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Office of Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress Financial Aid Policy

Effective April 10, 2018


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 Supplement Education Opportunity Grant (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
The university SAP policy measures Qualitative (GPA-grade point average), Quantitative (number of credits earned) or (passing rate) and the Maximum Time Frame for completion of the program of study. Quantitative (number of credits earned) or (passing rate)

SAP Policy requires:

  • Students must successfully pass a minimum of 67% of all accumulated attempted credits.
  • The courses that are taken into consideration when calculating attempted credits include developmental courses, 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.

Quantitative SAP Calculation is as followed
(earned credits/attempted credits)=cumulative completion rate or passing rate

Cumulative Completion Rate calculation example: If a student attempts 16 credit hours, and earns 11 credit hours. Per completion rate calculation is (11/16 x 100 = 68.5%).


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. The required cumulative GPA is as followed for all undergraduates and their classification based off of the student's earned credits.

Classification Cumulative Earned Credits
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 cumulative GPA 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

Change of Major

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. MSU students who change majors are given a one-time major change consideration. This is limited to the first time the student changes his/her major. During this consideration the credits attempted and credits earned that do not count towards the new major will not be included in the SAP determination for maximum time frame.  

Dual Major, 2nd degree, Transfer Students and Consortiums

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.

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 student 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 cumulative GPA. In addition, students must meet the Quantitative standard earning a minimum 67% of the cumulative attempted credits. The maximum time frame is based on the stature of limitation required for each educational program.

Failing Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements
Regaining Federal Student Aid Eligibility

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 Appeals 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 have the option to 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 adhere to the signed agreement or they will not be eligible to receive financial aid for future semesters.

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. 

Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) Flag

The U.S. Department of Education has established regulations to prevent fraud and abuse in the Federal Student Aid program by identifying students with unusual enrollment histories. Some students who have an unusual enrollment history have legitimate reasons for their enrollment at multiple institutions. However, such an enrollment history requires our office to review your file in order to determine future federal financial aid eligibility. If selected by the Department of Education, this must be resolved before you will receive financial aid.

At times, students are selected for unusual enrollment history after their financial aid has already been awarded. In these cases future financial aid disbursements will be held until your file is reviewed and resolved. If it is determined that you are ineligible for financial aid based on unusual enrollment history, any previous awarded and disbursed financial aid for the academic year will be returned to the appropriate sources and future disbursements will be cancelled.

UEH Appeal Process

Students are able to appeal the financial aid denial by submitting an Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) Appeal Form; a letter explaining the unusual enrollment history; and, documentation to support the explanation provided in the appeal letter. This documentation will be reviewed by our office and we will notify you of the decision.