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Satisfactory Academic Progress
The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Program Integrity Regulations, effective July 1, 2011, mandates that institutions of higher education establish a standard of satisfactory academic progress for students who receive federal student financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (referred to in this policy as “Federal Student Aid”). Therefore, to be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid, including Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Federal Work- Study, and Federal Direct Loan Programs (Stafford and PLUS), undergraduate students must meet MassArt’s satisfactory academic progress standards (SAP) as outlined in this policy. MassArt will also use SAP to determine a student’s eligibility to receive MassArt need-based financial aid.
SAP looks at two factors: whether the student is in good standing and the student’s pace of completion. SAP will be measured once a year, after the completion of the spring semester. It is important to note that SAP is calculated separately from academic standing. Students are responsible for being familiar with both of these policies. Questions can be directed to Academic Resource Center or Student Financial Assistance.
Financial Aid Good Standing (Qualitative)
Undergraduate students are considered to be in financial aid good standing when they receive credit toward their degree for 2/3 of all credit hours attempted.
MassArt uses a dual grading system. Successful completion of a course will result in a Pass (P), or a letter grade of D or better, and will count towards a student’s degree. Grades of F, No Credit (NC), a Withdrawal (W) or Incomplete (INC) represent unsuccessful completion of a course, and will not count toward the student’s degree. To determine whether a student is in financial aid good standing, SAP measures cumulative credit hours completed (grades of P, D or better) versus cumulative credit hours attempted (grades of P, D or better, F, NC, W and INC).
Credits attributable to all repeated courses (discussed below) are included in this equation. Transfer credits accepted by MassArt are also included in this equation as both hours attempted and hours completed.
Pace of Completion/Maximum Time Frames (Quantitative)
At the completion of the spring semester, students’ cumulative pace of completion will be calculated. Using the same methodology stated above, pace of completion is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credit hours the student has successfully completed by the cumulative number of credit hours the student has attempted, regardless of whether or not the student received Federal Student Aid for those credit hours. Transfer hours are included in both the completed and attempted hours. In order to remain eligible for Federal Student Aid and MassArt need-based financial aid, a student must progress throughout the educational program at a pace sufficient to ensure that the student will complete the program within the maximum timeframe permitted for Federal Student Aid, which is defined at 150% of the length of the degree program as measured in credit hours. MassArt requires students to maintain a consistent pace throughout their academic program. Therefore, to meet the pace of completion standard, a student must have successfully completed 2/3 of the cumulative credit hours attempted through the review period. A student’s eligibility for Federal Student Aid will terminate when the student has attempted 180 credit hours for their degree requiring 120 credit hours for completion.
It is important to note that a student who reaches a point at which they cannot complete the degree requirements within 150% of the program’s required hours will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension (defined below), unless the student successfully appeals such suspension.
Students will be notified by email or in writing if they fail to achieve financial aid good standing or maintain pace of completion after SAP is reviewed. (Note that because of the criteria used to measure the two standards, a student who fails to achieve good standing will typically also fail to maintain pace of completion.)
Financial Aid Suspension
A student on Financial Aid Suspension is no longer eligible to receive Federal Student Aid or MassArt need-based financial aid.
Appeal of Financial Aid Suspension
An undergraduate student may appeal their Financial Aid Suspension with the Student Financial Assistance Office if the student believes that extenuating circumstances exist. Appeals should be submitted in writing to the Associate Director of Student Financial Assistance. The student’s appeal must include why they failed to make satisfactory academic progress (i.e., death of a relative, injury, illness or other circumstances) and what has changed that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress by the end of the next payment period. The decision of the Student Financial Assistance Office with respect to the student’s appeal will be final and the student will not be entitled to amend and re-submit their request for appeal.
Financial Aid Probation
If an undergraduate student successfully appeals their Financial Aid Suspension, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and will be expected to meet financial aid good standing and/or resume pace of completion by the end of the next payment period. (MassArt has two undergraduate payment periods: fall and spring.) Alternatively, a student on Financial Aid Probation may be placed on an academic plan that will ensure that the student is able to meet satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes by a specific point in time. An academic plan will be coordinated with an academic advisor to ensure success. If a student does not successfully meet the previously listed terms of their Financial Aid Probation, they will return to Financial Aid Suspension and will no longer be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid or MassArt need-based financial aid.
A student who is unsuccessful in their attempt to appeal a Financial Aid Suspension or who does not wish to pursue an appeal of such suspension may nonetheless regain eligibility for Federal Student Aid and MassArt need-based financial aid by taking actions that bring them into compliance with the standards of this policy. For example, a student who continues to take classes without using Federal Student Aid or MassArt need-based financial aid may be returned to financial aid good standing when they successfully complete 2/3 of all credit hours attempted. Alternative actions, however, cannot serve as the basis of regaining eligibility for Federal Student Aid or MassArt need-based aid by a student who reaches a point at which they cannot complete the degree requirements within 150% of the program’s required hours.
Except for institutionally approved repeatable courses, students may repeat a course and receive Federal Student Aid only once in the case of a passed course. Students may receive Federal Student Aid for repeat of failed courses until the course is passed, subject to the eligibility requirements stated above.
Second Degree Students
Students seeking a second undergraduate degree are subject to the maximum time frame as outlined earlier in the policy. Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree are eligible for federal student loans and federal work-study only, through the federal financial aid programs.
MassArt does not offer or transfer noncredit courses toward undergraduate degrees.