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Satisfactory Academic Progress
GRADUATE DEGREE AND CERTIFICATE STUDENTS
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 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 Direct Loans (Stafford and Graduate PLUS), graduate and certificate students must meet MassArt’s financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards (SAP) as outlined in this policy.
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 the Academic Resource Center or Student Financial Assistance.
Financial Aid Good Standing (Qualitative)
Graduate and certificate students are considered to be in financial aid good standing when they successfully complete all credit hours attempted each semester.
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. For purposes of determining a student’s financial aid standing and pace of completion (discussed below), credits attributable to repeated courses (discussed below) will be included in the evaluation. Transfer credits accepted by MassArt are also included in this equation as both hours attempted and completed.
Pace of Completion/Maximum Time Frames (Quantitative)
At the completion of the spring semester, each student will be reviewed to determine whether they have received a grade of P or a letter grade of D or better in 100% of the classes attempted by the student on a cumulative basis.
A student is considered to be failing to maintain pace of completion if the student receives a grade of F, NC, W or INC in any course attempted. A student who receives one or more grades of F, NC, W or INC will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension (defined below).
Students who exceed the following maximum time frames will also be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.
Maximum Time Frames
- The student exceeds 33 credits in graduate or certificate programs requiring 24 credits for completion (examples: Post-Baccalaureate Certificates in design, photography and teaching)
- The student exceeds 38 credits in graduate or certificate programs requiring 29 credits for completion (examples: Fashion Design Certificate, Furniture Design Certificate)
- The student exceeds 39 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 30 credits for completion (examples: BFA/Master of Arts, BFA/Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education)
- The student exceeds 45 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 36 credits for completion (examples: Master of Arts in Teaching)
- The student exceeds 47 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 38 credits for completion (examples: Graphic Design Certificate)
- The student exceeds 60 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 51 credits for completion (examples: Industrial Design Certificate)
- The student exceeds 69 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 60 credits for completion (examples: Master of Architecture Track 2, Master of Design, Master of Fine Arts)
- The student exceeds 111 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 102 credits for completion (examples: Master of Architecture Track 1)
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.
Financial Aid Suspension
A graduate degree or certificate student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension if the student failed to receive a grade of P or a grade of D or better in all courses attempted or exceeded the maximum time frames permitted for aid. A student on Financial Aid Suspension is no longer eligible to receive Federal Student Aid.
Appeal of Financial Aid Suspension
A graduate degree or certificate 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 a graduate degree or certificate 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 three payment periods for graduate and certificate programs: summer, 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 the 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 for Federal Student Aid.
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 graduate degree are subject to the maximum time frame as outlined earlier in the policy. Students pursuing a second graduate degree are eligible for federal student loans through the federal financial aid program.
MassArt does not offer or transfer noncredit courses toward undergraduate degrees.