal in order to receive federal financial aid. A student must be able to graduate with a second Bachelor’s Degree without going over a total of 225 undergraduate hours and have a cumulative 2.0 GPA. All undergraduate hours, including the hours used to earn the first Bachelor’s Degree will be included. A student must be able to graduate with a second Master’s Degree without going over a total of 81 graduate hours. This includes all attempted graduate hours, including the hours used to earn the first Master’s Degree.

  • Students seeking a third Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree are not eligible for federal aid.
  • Doctorates are considered terminal degrees thus no federal aid is available for additional degrees.

Change of Major:

If a student changes majors, the hours from the previous major that count towards the student’s new degree requirements are included in the calculation of attempted and earned hours.

Financial Aid SAP Statuses:

  • Good – eligible for financial aid
  • Warning – eligible for financial for the next semester only
  • Suspended – not eligible for financial aid
  • Probation without academic plan – eligible for one semester of financial aid. Requires Appeal Approval.
  • Probation with an academic plan – eligible for two semesters of financial aid, if progression is met. Requires Appeal Approval.

Financial Aid Warning:

Financial aid eligibility continues during the warning period. At the end of each semester the SAP eligibility is reviewed. If a student does not earn the minimum grade point average and/or complete the minimum number of credit hours required, he/she is placed on financial aid warning for the next semester attended. Financial aid eligibility continues during the warning period. Student will be sent notification of this status from the Office of Student Financial Aid.

If, at the end of the term on Warning, the student meets the minimum cumulative GPA requirements and PACE completion rate of at least 67% of cumulative hours attempted, he/she will be removed from financial aid warning and eligible for Federal Aid in the next semester enrolled.  If, at the end of the term on Warning, the student does not meets the warning stipulations, and the cumulative GPA is less than required CGPA of their academic classification and/or the completion rate is less than 67% of the cumulative hours attempted, the student will be placed on financial aid suspension. (See Suspension section.)  Student will be sent notification of this status from the Office of Student Financial Aid

Financial Aid Suspension – Not Making Satisfactory Progress (NMSP)

Failure to establish eligibility by the end of the semester (if on a plan) will result in the loss of further aid consideration.  Awards cannot be paid retroactively for the semester(s) during which eligibility was lost.  Student can appeal this decision prior to the start of the semester. See deadline dates for submission of appeals.

SAP Appeal Deadline Dates

- Fall 2016 Semester: June 1st - August 15th

- Spring 2017 Semester: November 1st – December 16th

- Fall 2017 Semester: February 1st – March 24th

Financial Aid Probation and Academic Plans:

Failing to Meet the Minimum Financial Aid SAP Standards, students will be reviewed for financial aid/satisfactory academic progress at the end of each semester. If after two consecutive semesters of review, a student is not meeting the minimum SAP standards required of all Bethune-Cookman University students, he/she will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and must follow the Appeals process to determine the student’s eligibility to be on financial aid Probation or an Academic Plan. If the SAP appeal is approved, a review of the cumulative GPA and/or pace and/or maximum time frame will determine a student’s individual need for probation or an academic plan. Students must also appeal to change their plan. They must explain what has happened to make the change necessary and how they will be able to make academic progress.

Fulfillment of probation and/or academic plan requirements and recommendations:

  • FA recommendation for a possible reduced course load, if in the best interest of the student.
  • A student on SAP probation or academic plan will be required to repeat failed courses at the onset of the probationary semester or academic plan and earn passing grades and 100% PACE for those classes.
  • Mandatory attendance to Study skills class/ study hall for the duration of the probationary period or academic plan.
  • Readmitted students on SAP must take a reduced course load, 6 credit hours, at their own expense, either at BCU or another institution for one (1) semester showing an earned GPA of 2.0% or higher and 100% PACE upon completion. Semester transcripts will need to be provided/reviewed.
  • FA recommendation- Each semester students who earn less than a 2.0 GPA or less than the required academic plan GPA, whichever is greater, will not be eligible to be considered as making progression. If applicable, a new appeal would be required based on different circumstances to the initial SAP appeal.
  • FA recommendation-Each semester students who complete less than 100% PACE will not be eligible to be considered as making progression. If, applicable, a new appeal would be required based on different circumstances to the initial SAP appeal.

Appeal Process:

A student who fails to meet the minimum Financial Aid SAP standards after two consecutive semesters, will no longer be eligible for financial aid and will placed on Financial Aid Suspension and may submit an appeal.

To be considered for financial aid eligibility, the student must submit the following to the Office of Student Financial Aid.

       A.   The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Application

                     There are two types of SAP Appeals:

                     1. GPA and/or PACE Appeal

                          2. Maximum Time Frame Appeal (Can only be appealed once) - Students must complete a Bachelor’s degree within a maximum 150% of the degree program. The 150% requirement requires that a student may not earn credit hours than 150% of what is required for the degree program (i.e., if the students degree requires 120 credit hours than 150% of 120 equals a maximum of 180 credit hours). Approved appeals for Maximum Time Frame- only classes required to complete the degree program will be eligible for Federal Financial Aid funds.

The following extenuating circumstances are reason(s) for appealing:

  • Death of an Immediate Family Member
  • Serious Illness or Injury
  • Emergency. Non-Voluntary Military Activation
  • Credit hours exceed 150% of degree program
  • Other Special Circumstances.
  • Lack of focus and/or transitioning issues will not be considered for Financial Aid appeals.
  • Second appeals must be based on a reason different from the first appeal to be considered.

 B. SAP appeal forms and instructions are available on the Wildcat Web. A typed statement, signed and dated, from the student explaining in detail the reason for not meeting the minimum Financial Aid/SAP Standards, the changes that have occurred and what measures are being taken in order to meet the minimum Financial Aid/SAP Standards in the future.

C. Documentation of the extenuating circumstance(s) is required. (Financial Aid/SAP Appeals with no documentation submitted will be considered incomplete and will NOT be reviewed).

D. A revised Academic Plan from Undergraduate Studies, your graduate advisor, or your academic advisor.

E. The appeal be submitted electronically, through Dynamic Forms, to the Office of Student Financial Aid SAP Committee for review of financial aid eligibility. If decision is approved, financial aid will be awarded for the next term and reviewed each semester thereafter until the student regains title IV eligibility.

If Financial Aid denies the appeal, student will not be awarded until they are meeting the SAP. Notification will be sent to student from Office of Student Financial Aid.

Incomplete Appeals:

Incomplete appeal submissions will be automatically denied. All appeal forms and supporting documentation must be submitted by the appeal deadline of that semester (see appeal dates above). This includes the appeal letter information, format and supporting documentation of the situation. Students may resubmit by the appeal submission deadline or the next semester deadline.

Maximum of two Consecutive Appeals:

Students are entitled to a maximum of two consecutive appeals when not meeting financial aid eligibility.

SAP Appeal Decision:

A SAP Appeal decision will result in either an Approval or Denial.  If approved, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation or Financial Aid Academic Plan.  If denied, the student will remain suspended and is responsible for all expenses incurred at Bethune-Cookman University.  Students who are denied financial aid should meet with an Academic Advisor for guidance on improving their academic standing.  Students who are denied must be able to show that they can maintain at least a 2.50 or better cumulative GPA for two consecutive semesters and complete the U-Turn Program before financial aid will be reinstated at BCU or another institution.

SAP Appeal Decision – Approval Status:

Probation – Not Making Satisfactory Progress (NMSP)

Students with the status of suspended, with a SAP Appeal decision of approved may be placed on Financial Aid Probation without an academic plan if the student is close to meeting SAP eligibility standards.  Students placed on Financial Aid Probation without an academic plan are expected to move to good standing the next semester.  If the academic standing is not met, the student must submit an appeal before consideration will be given for one additional semester in which to comply with the standards.  During the probationary period, the student must achieve good academic standing – 2.50 cumulative GPA for undergraduate students or 3.00 cumulative GPA for graduate students.  If eligibility is not met, the student must submit a new appeal for financial aid with one more appeal remaining for eligibility.

Probation Academic Plan – Not Making Satisfactory Progress (NMSP)

Students with the status of suspended, with a SAP Appeal decision of approved may be placed on Financial Aid Probation with an academic plan if the student needs more than one semester to meet SAP eligibility standards.  Students placed on Financial Aid Probation with an academic plan must meet with an Academic Advisor appeal before consideration will be given for one additional semester in which to comply with the standards.  During the probationary period, the student must achieve good academic standing – 2.00 cumulative GPA for undergraduate students or 3.00 cumulative GPA for graduate students – and successfully pass 100% of the hours attempted during this period to improve PACE (making progression).

Appeal Approval Follow-up:

At the end of each semester when the SAP calculation is completed. Students previously on SAP Probation or SAP with an Academic Plan will need to be reviewed for SAP compliance and/or progression.

Probation review

Students on probation (1 semester only) who meet the minimum SAP standards at the end of the probationary period will be eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid for the next semester enrolled. Students on probation (1 semester only) who do not meet the minimum SAP standards at the end of the probationary period will placed on SAP suspension. If eligible, a new SAP appeal would need to be submitted for Federal Financial Aid eligibility. Progression of at least 100% of the hours attempted during the term for appeal consideration.

Academic Plan review

Students on an academic plan (2 or more semesters) who meet the minimum SAP standards or meet the agreed academic plan semester benchmark(s) detailed on the student’s academic plan, will then be eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid for the next semester enrolled. Students on an academic plan (2 or more semesters) who do not meet the minimum SAP standards or meet the agreed academic plan semester benchmark(s), the plan minimum GPA listed and 100% of the hours attempted during the term (detailed on the student’s plan) will then be placed on SAP suspension. If eligible, a new SAP appeal would need to be submitted for Federal Financial Aid eligibility.

Appeal Decision - Denial or No Available Appeals Remaining:     

If a student’s appeal is denied or there are no more remaining eligible appeals. A student may regain Title IV eligibility by requesting an academic plan from Undergraduate Studies, their Academic Advisor, or Online Academic Advisor outlining an academic plan that includes the minimum GPA and PACE required for that individual student to attain the minimum required academic standards to be in compliance of Federal Aid eligibility at their own expense.
  • For students on SAP for PACE only. The student would be able to complete the necessary credits either at BCU or another institution and transfer those credits back to BCU at their own expense, as transfer hours are included in the PACE calculation.
  • For students on SAP for GPA or GPA and PACE would need to complete the courses with BCU at their own expense, as transfer hours are Not included in the GPA calculation.

Notification:          

Students are notified of their SAP status and appeals process at the end of each semester through the University and/or student provided email addresses.

Missing Documents:

All documents must be completed and submitted by the Priority Document Deadline Date of March 24th annually.  Failure to submit all required documents will further reduce award amounts. 

Awards:

Students on SAP with an Appeal Approval will be awarded for the one semester at a time.  Students must be evaluated at the end of every semester for eligibility. If deadline for required documents are not met, aid will not be processed.

Disbursement of Aid:

Students on SAP with an Appeal Approval must submit all required documents before financial aid will be disbursed.  The Academic Recovery Plan must be completed and signed by the student and the academic advisor before awards will be released.  All financial aid will be processed in two disbursements 30 days apart. 

Reinstatement of Aid:

Reinstatement of aid shall occur only upon the successful achievement of the satisfactory academic progress requirements or the Academic Plan as set forth in this policy.  Students on the Academic Plan will only be awarded per semester.

A WORD OF ADVICE: 

To bring up your grade point average, you may want to consider RETAKING courses in which you have received a grade of "D" or "F".  This should bring up your average much faster than if you were to enroll in all new courses. Of course you will want to retake courses in which you expect to do extremely well.  
If you have already retaken courses, you may want to check with the Registrar's Office to be sure that the penalty for the lower grade of "D" or "F" has been replaced by credit for the higher grade in the retaken course.

Code of Federal Regulation:

34 CFR 668.2, 34 CFR 668.2(b), 34 CFR 668.16, 34 CFR 668.16(e), 34 CFR 668.16, 34 CFR 668.32(f), 34 CFR 32, 34 CFR 668.34