Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
In order to qualify for financial assistance from the federal and state governments as set forth by The Higher Education Act of 1965, Thomas More University has developed standards of satisfactory academic progress prior to awarding any federal financial aid funds to students. These standards were established to encourage students to successfully complete courses for which federal financial aid is received and to progress satisfactorily toward degree completion. Successful completion of a course is defined as receiving one of the following grades: A, B, C, D or P.
The standards apply to the following financial aid programs: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), a Federal Graduate Direct Parent Loan and Nursing Student Loans.
Note: These Financial Aid Standards of Academic Progress are separate from, and in addition to, academic standards required by the University for continued enrollment.
The criteria used to determine financial aid academic progress are GPA, course completion rate and maximum time frame for completion of degree requirements. At the end of each year, the Financial Aid Office reviews students’ progress during the previous semester(s). All periods of enrollment are reviewed, including semesters during which no financial aid was received.
I. Qualitative Requirement – Grade Point Average
Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.00. Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
II. Quantitative Requirement – Completion Rate
Undergraduate and graduate students must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of the credit hours attempted each academic year (attempted hours are hours for which a charge was incurred). The academic year for financial aid purposes begins with the fall semester and ends with the summer semester.
Repeated coursework for which a student previously received a passing grade will only be counted once toward financial aid eligibility. Repeated coursework for which a student failed the course may be counted for financial aid eligibility until the course is passed.
Withdrawals do not affect a student’s cumulative GPA for SAP, but count as credit hours attempted toward both completion rate and maximum time frame.
At the time of evaluation (the end of each period of enrollment), Incompletes (grade of “I”) do not affect a student’s cumulative GPA for SAP, but count as credit hours attempted toward both completion rate and maximum time frame. Students with grades of Incomplete which become new letter grades prior to or during a subsequent period of enrollment and that may affect financial aid eligibility for that period of enrollment can contact Student Financial Services for further evaluation.
Transfer credits count towards a student’s compliance with the cumulative GPA, completion rate and maximum time frame standards of this policy.
III. Maximum Time Frame for Completion of Degree Requirements
Students must complete their first degree program within 150% of the published length of their degree program. Most programs at Thomas More University are four years in length and/or 120 credit hours. Undergraduate students may receive financial aid for a period not to exceed the equivalent of 12 semesters of full-time enrollment (12 credit hours) or 180 attempted credit hours. Graduate students may receive financial aid for a period not to exceed the equivalent of 6 semesters of full-time enrollment.
IV. No Passing Grades
Students who begin attendance and have not officially withdrawn and fail to earn a passing grade in at least one course offered over the entire semester will be treated as an unofficial withdrawal. These students may be required to return a portion of their Title IV financial aid. Unofficially withdrawn students will have received a grade of ‘Y’.
All enrolled students are evaluated for SAP at the end of each semester after official grades have been posted. Students who do not meet the satisfactory academic policy standards will receive a letter from the Financial Aid Office indicating the status of their financial aid awards as listed below:
- Warning – Failure to make SAP, but student is financial aid eligible for one more period of enrollment and must make SAP by the end of that period of enrollment or financial aid eligibility will be Suspended. Appeal not required.
- Suspended – Failure to make SAP after a Warning period, but student is eligible to appeal. If the appeal is approved, the student can continue financial aid eligibility for another period of enrollment under a Probation status. Appeal is required.
- Probation – Failure to make SAP, but student has appealed and appeal has been approved. The student is eligible to receive financial aid for one probationary period of enrollment. The student may be required to follow an Academic Plan during this probationary period.
- Ineligible – Failure to make SAP and/or failure to follow required Academic Plan. This status also applies to appeals that are not approved. The student is not eligible for financial aid until cumulative SAP standards are met. This status and may not be appealed.
VI. Appeal Procedures
All students who have their financial aid eligibility suspended may appeal to The Financial Aid Committee to receive financial aid in a subsequent period of enrollment.
Appeals must be in a written format which includes the following:
- Student printed name, ID#, daytime contact information, and signature
- Information describing why SAP minimum standards have not been met and how the situation has changed so that SAP will be met at next evaluation
- Details concerning any mitigating circumstances, including supporting documentation from a third party (e.g., police reports, detailed hospital bill or physician’s statement, death certificate, etc.)
- Enrollment plans for next period of enrollment (e.g., number of credit hours, change in major, Academic Improvement Plan details, any other academic-related documentation, etc.)
- Appeals must be completed and turned in to the Office of Financial Aid prior to the end of the semester for which the student is appealing to receive aid. A priority deadline can be established for each semester, generally within the following time frame:
- June 15 for Fall semester
- Monday before classes begin for Spring semester
- June 1 for summer
Students are notified of their SAP appeal decision through their Thomas More e-mail account. The Financial Aid Committee decisions are final. Students whose appeals are not approved may reestablish financial aid eligibility by meeting the SAP cumulative standards.
All students who appeal successfully and are subsequently placed on Probation will be placed on an Academic Plan based on the student’s individual situation and content of appeal on a case-by-case basis. The requirements of these more rigorous plans will be made in writing and signed by the student prior to a subsequent financial aid disbursement, and the Academic Plans will be monitored by the Financial Aid Office or designee.
This SAP policy is effective January 1, 2017, and supersedes all other Thomas More University SAP policies published on the web and/or in prior catalogs.
VII. Academic Suspension
Any student suspended from the University will be ineligible for further financial aid. If the Vice President for Academic Affairs grants reinstatement, the student may appeal for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility to the Director of Financial Aid in accordance with the Financial Aid Appeal Procedure outlined in this policy.
VIII. Scholarship Retention Requirements
To retain title to a Thomas More University scholarship, by the end of each semester, a student must meet the required GPA for the following scholarships:
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.6 for full tuition scholarships including
- James Brown Honors
- Chancellor’s Scholarship
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 for Presidential Scholarship
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for the following:
- Dean’s Scholarship
- Dean’s Transfer Scholarship
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 for the following:
- TMU Scholarship
- Transfer Award
- Parochial Promise
- Public Pledge
- Departmental Award
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 for the following:
- Sibling Award
- Legacy Tuition Grant
- Diversity Award
- Leadership Award
- Out of State Award
Scholarships may be maintained for a total of 128 credit hours earned; special exemption may be given to students due to program requirements.
Failure to comply with the above requirements will result in a reduction in the amount of the scholarship for the following academic year. Students have the ability to regain full scholarship eligibility as soon as the required GPA is met.
IX. Other Factors Affecting Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students who change majors or courses are still responsible for completing the degree in the maximum time frame. Reevaluation of the maximum time frame will be considered for individual situations.