In order to receive federal financial aid, a student must make satisfactory progress toward a degree. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is made up of two components: a qualitative standard and a quantitative standard. UAB evaluates SAP at the end of each semester, and a student who does not meet the minimum requirements is notified by UAB email of his or her unsatisfactory status and the steps necessary to regain federal student aid eligibility.
Students must maintain a minimum GPA to be considered as meeting SAP. Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum UAB cumulative GPA of 2.0. Graduate students must maintain a minimum UAB cumulative GPA of 3.0. However, if a UAB department requires a higher GPA to continue in a program of study, that department’s standards would apply for the purpose of SAP standards as well. For example, if the GPA requirement for a specific major is 3.0, students in this program would to need to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to continue to be eligible for financial aid. It is the student’s responsibility to know the GPA requirements for the specific major he or she is seeking.
Maximum Time Frame
In addition to GPA requirements, the law establishes a maximum time frame in which a student must complete his or her educational program. The maximum time frame is 150 percent of the published length of the educational program.
For example, a student would be allowed no more than 180 attempted credit hours to complete a baccalaureate degree that is normally earned with 120 earned credit hours.
When measuring compliance with this policy, all attempted credit hours are counted, including those attempted at other schools, regardless of whether or not financial aid was received.
An undergraduate student must complete degree requirements within 180 attempted credit hours. A student seeking a second undergraduate degree will be allowed cumulative attempted credit hours of 270. Enrollment at other postsecondary institutions will be included when measuring compliance with this policy, regardless of whether or not financial aid was received.
A student must complete 67 percent of attempted course work each year in order to graduate within 180 attempted credit hours. To meet this requirement, a minimum number of hours must be successfully completed.
For example, if a student attempts 16 credit hours during the semester and successfully completes 12 of them, the student completed 75 percent of the hours attempted and would be meeting this requirement.
Remedial courses are counted in attempted hours only. Remedial courses may not apply toward completion of degree requirements and are not counted in the GPA calculation.
Grades of F, W and I are counted as hours attempted but not earned.
A student who repeats a course to attain a better grade is considered to have attempted the course twice, and the credit hours for each attempt are counted toward the completion rate.
The first time a student falls below the minimum GPA and/or completion rate requirements, he or she will be placed on “Warn - Warning, Failing SAP” status. This warning status will allow the student to receive financial aid for one semester. Think of this as a grace period in which the student has one semester to get his or her GPA and/or completion rate back into good standing before becoming ineligible for financial aid. When grades are posted at the close of the warning semester, a student in this status is expected to be at or above the minimum GPA and completion rate requirements.
A student on “WARN – Warning, Failing SAP” status who fails to meet the minimum SAP requirements for a second semester will be placed on “FAIL – Failing SAP” status. A student on this status is no longer eligible for federal aid. If extenuating circumstances exist, however, the student may submit an appeal in order to be reconsidered for financial aid.
The appeal process is only available to a student with extenuating circumstances and must be completed on the My Financial Aid section of BlazerNET. Both a written statement and supporting documentation must be provided in order for a student’s financial aid eligibility to be reconsidered.
For example, if a medical issue causes a student to miss several classes and assignments, thus resulting in a “FAIL - Failing SAP” status, the student may submit an appeal. In this instance, the student will provide a written statement outlining the circumstances which led to his or her poor academic standing and provide any available medical documentation to support the written statement (e.g. medical bills, prescriptions, physicians’ statements on letterhead, etc.). Both the written statement and supporting documentation will be reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Aid. If the appeal is approved, the student will be granted a probationary period in which he or she will, once again, be eligible to receive financial aid. At the end of the probationary period, the student is expected to be making SAP or must be successfully following an academic success plan contract designed to ensure that the student will meet SAP by a specific point in time.
Students on financial aid probation must also earn a “C” or better in each class taken during the probationary term in addition to completing the Academic Success Plan to be considered for another term of financial aid. An appeal request on the Financial Aid Appeal form in BlazerNET is required for each term of probation. The steps in the appeal process are the same for each semester of financial aid probation.
Re-Establishing Aid Eligibility
A student who is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress may choose not to submit an appeal. If this is the case, the student will not be eligible to receive federal student financial aid until he or she is in compliance with all components of the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. The student will need to attend classes until he or she is once again in compliance with the policy. This may take several semesters to accomplish, but it will be the responsibility of the student to improve his or her academic performance during this time. A student may request that his or her academic record be reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Aid. If the student is found to be in compliance, eligibility for federal student aid can be re-established.