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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility

Students receiving federal student financial aid must maintain “Satisfactory Academic Progress” at Northern Vermont University in order to remain eligible for federal aid consideration.

The Financial Aid Office evaluates Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) once a year after the completion of the spring term for all students receiving financial aid. All semesters of enrollment, including summer, must be considered in the determination of SAP (even periods in which federal aid funds were not received).

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) tests three standards:

1. GPA (Qualitative) Standard

Students academically dismissed from their academic program are automatically recognized as failing to meet Northern Vermont University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. Otherwise, as a student progresses through their academic program, their cumulative GPA must meet the following standards:

  • Students with fewer than 30 earned credits must maintain a cumulative GPA of 1.75
  • Students with 30 earned credits or greater, must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0, as recorded and documented by the Registrar’s Office.
  • Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

2. Pace (Quantitative) Standard

Students must successfully complete 67% of their attempted courses as recorded and documented by the Registrar’s Office. Dropped courses will not be included. Courses withdrawn from after the end of the add/drop period will be counted as attempted credits.

3. Maximum Timeframe Standard

A student’s maximum time frame for completion of their academic program must not exceed 150% of the published program length, measured in credit hours. For example: AA or AS degrees require 60 credits, therefore the maximum time frame allowed is 90 credit hours. BA or BS degrees require 120 credits, therefore the maximum time frame allowed is 180 credits hours. Graduate degree time frames are determined by program.

Grades and Credits

Courses with grades of “W” (withdrawn), “NP” (not passed), “I” (incomplete), and/or “F” (failed) are counted as courses attempted but not earned AND count toward the Maximum Timeframe Standard and the Pace Standard. Satisfactory Academic Progress will include repeated and remedial coursework unless determined otherwise by the Financial Aid Office during review of a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal. Please note that transfer credits do count in determining the GPA (Qualitative) Standard, Pace (Quantitative) Standard, and Maximum Timeframe Standard for Satisfactory Academic Progress. The Financial Aid Office will NOT automatically adjust a student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress status when grades are changed or finally reported. For any grade change (especially regarding a prior grade of “I” incomplete that has now been assigned a traditional letter grade), a student is responsible for notifying the Financial Aid Office of such a change and requesting a review of their Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluation.

Monitoring Period and Aid Suspension

Students will have their satisfactory academic progress evaluated once a year at the end of the spring semester regardless of whether the student received financial aid. Students not meeting these Satisfactory Academic Progress standards will receive communication via letters sent to the mailing address on record as well as their campus email.

Aid suspended includes all federal aid; Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Work-study, Perkins, Direct subsidized or unsubsidized student loans, Graduate PLUS and Parent PLUS Loans, as well as State Incentive Grants, Scholarships, and Private Educational Loans. This may also apply to scholarships/loans from an outside resource. Scholarships that have specific requirements in order to maintain eligibility (GPA for example) will not be reinstated even with an appeal approval.

The first time a student falls below the GPA (Qualitative) Standard, and/or the Pace (Quantitative) Standard for Satisfactory Academic Progress, the student’s aid will be suspended for the upcoming semester. The student can immediately appeal for a probationary period.

Appeal for Probationary Period

A student who fails to meet a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standard at the conclusion of the Spring Semester will be placed in a Financial Aid Suspension Status and will lose all financial aid eligibility until the student is in compliance with the SAP standards. A student whose aid eligibility has been suspended may appeal for a Probationary Semester by completing a: (1) SAP Appeal Form, and (2) writing a letter explaining the specific circumstances attributable to their noncompliance, and (3) meeting with a member of the Academic Support team. Academic Support will assist the student with strategies for successful completion of the students’ academic career.

An appeal must be based on significant mitigating circumstances that seriously impacted academic performance. Examples of possible mitigating circumstances are serious illness, severe injury, death of a family member, and other similar situations. Also, the student will need to describe what has changed in their current situation that will allow the student to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation. The student will be notified of the appeal decision via their email and the decision is final.

If a student’s appeal is approved they will generally be placed on an “Academic Plan” created in conjunction with a member of the Academic Support Office, and the student will be notified via email. The student will be considered for federal aid during a probationary period but only for the semester that is current at the time the appeal is submitted- aid will not be reinstated retroactively. Once the probationary semester has concluded the students’ progress will be reviewed. Continuation of federal aid eligibility will be based on adherence to the “Academic Plan” and the general requirements of a probationary period which requires the student to earn all credits attempted (no W’s/Withdrawals or NP/Not Passed) and to also earn a GPA of at least 2.00


Grades and credits excluded from the calculation of a student’s grade point average by amelioration must be included in the evaluation of a student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress for both PACE and GPA per Federal Regulation.

Repeat Coursework

If you repeat a course, it will be added to your attempted credit hours total. However, only the most recent grade received in the course will be included in the calculation of your cumulative GPA/qualitative measure.

Note: Federal financial aid will pay for only one repeat of a previously passed course.

The student’s probationary period ends once they are meeting both components: GPA (Qualitative) Standard and Pace (Quantitative) Standard as outlined in Northern Vermont University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

Special Circumstances

Students with documented disabilities may be allotted additional time for completion of courses.