Maintaining Financial Aid Eligibility
Federal regulations require Martin Luther College to establish satisfactory academic progress standards for Title IV financial aid. Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured after each semester by reviewing the student’s qualitative progress as measured by cumulative GPA as well as the quantitative progress as measured by determining the percent of credits attempted that are completed. The Financial Aid Office is responsible for ensuring that all students who receive federal, state, and institutional financial aid are meeting these standards. The standards of satisfactory academic progress apply for all financial assistance programs including Federal Pell Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study (FWS) Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Direct Student Loans (Stafford and PLUS), as well as assistance from the state and the institution. The only institutional aid exception is MLC Distance Grant, which is based solely on being in attendance. This policy is effective on July 1, 2011 beginning with the 2011-2012 school year and supersedes the previous policy.
In order to retain financial aid eligibility the student must maintain a cumulative GPA of:
- Following Semester I: 1.70
- Following Semester II: 1.80
- Following Semester III: 1.90
- Following Semester IV: 2.00
- Subsequent Semesters: 2.00
A student in full time attendance must complete the program within a timeframe of 150% of the number of semesters normally required to complete program. A four year program must be completed in twelve semesters. A five year program must be completed in fifteen semesters. A two year certificate program must be completed in six semesters. Progress towards achieving program completion within the 150% timeframe is measured at the end of each semester by dividing the number of credit hours earned by the number of credit hours attempted. A student must earn 67% of the credits attempted each semester to be making satisfactory academic progress toward the maximum time allowed to complete the program. Students who attend less than full time will have the time of completion appropriately adjusted.
The following are considered when evaluating a student’s satisfactory academic progress:
- Withdrawn Classes: Under special circumstances a student may drop a course with the approval of the appropriate dean after the first two weeks of the semester and up to two weeks after midterm. For these courses the student’s record shows W and is not counted in computing the grade point average. An unauthorized withdrawal from a class is recorded as an F. This F is counted in the GPA.
- Incomplete Classes: Incomplete grades are temporary grades given when a student doing otherwise acceptable work is unable to complete the course assignments for reasons acceptable to the instructor. A first semester incomplete must be converted to a permanent grade by mid-term of the second semester, a second semester incomplete by the end of the summer session, and a summer session incomplete by mid-term of the first semester, or the permanent grade is recorded as an F.
- Pass/Fail Classes: Passing credits received for pass/fail courses are considered attempted and earned credits; failing grades in pass/fail courses are considered attempted but not earned.
- Repeated Classes: Classes for failed courses that are repeated because they are required for graduation are eligible for financial aid. Repeated courses are included in the calculation of attempted and earned hours. A student is allowed to repeat a course only once.
- Audit Classes: Audited courses are not considered credits attempted or earned.
- Remedial Classes: Remedial courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours.
- Transfer Students: Transfer credits do not count in the calculation of the GPA. However, transfer credits accepted are included in both hours attempted and hours completed. Semesters attended at previous institutions are included in the determination of the number of semesters attended.
- Change of Major If a student changes majors, the hours attempted under all courses of study are included in the calculation of attempted and earned hours.
Definition of Terms
- Warning: This is the status assigned to a student who for the first time fails to achieve satisfactory academic progress at the end of a semester.
- Probation: This is the status assigned to a student who in the previous semester was on warning status and subsequently again failed to achieve satisfactory academic progress but whose appeal to have eligibility restored has been granted.
Warning and Ineligibility
Students who fail to achieve the qualitative or quantitative requirements for satisfactory academic progress will be on warning status and will receive financial aid one additional semester. The warning semester is meant to inform the student of academic problems and provide for corrective action. The student will be informed of the warning status via a letter. Students, who achieve the GPA requirement in the subsequent semester, have their financial aid eligibility fully restored.
Students, who do not achieve satisfactory academic progress following the warning semester, will be ineligible for Title IV, state, and institutional financial aid for the following semester or summer session or for as long as the student has not achieved satisfactory academic progress. The Director of Financial Aid will send a letter to the student explaining the status and the conditions under which the student can appeal to have financial aid restored. The letter will inform the student that the appeal must include why the student failed to meet satisfactory academic progress and what has changed that will allow the student to achieve satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation.
Students, who are on warning status, and subsequently achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress, and then again fall below satisfactory academic progress standards, return to warning status a second time.
Appeals and Reinstatement
To appeal the financial aid suspension, a student must submit to the Financial Aid Office a signed and dated letter of appeal explaining why financial aid should not be suspended. A student who has appealed and has had aid restored but still has not achieved SAP may appeal one additional time.
Acceptable reasons for an appeal include the following:
- Family problems
- Death of a relative
- Emotional problem
- Learning disability
- Interpersonal problems with friends, roommates, or significant others
- Difficulty balancing such things as work, athletics, family responsibilities, and course work
- Financial difficulties
- Change in or addition to a program
- Other special, significant or unusual circumstances
Documentation verifying the situation may be requested. The Financial Aid Committee will consider the appeal and render a decision, which the Director of Financial Aid conveys to the student in writing. If the appeal is not granted, this does not preclude a student from enrolling but no financial aid is available. Students will have their financial aid eligibility reinstated once satisfactory academic progress standards are met.
Martin Luther College’s SAP policy is published in the college catalogue. New students are informed about Martin Luther College’s SAP policy by information included in the Frequently Asked Questions booklet which is sent to all applicants by the Admissions Office. Award letters include information directing the student to the college’s web address where SAP policy can be reviewed. During the week of fall midterm break, a notice is posted on the MLC Portal reminding all students of the college’s satisfactory academic progress policy and directing them to the complete policy posted on the intranet or to printed copies available in the Financial Aid Office.