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Undergraduate and Graduate Students

SAP policy 

It is important to note that separate from the policy outlined here for financial aid purposes, the Office of Academic Affairs conducts reviews of student academic performance in accordance with university standards. Please refer to the newest academic catalog for details about academic watch and academic probation.

The requirements for merit-based institutional scholarships are separate.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements:

  • Maintain the required cumulative grade point average of 2.0 for undergraduate students and 3.0 for graduate students,
  • Maintain a successful course completion rate (pace) of at least 67%,
  • Complete an academic program within the maximum timeframe (MTF) of 150% of the published length of program (undergraduates) or within the number of credits established by the Registrar's Office for the program (graduate students), and
  • Meet requirements set forth by the Office of Academic Affairs

Qualitative measure

Grade point average (GPA): maintenance of a minimum cumulative grade point average.

Quantitative measures

Pace/Progress: this measure assesses the pace at which a student progresses toward attainment of her/his degree. The calculation to determine the pace is to identify the number of credit hours completed toward the program and divide it by the number of credit hours attempted. To ensure quantitative progress, students are required to complete a minimum required percentage of all attempted courses.

Example of Pace:A student has enrolled in 24 credits to date. Of the 24 attempted credits, the student completed 21 credits with passing grades and has withdrawn from one three-credit course. The pace of this student is calculated as 21/24*100%=87%.

Maximum Timeframe (MTF): Federal law requires a Maximum Timeframe (MTF) be established during which a student receiving federal financial aid must complete their educational program. The MTF for an undergraduate program may be no longer than 150 percent of the published length of the educational program measured in academic years, semesters or credit hours attempted. The MTF for a graduate program may be no longer than the number of credits established by the Registrar’s Office for the program of study. All courses taken while pursuing a bachelor’s degree count towards the MTF. If a student moves on to pursue a master’s degree, the MTF would reset for the graduate level program. If a student completes one degree and decided to earn a second degree, the MTF would reset.

Examples of MTF: Undergraduate Student If an undergraduate student is enrolled in an academic program that requires 120 credit hours for graduation, she/he would be allowed a maximum of 180 (120 x 150%) attempted credits in order to obtain his/her degree.Graduate Student If a graduate student is enrolled in an academic program requiring 36 credit hours to graduate, she/he would be allowed up to 36 attempted credits in order to obtain his/her degree.

Credits counted in the MTF are all attempted credits at Notre Dame (even when not a financial aid recipient) and all transfer credits accepted toward their academic program (at the time of SAP Review). At the point that all required coursework for an academic program has been completed, financial aid eligibility will be suspended even if the student does not apply to graduate.

The maximum timeframe for Notre Dame merit-based and need-based funding is 8 semesters for students who started as first-year students and 6 semesters for students who started as transfers.

Academic Probation: Students who are placed on academic probation by the Office of Academic Affairs are considered to be failing SAP standards (even if the GPA, Pace, and MTF requirements are being met).

Frequency of Review

The Office of Financial Aid will review the status of all financial aid applicants at the conclusion of each semester (summer, fall, and spring), when grades are available. Winterim credits will be reviewed with spring semester credits. The review consists of the cumulative record of all prior semesters (including semesters when a student may not have received financial aid funding), including transfer credits accepted toward an academic program at the time of the SAP Review. All elements of satisfactory academic progress will be evaluated: cumulative grade point average, maximum timeframe, pace/progress rate, and academic probation.

What if a student doesn’t meet the SAP requirements?

Financial Aid Warning

If a student is deemed as not making Satisfactory Academic Progress, the student is given the status of financial aid warning. During the subsequent semester, the student will have the opportunity to meet the SAP standards. If the standards are met by the end of that semester, the financial aid warning is lifted and the student maintains eligibility for financial aid. If at the end of the semester, the student does not meet the SAP standards, the student’s eligibility for financial aid is suspended.

A student may be placed on financial aid warning multiple times if they have intermittent semesters of meeting and not meeting SAP requirements. Example: A student is not meeting SAP standards upon review of the fall 2013 semester performance and the student is placed on warning. At the end of the following semester, spring 2014, the student is meeting SAP standards and the student maintains eligibility for financial aid. At the end of fall 2014 semester, however, the once again has not met SAP standards.  The student is again placed on warning. In other words, the clock re-sets after each semester of successfully meeting SAP requirements.

Financial Aid Suspension

If a student is not meeting SAP requirements after a semester of financial aid warning, the student will be notified that eligibility for aid is suspended. The student may appeal the suspension. The outcome of the appeal will determine whether the student is granted financial aid probation or if the suspension remains unchanged.

Appeal Circumstances

Circumstances to appeal a suspension decision are limited. A student may appeal a suspension if the student did not make satisfactory academic progress due to the death of a relative, illness of the student, or other extenuating circumstances. All circumstances must be documented (and may or may not be approved by the committee). 

Appeal Process

Appeals must be submitted by the published deadline. Late appeals may be considered, but timely review is not guaranteed before the start of the semester.

If a student chooses to appeal the suspension, the student may complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form, attach documentation that supports the basis of the appeal and submit the form and documentation to the Office of Financial Aid. The appeal will be reviewed by a committee. The committee may uphold the suspension, approve the appeal, or require additional information prior to making a decision.

  • If the committee determines the appeal cannot be approved, the suspension remains in force and financial aid eligibility remains suspended.
  • If the committee determines the appeal is sufficient and the student should be able to achieve satisfactory academic progress by the end of his/her next term of enrollment, the student will be granted financial aid probation for one semester. At the end of the semester of financial aid probation, the student’s performance will be reviewed. If SAP requirements have been met, the student regains financial aid eligibility. If SAP requirements have not been met, the student’s eligibility for aid is again suspended.
  • If the committee determines the appeal needs the support of the academic unit, the academic advisor will be asked to create an academic plan for the student. Based on the guidance in the academic plan, the student may be granted financial aid probation for a defined period of time while achieving the provisions of the academic plan.
    • The student’s performance will be monitored every semester, even if the academic plan extends the period of financial aid probation to more than one semester. An academic plan will have specific goals for a student to achieve each semester of financial aid probation and if the goals are met, the student continues on financial aid probation until the end of the defined period of time. If a student does not meet the specific goals of the academic plan, the student’s eligibility for aid is suspended.
    • At the end of the defined period of time of the academic plan, the student’s performance will be reviewed.If SAP requirements have been met, the student regains financial aid eligibility.If SAP requirements have not been met, the student’s eligibility for aid is again suspended.

Financial Aid Probation

Financial Aid Probation is a status assigned to a student who has failed to make SAP, successfully appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated for a defined period of time. Students on financial aid probation must complete and submit a probation contract each semester they are assigned that status. The contract is individualized, includes an academic plan, if applicable, and is sent to the student for completion. The student’s academic advisor must complete the applicable section on the form.

Academic Plan

An Academic Plan is a course of action that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standards by a specific point in time. An academic plan may include guidance provided by the student’s academic advisor, suggested restrictions on work, social activity or other elements.

How can a student regain eligibility if/when an appeal is denied or aid is suspended a second time?

If an appeal is denied, a student may regain eligibility by completing a specified number of credit hours (as determined by the academic advisor) without the benefit of federal, state or institutional financial aid, by restoring good academic standing with the University, and by meeting SAP standards. If those conditions are met, a student must then submit a new appeal to request a review of eligibility for financial aid.

If a student has successfully appealed financial aid suspension and is placed on financial aid probation but fails to meet the requirements of the financial aid probation contract/academic plan, the student may not appeal again unless 1) the student is granted permission by the Office of Academic Affairs to continue in the program and 2) the student is able to attend without receiving federal, state or institutional financial aid and meet SAP and University academic standards. If those conditions are met, a student must then submit a new appeal to request a review of eligibility for financial aid.

Students may not submit two consecutive appeals.

Special Considerations:

  • Dismissal-students who are dismissed by the University will have their eligibility for financial aid suspended. If they appeal the dismissal and are allowed to remain in the program, they must go through a financial aid appeal to see if eligibility for financial aid could be restored.

  • Clemency-Students who are eligible for academic clemency may not be in compliance with federal SAP policy and/or state regulations and are ineligible for aid.

  • Transfer Credits-Courses that are transferred from another institution and accepted toward an academic degree program (at the time of SAP Review) at the University count as attempted and completed hours for the purpose of measuring pace and for Maximum Timeframe (MTF).
  • Advanced Placement Credits – AP credits received by the university are excluded from the number of attempted and completed credits
  • Incomplete Grades-Credits hours in which a student receives a grade “I” are included in the number of attempted credits, but don’t count toward successfully completed hours. Students with “incompletes” may have difficulty meeting the SAP standards at the time of evaluation, but may request reevaluation upon completion.
  • Failing Grades-Credit hours in which a student receives a grade “F” are included in the number of attempted credits.
  • Withdrawals- Credit hours in which a student receives a grade “W” are included in the number of attempted credits.
  • Repeated coursework-Per federal regulations, an undergraduate student may retake a course for which he/she received a failing grade (there is no limit on the number of times it may be repeated). The undergraduate student may retake a course one time only for a course in which he/she received a passing grade. This will be reviewed at census dates and undergraduate students’ aid packages will be adjusted as necessary. The highest grade earned for the repeated course will be used in the cumulative GPA calculation for SAP purposes. * This pertains to undergraduate students *
  • Audited Credits-grades for audited class are not considered attempted coursework. A student cannot receive financial aid for audited courses.
  • Summer or Winterim Classes-credit hours attempted during summer or winterim will be included in the calculation of SAP.
  • Notre Dame’s Scholarships and Awards-Notre Dame’s merit-based aid will be monitored separately from other financial aid. The monitoring is done every semester. Students are required to complete the requirements listed in the Scholarship Acceptance Form.
  • Federal TEACH Grant-this federal grant has additional academic requirements and requires students to maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA.
  • Challenge/CLEP credits-no aid is granted for credits which are earned by a student through a challenge/CLEP exam.
  • Grade Changes -Students who are receiving aid on a probationary basis must resolve all incomplete grades BEFORE the Office of Financial Aid can make a final determination that they meet the satisfactory academic progress guidelines. Students must report any grade changes that impact their aid eligibility directly to the Office of Financial Aid. Grade changes must be submitted to the Student Registrar’s Office by October 20 for fall semester aid applicants and by March 20 for spring semester aid applicants. Students must notify the Office of Financial Aid once their final grades have been posted.

Definitions:

Academic Plan

An Academic Plan is a course of action that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standards by a specific point in time. Academic plans are included in the student’s probation contract.

Academic Program

The “major” in which the student plans to obtain a degree.

Add/Drop Period

A specific period of time (defined by the Registrar’s Office) at the beginning of each semester during which a student may adjust his/her class schedule.

Audit Courses

Courses that do not meet or apply to degree requirements. (Ineligible for financial aid).

Dropped course

To drop a course is to cancel a course for which a student was enrolled at conclusion of the Add/Drop period of a semester, yet maintain enrollment for at least one other course. (Dropping a course should not be confused with Withdrawing from a semester).

Extenuating Circumstances

Unusual events (that influenced the student’s ability to succeed).

Financial Aid Probation

Financial Aid probation is a status assigned to a student who has failed to make Satisfactory Academic Progress, appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated for a defined period of time.

Grade Point Average

Cumulative: The overall average of a student’s grades while attending the University (used to determinesatisfactory academic progress).

Semester: The average of a student’s grades for one semester.

Financial Aid Probation Contract

A form that the student and academic advisor work together to complete and submit to the Office of Financial Aid when a student has successfully appealed and been placed on financial aid probation.

Graduate student

A student enrolled in a program of study that leads to a Master’s or Doctoral degree or teacher certification.

Repeated course

A course for which a student previously enrolled, yet re-enrolls and takes the course again.

Successful Completion

Finishing the courses for which one is enrolled at conclusion of the Add/Drop period and with grades meeting graduation standards.

Suspension

Termination of financial aid eligibility.

Transfer Credit

When a student changes schools, courses originally taken at prior school(s) that are accepted for credit-toward-program by the new school.

Undergraduate student

A student enrolled in a program of study that leads to a Bachelor’s degree.

Warning

A status assigned when a student fails to meet SAP requirements for the first time. A student may be assigned a warning status multiple times it there was a period of successfully completing SAP in between each status assignment.

Withdrawal

To withdraw is to cancel all courses for which a student was enrolled at conclusion of the Add/Drop period of a semester. (Withdrawing from a semester should not be confused with dropping a course).