Satisfactory Academic Progress

Mount Mary University and federal regulations require that you make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree to be eligible for financial aid.

The university’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy includes a qualitative (cumulative GPA) and quantitative (maximum time frame for completion of an educational program) measures. The regulations govern all aid administered by Mount Mary University, including all Federal Title IV aid funds:

  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Direct Loans
  • Federal PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants
  • Federal Work-Study program
  • State grants and scholarships
  • Institutional scholarships and grants

Satisfactory Academic Progress Criteria

In order to receive financial aid, a student must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward a recognized degree or certificate.  SAP applies to all undergraduate and graduate students who receive any type of financial assistance (federal, state, or institutional) administered by the university and will be reviewed after every payment period (summer/fall/spring).  Federal Title IV aid recipients are treated the same as non-recipients of Federal Title IV aid. Mount Mary University has established the following criteria to be uniformly applied to all students in accordance with the Federal Regulations. Reference: 668.16(e)(1), 668.32(f), 668.34 and 690.75(c),(d)

Each financial aid recipient is sent a booklet which contains information regarding the SAP policy with their original financial aid award. Upon request, the full policy is available to all new and currently enrolled students (whether they are receiving or not receiving Title IV funds). The policy informs students of the university’s standards for determining SAP, and the procedures by which a student who has failed to maintain SAP may reestablish their eligibility. Reference: 668.43 (c)(2)

The university's satisfactory academic progress policy includes both qualitative and quantitative standards. These standards are defined below. All periods of a student's enrollment, whether or not the student received aid, are included. In addition, all credit hours transferred into Mount Mary University are included and counted toward a student's maximum time frame). Reference: 668.16(e)(2)(i) and 668.16(e)(2)(ii)

Qualitative Standards

Minimum Grade Point Average
In order for a student to graduate from Mount Mary University, an undergraduate student must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Mount Mary’s satisfactory academic progress policy requires that at end of each term, the student has a cumulative GPA of 2.0.  In order to graduate from Mount Mary University, a graduate student must be in good academic standing within their graduate program. Detailed information pertaining to the minimum academic requirements of the University can be obtained by referring to the appropriate section of the University's graduate catalog; this includes both GPA expectations and the maximum length of time to complete a degree for graduate programs. The satisfactory academic progress policy is the same as that required to remain in good academic standing in the student's respective department.

Graduate academic standing: 
Masters and Post Masters students are subject to the following policy regarding academic standing.  All students are expected to maintain at least a B (3.00) grade point average in all graduate course work. Any student who earns a grade of C or lower or who does not maintain at least a 3.0 semester or in graduate course work is subject to academic action. All graduate students with any number of attempted credits are eligible for academic warning. As soon as a student's semester or cumulative grade point average drops below a 3.0, that student is placed on academic warning.  

Mount Mary University’s policy for qualitative standards for graduate students is to be as strict as the academic program.  Mount Mary will review GPA's at the end of each academic semester. If a student falls below their program's minimum GPA they will be placed in a warning status.  

Maximum timeframe/150% Rule
Regulations state that a student must complete his/her program within 150% of the published credit length of his/her particular program. Students will not be eligible for financial aid for any credits that are attempted in excess of 150% of the published credit length. Credits transferred to Mount Mary shall be included in the calculation of attempted and earned credits for the purpose of determining the total 150% timeframe (Transfer credits applied towards a Mount Mary University degree will be counted as a semester of eligibility at the rate of 12 credits per semester). The published length for an undergraduate degree is and 128 credits. Therefore, an undergraduate full-time student is allowed to attempt a maximum of 192 credits while pursuing a first degree.
The maximum time frame allowed for graduate students varies based on the master's degree they are seeking. Graduate students should check with their department on the published length of their program. Graduate students, just like undergraduates, must complete their degree within 150% of the published length.  

Minimum Rate of Successful Course Completion
In order for an undergraduate student to successfully complete her program within the maximum credit hour time frame, she must successfully complete ("D" or better, or Pass "P") 67% of all attempted credits. Reference: 668.16(e)(2)(ii)(C)

Treatment of Courses:

The following is how specific courses are taken into account for the purpose of satisfactory academic progress:

  • Withdrawals: Withdrawals/no credits will be counted as attempted but not earned.
  • Incompletes: Courses in which a student receives an incomplete will be counted as attempted but not as earned credits. Once an incomplete is resolved, a student can notify the Financial Aid & Veterans Services Office to have their rate of completion reevaluated. It is the student's responsibility to notify the Financial Aid & Veterans Services Office of any changes to previously reported incomplete grades.
  • Repeated Courses: Courses that are repeated will show as credits attempted. However, only the last reported grade will be included in the student's GPA.
  • Audited Courses: Audited courses do not count as attempted or earned.
  • Transfer Credits: Transfer credits accepted from other schools will be counted toward completion of the degree program as both hours attempted and hours completed.

Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress: 

The first time any student fails to meet one or more of the satisfactory academic progress requirements, he or she will be placed on financial aid warning for one academic semester. While on financial aid warning, a student is still eligible to receive financial aid; however, if after the warning semester (or any time thereafter) the student is not deemed to be maintaining satisfactory academic progress, the student will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid. Students are sent letters notifying them of their financial aid warning status, as well as if they are no longer deemed eligible to receive financial aid assistance.

Financial Aid Warning Status: 
This status will be assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress at the end of a payment period (668.34(b).  This status will be granted automatically, with no written appeal is required from the student. A student on financial aid warning may continue to receive Title IV aid for one additional payment period. The student will receive a warning letter indicating their failure to meet SAP standards and be instructed that they will have one additional payment period to meet SAP standards. If student is not meeting SAP standards at the end of this term, he or she will be ineligible for aid (unless the student appeals and is put on financial aid probation).  

For the payment period following a payment period during which a student was on financial aid warning and still did not meet SAP Standards, the school may choose to place the student on financial aid probation, following the prescribed appeal procedures, and disburse Title IV funds to the student. (see below).

In addition, the Academic Dean’s office sends letters each semester to students who have a GPA below 2.0 notifying them of their academic probationary status. Included in the letter is a statement for the student to check with the Financial Aid & Veterans Service Office regarding their standing with financial aid SAP status.  

Financial Aid Probation Status:
If after a semester of financial aid warning a student has not reestablished eligibility based on the qualitative or quantitative standards described above, the student has lost eligibility for financial aid. The student may submit an appeal to the Financial Aid & Veterans Services Office (the appeal process is described below). This appeal will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Probation committee and, if approved, will allow the student to be placed on probation status (if denied, see Financial Aid Suspension Status below). If it is determined that a student cannot regain eligibility after one semester/payment period on probation, an academic plan may need to be established. Failure to adhere to the academic plan would result in the student being placed on a financial aid suspension status. A student will be notified in writing that his/her financial aid is now in a probationary status along with any conditions associated with this status.

Academic Contract:
Mount Mary’s Academic Contract includes an academic plan for the student which will be developed on an individual basis. This contract may include academic performance requirements, meetings with academic counselor, meeting with the Director of Student Success to utilize services and resources in the Student Success Center, etc. Failure to meet the requirements of Mount Mary’s Academic Contract will result in ineligibility of financial aid.

Financial Aid Ineligible Status:
Any student who is failing the SAP standards and who does not appeal, has an appeal denied, or does not agree to adhere to an academic contract (if necessary) as part of their probationary status, will be placed on financial aid ineligibility. A student in ineligibility status has lost eligibility for financial aid. The process for re-establishing eligibility is outlined below. A student will be notified in writing that his/her financial aid is now in an ineligible status and how to reestablish financial aid eligibility.

Reestablishing Financial Aid Eligibility

If a student is denied aid due to not meeting SAP standards or has reached the 150% of normal completion time, they will be ineligible for aid. Eligibility can be regained by raising the completion rate of credits attempted to 67% and cumulative GPA to above 2.0 (unless the reason the student is ineligible is for exceeding the 150% of normal completion time). A student may reestablish their eligibility for financial aid at any point during the academic year and be given the same consideration for aid as other students who are maintaining SAP. If a student has reestablished himself or herself during the academic year they do not need to go through the appeal process. However, the student does need to notify in writing the Director of Financial Aid & Veterans Services of their wish to be considered for aid. At this point, the Director will verify whether or not the student is meeting all SAP standards. Reference: 668.16(e)(6) and 668.34(d)

There is also an appeal process in which a student can appeal for additional terms of eligibility (see below).

Appeal Process

Students are able to appeal the loss of financial aid eligibility due to their failure to meet satisfactory academic progress standards after a semester or payment period on financial aid warning status. Students are also able to appeal the 150% rule if they feel there are extenuating circumstances that prevented them from completing their program of study within this defined limit. Circumstances that may warrant an appeal include, but are not limited to, the following examples: medical reasons, full-time employment, or being out of school for a long period of time. Previous non-receipt of federal financial aid funds does not qualify as an extenuating circumstance. Students can download the SAP Appeal form (listed below). Appeals must include the form as well as an explanation in detail (1) the specific reason(s) which contributed to why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress standards (submit supporting documentation – i.e. letter from doctors, therapists, academic advisors, employer, etc.) and (2) what has changed in the student's situation that will allow them to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the end of his or her next semester or payment period, if reinstated. Failure to explain in detail or submit supporting documentation, the form will not be reviewed. When/if approving an appeal, the school must determine that the student is able to make SAP standards by the end of the next payment period. The student will then be placed on an academic contract that will ensure ability to meet SAP standards by end of next payment period. Reference:  668.34(a),(b),(c),(d)

Appeals need to be submitted in writing and addressed to the Director of Financial Aid & Veterans Services. Appeals (which must include all supporting documentation) will be accepted within 14 days of the start of classes. The probation committee will be responsible for reviewing the appeals and either reinstating eligibility for financial aid via the financial aid probationary status, or placing a student in financial aid suspension status. The student will be notified in writing of the decision within two weeks from the date that the appeal was received. The appeal decision is final. Reference:  668.16(e)(5)

The Financial Aid Review committee will review, on a case-by-case basis, students who appeal their SAP decision and indicate reasons of changing major. The committee may do a “professional judgment” in relation to students to who have changed their major and need additional semesters of eligibility to complete their degree (provided the student is meeting all other SAP guidelines).  

Miscellaneous Information

  • Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree or teacher certification can receive aid for up to four additional full-time years (eight part-time). Therefore, the student would be allowed to attempt a maximum of 320 credits (192 + 128) and receive aid for 10 full-time years (including the first and second degree).
  • Even though a student is not receiving federal aid, international students are also reviewed during the SAP process.  There may be cases when an international student has attempted and earned large amounts of credits, or possibly even has a degree from their home country. However, many of the credits may not be recognized as transferring into Mount Mary towards the student’s degree. Because of this, an international student may appear to have attempted more than 192 credits or attended more than six years. In most cases we will allow the student to continue receiving assistance.  Each case will be reviewed individually and documented.
  • Students pursuing a second master’s degree will be evaluated in very much the same way as students pursuing their first master’s degree. They will be required to complete their program within the maximum 150% time frame and maintain the same qualitative requirements.