Financial Aid Standards of Academic Progress

PURPOSE AND SCOPE

The Higher Education Amendment Act of 1965, as amended, mandates institutions of higher education to establish a minimum standard of Satisfactory Academic Progress for students receiving financial aid. These standards shall apply to all students receiving financial aid, unless the terms of a particular grant provide otherwise. These provisions apply to students who, at any point in their educational career, apply for financial aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will review the progress of each financial aid recipient for SAP at the end of each semester or term.  All terms will be reviewed, including those for which financial aid was not requested.

Student records will be reviewed to ensure that the following criteria are met:

  • Qualitative Progress in that both institutional cumulative and semester or term GPA requirements are met.
  • Quantitative Progress in that the required number of credit hours is completed each semester or term and that the student has not exceeded the maximum number of credit hours allowed to attempt to complete degree.

1. GRADE POINT AVERAGE (GPA) REQUIREMENT

Students must maintain both institutional cumulative and term GPA standards. 

STUDENT CLASSIFICATION GPA REQUIRED
Undergraduate students with 29 credit hours or less 1.8
Undergraduate students with 30 credit hours or more 2.0
Graduate students 3.0

2. HOURS REQUIREMENT

In general, to be eligible for financial aid in any semester or term:

  • Undergraduate* and Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours
    • *Federal Pell Grant eligible undergraduate students may receive a minimum Federal Pell Grant for enrollment of less than 6 credit hours.
  • All students must complete a minimum of 67% of the number of credit hours they attempted in a semester or term.
    • Calculation: Hours Completed divided by Hours Attempted X 100
    • Example: Student attempted 12 hours, but withdrew from a 3 hour classes completing only 9 hours. (9 hrs/12 hrs X 100 = 75%)

The following chart states the minimum credit hour completion requirements that all students must meet.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS GRADUATE STUDENTS
Attempted Hours

Required Hours to Complete

Attempted Hours

Required Hours to Complete

14 or more

67%

9 or more 6

12 -13

9

6 to 8 6
6 to 11 6 5 or less All
5 or less All

3. MAXIMUM TIME FRAME TO COMPLETE A DEGREE PROGRAM

Undergraduate Students

The number of credit hours a student attempts may not exceed 150% of the number of credit hours required for graduation in his or her program of study, as published in the University catalog. If the published number of hours required for graduation is 120, a student may not attempt more than 180 credit hours (120 x 150% = 180) and continue to receive financial aid. All periods of enrollment are considered, even those where  the student did not receive financial aid as well as hours transferred in from another school. If the number of attempted hours reaches 150% of the hours required for graduation, the student will no longer be eligible for financial aid.

Students will be limited to the following number of attempted hours to complete their degree or certification program:

DEGREE OR PROGRAM                  ATTEMPTED HOURS           
Undergraduate Degree 180
2nd Undergraduate Degree 45
Teacher Certification 45

Graduate Students

To coincide with A&M Commerce's Graduate College policy, graduate students pursuing a Master's degree must complete their degree program within six (6) years from the time they are admitted to their respective Master's program. Graduate students pursuing a PhD program must complete their degree program within ten (10) years from the time they are admitted to their respective PhD program. All periods of enrollment are considered, even those where the student did not receive financial aid as well as hours transferred in from another school.  Once the maximum time frame has been reached, the student will no longer be eligible for financial aid.

Failure to Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

FINANCIAL AID WARNING

The first time a student fails to meet Financial Aid SAP standards, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Warning Status.  A notification will be sent to the student via MyLEO email account.  Students will be eligible for financial aid while in a warning status.  However, students must make satisfactory academic progress during the semester or term to remain eligible for financial aid.

FINANCIAL AID SUSPENSION

In the event the student does not meet the requirements for SAP while in Financial Aid Warning Status, he or she will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.  Notification will be sent to the student via MyLEO email account.  Students will not be eligible for any type of federal, state or institutional aid while in a suspension status. 

*Students that completely withdraw from all courses in a semester or receive all Fs for a semester will have their aid cancelled for any future aid periods. Students will automatically be on Financial Aid suspension.

Appeal Process

Students whose eligibility for financial aid has been suspended may appeal the decision in writing to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships if they had extenuating circumstance(s) that led to their unsatisfactory progress.  Extenuating circumstances consist of but is not limited to a personal illness, medical problems, death in the family, etc. Documentation is required to substantiate the extenuating circumstance(s).

An appeal consists of the appropriate appeal form and supporting documentation. There are two different appeal forms. The student will complete the appeal form based on the reason why the student was placed on financial aid suspension.

Educational Plans:
Students who complete a semester with all Fs and submit the Financial Aid Standards of Progress: All Fs Appeal Request form will be placed on an educational plan immediately following the semester of all Fs.

Students who complete the Financial Aid Standards of Progress: Appeal Request for GPA and/or Completion Hours form may be placed on an educational depending on the academic history review.  If during the academic history review, it is found the student can meet financial aid standards of progress within the next semester will be placed on probation without the need for an educational plan. If in the next semester of enrollment while on probation the student again does not meet financial aid minimum standards of progress, the student will be required to meet with a representative of the academic advising center and establish an educational plan.

All educational plans will outline what is expected of the student and the timeframe needed to return to meeting standards of progress. The appropriate educational plan form will need to be completed by the student and the representative of the academic advising center and submitted to the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships along with the appropriate appeal form.

The student will agree to the conditions of the educational plan. Should the student not agree to be on an educational plan the student will forfeit future financial aid. The student will need to reinstate their financial aid through the reinstatement process.

Appeals are reviewed by committee and decisions are sent from the Financial Aid Director to the student in writing to student's myLEO email account.

If the student is not satisfied with the decision sent by the Financial Aid Director, the final option for the student is to appeal to the University Financial Aid Appeals Committee.  This must be completed within 10 calendar days of notification of denial by the Financial Aid Director. The student must complete the Appeal to University Financial Aid Committee form. Documentation must be submitted that supports this request.

The Chair of the University Financial Aid Appeals Committee will notify Financial Aid Director of the decision of the committee membership. The Financial Aid Director will notify the student of the Committee’s decision. The decision of the University Financial Aid Appeals Committee is final and cannot be overturned.

Note: A student placed on an educational plan must follow that plan for the duration outlined on the plan. Should a student not be able to meet the conditions of that plan the student will be allowed only one additional appeal to modify the plan. When a modification to an educational plan is done, and should the student not be able to meet the conditions of the modified plan, the student will forfeit future financial aid.

* If the student has exceeded the maximum time frame of 150% of the number of credit hours required for graduation in his or her program of study, as published in the University catalog and is appealing based on a change of major, the student must download the appropriate appeal form and must also their Department Head and Academic Advisor complete the 2nd portion of the appeal form which indicates the number of credit hours required for the major and the number of hours remaining. Appeal will not be reviewed without completion or submission of this form.

FINANCIAL AID PROBATION AND EDUCATIONAL PLANS

The student who fails to make satisfactory progress and has appealed their Financial Aid Suspension and has had eligibility for financial aid reinstated is assigned a status of Financial Aid Probation and are able to receive financial aid.  Students on Financial Aid Probation may not receive financial aid for the subsequent semester or term unless the student makes satisfactory academic progress or the university determines that the student met the requirements specified in the academic plan for the student.

REINSTATEMENT OF FINANCIAL AID

After a Financial aid suspension, if a student chooses to not submit an appeal or if a student has lost all appeal options, a student can reinstate their financial aid for a subsequent term.

  • A student must enroll at least half-time (6 credit hours) for one semester at Texas A&M-Commerce, pay the expenses related to that enrollment, complete all attempted hours for the semester, if enrolling in the minimum 6 credit hours, and obtain the appropriate end of term GPA and institutional cumulative GPA.
  • Undergraduate freshmen students  must have an end of term GPA and an institutional GPA of a minimum 1.8; Sophomore, junior and senior undergraduate students must have an end of term GPA and an institutional  GPA of a minimum 2.0.
  • Graduate level students must have an end of term GPA and an institutional GPA of a minimum 3.0.

A student who successfully meets the requirement for reinstatement and all other conditions regarding financial aid standards of progress will be placed back on Financial Aid Probation and will be eligible to apply for financial aid. Two consecutive terms of meeting all conditions of financial aid standards of progress will place the student back in good standing. 

How Grades, INCOMPLETES, Withdrawals, Transfer Credits and Repeats Affect SAP

Attempted hours include all registered hours per semester whether or not the student earns a grade or receives credit.

The following are considered hours attempted, but not completed:

  • “F” grades for undergraduate students
  • “D” or “F” grades for graduate students
  • “W” or withdrawal from courses for all students
  • “Q” dropped course(s), but still enrolled for all students
  • “I”, incomplete, “IP”, in progress, or “X” incomplete grades for all students
  • “U” unsatisfactory grades for all students
  • All transfer hours attempted, but not completed for all students

The following are considered completed hours and include all semester hours for which the student earns a grade:

  • “A” through “D” grades for undergraduate students
  • “A” through “C” grades for graduate students
  • “S” satisfactory grades for all students
  • All transfer hours completed for all students

Financial assistance is usually not provided for repeated coursework. 

However, if a higher grade for a particular course is required for that course to be accepted to the student’s official program of study, the financial assistance can be provided on an individual basis.

Certain courses, in the Department of Music and the Department of Art, though they appear to be repeat courses are not repeat courses. The course needs to be taken several semesters in order to obtain the necessary credit hours within the course.

FINANCIAL AID WILL NOT BE PROVIDED FOR:

  • Courses taken by audit
  • Credit hours earned by placement exams
  • Non-credit coursework
  • Transient and transfer students attending only for one term
  • Non-degree students who will not seek a degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Course(s) being repeated where a passing grade was earned and are accepted towards the degree
  • Course(s) where a passing grade was earned and the course(s) is being repeated for the sole purpose of improving the GPA
  • Course where a passing grade was earned and the course is being repeated in combination with another course for purposes of receiving financial aid