Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations require colleges to establish and apply reasonable standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for the purpose of the receipt of financial assistance under the programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act.  Each institution must design criteria which outlines the definition of student progress towards a degree and the consequences to the student if progress is not achieved.  Holy Cross College students who wish to be considered for financial aid must maintain satisfactory progress in their selected course of study as set forth in this policy.

The Holy Cross College SAP policy is applied consistently for all Holy Cross students, regardless of their receipt of federal or state aid, at the end of each payment period. Holy Cross is a semester school and offers classes during three periods of enrollment per year: fall, spring and summer. The financial aid office runs the SAP process after grades have been posted for the semester so students can be contacted with the results of the process prior to the beginning of the next semester.  In order to achieve satisfactory academic progress, a student needs to meet GPA, Timeframe, and Pace Requirements, which are explained below.

GPA Requirement

Holy Cross College requires that all students achieve a 2.0 GPA each semester and maintain at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA to meet GPA standards for SAP.

Please note that the cumulative GPA includes all developmental courses and courses dropped after the 100% refund period. Transfer hours from other institutions are excluded.  All incompletes (I’s), Withdrawals (Ws), Credit/No Credit, Pass/No Pass courses are included in GPA calculation.  However, the new grade for repeated course replaces the old grade in the GPA calculation.

Timeframe Requirement

All students must complete their degree within 150% of the credit hours required for their officially-declared degree (150% rule). The average timeframe to complete a degree at Holy Cross College is 120 credit hours, making the 150% maximum timeframe 180 “attempted” credit hours.

The credit-hour maximum will consider all Holy Cross College credit hours and transfer hours from other institutions. All Holy Cross credit hours are considered even if federal and state aid was not received during some semesters.

Pace Requirement

Students must satisfactorily complete at least 67% of their overall cumulative attempted credits or they need to successfully complete 10 credit hours each semester (whichever is higher) hours to meet the pace requirement for SAP.

The total number of attempted credit hours for each semester is multiplied by 67%, depending on the student’s cumulative credit hours attempted. This number represents the minimum number of credit hours the student must complete that semester.

Example: A new student who begins fall semester with 15 credit hours must complete a minimum of 10 credit hours that semester.

15 credit hours X .67 (67) = 10.0 credit hours. If a student is enrolled for

12 credits, he or she is not allowed to drop below 10 credits at the end of a term. If he or she does, they will be on financial aid probation.

Please note that all incompletes (I’s), Withdrawals (Ws), Credit/No Credit, Pass/No Pass courses are included in pace calculations.  To complete credit hours means to receive a grade of A, B, C, D or F. Grades of I, FA, U, and W are considered non-progress grades and may cause financial aid ineligibility. Transfer hours from other institutions are excluded.

Remedial Credit Limitation

No student may receive financial aid for more than 12 credits (four three credit hour courses) of remedial coursework taken at Holy Cross College.  Remedial courses are defined as all courses under the 100 level, except ESL courses.  Once a student has attempted 12 or more remedial credits, he /she will have only college level courses funded, assuming all other aspects of SAP are being met.

Repeating Courses

Students can only repeat completed courses one time and still have the course covered by Title IV funding.  Students wanting to improve grade point averages, or obtain a better grade for transferability, may be required to pay for those courses out of pocket.  All repeated courses do affect financial aid satisfactory academic progress calculations. A repeated course along with the original attempt must be counted as attempted credits, therefore, applies toward the 150% timeframe requirement.

 Warning and Ineligible Status

When the SAP process is ran at the end of each semester, new students who are not meeting SAP standards for the term or returning students who are not meeting SAP standards for the first time are placed in “Warning” status. Financial aid eligible students in “Warning” status will still be eligible for state and Title IV federal funding for one more term.
If a student in “Warning” status is still not meeting SAP standards at the end of the next term, he/she will then become financial aid “Ineligible” and will be ineligible for federal aid, state aid, and some institutionally-based aid.

Notifications to students regarding SAP results and decisions will be sent via US mail, email (in some cases) and information is available on students’ portal accounts in real time. Please note that students who have reached the maximum allowable credit hours will not receive a warning and will be deemed ineligible for financial aid regardless of any prior SAP status.

Appealing a SAP decision

A financial aid “Warning” is not appealable. Once a student has become financial aid “Ineligible” there are two ways this student can become eligible for financial aid again. They are:

  1. A student can appeal their financial aid status by completing an appeal form, which includes a letter explaining the circumstances responsible for his/her poor academic performance, supporting documentation of the circumstances, and a documented, measurable, plan of study to correct the poor academic performance. The appeal must also describe what has changed in the student’s life regarding the situation so the student can be successful when SAP is run again.
  1. Attend school AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE until they again meet SAP standards.

The financial aid appeal committee will review cases on an individual basis and will notify the student of their decision via mail or email within fifteen days.

If a student appeals an “Ineligible” status and is approved, he/she will then be placed on financial aid “Probation.” The student’s status and adherence to his/her academic plan will be reviewed after SAP has been run each term. The student will be eligible to receive financial aid in “Probation” status.

If the student successfully completes the semester’s academic plan by completing and passing ALL attempted credit hours but does not yet meet standard, their “Probation” status will be continued when an updated academic plan is submitted and accepted by the financial aid office.

If the student does not complete the semester’s academic plan, he/she will then become ineligible for federal and state funding AND will be unable to file another appeal to receive aid. Re-establishing eligibility can only be accomplished by attending another institution and transferring in successful credit hour completions (in the PACE situation), or paying tuition at Holy Cross College until they meet SAP standards again.  Once the student meets standard, their “Probation” status will end and they will be restored to “Satisfactory” status.

Appealable circumstances include but are not limited to: the death of a student’s family member, serious illness or injury of the student or other serious, unavoidable, DOCUMENTED, circumstances. Acceptable “supporting documentation” may include: letters from student’s clergy, high school officials or medical professionals, copies of bills or statements from medical providers, or any CREDIBLE source involved in the special circumstance.

Major/Degree Requirements

A student receiving financial aid can only officially declare one degree at a time. Students pursuing a second degree must submit a degree completion plan signed by the student as well as the academic advisor for their degree program. The plan must indicate the courses required as well as the timeframe to complete the additional degree. If the student has attempted the maximum number of semesters or if their degree completion plan will cause them to exceed that limit, they may be denied financial aid.

For students who change decide to change their academic majors, any credits or grades that do not count toward the new major will not be included in SAP calculations.