Eligibility for Financial Aid
Federal regulations require students to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in order to receive federal financial aid. Students who fail to maintain minimum standards of satisfactory progress may lose eligibility for federal and institutional aid. FGCU has a policy which includes the required qualitative and quantitative measure of progress. The FGCU satisfactory academic progress policy will be applied consistently to all financial aid applicants regardless of whether the student previously received financial aid. Resources for policies follow sections 668.32, 668.16 of the federal handbook.
Qualitative Measure of Progress
The qualitative requirement allows a set minimum standard Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) for undergraduate and graduate students. Teacher certification and Teacher Immersion students are considered undergraduate students for SAP purposes. The CGPA does not include grades from courses taken at other institutions.
Undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 for continued eligibility. Graduate students must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA for continued eligibility.
Doctorate programs will be held to the standards of the college over the program and cannot go outside of the courses selected by that program.
Quantitative Measure of Progress
The quantitative requirement is broken up into two sections. The first quantitative standard will be the student’s completion ratio. The ratio is compiled by dividing the number of completed credits by the number of attempted credits.
Students must have earned a minimum of 70 percent of the total credit hours attempted. Attempted hours that can affect your completion rate include withdraws, incomplete grades, non-reported grades, unsatisfactory grades, failing grades and any other attempted credits that does not result in earned credits.
Any articulated hours transferred in from another institution (including consortium hours) will be used to calculate a student’s completion rate.
Time Frame to Complete Degree
The second component of the quantitative measure of progress is the maximum timeframe allotted to complete a program.
The time required to complete an undergraduate degree cannot exceed 150% of the program length. (For example, a student enrolled in a program requiring 120 credit hours to complete the degree would be ineligible for aid after attempting 180 total credit hours. Courses that are attempted during periods when a student did not receive aid are also counted in the calculation.) All articulated transfer hours, consortium hours, study abroad, repeat courses, failed courses, and any other attempted credits will be added to determine maximum timeframe hours. Students are limited to two major changes. This means if a student changes majors three or more times consideration may not be given to extend financial aid if the 180 hours is exceeded. The only time this policy will be overridden is if the university should no longer offer a major and a change is necessary.
Undergraduate students cannot exceed 180 attempted hours.
Graduate students cannot exceed 90 attempted credit hours.
Students in Doctorate or specialized programs requiring additional hours to complete a degree will be held to the standards of that degree or program. The students enrolled in these programs will be reviewed according to their degree or program requirements and must complete them in a timely manner.
Note: Most undergraduate degrees require 120 earned credits to graduate. If your degree program requires more than 120 hours to graduate, then your eligibility may be adjusted by submitting an appeal.
The SAP Process is run annually at the end of each spring term after grades are posted. This annual process will check for completion rate and CGPA as explained above. The timeframe to complete degree component of the SAP Process will be reviewed at the end of each term once credit hours have posted. Students on financial aid probation will be reviewed at the end of each term. Also, Teacher certification and Teacher Immersion Students will be reviewed at the end of each term.
New freshman coming in during the academic year will automatically be considered making SAP. Transfer students will be reviewed at time of enrollment, after FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) information is received. All transcripts must be received and processed before eligibility will be considered.
SAP – Making Satisfactory Academic Progress. The student has met all financial aid eligibility requirements and is eligible for financial aid.
SUS – Financial Aid Suspension. The student has not met one or all of the financial aid eligibility requirements and is no longer eligible to receive financial aid. Students will remain on suspension until they file an appeal or achieve SAP by the end of the next spring term without the assistance of financial aid. Some types of financial aid (including some scholarships) will still disburse regardless of the suspended status.
PROB – Financial Aid Probation. The student has filed an appeal with the financial aid office and can now receive financial aid. The student will be placed on an academic plan defined by the financial aid appeals committee. Students placed on probation will be reviewed at the end of each semester to determine if the academic plan was successfully completed. If the student failed to follow the terms of the academic plan the financial aid status will revert to a suspended status and financial aid will cease. Students will remain on probation until they achieve their academic plan and reach SAP or until the student graduates.
Mitigating circumstances: Students who do not meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements may request reinstatement of their eligibility based on any of the circumstance listed below. Request for reinstatement must be made in writing. Approval is NOT guaranteed.
Appeal: Students seeking reinstatement of their eligibility to receive financial aid must complete a Financial Aid Appeal form and provide supporting documentation. Supporting documentation can include obituaries, medical bills, handwritten doctor’s notes, and any other documentation that the committee deems appropriate. Students must also explain what in their situation has changed so they may now meet SAP standards. Notification of action taken by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will be emailed within 20 working days of the request. If additional documentation is requested, the student has 15 days to provide the documentation. If the 15 day timeframe is not met the petition will not be considered. The student may request the same petition be considered at a later date in that same semester if documents are later provided. The committee has 20 working days from the date the last supporting document is provided to notify the student of a decision. Deadlines for appeals will be published on the financial aid website. Appeals will not be accepted after the posted deadlines.
If the appeal provided is approved the student will then be placed on probation for the semester requested in the petition and aid may be awarded for that semester. The student’s progress will then be reviewed at the end of the semester. The student will remain on probation as long as they continue to achieve the requirements of their academic plan each semester or the student graduates. SAP status will only automatically be updated through an appeal or at the end of the spring term when the annual process is run. If a student reaches SAP standards at any other time they must submit an appeal for the status to be updated.
If a student's request for reinstatement of financial aid is denied they may pursue further review by the Financial Aid Committee by supplying additional documentation that was not included in the first appeal. Appeals must be made in writing within 30 days of the date on the denial notification. The decision made after the second appeal is final. No other consideration will be made. A student is only allowed three approved appeals during a program. After the third approved appeal no other appeals may be submitted, and the student will no longer be able to receive financial aid.
Note: Financial Aid for the current academic term will be awarded at the time of reinstatement providing funds are still available. All costs of attendance incurred during the period of time in which a student is suspended are the sole responsibility of the student.
Violation of Terms of Probation: Students who have appealed and are placed on probation must fulfill the terms of the academic plan. Violation will result in suspension and not being eligible to petition for reinstatement of financial aid. Student will remain on suspension until meeting the Standards of Academic Progress with at least one semester without financial aid. The student may appeal again after completing one semester on their own as long as they have achieved SAP standards during that semester.
Teacher Certification and Teacher Immersion Programs
Teacher certification and Teacher Immersion Program students will be reviewed at the end of each term due to the length of the program. Students must achieve at least a 2.0 CGPA and a 70% cumulative completion at the end of each term. The maximum timeframe for each program cannot exceed 31 credit hours.
Circumstances which affect your SAP Status
Students who withdraw from school while receiving financial aid will be subject to the provisions of the Refund and Repayment Policy and may be required to repay part or all of the aid received. In addition, withdrawals will affect the quantitative measures of progress. Students who fail to complete any courses in any given semester may be placed on Financial Aid suspension.
- Incomplete grades, Non-Reported grades, Failing grades, and Withdrawals
Students who receive an Incomplete ("I") grade, or earn any grade that does not result in credits being earned will be ineligible to receive aid beyond the time frame for the completion of a degree regardless of whether they have completed the necessary course requirements for the degree. These types of grades will also count against your completion ratio.
- Repeat Courses
Repeated courses count as attempted credit hours each time a student registers, but only count as earned credit hours once. This means these courses will affect completion rate and maximum timeframe. This is true even if financial aid does not pay for the course after the second attempt.
- Change in Major, double major, or minors
Student who change their major more than twice while earning an undergraduate or graduate degree are in danger of going over their allotted timeframe to earn that particular degree. Double majors and minors may also cause the maximum timeframe to be reached before graduation. If the maximum timeframe is surpassed an appeal will not be granted for these reasons alone.
- Grade Forgiveness
Grade forgiveness does possibly help increase your GPA if used properly, however the credits for the course will only count as earned one time. Therefore, grade forgiveness will count against the students’ completion rate and maximum timeframe.
- Late Posted Grades or Grade Changes
These will not change your financial aid status, but these changes are reason for an appeal. Once the new grade is posted, then you may submit an appeal to the financial aid office.
- Consortium or Study Abroad Credits
Count towards your completion rate and maximum timeframe. Unofficial transcripts are expected to be submitted to the financial aid office before the deadline or the earned hours will not be calculated. Financial aid may also be returned to the appropriate program. The deadline is sent to the student by email each term.
- Completed Program - without degree
A student who completes their academic program requirements, but chooses not to apply for graduation or misses the deadline to apply for graduation is no longer eligible for Title IV aid.
- Second Bachelors or Second Graduate Degree
Students over the required timeframe that enter a second bachelor’s or second Master’s program will be required to submit an appeal and timeframe review form.
- Remedial courses – do not count as either attempted or earned credits.
- Courses taken for pass/fail grades– count against both your maximum attempted credits and your completion ratio