Admission & Financial Aid
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Federal and state governments require that each college have Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for determining continued eligibility for student financial aid. SAP standards measure both the qualitative and quantitative progress of coursework completed. SAP includes the following three elements: grade point average, course completion rate and maximum time frame. SAP is reviewed at the end of each payment period.
Grade Point Average – The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy contains a qualitative component which requires that undergraduate students maintain a 2.0 grade point average by the end of their first year of full-time study (24-30 credit hours of coursework). A cumulative 2.0 grade point average must be maintained from that point forward.
Course Completion Rate – The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy contains a quantitative component which requires that undergraduate students make steady progress toward their degree by completing two-thirds (67 percent) of all credit coursework attempted. The completion rate is calculated as a percentage of completed coursework over the student’s entire enrollment at CUC. Students must maintain a cumulative 67 percent course completion rate. For example, if a student attempts 16 hours per semester during the academic year (32 cumulative attempted hours), the student would be expected to satisfactorily complete at least 21.44 of these hours (10.72 hours per semester) in order to comply with the minimum quantitative standards. The completion rate applies to all semesters (including summer), regardless of whether the student received aid during the semester.
Attempted Credit Hours
All credit-bearing courses are calculated into the “hours attempted” and counted toward the maximum time frame for financial aid purposes. Grades of W, F, IA to IF, or U, are considered as coursework attempted but not completed. In addition, repeated courses are counted in the “hours attempted” calculation.
Successfully Completed Credit Hours
Courses with a passing grade (A, B, C, D, or P) are considered to be successfully completed. Courses with a grade of F, W, IA to IF, or U, are not considered to be successfully completed.
Incomplete grades (IA to IF) are considered as coursework attempted but not completed. An incomplete grade must be resolved within six (6) weeks of the end of the term (summer, fall, spring) in which the grade was received; at that time, the instructor will assign a grade. Permission for additional time beyond the six-week deadline may be granted only with the approval of the instructor and the Office of the Registrar. Students must contact the Office of Financial Aid once the grade change has been processed in order to re-evaluate their SAP status for the semester they did not meet SAP. The Director of Financial Aid will review and make necessary changes to SAP status.
Repeated courses are counted in the “hours attempted” calculation for financial aid purposes. The repeat grade is treated in the cumulative GPA. Students are eligible to repeat a course regardless of whether or not they receive a failing grade during the first attempt. According to Federal and State Regulations, students are allowed to repeat coursework as long as the student has not previously passed the course and meet Satisfactory Academic Progress. A passed course is considered any grade higher than an “F” or its equivalent. Once a student passes the course, he/she can only receive Federal and/or State funds to repeat the course one more time. Eligibility for repeat coursework is monitored at the time of awarding and again prior to disbursing funds.
Audit courses are not counted in the “hours attempted” calculation for financial aid purposes. Students do not earn any academic credit and may not receive financial aid for these courses since they are not going toward a degree program.
Maximum Time Frame – The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy also contains a maximum timeframe component which specifies that the number of credit hours for which a student may receive federal financial aid may not exceed 150 percent of the credit hours required to complete their degree program at CUC. Since the minimum number of credit hours needed to complete the bachelor’s degree is 128 hours, students may not receive financial assistance upon attempting more than 192 credit hours. Undergraduate students are normally expected to complete their degree program by the end of four years of full-time study. Therefore, students will lose their federal financial aid eligibility after six years of full-time enrollment (4 x 150% = 6). Students need to complete an average of 10.667 credits per semester (not including summer or non-CUC hours) in order to complete within six years (maximum time frame). Credits transferred into CUC are included as credits attempted for SAP purposes. Students completing a second bachelor’s degree are subject to the maximum timeframe component for undergraduate study. They must complete their program within a total of 192 attempted credit hours. Students who are double majoring or changing majors are also subject to the maximum timeframe component and must not exceed 150 percent of the credit hours required to complete their degree program at CUC. Students in degree programs exceeding 150 percent of the credit hours required to complete their degree program and/or enrolled in a second bachelor’s degree may appeal to the Director of Financial Aid for an extension, if necessary. In addition, grades of “W” are counted in attempted credit hours and counted toward the maximum time frame. Remedial courses do not earn any credit and therefore are not included in the student’s grade point average. However, they are or are not considered in the maximum timeframe component. Pass/fail courses do earn credit and therefore are included in the attempted hours and maximum timeframe, but are not included in the grade point average.
WHAT HAPPENS IF A STUDENT DOES NOT MEET THE SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS REQUIREMENTS?
SAP is reviewed at the end of each semester. Students who do not meet SAP are notified by receiving an official letter from the Office of Financial Aid and via email. There are two repercussions in the event a student does not meet one or more of the above requirements: Financial Aid Warning Status or Financial Aid Disqualification Status.
Financial Aid Warning Status: Students who do not meet the standards of satisfactory academic progress will be on Warning Status for his/her next term of attendance. During this period, the student is still allowed to receive their federal/state/institutional financial aid. Certain merit scholarships, which require the student to maintain a specified grade point average, may be affected.
Financial Aid Disqualification Status: Students who fail to meet the standards of satisfactory academic progress after a semester on probation will become disqualified from receiving further financial assistance from federal, state and/or Concordia-Chicago funds. This includes eligibility for grants, student loans, parent loans, CUC need-based and merit scholarships and CUC faculty/staff waivers.
Appeal for Reinstatement of Financial Assistance:
If a student has mitigating circumstances which contributed to their inability to meet the required Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress, appeals for reinstatement of financial assistance may be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid. Mitigating circumstances that will be evaluated include medical condition, death in the family and additional documentation provided by the Dean of Students. The appeal must be a written letter explaining their circumstances and what measures they will take to improve their ability to succeed in future coursework. Students must meet with their Academic Advisor and together create an Academic Plan that will guide the student to successfully complete future coursework. In addition, students will be expected to submit supporting documentation.
Students will receive an official letter from the Director of Financial Aid regarding the approval or denial of the appeal.
If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on probation status for the next semester. Students must follow the Academic Plan provided by their Academic Advisor in order to successfully complete all coursework in their program. Students will need to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress by the end of that semester or they will be placed back on disqualification status. If students meet Satisfactory Academic Progress by the end of the probationary status, they may continue to receive aid, but are expected to continue to fully meet SAP requirements in future semesters.
If the appeal is denied, the student may submit another appeal after successfully completing the following semester(s). A significant improvement must be evident in the academic history for the future semester(s) after receiving disqualification status. Students must continue to follow the Academic Plan provided by their Academic Advisor in order to successfully complete all coursework in their program.