Satisfactory Academic Progress Financial Aid Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Effective July 1, 2011
In accordance with Federal Regulations Morgan State University (MSU) has developed a revised Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. The university SAP policy measures Qualitative (GPA-grade point average), Quantitative (number of credits earned) and the Maximum Time Frame for completion of the program of study. This policy must apply consistently to all educational programs and to all students that apply for financial aid and for students that are not receiving financial aid. The Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy may slightly differ from the university's Satisfactory Academic Performance requirements that are located in the university's catalog.
The intent of this policy is to ensure that all students that are recipients of financial aid are evaluated and are meeting the Sap requirements developed by the university and in conjunction with adhering to guidelines set forth by the Department of Education.
Students applying for financial aid through programs under the Title IV of Higher Education Act must meet SAP requirements in order to receive financial aid assistance from programs, such as: Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Plus Loans, State Scholarships Programs, Institutional Scholarships and others that are not mentioned but still require SAP monitoring.
Satisfactory Academic Progress is determined after each spring semester which is generally one year in length, unless otherwise stated and documented.
For financial aid purposes, to be eligible for financial aid students must be making satisfactory academic progress. The Office of Financial Aid will determine aid eligibility by using the following criteria.

Undergraduate Students

Satisfactory Academic Progress Calculations:
Cumulative Completion Rate calculation: example: If a student attempts 16 credit hours, and earns 11 credit hours. Per completion rate calculation is (11/16 = 68.5%). therefore the number of earned credits divided by the number of attempted credits = the cumulative completion rate. 

Sap Policy requires:
• Students must successfully pass a minimum 67% of all accumulated attempted credits.
• The courses that are taken into consideration when calculating attempted credits include developmental, audits, all accepted transfer credits and each repeated course. Grades of PT, CS, E, I, AW, W, TW, NA and F are also counted. Repeating courses to get a higher passing grade will negatively affect your completion rate.

Qualitative standard
Students must maintain a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA by the end of each academic year unless otherwise stated and documented.
Having an academic standing consistent with the graduation requirement could mean you use an escalating grade point standard instead of a fixed one. For example, a school using a 4-point scale can require students to have a 2.0 average by graduation but allow their average to be lower earlier in their academic career. MSU must be able to document that the student's average is consistent with the academic standards required for graduation.
MSU may grant appeals for students who fail this standard due to personal injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstances.

Freshmen            0 - 24             2.00

Sophomore          25 - 55           2.00

Juniors                  56 - 89          2.00

Seniors                    90 +             2.00

All Transfer credits = 2.00

Morgan State University's undergraduate students must maintain the above academic standing to maintain aid eligibility for most forms of aid.

Maximum Time Frame Requirement 
To accurately measure a student's progress in a program, more than the completion rate and qualitative standard is needed. A student who is maintaining a high GPA by withdrawing from every course they attempt after the first year would meet a qualitative standard but would not be progressing towards graduation.
MSU has a maximum time frame in which a student is expected to finish a program. Undergraduate students must earn their 1st bachelor degree within the maximum time frame in which a student is expected to finish their program. The time frame cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the student's program. For instance, if the published length of an academic program is 120 credit hours, the maximum credits attempted must not exceed 180 credits to complete the program example: (120 × 1.5= 180). Students that do not earn their first bachelor degree after attempting or completing 150% of their program will lose their financial aid eligibility even if they did not receive financial aid before but has finished their program length. 

Change of major, Dual major, 2nd degree, Transfer Students and Consortiums

Generally all periods of the student's enrollment count when determining SAP within the university, even periods in which the student did not receive financial aid. How¬ever, MSU students who change majors, credits attempted and credits earned that do not count toward the new major will not be included in the SAP determination. This is limited to one (1) time that a student can change majors. Student must meet Sap requirements.

Students seeking dual degrees and 2nd degrees will currently have to be calculated via the ‘Credit Audit Form' because only credits that apply to the educational programs that they are currently seeking will be counted for SAP purposes. Generally, the total acceptable transfer credits are added to the student records, but not all accepted credits go towards the actual degree seeking program. Therefore, it must be determined that students that are in one of the above categories must request a Credit Audit Form from Office of Financial to submit to their perspective Academic Advisor. Students are required to submit to the financial aid office the completed form with an Academic Advisor's signature and phone extension with no exceptions.
In addition, to the above categories all students that are close to reaching 150 %, of the credits that the program require must submit to the Office of Financial Aid a "Credit Audit Form' that will indicate the exact number of allowable credits that are counted toward the student's program. Consortium credits hours are treated the same as transfer credits.

Repeated Coursework

The Department of Education has established regulations that affect students that repeat courses. Regulations state that students can repeat a course that they have previously received a passing grade and received federal aid again for the same course only once. Therefore, students are eligible to receive federal financial aid for the same course twice.The school will not pay federal aid to students for retaking previously passed classes several times. For this purpose, per federal student aid regulations passed means any grade higher than an "F" regardless of any school or program policy requiring a higher qualitative grade or measure to have been considered to have passed the course. The retaken class may be counted towards enrollment status and the student may be awarded Title IV aid for the enrollment status based on inclusion of the class. If a student retakes a previously passed class and is paid Title IV funds and fails the second time that failure counts as their paid retake and the student may not be paid for retaking that class the third time. If students withdraw before completing the course that they are being paid Title IV funds for retaking, then that is not counted as their one allowed retake.
Students may be repeatedly paid for repeatedly failing the same course but normal Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policies still applies. A sudent may receive Title IV aid for any repetition of a course as long as the student has never passed the course. Attempted repeated credits may impact the student's financial aid eligibility whether or not the student previously received financial aid during prior semesters as SAP measurements are applied.

Remedial Coursework

Remedial coursework prepares a student for study at the postsecondary level (as opposed to preparatory coursework, which prepares a student for a given program), and a student enrolled solely in a remedial program is not considered to be in an eligible program. If acceptance into an eligible program is contingent on completing remedial work, a student cannot be considered enrolled in that program until she completes the remedial work. However, if the student is admitted into an eligible program and takes remedial coursework within that program, he can be considered a regular student, even if he is taking all remedial courses before taking any regular courses. You may count up to one academic year's worth of these courses in his enrollment status for federal aid. For the purpose of this limit, that is 30 semester or trimester hours, 45 quarter hours, or 900 clock hours. Similar to other remedial coursework, a student may receive FSA funds for English as a second language (ESL) courses that are part of a larger eligible program.

Graduate Students

All graduate students must meet the Qualitative standard of the SAP policy by maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA. In addition, students must meet the Quantitative standard earning a minimum 67% of the cumulative attempted credits at the end of the spring semester. The maximum time frame is based on the stature of limitation required for each educational program. Graduate SAP policy under review policy may change.

Failing Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements

Appeals and Probation

MSU's Financial Aid SAP policy will permit appeals and probationary periods. Students that fail the schools SAP requirements at the end of one academic period become ineligible for most aid including federal student aid. The Office of Financial Aid monitors SAP requirements after each spring semester, unless otherwise stated and documented. Students are required to review online the forms and submit all required forms and supporting documentation to the Office of Financial Aid. Members of the Financial Aid Appeal Committee will review all forms and relevant documents and make a decision to deny or grant financial aid probation. If granted financial aid probation which requires students to meet the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress requirements by earning 67% of attempted credits AND have a minimum 2.0 GPA (UG) / 3.0 GPA (GR) or at the end of the one term probation period pass all attempted classes without receiving an I, F or W. During that time they may continue to receive Title IV aid.

If the first appeal is denied Financial Aid Probation students may submit another appeal request and relevant documentation to the Director of Financial Aid. If the Director grants financial aid probation for one semester the student is given a written agreement to sign and adhere to before regaining eligibility for aid. At the end of that semester they must again be meeting MSU's SAP standard or they will not be eligible to receive financial aid for future semesters.

Re-establishing Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) with the Academic Plan

Students that lose financial aid eligibility because they are not meeting MSU Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards can regain eligibility by participating in the Academic Plan for Success Program. Students will meet with their designated faculty advisor, casa advisors or retention advisors to develop an academic plan or preferably obtain a plan template and financial aid contract from the Office of Financial Aid and meet with the academic advisors to develop an academic plan and submit a copy to the Office of Financial Aid Office.

Once the Plan is developed students must demonstrate that they are academically progressing for 4 semesters. Students must demonstrate academic progression or meeting the SAP requirements by the end of the fourth semester. The Plan goals should be achievable that will allow students to take action that will bring them into compliance with the University's Office of Financial Aid SAP standards. Students that do not demonstrate academic progression at the end of the fourth semester will be individually evaluated case by case. Financial Aid Appeal Request and Academic Plan forms can also be obtained from the Required Forms section online at

Financial Aid Appeal request forms can also be printed from the Required Forms section of our menu.

Revised 5/13

Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) Flag

According to the Department of Education and Dear Colleague Letter GEN-13-09 beginning with the 2013-2014 award year, the purpose of the UEH flag is to identify students that received a Pell Grant during the past three years at your school or any school. If so some of these students could possibly fraudulently abusing the Pell Grant Program. The Department understands that there are some students that legitimately have unusual enrollment histories; however, there are some students that receive Pell Grants that may enroll long enough to receive credit balances.

The Department of Education edit criteria will have one of three flags that describe the action that the school is mandated to take to resolve the UEH flag that's indicated on the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR).

The Office of Financial Aid Quality Control Supervisor has begun generating a weekly report that identifies all students that have one of the three UEH flags that's reported on the ISIR so that the Associate Director must follow an action plan that include the following:

1. Send communications via email informing students that the school must review their enrollment and academic records based on the action plans listed below.
2. Students must submit to the Associate Director a typed letter explaining the reason for the unusual enrollment history for the past three award years.
3. The Office of Financial Aid must determine if the student earned at least one credit for each of the past three award years.
4. The school must determine from the documentation and the students explanation that the student did not enroll only to receive a Title IV credit balance
5. The school must document its decision in the student's folder, and the student cannot appeal the decision to the Department of Education.
6. Cancel all Title IV aid until UEH flag is cleared