Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Recipients

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress, mandates that institutions of higher education establish minimum standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students receiving federal financial aid. These standards apply to all Federal Title IV aid programs including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans and Federal Work-Study.  Please note that the PHEAA Grant program has separate guidelines for satisfactory academic progress and should be reviewed on

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards apply to all students seeking federal Title IV financial aid, regardless of whether the student has received Title IV financial aid in the past.   Marywood University is responsible for ensuring that all students receiving Title IV assistance are meeting these standards.

Process of Determining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

 For all degree-seeking students, SAP will be evaluated at the end of each semester, typically in December, May, and August. This evaluation will determine if the student has made sufficient progress to be eligible for future Title IV funding.   

Satisfactory Academic Progress Measurement

Qualitative Measure (cumulative Marywood QPA):

  • Undergraduate freshmen students at Marywood University are expected to earn a minimum cumulative grade point average (QPA) of a 1.70 at the end of their first academic year. 
  • Upper-class undergraduate students at Marywood University must maintain a cumulative quality point average (QPA) of at least a 2.00 to remain in good academic standing.
  • Graduate students must maintain a cumulative quality point average (QPA) of at least a 3.00 to remain in good academic standing.

Quantitative Measure

Completion Rate/Pace:  Pace is calculated by dividing cumulative hours the student successfully completed by cumulative hours the student has attempted.  This calculation includes all attempted credits, both at Marywood and those accepted in transfer.  Courses for which a student receives academic credit, withdraws, receives incomplete or repeat grades, and/or fails are counted in the calculation of the completion rate/pace.  

  • Undergraduate students  must successfully complete 67% of the total cumulative attempted credits;
  • Graduate students must successfully complete 67% of the total cumulative attempted credits.

Maximum Timeframe

Maximum timeframe is defined as the required length of time it will take a student to complete his/her degree.  A student will remain eligible for federal aid for up to 150% of total attempted credits

For example, if the student is pursuing a degree that requires 126 credits, the student is not eligible for further federal aid after attempting 189 credits.  This includes transfer credits. 

  • Most undergraduate degrees at Marywood University require a minimum of 126 credits for graduation but there are some exceptions. 
  • Most graduate degrees require 36 credits for graduation but there are some exceptions. 
  • Refer to the catalog for specific program graduation requirements.

Students who change majors are responsible for completing their degree requirements within the timeframe specified above.

Readmitted Students

If a student is readmitted to Marywood University, satisfactory academic progress will be based on the student’s previous attendance at Marywood and credits accepted in transfer. Students who have not met the minimum requirements will be notified of their ineligibility for federal financial aid and informed of their options to regain eligibility.

Special Grades and their Use in Satisfactory Academic Progress Determination 

  • I - Incomplete:  Student will receive no credit for an “I” grade although the “I” is counted as attempted credit(s).  When the incomplete grade is resolved and a passing grade is received, the credit(s) will be counted.
  • X – Delay in reporting final grade:  Student will receive no credit for an “X” grade although the “X” is counted as attempted credit(s).  When the incomplete grade is resolved and a passing grade is received, the credit(s) will be counted.
  • W, WP, WF – Withdrawal, Withdrawal Passing, and Withdrawal Failing:  Considered as attempted credit(s) but no credit(s) earned.
  • AD – Audit:  Not considered as attempted credit(s)
  • S/U - Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory:  Both are considered as attempted credit(s).  QPA is not affected.

Repeat of Course

 The highest grade earned is always used in calculating the QPA. If the student failed the course the first time but passes it the second time, the appropriate number of credits will be received after the second attempt.  Maximum hours earned for any course cannot exceed the number of credits listed for that course in the catalog.  

Summer terms

Summer counts as any other semester.   Since Marywood University evaluates after each semester, a student that has not met SAP standards will be put on an automatic warning after the spring semester evaluation. If the student takes summer courses, he/she will be evaluated again at the end of summer and must either have made up their SAP deficiency or successfully appealed his/her failure to make up the deficiency in order to receive aid for the fall semester.

Regaining Eligibility

If a student fails to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards, but meets the standards later at some point, the student can once again be eligible to receive federal Title IV.  In such cases, financial aid eligibility will begin with the academic semester after which the student re-establishes progressIt is the student’s responsibility to contact the Office of Financial Aid after completing coursework that allows the student to regain eligibility for financial aid.

If a student is taking coursework at another institution to regain SAP eligibility, the student should be aware that:   

  1. An “Authorization for Transfer of Credit Form” must be completed prior to taking any courses elsewhere if the credits are to be transferred back to Marywood.  The Registrar’s Office must accept the transfer credits in order for those credits to be counted towards satisfactory academic progress.
  2. Only credits transfer back to Marywood University; grades do not. If the student's deficiency is in QPA, taking courses at another institution will not resolve that deficiency.  The only exception is the University of Scranton Consortium Program. Unlike transfer credits from other colleges, grades earned through consortium registration with the University of Scranton are calculated into a student’s QPA.

Appeal Process

 A student whose financial aid eligibility has been terminated may appeal only if they have experienced extenuating circumstances that affected their ability to meet the academic progress standards. In general, extenuating circumstances can include, but are not limited to, illness, injury, death of relative or friend, difficulties with accommodations for students with disabilities, and adversity due to unforeseen events.  Students interested in appealing their termination of financial aid eligibility can obtain the Academic Progress Appeal Form in the Office of Financial Aid.    The student must address in the appeal why he/she failed to make academic progress and what has changed that will allow him/her to make progress in the next semester.  In addition, the student must meet with their advisor and submit an academic plan that outlines a reasonable plan for success.  The completed form and supporting documentation should be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid no later than:

  • September 15th for fall semester consideration
  • February 1st for spring semester consideration
  • One week after spring semester grades are posted for summer session 1 and/or summer session 2  consideration

Students will be notified of the decision regarding their appeal via their Marywood University email account.

Financial Aid Warning

Marywood University evaluates academic progress at the end of each semester.  Students on a Financial Aid Warning status may continue to receive Title IV aid for one semester despite a determination that the student is not meeting SAP standards.  A warning status is granted automatically and may be assigned without an appeal or other action by the student. Students are notified via their Marywood University email account of their warning status.

Financial Aid Probation

 Financial Aid Probation status can be granted only after the student has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated.   A student on financial aid probation may receive Title IV funds for one semester only.  At the completion of the probation semester, the student must have resolved his/her academic deficiency.  Failure to do so will result in a loss of Title IV financial aid (including Federal Direct Loans and Federal PLUS loans) until such time as the student has resolved their academic deficiency at their own expense.

State Grant Academic Progress

Academic progress requirements for state grant programs vary from the federal academic progress policy.  Academic progress requirements for the Pennsylvania State Grant are communicated directly to recipients with their state grant notification by PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency). 

Unofficial Withdrawal from the University

Students who fail to earn a passing grade for any of the courses they attempted are considered to have unofficially withdrawn from the University. Whether you withdraw officially or unofficially, you may be required to repay all or a portion of the aid received for the term you did not complete.

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