- The federal government, through the authority of the Higher Education Act, has instituted guidelines relating to satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for students receiving federal financial aid.
- SAP must be met for students to receive federal financial aid through Title IV programs, effective the Fall 2011 academic term.
- Among the required elements of the federal SAP guidelines are that the school’s policy provides for “consistent application of standards to all students within categories of students (e.g., full-time, part-time, undergraduate, and graduate students),” “GPA or other comparable assessment measured against a norm,” “the pace at which a student must progress to complete the program within the maximum timeframe,” and “frequency of SAP evaluation” (Department of Education, 34 CFR 668.34).
- A student will not receive federal financial aid under Title IV programs if he or she does not demonstrate SAP as defined by the university.
Dissertation Benchmark Guidelines and SAP
SAP will be achieved as outlined in the objectives set forth in the benchmark guidelines listed below. Please note the student is to work directly with their dissertation chair to achieve benchmark approval; there is no corresponding Blackboard course for the dissertation benchmarks.
54-credit EdD Program
69-credit EdD Program
Recording Procedures for SAP
The student must complete Section I of the NSU-FCEDissertation Progress Report (below) within the final 3 weeks of each term. The completed report should be sent immediately to the student’s dissertation committee chair. The chair must use this information to (a) assign a grade, (b) collect the SAP Progress Report from the student and keep the record, and (c) update the student journals in the ADRIANA database.
Remember, there are a minimum of four points that have to be reviewed: Pace (Pursuit of Program known as POP), Cumulative GPA (CGPA), less than two ‘F’ grades in your graduate academic record while attending RPI, and an approved Plan of Study. Depending on your major, there may be additional criteria. You can lose federal aid eligibility if you do not meet the standard for any of these four points as well as the additional requirements for your major. Refer to the charts in the Glossary of Terms under Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress for additional information on your particular program of study.
Step 1 – Pace
Professional/Research MS Programs
A. If you are pursuing a Professional or Research Master’s degree, we assess your pace, or Pursuit of Program (POP) we take the number of credits that are normally required to earn your degree divided by the maximum allowable attempted credits may have while pursing your degree.
B. Next, we take the total number of completed credits you have earned divided by the total credits you have attempted. This gives us the percentage of attempted coursework you must complete each time you are evaluated. If the result is less than the required percentage, you will be considered not to be making POP and potentially lose your federal aid eligibility. This rule applies to a student who is in the co-terminal program too.
Credits attempted are defined as all classes taken by a student for which a grade is received (i.e. A, B, C, F, S, U, W, I, IP). It also includes accepted transfer credits. Credits completed are defined as all classes taken by a student for which a passing grade is received (i.e. A, B, C, D, S, and P) as well as any accepted transfer credits. For a complete list of grade classifications visit the Registrar website.
For example, Clive Calculator, Mathematics major, is seeking his MS in a 30 credit hour program, has attempted 24 credits and completed 20 credits. He is making Pace because he has completed 83% of his attempted credits, the minimum required Pace in his program of study.
Ida Know is an Electronic Arts major pursing her Professional MFA in a 60 credit hour program who has attempted 48 credits and completed 42 credits. She is not making Pace because she has only completed 87.5% of her attempted credits. Her Pace measurement requires that she complete 91% of her attempted credits.
In Doctoral programs, measurement of Pace is evaluated by annual examination of your Doctoral Student Yearly Review, the successful completion of your Plan of Study, Candidacy Exam, and Defense (presentation of your thesis) all within the prescribed timeframes.
Step 2 – Cumulative GPA (CGPA)
Your CGPA must be at least a 3.0. Your CGPA is reviewed at the end of each semester or annually (at the end of each Spring semester), depending on your program of study. In addition, you cannot have more than one “F” grade in your graduate academic record at Rensselaer.
A. Some additional items for you to know:
1. Please bear in mind that it does not matter if you attend full time or part time, you still must meet the CGPA.
2. While transfer credits are always counted in both attempted and completed credits, grades from transfer credits are not included in your CGPA.
3. Repeat coursework can influence your Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress. Repeated coursework is always counted as attempted hours regardless how many times you take the course. However, only a passing grade is counted in the CGPA. You should also be aware that the most recent grade of a repeated course is considered for your CGPA.
Repeated coursework can also influence your eligibility for federal aid within a particular semester without regard to SAP. Federal regulation stipulates that you may receive federal aid for a repeated course unlimited times in order to gain a passing grade. However, if you have already passed the course and are repeated it for any reason, then federal aid can only pay for one repeat of the course. Thus, if you were re-taking a course that you have already repeated previously with a passing grade, that course cannot be considered when determining your cost of attendance or enrollment status, which could impact on the amount of federal aid you receive.
4. Incomplete grades are not calculated in your completed credits and are assumed to be failing grades when determining your CGPA and GPA. To restore your eligibility for Federal financial aid programs based on incomplete grades, you must receive a letter grade PRIOR to the start of your next semester of attendance.