The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, mandates institutions of higher education to establish minimum standards of "satisfactory academic progress" for students receiving financial assistance. Progress is evaluated at the end of fall, spring, and summer semesters to ensure that the student is on track to obtain a degree/certificate.
These standards apply to all federal and state grants and loans. These financial aid standards of academic progress are separate from, and in addition to, academic standards required by the University for continued enrollment.
The criteria used to define academic progress for purposes of determining eligibility for federal financial aid are Cumulative Grade Point Average, Pace of Completion and Maximum Time Frame.
Standards used to measure progress must include all periods of the student's enrollment, including all accelerated and cohort terms. Satisfactory progress will be evaluated at the end of fall, spring, and summer semesters. Courses taken during the winter term will be evaluated along with spring courses at the end of spring semester.
After grades are posted at the end of each regular semester the Office of Student Financial Planning will contact by letter students who are not meeting satisfactory progress standards. Undergraduate students with less than 24 credit hours not meeting the standards will be placed on Financial Aid Warning and will have a conditional period of one regular semester during which they may continue to receive aid. All other students not meeting the standards will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will not be eligible to receive any federal financial aid from that point forward even if aid has already been awarded.
Students may appeal the denial of their aid through the Appeal Process described in this policy.
A grade of "incomplete" will not be factored into calculating satisfactory academic progress until the grade is changed to a completed grade. This may result in failure to achieve satisfactory progress and denial of aid until a final grade is earned. A student should contact the Office of Student Financial Planning when an incomplete grade is changed to a final grade for recalculation of satisfactory progress.
Repeated courses affect academic progress as follows:
Once a student has begun attendance in a semester, if he/she then drops a class or withdraws from the semester after the last day to drop without academic record for the enrollment period, those credit hours will be counted as credit hours attempted in calculating Pace of Completion and Maximum Time Frame.
A student who withdraws from a semester and returns the following semester must meet the SAP requirements in order to be eligible for federal aid.
Transfer hours accepted by Union are counted as both hours attempted and hours completed for calculating Pace of Completion, and are counted toward the student's overall Maximum Time Frame. Transfer credits do not affect a student's GPA.
New transfer students will be eligible for federal aid their first semester at Union unless they have already exceeded their Maximum Time Frame. Students may follow the process for appeal of Maximum Time Frame if they changed majors upon enrolling at Union.
Transfer students who previously were enrolled at Union will have their eligibility determined by evaluating past credits/grades earned at Union combined with transfer credits accepted.
A student who is readmitted to Union whose prior academic record does not meet the standards for satisfactory progress is considered to be on Financial Aid Suspension and will not be eligible to receive financial aid. The student may follow the appeal process and if successful will be put on Financial Aid Probation and be eligible to receive aid for at least one semester.
Students who fail to make satisfactory progress at the end of a semester will be notified by the Office of Student Financial Planning within ten business days following the deadline for grades to be posted.
Students who have lost eligibility for aid due to GPA or Pace of Completion may appeal based on serious illness or injury to the student, death of a relative, or other special circumstances which were unexpected and beyond the student's control. Appeal is made by submitting a letter to the Assistant Vice President for Student Financial Planning explaining:
The student whose appeal is approved will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and will be eligible to receive aid for at least one semester if:
The student who fails to meet the satisfactory progress requirements at the end of a semester of Financial Aid Probation, or is not adhering to the requirements of an Academic Plan, will be put on Financial Aid Suspension and will not be eligible to receive federal aid until eligibility has been reinstated. If there are extenuating circumstances a student may be given an opportunity for a subsequent appeal.
Students who have lost eligibility for aid due to exceeding the 150% maximum time frame may appeal if they have changed their major since beginning attendance at Union. Appeal should be made in writing to the Assistant Vice President for Student Financial Planning and accompanied by documentation from the Academic Center or their Academic Advisor showing the student's new major and the credit hours which will apply toward the new major. The student will be allowed to appeal on the basis of a change in major one time.
Students seeking a second undergraduate degree who have exceeded the Maximum Time Frame may appeal to extend their time frame. The student must submit to the Office of Student Financial Planning a degree plan from their Academic Advisor listing all courses needed to complete their second undergraduate degree. A new time frame will be calculated based on the number of hours needed.
Students will be informed by campus email of the results of their appeal.
Students who lose eligibility and do not appeal or whose appeal is not approved will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will not receive federal aid until eligibility has been reinstated.
After at least one semester of Financial Aid Suspension a student may reestablish eligibility for aid as follows:
When a student believes that he has regained eligibility, he/she should send a request in writing or by email to the Office of Student Financial Planning that eligibility be reinstated. The student will be notified by campus email the results of this request.
A student who completes the academic requirements for a program, but does not yet have the degree or certificate is not eligible for further Federal Student Aid funds for that program.