This information is provided as a guide and is subject to change without notice to comply with federal, state, and institutional policies. For the most current information, please visit www.gpc.edu/finaid.
Federal regulations require institutions to develop policies that ensure that students who receive financial aid are progressing toward graduation. The school's satisfactory academic progress policy must include both a qualitative measure (such as the use of a cumulative grade point average (CGPA)) and a quantitative measure (such as a maximum time-frame for program completion) to track student progress. According to the Federal Student Aid Handbook, a school may establish its own satisfactory progress standards; however, these standards must at least meet the minimum standards required by law and regulations. The SAP policy must be at least as strict as the policy for students who do not receive federal student aid funds.
For the qualitative standard, the law specifies that by the end of the second academic year (measured as a period of time, not by the student's grade level), the student must, in general, have:
- a "C" average or its equivalent, and
- an academic standing consistent with the requirements for graduation from the program.
If a school determines that a student has maintained standards, even though his or her grade average falls below a "C," the school must be able to document that the student's average is consistent with the academic standards required for graduation from the program.
According to the Federal Student Aid Handbook, to quantify academic progress, a school must set a maximum time frame in which a student is expected to finish the program. For an undergraduate program, the maximum time frame may not exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program measured in academic years, academic terms, credit hours attempted, or clock hours completed, as appropriate. For instance, if the published length of an academic program is 60 credit hours, the maximum time frame established by the school must not exceed 90 attempted credit hours.
In addition to maximum timeframe, a student must maintain a pace of completion of at least 67 percent. Pace of completion is defined as a student earning at least 67 percent of all courses attempted.
For both maximum timeframe and pace of completion, hours attempted at the institution as well as accepted transfer hours must be included in the overall SAP calculation.