Criteria for Satisfactory Academic Progress in accordance with Program Integrity Rules effective
July 1, 2011
These Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements (“SAP”) are mandated by federal regulation and established by school policy. They must be uniformly applied to any recipient of Federal Student Aid. Effective with the enactment of the Program Integrity Rules of July 1, 2011, new regulations to measure satisfactory academic progress have been put into effect. These new regulations, in tandem with Seminary of the Southwest’s school policies, will be applied and used as the criteria to measure students’ satisfactory academic progress for purposes of establishing eligibility for Federal Student Aid.
The seminary grading system, as described in Section II. D. of the Academic Code, is approved by our principal accrediting agencies, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College and the Association of Theological Schools. Under this system, grade point averages are not computed, even when the student receives letter grades. However, the seminary will use the standards below in order to calculate SAP in accordance with the Program Integrity Rules. Grade point averages will be calculated within the seminary’s PowerFaids financial aid software program, but not published on student’s transcripts.
The following chart will be used to assign grade points to each letter grade earned:
Letter Grade Points
Grades earned under the “S” or “U” option do not carry grade point values and are not computed in Seminary of the Southwest’s grade point average to calculate SAP.
Each recipient of Federal Student Aid at the Seminary (“SSW”) will be reviewed for SAP at the conclusion of each payment period, including Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. Financial Aid SAP is based on qualitative as well as quantitative standards:
- Grade Point Average: This qualitative measure requires graduate students to maintain a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.500 for all attempted courses, including grades earned for preparatory and/or transfer credits accepted by SSW.
- Completion Rate: This quantitative measure requires graduate students to maintain a cumulative completion rate of 75% of the attempted coursework in any semester (including preparatory and/or transfer hours accepted by SSW.) This percentage is determined by dividing the number of hours completed by the total number of hours attempted. Attempted hours are the total number of hours successfully completed (earning a grade of A, B, or C) plus the credits attempted but earning grades of “W”, “I”, or “F”.
- Timeframe to Complete Academic Program: This quantitative measure limits the number of credit hours attempted overall during the pursuit of a graduate degree. The maximum attempted hours are 150% of the credits required to complete the student’s program of study. For purposes of obtaining a graduate degree at SSW, the maximum is dependent upon the degree sought, including preparatory and/or transfer credits. Students contemplating degree plan changes should consider the ability to complete a new plan within the maximum allowable limits.
- The charts below are illustrations of the minimum standards required for making satisfactory progress in three different programs of study:
Master of Divinity:
3 Year Plan
|First Year||Second Year||Third Year|
|Fall||Spring||Summer||Fall + January||Spring||Fall||Spring|
|minimum cumulative GPA||2.50||2.50||2.50||2.50||2.50||2.50||2.50|
|credits scheduled for completion||15.5||31.5||37.5||49.5||65.5||83.5||103|
|minimum cumulative credits completed||12||24||28||42||54||68||78|
|Master of Arts in Religion: 2 Year Plan||First Year||Second Year|
|minimum cumulative GPA||2.50||2.50||2.50||2.50|
|credits scheduled for completion||12||24||36||48|
|minimum cumulative credits completed||9||18||27||36|
|Master of Arts in Counseling: 3 Year Plan||First Year||Second Year||Third Year|
|minimum cumulative GPA||2.50||2.50||2.50||2.50||2.50||2.50|
|credits scheduled for completion||10||22||32||44||54||66|
|minimum cumulative credits completed||7.5||16.5||24||33||40.5||49.5|
- Transfer Students: Transfer students are evaluated based on the number of hours accepted by Seminary of the Southwest. Once transfer credit has been evaluated by the Registrar and the Academic Dean, and the student has been awarded credit hours, then that student will fall under the same quantitative and qualitative requirements as previously mentioned based on that designated classification. Transfer grades are not factored into the student’s cumulative GPA for SAP proposes. The maximum time limits for eligibility for federal financial aid also apply to transfer students based on the number of credits accepted by Seminary of the Southwest.
APPEAL PROCESS FOR SUSPENSION BASED ON
FINANCIAL AID SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP) STANDARDS
- Students who fail to meet the grade point average requirement or the completion rate requirement, or who will exceed the timeframe to complete 150% of the minimum number of credits in their program of study, will be placed in Financial Aid Warning Status for the following semester. Students will be notified via email of their warning status. Students who are in Financial Aid Warning Status may continue to receive Federal Student Aid.
- Students in Financial Aid Warning status who fail to meet the SAP requirements for the following semester will not be eligible to receive financial aid and will be placed in Financial Aid Suspension Status. These students may complete and submit a Financial Aid Appeal, Academic Plan, and a Personal Statement to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee for review. Should the Financial Aid Appeals Committee approve the Financial Aid SAP Appeal, the student will be placed in Financial Aid Probation Status.
- Students in Financial Aid Probation Status may continue to receive Federal Student Aid for one additional payment period. Students on Financial Aid Probation Status who fail to meet the SAP requirements for the additional payment period will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension Status and recommended for academic dismissal.
FINANCIAL AID SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS APPEAL
The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will consider Appeals based on the following reasons:
- Personal illness or serious injury supported by hospital records, insurance explanation of benefits, or statement of a licensed medical practitioner;
- Serious illness or injury of an immediate family member supported by hospital record, insurance explanation of benefits, or statement of a licensed medical practitioner;
- Any other extenuating circumstances that are supported by appropriate documentation and deemed reasonable by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee
- Financial Aid Appeal forms, Academic Plan forms, and Personal Statement forms are available from the Financial Aid Office.
- The completed Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal, Academic Plan, and Personal Statement forms must be completed, signed, dated, and submitted to the Financial Aid Office. When the appeal package is determined to be complete by the Financial Aid Officer, the appeal will be submitted to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee for review. Incomplete appeals and incomplete forms will not be considered.
The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will establish and publish deadline dates each semester for the submission of Appeals. The latest an Appeal will be accepted for consideration for the current semester is the last date for withdrawal without penalty or the census date, whichever is later. Appeals received after the last date for withdrawal without penalty or the census date will be reviewed only at the discretion of the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.
Students will be notified via email regarding their outcome of their appeal. Decisions of the Financial Aid Appeals Committee are final.
Students on Financial Aid Suspension, who are otherwise in good standing and abiding by other school policies, may continue their coursework at Seminary of the Southwest; however, payment for those courses must be made by the student and Federal Student Aid will not be paid. Students may reestablish federal student aid eligibility by regaining GOOD standing based on the Graduate Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards:
- A minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.500
- A minimum Completion Rate of 75%
- On schedule to complete current program of study within the 150% of the maximum number of hours required for graduation.