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Financial Aid Information Booklet
Satisfactory Academic Progress
All students (including international students) enrolled at Messiah College are subject to the academic standards of the College, which are printed in the Graduation Information section of the College catalog. In addition, students receiving financial aid, in order to continue to receive financial aid, must meet other requirements as described in detail in this Statement of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), mandates institutions of higher education to establish minimum standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students receiving financial aid. Program Integrity Regulations, modifying these requirements, were issued October 29, 2010, with an effective date of July 1, 2011. In order to comply with these requirements, Messiah College has established the following definition or standard of Satisfactory Academic Progress for graduate students.
Full-Time and Less Than Full-Time Graduate Students
Beginning July 1, 2011, the definitions of Full-time and Less Than Full-Time status for graduate students are:
Since most financial aid programs for which graduate students are eligible require at least half-time attendance, a graduate student would need to be enrolled at or above the half-time status in order to be eligible for most financial aid programs.
To be considered to be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress, the student must meet the following standards:
Remedies for Non-Satisfactory Academic Progress Standing:
A student who does not meet this standard will need to complete the following steps in order to regain Satisfactory Academic Progress standing.
Warning Status occurs following the first semester after which the student has:
The Financial Aid Office will automatically place the student in a financial aid warning status for the next semester and inform the student of this status. No action is required on the part of the student in order to be placed in a warning status.
During the warning semester, the student must regain Satisfactory Academic Progress standing by 1.) completing enough credit hours so that the student’s cumulative credits completed are at least 67% of the total credits attempted, and/or 2.) achieving a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
If, by the end of the warning semester, the student is not able to achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress status, the student will not be able to receive financial aid for the next period of enrollment unless the student successfully appeals.
The requirements of this Satisfactory Academic Progress policy can be appealed based on the following circumstances:
The student’s appeal must include:
To appeal the loss of Satisfactory Academic Progress status, the student should complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form and submit it to the Messiah College Financial Aid Office.
A part of the appeal process can be the establishment of an academic plan designed to help the student regain Satisfactory Academic Progress standing. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form includes space for this.
The academic plan is worked out between the student, his or her academic advisor, and/or the Registrars’ Office.
The academic plan is not required at the start of the probationary semester. But, if the student fails to regain Satisfactory Academic Progress status at the end of the probationary semester, the student must be successfully following the academic plan in order to continue to receive financial aid.
The academic plan must define how the student can regain Satisfactory Academic Progress status by a specific point in time.
Frequency of Progress Checks
The Financial Aid Office will check Satisfactory Academic Progress each semester. If a student fails to achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress, the student will be informed of this via letter or electronic mail from the Financial Aid Office. Included in this communication will be information on the student’s status, the effect of this status on the student’s financial aid eligibility, and any actions that the student must take. The notice will be sent to the student’s most current address on file. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the College of a correct mailing address at all times. If sent by electronic mail, the student’s Messiah College electronic mail address will be used for all such communications.
Since the break between semesters is not always long enough to allow the Satisfactory Academic Progress review to be completed before the start of the next semester, it is expected that students will be familiar with this policy and aware of their own situation as related to Satisfactory Academic Progress. Even if the next semester starts before a Satisfactory Academic Progress notice has been sent to the student, it will still be necessary to adjust the student’s financial aid in accordance with the policy once the Satisfactory Academic Progress review is completed.
Maximum Time Frame
Under Federal regulation, the maximum time frame that a student may have to complete an undergraduate program is 150% of the published length of the educational program for a full-time student. Messiah College has chosen to make this measurement on a credit basis. Since the various graduate programs require different numbers of credits to be completed in order to obtain a degree, the calculation of maximum time frame will vary by program:
It is expected that all students will complete all degree requirements by the time the student has completed the number of credit hours defined above. Students who do not complete their program within this time frame can continue to attend, but they will not be able to continue to receive financial aid.
The student’s enrollment status may include repeating any coursework previously taken in the program but may not include more than one repetition of a previously passed course, or any repetition of a previously passed course due to the student’s failing other coursework. In other words, an institution may not pay a student for retaking previously passed courses if the student is required to retake those courses because the student failed a different course in a prior term. For example, if a student enrolls in four classes in the fall semester and passes three of them, the institution could require the student to retake the failed class and also require the student to retake the other three classes because of failing the one class. If the student retakes the four classes in the spring semester, the failed class would be included in the student’s enrollment, but the three classes passed in the fall would not be included in determining the student’s enrollment status for the spring semester, for financial aid purposes.
Generally, all periods of the student’s enrollment count when judging Satisfactory Academic Progress, even periods in which the student did not receive financial aid funds. However, for students who change majors, credits attempted and grades earned that do not count toward the new major will not be included in the SAP determination.
Students seeking to earn additional degrees will be placed into the grade level progression based on the number of credits accepted toward the additional degree and financial aid eligibility will be based on the grade level determined in this way.
Transfer hours counted toward completion of the student’s program will be counted as both hours attempted and hours completed, but will not be counted in the calculation of GPA.
Incomplete courses, course withdrawals, and, in most cases, noncredit remedial courses will not be counted towards Satisfactory Academic Progress.