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Policy 220.31 and Policy 220.33

Financial Aid and Satisfactory Academic Progress: Graduate

Effective 10/11/16

Originator: Associate Vice President, Financial Aid

Subject: Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard - Graduate Students

  1. Introduction
    1. This policy has been developed in accordance with federal financial aid statutes and regulations governing student eligibility. Students who receive financial aid must demonstrate financial need and meet the standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as determined by University of Maryland University College pursuant to federal law.
    2. Financial aid recipients are required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress toward their degree requirements while they are enrolled at UMUC. In addition to meeting the academic standards outlined in UMUC Policy 158.01 Academic Standing Status for Graduate Students, financial aid recipients are required to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards outlined in this policy. Note: Academic Standing and Satisfactory Academic Progress are interrelated, failure to maintain Good Academic Standing in accordance with UMUC Policy 158.01, may result in restrictions on the number of credits in which a student may enroll which in turn may impact financial aid eligibility.
    3. Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid recipients enrolled in degree programs, as described below, is evaluated annually at the conclusion of the spring term, or at the time of application for financial aid, whichever is later. For students enrolled in eligible programs of one academic year or less, SAP is evaluated at the conclusion of each term.
    4. Federal regulations require that UMUC track the academic progress of financial aid recipients from the first date of enrollment in their graduate program at UMUC, whether or not financial aid was received.
    5. Students who have graduated from one graduate program at UMUC will have their record reset by the Registrar's Office. The courses from the first program will not be used to determine the SAP status under the new program of study.
  2. Impacts of Failure to Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress
    1. Failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, as described in Secion III, will result in the cancellation of financial aid awards, and the student may have to repay any funds already received.
      1. Students who are granted a Request for Exception under UMUC Withdrawal and Refund Policies, and wish to have their Satisfactory Academic Progress reevaluated will receive a reevaluation at the end of the current term, upon request.
      2. Readmission to the graduate program does not guarantee reinstatement of federal student financial aid. Students who are reinstated into a graduate program, but are still not meeting SAP standards, will have to submit a SAP appeal if seeking to regain eligibility for federal student financial aid.
  3. Minimum Standards for Graduate Students
    1. Satisfactory Academic Progress is assessed annually based on two standards: a qualitative standard (cumulative GPA) and a quantitative standard (completion rate and maximum timeframe to completion).
      1. Qualitative standard: Cumulative GPA - Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. GPA is calculated based on the standards outlined in UMUC Policy 205.06 Calculation of Grade-Point Average (GPA) for Inclusion on Transcripts.
      2. Quantitative standard: Completion Rate and Maximum Timeframe to Completion
        1. Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative completion rate of 50 percent as measured by comparing the total completed credits to total attempted credits. For example, a student who has 24 cumulative attempted credits must have at least 12 cumulative completed credits.
        2. Graduate students must also complete their educational program within a timeframe of no longer than 200 percent of the published length of the educational program, as measured by attempted credits. For example, a student must complete his or her program before attempting a maximum of 72 credits for a 36 credit program.
        3. Courses included in both attempted and completed coursework:
          1. Letter grades A, B and C
          2. Satisfactory (S) and Passing (P) grades
          3. Transfer credits
        4. Courses included in attempted coursework but excluded from completed coursework:
          1. Course withdrawals (W)
          2. Failure (F) and Failure for Nonattendance (FN) grades
          3. Unsatisfactory (U) grades
          4. Incomplete (I) and (IP) grades*
          5. Grade pending (G) or no grade*

            *It is the student's responsibility to notify Financial Aid and request a SAP re-evaluation if grade changes occur after the initial SAP evaluation.
        5. Courses excluded from both attempted and completed coursework:
          1. Audit (AU) grades
        6. Treatment of Preliminary and Repeat Coursework:
          1. Repeat Coursework is included in attempted coursework each time the course is attempted. When a course that was previously passed is repeated, the course will only count as completed coursework once.
          2. Preliminary Coursework is included in the Satisfactory Academic Progress assessment and will impact both completion rate and maximum timeframe to completion.
  4. Financial Aid Denied Status
    1. Graduate students who fail to maintain one or more of the following criteria will be placed on Financial Aid Denied status:
      1. minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
      2. minimum completion rate of 50 percent
      3. completion of a program within a timeframe of no longer than 200 percent of the published length of the educational program
    2. Students who are otherwise placed on Academic Probation by the Registrar's Office are not considered to be meeting SAP standards and will be placed on Financial Aid Denied status at the time of SAP evaluation.
    3. Students placed on Financial Aid Denied status lose eligibility for financial aid for future enrollment and aid will not be awarded/disbursed.
    4. Students who are placed on Financial Aid Denied status will be notified by e-mail.
  5. Reinstatement of Aid After Financial Aid Denied Status:
    1. Reinstatement of financial aid after a student is placed on Financial Aid Denied status is achieved in one of the following ways:
      1. The student submits an appeal that is reviewed and approved by the Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal committee. When an appeal is approved, the student is placed on financial aid probation for the next term of enrollment. The student will be eligible to receive aid during the probationary term as long as all other financial aid eligibility requirements are met. At the end of the probationary term, the SAP status will be re-evaluated. The student must meet all SAP requirements at the end of the term or he/she will return to Financial Aid Denied status and must re-establish eligibility as described in the next point.
      2. The student attends UMUC, pays for tuition and fees without the help of financial aid, and does well enough in the coursework to satisfy all the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.
  6. Appeal Process
    1. The student must submit to the Financial Aid Office a written appeal of Financial Aid Denied status before the established deadline. An appeal should be submitted as soon as possible, and priority is given to students who submit all required documentation within 3 weeks of receipt of SAP denial notice. The appeal must include documentation of the circumstance that led to the student not meeting SAP standards as well as an explanation of how he/she will be able to meet SAP by the end of the next term. Circumstances which may be considered include the death of a family member, unexpected injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances as supported with documentation.
    2. Appeals will not be considered unless the student will be able to meet all of the SAP standards within one term of enrollment.
    3. The Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal committee will review the appeal and notify the student of their decision by e-mail.
    4. All decisions made by the Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal committee are final and cannot be overturned.
    5. Students who fail to enroll after an appeal has been granted may be placed on Financial Aid Denied status again and may be required to submit a new appeal before they will be eligible to receive financial aid.

Prior Policy

Originator: Associate Vice President, Financial Aid

Subject: Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard - Graduate Students

  1. Introduction
    1. These guidelines have been developed in accordance with federal financial aid statutes and regulations governing student eligibility. Students who receive financial aid must demonstrate financial need and make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) as determined by University of Maryland University College pursuant to federal law.
    2. Financial aid recipients are required to be in good standing and to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward their degree requirements for each semester in which they are enrolled. In addition to meeting the academic standards outlined in UMUC Policy 158.00 Academic Level of Progress, financial aid recipients are required to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards outlined in this policy. Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid recipients enrolled in degree programs, as described below, is evaluated annually at the conclusion of the spring semester. For students enrolled in eligible programs of one academic year or less, SAP is evaluated at the conclusion of the fall and spring semesters. Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress, as described below, will result in cancellation of financial aid awards, and the student may have to repay any funds already received.
  2. Minimum Standards for Graduate Students
    1. UMUC's institutional requirements for minimum satisfactory performance for graduate financial aid recipients are defined as follows:
      1. Minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA).
        Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
      2. Completion Rate
        Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative completion rate of 50 percent as measured by comparing total completed credits to total attempted credits.
      3. Maximum timeframe to completion.
        Graduate students must complete their educational programs within a time frame of no longer than 200 percent of the published length of the educational program, as measured by credits attempted and including transfer credits.  For example, a student must complete his or her program before attempting a maximum of 72 credits for a 36 credit program.

        Federal regulations require that UMUC track the academic progress of financial aid recipients from the first date of enrollment in their current career at UMUC, whether or not financial aid was received. Students who do not earn their degree within the maximum timeframe to completion, outlined above, will be placed on Financial Aid Denied status. No financial aid will be disbursed for the student during subsequent semesters of enrollment unless the student has made an appeal of the Financial Aid Denied and the appeal is granted. Please note that readmission to the graduate program does not guarantee reinstatement of federal student financial aid.

        Students who have graduated from one graduate program at UMUC and then enroll in a second eligible program should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine their SAP status under their new program of study.

  3. Treatment of W, I, AU, F, FN, S, P, U , G Grades, No Grade Reported, Repeated Coursework and Transfer Credits
    1. Course withdrawals (W) after the drop/add period are not included in the GPA calculation, but are considered a non-completion of attempted coursework.
    2. Incomplete (I) grades are not included in the GPA calculation but are considered a non-completion of attempted coursework until the grade is replaced with a permanent grade and academic progress can be re-evaluated.
    3. Audit (AU) grades and preliminary coursework are not considered attempted coursework and are not included in completion rate determinations.
    4. Satisfactory grades (S) and Passing grades (P) are treated as attempted credits, which are earned but not included in calculation of the GPA.
    5. Failure (F) and Failure for nonattendance (FN) grades will be treated as attempted credits that were not earned, and will be included both in the calculation of the GPA and minimum completion rate.
    6. If a Grade Pending (G) or no grade is assigned, for any reason, the credits will not be included in the GPA calculation and will be considered a non-completion of attempted coursework until a grade is assigned and academic progress can be re-evaluated.
    7. Transfer credits will be counted as attempted and completed credits for the calculation of completion rate and maximum time-frame but will not affect the student's GPA calculation.
    8. The highest grade earned in a course that is repeated will count in the GPA computation.
  4. Financial Aid Denied Status
    1. Graduate students who fail to maintain the minimum completion rate of 50 percent and/or fail to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better will be placed on Financial Aid Denied status for subsequent semesters of enrollment. No financial aid will be disbursed during subsequent semesters of enrollment until the student is removed from Financial Aid Denied status (See Reinstatement of Aid after Financial Aid Denied Status below).
    2. Graduate students who do not earn their degree within the maximum timeframe to completion will be placed in Financial Aid Denied status. No aid will be disbursed during subsequent semesters of enrollment unless the student has made an appeal and the appeal is granted for that semester.
    3. Students placed in Financial Aid Denied Status will be notified via e-mail.
  5. Reinstatement of Aid After Financial Aid Denied Status:
    1. Reinstatement of financial aid after a student is placed in Financial Aid Denied status is achieved in one of the following ways:
      1. The student submits a written letter of appeal and the Financial Aid Appeals Committee grants the appeal. The student is placed on Financial Aid Probation for the next semester of enrollment. Financial aid probation means that the student who failed to make satisfactory academic progress and who has appealed has had eligibility for aid reinstated. At the end of that probationary semester their SAP status will be reevaluated. The student must meet all SAP requirements at the end of that semester or they will return to Financial Aid Denied status and must reestablish eligibility as described in item 2.
      2. The student attends UMUC, pays for tuition and fees without the help of student financial aid, and does well enough in the coursework to satisfy all the satisfactory academic progress standards. Students who are in Financial Aid Denied status for failure to graduate within the maximum timeframe to completion cannot regain eligibility this way. Students who are beyond the maximum timeframe to completion cannot regain financial aid eligibility except on a semester-by-semester basis through the appeal process.
      3. Students who Request Exceptions to the UMUC Withdrawal and Refund policies and are granted an exception will not have their Satisfactory Academic progress reevaluated until the end of the term, regardless of when the exception is granted.
    2. Appeal Process
      1. The student must submit a written appeal of Financial Aid Denied status before the deadline to the Financial Aid Office. The appeal must include documentation of the circumstance that led to their not meeting SAP standards as well as a description as to how they will be able to meet SAP at the end of the next enrollment period. Circumstances which may be considered include death of a family member, unexpected injury or illness of the student or other special circumstances as supported with documentation.
      2. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review the appeal and notify the student in writing of their decision via e-mail. Appeals will not be granted unless the student would be able to reestablish their progress under these standards in the upcoming semester.
      3. All decisions of the Financial Aid Committee are final.
      4. Deadlines:

        Fall: October 1
        Spring: March 1
        Summer: July 1

  6. Effective Date
  7. This policy is effective 4/1/2014 and will be first calculated for all graduate students on or after 4/1/2014.

    Note: Students who fail to enroll after an appeal has been granted may be suspended again and may be required to submit a new appeal before they will be eligible to receive financial aid.