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Satisfactory Academic Progress

A. Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for Financial Aid
B. Financial Aid Waiver
C. Repeated Courses
D. Regaining Eligibility
E. Academic Grade Changes and Incompletes
F. Change of Major
G. Total Withdrawal from University - Federal Title IV and Institutional Aid Refund Policy
H. Readmitted Students

A.    Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for Financial Aid

Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to retain eligibility for federal and institutional financial aid.  Satisfactory academic progress is comprised of three areas as required by federal regulations.  A student must complete their degree within a specified period, demonstrate they are making progress towards the completion of their degree by earning a minimum number of credits hours each semester and achieve a GPA that is consistent with meeting graduation requirements.  Some institutional scholarships (i.e. Honors and Merit Scholarships) and federal grants (i.e. ACG and SMART) may require higher academic achievement than the standards outlined below. 

Financial Aid satisfactory academic progress standards are based on a student’s cumulative record and are separate from Academic Standing determinations.  A student who is on academic warning, academic probation, or has been approved to continue after separation retains financial aid eligibility provided the financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards as outlined below are met. 

A-1. Maximum time frame for degree completion

  • Federal regulations specify that a student must complete his/her degree within 150% of the published length of the program.  The maximum time frame at Clarkson is measured in attempted hours. A student must earn 120 credits to receive a Bachelor’s degree.  Therefore, the maximum time frame to complete the program for full time students cannot exceed 180 attempted credit hours, 6 years, or 12 semesters, which ever comes first.  Part-time students cannot exceed the 180 attempted credit hours.  There are no appeals to the maximum time frame regulation.
  • Credits counted in the maximum time are all attempted credits (even when not a financial aid recipient)  Attempted credits include:
    • Earned hours – Passed (A-D), Pass (P)
    • Repeated Courses – both attempts
    • Withdrawal (LW) and (W)
    • Failure (F)
    • Incomplete (I)
    • All accepted transfer credits (including consortium agreements and Study Abroad courses) toward the degree program (T)
Federal regulations do not allow for the exclusion of courses in which a student has remained past the drop period and earned a grade of ‘W” from its calculation of the maximum time frame.

A-2. Quantitative Standards

Federal regulations require that a student make steady progress toward degree completion by earning a minimum number of credit hours each semester. In order to earn 120 credit hours and graduate from Clarkson University in 4 years, a student must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours per semester. In order to graduate within the maximum time frame (180 attempted credit hours or 6 years) a student must earn at least 10 credits per semester. Earned credit hours include:
  • Grades of A, B, C, D or P (with credit)
  • Transferred credits – provided they meet degree requirements
  • Credits earned from a Consortium Agreement or Study Abroad Program.

Student records are evaluated at the end of each semester.

A-3. Qualitative Standards

Federal regulations require the student to meet minimum cumulative GPA standards to retain eligibility for aid.  As indicated in the following chart, after 4 semesters a student must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA to be eligible for financial aid. 

Review of student records occurs at the end of each academic semester.

The following chart is used to determine quantitative and qualitative progress

The credits and minimum GPA must be earned by the beginning of the term in which the financial aid is to be disbursed.
Prior to the start of semester: 
 2  3
 6  7
 9  10
Minimum cumulative GPA:  0  1.0  
Minimum credits earned:  0  10  20  30  40  50

Students who fail to meet both quantitative and qualitative standards are not making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid.

A-4.    Financial Aid Probation

Students who do not meet the qualitative and/or quantitative standards are placed on financial aid probation.  Students on financial aid probation retain both federal and institutional aid eligibility.  Per federal regulations, students are allowed one probationary period.

If the student does not earn the minimum number of credits or maintain the required GPA after the probationary period, they will no longer be eligible for federal or institutional aid until that standard is met. 

Students who have utilized the probationary semester and experience extenuating circumstances are eligible to submit a request for a Financial Aid Waiver.  Refer to the Financial Aid Waiver section for further information.

B.   Financial Aid Waiver

Students who do not meet the cumulative quantitative and qualitative standards after the financial aid probationary period lose their eligibility for federal and institutional aid until the standards are met.  Students may appeal to the University for a Financial Aid Waiver.  Waivers may be issued for students who have experienced exceptional or extraordinary circumstances “beyond the student’s control” that resulted in the failure to satisfy the requirements and where there is a reasonable expectation that the student will meet these requirements in the future.  A student may be approved for a maximum of two waivers.
Circumstances may include, but are not limited to, the death of a student’s relative or a student’s personal illness or injury.

Students will be notified by the Office of Financial Aid in the event of the loss of financial aid eligibility.  Students will also be informed of the opportunity to submit a Financial Aid Waiver and will be issued a waiver form.

C.    Repeated Courses

Courses in which an F or W is recorded may be repeated. The earned hours are counted once. The attempted hours are counted each time. Students may repeat a course twice. A student may not receive aid for a repeated course if they have already received a passing grade.

D.   Regaining Eligibility

A student can regain eligibility for federal and institutional aid by:


E.   Academic Grade Changes and Incompletes

For purposes of determining student eligibility for federal and institutional financial aid, all grade changes including incompletes must be submitted to  SAS prior to the 10th day of the subsequent semester.  This deadline may differ from academic departmental guidelines.  The student must contact their SAS representative to request a review of their financial aid.

F.  Change of Major

For purposes of determining satisfactory academic progress for financial aid,   students who change their major and have courses that do not meet degree requirements excluded from their academic transcript will also have those courses excluded from the calculation for financial aid satisfactory academic progress determinations. Students are allowed to utilize one Financial Aid Waiver in Change of Major situations.

G.  Total Withdrawal from the University – Federal Title IV and Institutional Aid Refund Policy

  • Students earn financial aid by attending classes. Federal regulations require Clarkson to pro-rate financial aid amounts if the student officially or unofficially withdraws, is dismissed or otherwise leaves the University. The formula is based upon the number of days the student has attended as a percentage of the total number of days in the semester. A student must attend classes through 60 percent of the semester to be fully eligible for his/her total financial aid package.
  • Refunds calculations are performed on the following funds:
    • All Federal Direct Loans – Subsidized, Unsubsidized, PLUS, Grad PLUS
    • Perkins Loans
    • Pell Grants
    • SEOG
    • Academic Competitiveness Grants
    • SMART Grants
  • The Title IV and Institutional Refund Procedure are separate and distinct from the refund policy for tuition, fees and other charges at Clarkson.
  • The percentage earned of Federal Title IV funds will also be used to determine the amount of institutional grants, loans and/or scholarships that a student may retain upon withdrawing from the University.
  • Satisfactory academic progress for students who return to the University for a subsequent semester will be reviewed and a determination will be made based on the qualitative and quantitative standards as stated above.

H. Readmitted Students

  • Students who have left the University for one or more semesters and have been readmitted will have their financial aid satisfactory academic progress reviewed at the time of readmission. Transfer credits must be received prior to the 10th day of the semester in order to effect the satisfactory academic progress determination.
  • If the student is determined to be making progress they will regain their eligibility for federal and institutional aid.
  • If the student is determined not to be making progress, the student will be placed on financial aid probation provided they have not already utilized their probationary term.
  • If the probationary term has been utilized and the student has extenuating circumstances, the student may file an appeal for a Financial Aid Waiver provided that they have not utilized their two Financial Aid Waivers.

*There is no guarantee that a readmitted student will receive the same type or amount of institutional aid they received during prior semesters.
1 July 2010