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Satisfactory Academic Progress

  1. Why is the Office of Financial Aid required to check Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)? Federal regulations require that students who have received or may want to receive financial aid in the future demonstrate academic success and progress toward a degree objective.  This progress standard must review course completion rate as well as grades received.  Students must be able to complete the degree within 150% of the published length of the academic program.
  2. Why do SAP standards differ from Academic Standards? SAP standards must comply with federal regulations governing Title IV programs.
  3. I have a 3.0 GPA.  Why did I receive a notification for not making SAP? At the end of each term of enrollment, students must earn the minimum cumulative GPA, minimum number of credit hours, and be within the maximum timeframe. Failure to meet the minimum standards in either the qualitative or quantitative standards may result in a loss of financial aid eligibility.
  4. I want to withdraw from the university. How will this affect my SAP? The SAP policy considers all attempted credit hours in the calculation of completion rate.  Attempted credit hours include all courses in which a student is enrolled after the census date.  The hours that you attempted during the term in which you withdraw will still be included in the calculation to determine your credit hour completion rate and will also be included in the calculation of maximum time frame.  Students failing to meet SAP, who have extenuating circumstances, will be given the opportunity to appeal for reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility.
  5. If I am denied financial aid because I am not meeting SAP, will I still be able to attend the University? Yes, you may attend the University provided you are eligible to enroll and are not Academically Suspended; however, you may not receive financial aid.
  6. My financial aid has been suspended, and I submitted an appeal. Do I still have to pay my bill if I am hoping to receive financial aid to cover it? Yes.  It is the responsibility of the student to pay all outstanding balances on his/her account while waiting for an appeal decision.  Regardless of the appeal decision, students are responsible for any late fees incurred.  Tuition and fees as well as housing and meal charges are due in full no later than 4:15 p.m. on the last business day before classes begin to avoid late payment charges.
  7. If my appeal is denied, what are my options for paying for school? If your appeal is denied you are not eligible for Federal Title IV Financial Aid (Grants and Stafford Loans). You must personally pay for your costs to attend school or you may apply for a private student loan with the lender of your choice. For more information, please visit our Private Loan webpage.
  8. What types of financial assistance will I qualify for if my federal aid eligibility is suspended? You will no longer qualify for any Title IV assistance (Grants and Stafford Loans).   You must personally pay for your costs to attend school or you may apply for a private student loan with the lender of your choice. For more information, please visit our Private Loan webpage.
  9. How often is progress checked? SAP is checked at the end of every semester.  At the end of each term of enrollment, students must earn the minimum cumulative GPA, minimum number of credit hours, and be within the maximum timeframe.  Failure to meet the minimum cumulative standards may result in a loss of financial aid eligibility.
  10. Is there a deadline for submitting an appeal? In order to be eligible for financial aid for a semester in which financial aid has been suspended, an appeal must be approved prior to or during that semester.  To ensure that an appeal is reviewed, students must submit their appeal no later than TWO WEEKS prior to the end of the semester.  Appeals will NOT be considered for a semester that has already ended.
  11. How am I notified of my current SAP status? You may access your Banner Self-Serve account for more information regarding your SAP status.  An email will also be sent after each progress assessment.
  12. How do I appeal my financial aid suspension? What happens after an appeal is submitted? A student can appeal his/her suspension by completing a SAP Appeal Form.  The appeal must be submitted with accompanying documentation and a completed academic plan by the deadline date given.  All supporting documents will be retained in the student’s financial aid file.  The appeal form can be found at www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid/forms.  Once a completed appeal is submitted, it is examined by the Director of Financial Aid.  Using the appeal submitted and the academic plan provided, we will determine if your eligibility for financial aid can be reinstated.  Should your appeal be denied, you will be responsible for making the appropriate financial arrangements to pay for tuition and fees. You may submit a new appeal and Academic Plan after your next period of enrollment for a reevaluation of future eligibility. You can also regain/reestablish financial aid eligibility for future periods of enrollment by making SAP.  You must personally pay for each period of enrollment until the minimum cumulative GPA and pace requirements are met.
  13. How will an “Incomplete” be treated for GPA calculation? At the time of evaluation, incompletes do not influence a student’s cumulative GPA for SAP, but count as credit hours attempted toward both pace and maximum timeframe.  For financial aid purposes, incomplete (“I”) and in progress (“X”) grades equal “F” until removed according to University regulations.  Refer to our SAP Policy online at www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid/sap for more information on remedial coursework, transfer credit, repeated coursework, etc.
  14. What is the maximum timeframe allowed to complete a degree? The maximum timeframe for students to complete their degree cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the academic program.  Hours are counted starting with the semester the student entered school, even those semesters in which he/she did not receive financial aid.  A student is allowed 180 hours to complete a Bachelor’s Degree and 90 hours for an Associate’s Degree.  Graduate students are given 150% of their program length.
  15. What happens to my financial aid if I am placed on “Warning” status? You do not have to appeal when you are in “Warning” status and may continue to receive financial aid for one payment period.  To be removed from “Warning” status, you must attain the minimum cumulative GPA and credit completion rate by the end of the “Warning” period.
  16. What is an academic plan? An Academic Plan is part of the SAP Appeal Form and must be completed for an appeal to be considered. The academic plan will demonstrate how the student will meet SAP standards by a specific point in time.  If the student deviates from the plan, financial aid eligibility will be suspended.  It is critical for the academic plan to reflect realistic and attainable goals for the student.
  17. Is a student allowed to repeat coursework? Students are allowed to repeat a previously passed course and have it count toward enrollment for financial aid eligibility ONLY ONCE.  However, all repeats count against the maximum timeframe and reduce the pace/completion rate because they count as earned credits only once. For more information, please refer to the “Repeated Coursework Policy”. 
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