To be eligible for Federal, State and institutional aid, students are required by the U.S. Department of Education and the State of Iowa to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward their degree objectives. In compliance with prescribed regulations, Upper Iowa University (UIU) has established guidelines to ensure that students successfully complete courses and maintain timely advancement toward specific degree objectives. These requirements also serve as standards to evaluate student progress by grade point averages (GPA) and overall time periods in which students complete their programs.
Programs governed by this Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy include the Federal Pell Grant, Federal TEACH Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Direct Stafford Student Loans, and the Federal Direct Parent Loan. The policy also applies to state-supported grants, either within or outside the state of Iowa, and all institutional programs funded by UIU.
To satisfy financial aid academic progress requirements, students must accomplish the following:
- Maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average for the appropriate grade levels listed below.
- Freshmen – 1.75 (0 to 29 completed credits)
- Sophomore – 1.90 (30 to 59 completed credits)
- Junior and above – 2.00 (60+ completed credits)
- Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 67% of all attempted credits. Transfer credits accepted by UIU count as both attempted and completed credits. (Calculate the percentage by dividing the completed credits by attempted credits.)
- Complete your degree objective within a maximum of 180 completed credits. This includes all credits transferred into UIU from other sources.
Attempted Credits: Credits are counted as attempted as of the last day to add a class within a semester/term. Classes that are dropped (withdrawn from) or failed after this day will continue to be counted as attempted credits. Incompletes are counted as attempted credits and not considered as credits completed until a satisfactory grade has been received. Repeat courses are counted as attempted each time the course is taken, but will only be counted once in determining completed credits.
Failure to Meet Requirements. Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid is reviewed at the end of each semester/term. Students who do not meet the requirements outlined above jeopardize their eligibility for financial aid and are placed in one of the following statuses:
Financial Aid Warning: Students in their first semester/term of noncompliance will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one semester/term. During the warning period, students are eligible to receive financial aid. Students are encouraged to seek academic counseling to ensure they satisfy all deficiencies during this period, and to consult with their Academic Advisor if they have any questions.
Financial Aid Suspension: Students who do not meet the above minimum requirements at the end of their warning semester/term will be placed on financial aid suspension. Financial Aid Suspension means that the student is not eligible to receive financial aid from one or more of the various federal, state, or institutional grant, scholarship, work, or loan programs until all deficiencies have been rectified. Full aid eligibility may be reinstated upon completion of sufficient credits and/or improvement of the GPA to meet the required standards.
Suspension Appeal: Students may appeal the suspension by completing the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal. If the appeal is accepted by the Academic Review Committee, students will be required to complete an Academic Improvement Plan or meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements within the next semester/term. Appeals must be submitted no later than two weeks prior to the start of the semester/term. If the appeal is accepted, students will be placed on Financial Aid Probation.
Documentation of circumstances is required. Students must include the following as part of their appeal:
- Write a personal statement. It is important to be concise. This is the opportunity to discuss the factors that adversely impacted the academic performance. It is also the place to write a specific action plan for returning to good standing. This should not merely be a statement of good intentions.Specific reasons/issues/circumstances that adversely impacted the academic performance include:
- personal/family issues
- time management, study skills, or test taking strategies
- medical issues- requires documentation be presented to academic advisor
- choice of major
- difficulty with a particular subject
- working too many hours
- lack of awareness or use of available academic support resources such as the Learning Resources Center, Writing Center, professors' office hours, academic advisor(s)
- lack of awareness or use of available student support services such as Counseling Center, Career Services, etc.
- Other issues as appropriate
- The specific Academic Improvement Plan should include how the student has resolved or plans to resolve any issues or circumstances that have negatively impacted the academic performance. For example, if a student made a poor choice when selecting a major, what are the plans for changing to an appropriate major? A student should approach any and all factors in the same manner.
- A statement from their academic advisor supporting the appeal, along with a copy of the Academic Improvement Plan that has been agreed upon by the student.
- An Academic Improvement Plan that has been agreed upon by the student and the Academic Review Committee. If the student does not follow the stated plan, the student will revert to Financial Aid Suspension.
**Students should be prepared to seek other options of payment if the appeal is not approved.
Financial Aid Probation: Students who submit an acceptable Academic Improvement Plan by the deadline outlined above will be considered for aid in the following semester/term on a probationary basis. Students on Financial Aid Probation will be reviewed for continued aid eligibility at the end of each semester/term. If a student is meeting the terms of their approved recovery plan, but does not yet meet the full requirements outlined above, the student will continue on Financial Aid Probation on a semester/term- by- semester/term basis until all deficiencies are satisfied.
John Doe is a first year student at UIU. John attempted and completed 20 credits with a 1.70 GPA in his fall semester. He is placed on Financial Aid Warning because his cumulative GPA is lower than the required 1.75 for freshmen. During his spring semester, John attempted 16 additional credits but after dropping a course he only completes 12. His cumulative GPA at the end of spring is 1.80. John attempted 36 credits and completed 32. He has completed 89% (32 divided by 36) of his attempted credits and is meeting the credit requirement for Satisfactory Academic Progress. However, since John is now a sophomore, his 1.80 cumulative GPA is below the 1.90 cumulative GPA required for a sophomore. John is placed on Financial Aid Suspension and is no longer eligible to receive financial aid at UIU.
John submits the appeal to the Academic Review Committee. It is determined that an Academic Improvement Plan is required for him to meet his Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. This plan, if followed, will help him raise his GPA and regain his financial aid eligibility. John's appeal is approved and he is eligible to receive financial aid for the fall semester on Financial Aid Probation. He does not register for the next semester so the review will be done at the end of the fall semester. John works hard to follow his plan during the fall semester and is able to raise his cumulative GPA to 1.98 after the fall semester. He is removed from probation and warned that his cumulative GPA must be above 2.00 by the end of the spring semester to maintain his eligibility for financial aid.
A student whose SAP status is Financial Aid Warning, for failure to meet the GPA requirement at the beginning of a semester, could end the semester meeting the GPA requirement but may have failed the 67% completion rate requirement during that semester. The student will begin the next semester in Financial Aid Suspension status since the student has failed SAP for two semesters.
First baccalaureate degree students are allowed to earn 150% of the required number of credits to earn a degree. Most undergraduate degrees require 120 credits. Therefore, a student enrolling in a semester/term after earning their 180th credit is no longer considered to be making Satisfactory Progress toward the degree. The 180 credit total includes all UIU assessed credits. (Assessed credits are defined as credits a student is enrolled in at the end of the official drop and add period, even if a student drops those credits later.)
For transfer students, transfer credits are also counted towards attempted and completed hours for the student's program.
Repeated, remedial, and incomplete credits count as assessed credits. Even though a repeated course will count only once toward a student's academic requirements and GPA, each repeat is counted in the total cumulative credit hours.
Consequences of failure to meet this requirement: Students who reach their maximum credits or time limit without completing the degree will be denied further financial aid as a student at that level. For example, if as an undergraduate a student exceeds 180 credits, they will be denied further aid.
Completion Rate for all Programs
Students must earn two-thirds (67% rounded) of their attempted credit hours (on a cumulative basis) in order to continue to receive financial aid. Evaluated credits are defined as credits a student is enrolled in at the end of the official drop and add period, even if a student drops those credits later. Completion of these credits means a student receives grades for them, even if the grades are not passing. Repeated courses count the same as do first-time courses for purposes of calculating completion rate.
Completion rate is initially calculated on the semester/term grading date, where the semester/term courses are added to the previous course record to determine if the overall completion rate is above 67%.
All courses, including incomplete credits, repeated credits, and remedial credits are evaluated for completion rate. Incomplete courses will have a grade (I) at that time, but for financial aid purposes they are not considered complete until a student receives a final grade. If a student does not complete the coursework, it could change the completion rate and it may have the SAP status updated, resulting in a Warning or Suspension status for the current semester/term of enrollment.
Consequences of failure to meet this requirement: Students who fail to complete 67% of their cumulative assessed credits will be placed on warning for one semester/term. Failure to restore a 67% cumulative completion rate in the next enrolled semester/term will result in aid denial until the cumulative completion rate is brought above 67%. Semesters/terms of non-attendance are not counted in this calculation. Courses dropped after the end of the regular drop and add periods are counted as courses the student has failed to complete.
Students must have a cumulative GPA sufficient to meet UIU graduation requirements. For undergraduate students, this is a minimum GPA of 2.00. Graduate students must have a minimum GPA of 3.00.
If errors in grades are corrected or withdrawals are granted retroactively and these changes affect SAP, the Office of Financial Aid will allow consideration of aid restoration for a maximum of one semester/term prior to the current term. However, aid will not be restored across aid years.
For questions regarding this policy or the appeal process, contact:
Dr. Whitesell, Chair of Academic Review Committee
The financial aid programs are designed to financially assist students seeking a degree in higher education. We hope the information available here will assist you in discovering your financial aid opportunities at Upper Iowa University. Our staff is available to assist you in achieving your higher education goals at Upper Iowa University.