Federal regulations require Martin Luther College to establish satisfactory academic progress standards for Title IV financial aid.  Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) 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), Corporation for National & Community Service (AMERICORP), as well as assistance from the state and the institution.

Qualitative Progress

In order to retain financial aid eligibility, each student must maintain a semester and a cumulative GPA of:

Cumulative GPA requirements
Following semester I1.70
Following semester II1.80
Following semester III1.90
Following semester IV 2.00
Subsequent semesters 2.00

Quantitative Progress

Credit Completion

  • Students must complete 67% of all credits attempted. A completed credit has a grade of A, B, C, D, or S.
  • Withdrawals, F grades, incomplete courses, and repeated courses are included in attempted credits.

Maximum Time Frame

  • All students are expected to finish their degree within an acceptable period of time. Financial aid recipients may continue to receive aid through their cumulative attempted credits that equal 150% of the required number of credits needed to complete their program, including transfer credits from another college. As soon as it becomes mathematically impossible for a student to graduate within the 150% limit, the MLC will place the student will on Financial Aid Suspension. Students who require developmental coursework or who have changed degrees/majors may appeal to have the 150% limit extended.

Additional Factors

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  • Withdrawn Classes: Under special circumstances, a student may drop a course with the approval of the dean after the first two weeks of the semester and up to two weeks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 fall semester incomplete must be converted to a permanent grade by mid-term of the spring semester, a spring semester incomplete by July 31, and a summer session incomplete by mid-term of the fall semester. Incompletes that are not rectified by the above deadlines are 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 may be repeated until they are passed. Repeated courses are included in the calculation of attempted and earned hours. Please note a student may only receive financial aid for taking a previously passed course once. If a student needs to raise the grade for a major or other requirement, as long as the course is considered passed, the student cannot receive federal funds for more than one repeat.
  • Audit Classes: Audited courses are not considered credits attempted or earned. Audit courses are not applicable to graduation requirements and are not eligible for financial aid.
  • Remedial Classes: Remedial courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours but have no effect on a student’s cumulative GPA.
  • 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 considered when performing the qualitative calculations.
  • Change of Major: If a student changes majors, the hours attempted under all courses of study are included in the calculation of GPA as well as 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. A student could remain on probation status for up to three terms with successful appeals.

Warning and Ineligibility

  • Warning: Students who fail to achieve either the qualitative and/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, by the Director of Financial Aid, of the warning status via a letter and email within 10 days after the end of the term. Students who achieve the GPA requirement and pace requirements in the subsequent semester will have their warning status removed.
  • Ineligibility: Students who do not achieve either the qualitative and/or quantitative requirements for 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 and email, within 10 days after the end of the term, 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.

Appeals and Reinstatement

To appeal financial aid ineligibility a student must submit, to the Financial Aid Office, a signed and dated letter of appeal explaining why financial aid should be reinstated. The letter of appeal must be postmarked no later than 30 days after the start of the semester for which the student wishes to have their aid reinstated. A student notified of ineligibility to aid may appeal to have their eligibility reinstated up to three times. A student that has appealed and been approved after the third appeal is required to maintain appropriate progress in a program plan. The program plan will be outlined and monitored by the Dean and advisor for that student and ensures their GPA will attain acceptable SAP standards within three semesters. If at any time the student does not attain the necessary requirements of the 3-semester program plan, they will be permanently ineligible for institutional, state and Title IV financial aid.

Acceptable reasons for an appeal include the following:

  • Medical
  • Family problems
  • Death of a relative
  • 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. The Financial Aid Committee’s decision will be relayed to the student no more than 15 days after receipt of the letter. Students whose appeals have been granted are considered on probation. If the appeal is not granted, this does not preclude a student from enrolling, but no financial aid is available.

Students that have successfully completed a semester and met satisfactory academic progress standards will automatically have their financial aid eligibility reinstated.


Martin Luther College’s SAP policy is published in the college catalog and on the MLC website under Financial Aid. 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.

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