Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy For Federal Financial Aid Recipients

Federal regulations require that all federal financial aid recipients maintain minimum satisfactory academic progress (SAP) to receive financial assistance.  A financial aid academic progress policy is required in addition to the institution’s general academic policies.

To receive federal financial aid, students must successfully complete at least a minimum number of credits every semester of full-time enrollment (see chart on the next page.)  Only non-repeated coursework will count toward course completion; however, in cases of repeated courses only the most recent grade will be used to determine the cumulative grade point average.

At Allegheny College, a full-time student is expected to complete all degree requirements within a maximum of 10 semesters (five years).  Students may not receive federal or institutional aid after registering for 192 credits, or institutional aid after 10 semesters of financial assistance, regardless of the number of credits completed.

Students are also required to meet a qualitative measure of academic performance in order to receive federal financial aid.  After two semesters of full-time enrollment, a student must achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least 1.00, a 1.50 cumulative grade point average after three semesters of enrollment and after four semesters of enrollment, a student must achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 in order to receive federal financial aid.

Satisfactory academic progress is measured annually after the conclusion of spring semester by the Financial Aid Office.  The chart below lists the qualitative and quantitative measures used by Allegheny College to measure satisfactory academic progress and the student’s eligibility to continue to receive federal financial aid.

End of Semester Min. Cum. GPA Min. Credits Complete
2 1.00 24
3 1.50 36
4 2.00 48
5 2.00 61
6 2.00 74
7 2.00 87
8 2.00 100
9 2.00 114
10 2.00 128

Students who fail to successfully complete the minimum requirements will lose eligibility for federal financial aid.


Students who do not meet an institution’s financial aid SAP requirements are allowed to petition for reconsideration of federal aid eligibility.  Written appeals for an additional semester of aid eligibility (a probationary semester) must include:

1) Why the student failed to make SAP,

2) What has changed that will allow the student to make SAP during the probationary semester, and

3) The student’s academic plan for success. 

Appeals are strongly encouraged to be submitted in writing to the Financial Aid Office at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester for which the probationary semester is sought. While we will accept appeals during the semester, we strongly encourage students to submit appeals at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester.

If the appeal is approved, one probationary semester of financial assistance will be granted to bring the academic record up to the minimum standards (state aid may still be eliminated during this period). The student’s academic record will be reviewed after the conclusion of the probationary semester to evaluate whether the minimum SAP requirements were met.

If a student is not able to achieve the required standards within one semester, s/he will be placed on an academic plan with requirements for progression toward good standing within the SAP standards. The academic plan may have requirements for credit completion, semester grade point average, or both.

Students may submit appeals a maximum of 2 times during their enrollment at Allegheny. If a student submits an appeal but does not attend the upcoming semester (ex. a leave of absence), then the submitted appeal for that semester will not count towards the 2 appeal limit.

Failure to meet the stated minimums after the probationary semester will result in a suspension of all financial aid until SAP requirements are met.

If a student who is not meeting SAP requirements chooses to not submit an appeal, academic progress will still be evaluated after each semester of enrollment to determine federal financial aid eligibility.

Incomplete Coursework

If a student successfully completes incomplete courses from a previous term during their enrollment in a semester where they failed to meet SAP, but the incomplete coursework now allows them to meet SAP, their federal aid eligibility will be reinstated for the current term and if an appeal was submitted it will be voided and not count toward the 2 appeal limit.

Repeat Coursework

Both attempts at coursework for students who repeat a course will count toward course completion; however, only the most recent grade will be used to determine the cumulative GPA.

Credit/No Credit Grade Option

For coursework taken on the Credit/No Credit basis, only a grade of Credit will count towards course completion. Neither a Credit (“CR”) grade nor a No Credit (“NC”) grade is calculated in the cumulative GPA.

Transfer Students

Transfer students’ coursework accepted for credit at Allegheny College from institutions previously attended will be used to evaluate course completion. Only grades earned at Allegheny College will be used to calculate a cumulative GPA.

Part-Time Enrollment

Progress evaluation for part-time students will be determined by the completion of courses attempted. Part-time enrollment will be combined over semesters to approximate the equivalency of full-time enrollment. Students enrolled must complete two-thirds of the number of courses attempted. The same cumulative GPA requirements apply as directed under Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy requirements.

Course Withdrawals

Coursework resulting in a “withdrawn” status do not count as courses completed and are factored in the maximum time frame for degree requirements, i.e., one semester of courses with a “W” status count as a semester toward the 10 semester maximum. These courses do not affect calculation of the cumulative GPA.

Course Audits

Audited coursework does not count toward course completion and is not used in the determination of cumulative GPA.

Readmission After a Leave of Absence

Students who are readmitted to Allegheny College after a period of non-enrollment will be evaluated using the stated standards regarding course completion and GPA, taking into consideration all coursework from past periods of attendance and transfer credits. All semesters when even a small amount of federal aid was received will count in the SAP evaluation. Whole semesters of non-enrollment are not considered in the SAP evaluation, or the maximum time frame of allowable aid.

Special Note

The requirement for a bachelor’s degree is the successful completion of 128 credits. To graduate in four years, a student must, on average, complete 16 credits per semester. Some financial aid programs, including most state grant programs, have eight semester limits for funding. Allegheny-funded aid is also limited to eight semesters. However, any student with legitimate academic reasons for continuing into the fifth year may petition, in writing, to the Financial Aid Office for extended institutional need-based financial assistance. Institutional merit Trustee Scholarships are limited to eight semesters without exception.

Options When a Student Does Not Have Enough Tuition Money

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any requested paperwork in a timely fashion.  It is best if the Financial Aid Office is made aware of situations early in the semester rather than late in the semester so that assistance can be given because:

  • Certain types of financial aid, especially free money, have very limited funds and are awarded based on need first, and then a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Student loans have regulations about the certification and disbursement of funds. It often takes a couple of weeks to process the loan before the lender sends funds and the college receives the funds to clear a bill balance.

It is important for students to pursue all sources of gift aid.  Many scholarships are available for current college students (see

If there is a situation that is not reflected on the FAFSA, please notify the Financial Aid Office. Commonly seen situations include, but are not limited to, recent job losses, unusually high out-of-pocket medical expenses, and one-time payments received during the calendar year used on the current FASFA. Federal regulations apply in these situations, which means forms and documents are required, but the Financial Aid Office can help.

All students are eligible for student employment. If a student does not qualify for the federal work study program, then he or she is eligible for campus employment. Students may set up a payment plan with the Financial Services Office to use some or all of the earnings from student employment to pay toward the student bill.

Lastly, although least desirable, student loans can help pay off the student bill. The Financial Aid Office recommends getting through school with the least amount of debt and to use federal student loans before private loans since the federal loans have a fixed interest rate, have a lower interest rate, and do not require a co-signer.