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Formerly Known as Reasonable Academic Progress (RAP) Policy

General Information

To be eligible for federal, state, and institutional financial aid, all students are required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP.)  The regulations provided by the U.S Department of Education are geared toward improving program integrity.  Virginia Tech has established its own policy to adhere to these guidelines while ensuring student success.

The following information provides a more in-depth understanding of the minimum progress requirements a student must meet in order to be eligible for financial aid.  It is important to note these requirements may differ from that of the university and individual colleges.

Federal regulations are continuously updated and we are required to verify that our policy meets any changes.  If any changes occur, our website will be updated and notifications will be sent to those students affected.

Financial Aid Programs Subject to SAP Policy

Table 1

Federal

State

Institutional

Federal Pell Grant

Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP)

Virginia Tech Grant

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Commonwealth Grant

Funds for the Future Grant

Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized, PLUS)

2-year College Transfer Grant

Brookings Loan

Federal Perkins

 

Misc. scholarships (merit)

Federal Work Study

 

 

Federal TEACH Grant

 

 

Note regarding our office policy on alternative loans:  Alternative loans will not be certified if the student is not making satisfactory academic progress.  If the student is failing for maximum time-frame only, we may approve an alternative loan if the student is in their last academic year of study.  Please discuss with the SAP Coordinator if you have questions.

Evaluation

The Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid (USFA) evaluates Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) annually, at the end of spring semester once grades are posted.  Students that are included in this review include undergraduates, graduates, both full-time and part-time, who have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA.)  This is a cumulative review of all semesters regardless of whether or not the student received financial aid during a particular academic year.  The evaluation is based on the student meeting three criteria, which are described below:

  • Meeting a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA)
  • Earning a minimum number of credits (Pace of Progress)
  • Cumulative attempted hours not exceeding program requirements (Maximum Time-Frame)

Students who fail to meet any one of the criteria are considered ineligible for financial aid.  The information below will explain each standard in more detail as well as provide submission Reasons, Appeal Requirements, and Deadlines.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

To maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, students must maintain the following minimum cumulative GPA:

  • Undergraduates – 2.0
  • Graduates – 3.0

Impact of Grades on Cumulative GPA calculation

Table 2

Grade Earned Counted in Grade Point Average
A, B, C, D, F (+/-) Yes
P-Passing, F-Failing Yes
NG-No Grade, No Grade Assigned Yes
I-Incomplete No
X-Continuing Course, EQ-Equivalent Credit No
W-Undergraduate Withdrawal No
WG-Graduate Withdrawal No
AUD-Audit, WP-Withdrawal Exception No
RG-Graduate Repeated, RP-Undergraduate Repeated Yes
NR-Not Reported No

 

If additional information is needed about the grading policy at Virginia Tech, please refer to the catalogue on the Registrar’s website for undergraduates or the Graduate School website for graduates.

Pace of Progress

This standard is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credits successfully completed by the cumulative number of credits the student has attempted.  Attempted hours are the credits you are currently enrolled in at the time of census.  Census dates can be found on the Registrar’s Office website at http://www.registrar.vt.edu/dates_deadlines/census_dates/index.html.

To be eligible for financial aid, a student is required to complete a minimum of 67% of cumulative attempted credits.

Pace of Progress ≥67% = SAP eligible for Pace

The table below will help you understand how grades can impact your Pace of Progress calculation.

Table 3

Grade Earned

Pace of Progress

Counted Toward Maximum Time-Frame

Units Completed Units Attempted
A, B, C, D (+,-) Yes Yes Yes
P, X, EQ Yes Yes Yes
F, NG, NR No Yes Yes
I, WG, W, WP No Yes Yes
RG, RP Yes Yes Yes
Dual Enroll, AP Yes Yes Yes

 

Note: Audit classes are not counted towards Pace of Progress.

Maximum Time-Frame

Students must complete their degree within a specified amount of time.  This standard will depend on the student’s enrollment status and degree.  Table 3 (above) shows how different grades and courses are counted towards the Maximum-Time Frame allowance. 

No student may exceed 150% of the published length of their educational program. Students will be notified and will need to appeal for financial aid when they are approaching 150%.

Example: An Undergraduate student that is required to complete 120 credits to graduate will be eligible for financial aid up to 150 credits.  An undergraduate student pursuing a degree that requires 136 credits to graduate will be eligible up to 170 credits.

Students pursuing a double major or dual degree should note that once a student has completed the requirements for one major or degree, financial aid eligibility will be limited.

If a student fails any of the above SAP standards, the student’s financial aid eligibility is suspended.

Appeal Procedures

Notification of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students who have met these requirements will not receive any type of notification.  USFA will send a notification to students who have not met SAP standards stating ineligibility for financial aid. The notification will be sent by email to the student’s Virginia Tech email address and will outline the academic standards, reason(s) the student failed, and other pertinent information regarding appeal reason and procedures.

Once the notification is sent, students have 14 days from the date of notification or 14 days after the start of semester, whichever is later, to appeal.  This only applies to students that file a FAFSA prior to the start of the current term.  If a student files a FASFA after the start of the term, the last day to file the appeal will be listed on the appeal form.

Potential Delay of Disbursements

Financial aid may not be disbursed to a student’s account until SAP has been evaluated.  This process cannot be completed until after grades have officially posted from the prior semester.  Students that have failed SAP may experience a delayed financial aid disbursement if grades are not made official before the start of the subsequent semester.  No exceptions can be made to this process.

Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility

               Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility with a Grade or Degree Change

Students who have received a SAP failure notice due to GPA or Pace of Progress and have received a grade change will need to notify our office for a re-evaluation of SAP.  If the student is back in compliance with SAP standards, our office will update the student’s SAP status and make any other necessary adjustments.  Also, if a student is failing for undergraduate maximum-time frame and is now accepted to Graduate School, they will need to contact our office so we can update the system.  The SAP process is run with prior semester information.

               Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility with Maximum Time-Frame

Students who need additional time to complete their first degree must complete the SAP Appeal cover sheet.  A letter regarding why the student has not completed the degree, an advisor/department chair letter explaining what classes remain, what terms they will be taken in, and the student’s expected graduation date must accompany the appeal.  Graduate students need to include their approved plan of study with their appeal.

University Scholarships and Financial Aid Office may increase the maximum-time frame for students who have a one-time major change, are adding a major, or have experienced an extenuating circumstance that has now been resolved.

               Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility with a GPA or Pace of Progress

Students may also appeal for failing GPA and/or Pace of Progress.  The following will be considered: injury or illness of student or family member, death of a close relative, or other reasons resulting in undue hardship to the student.  Graduate students would only need to submit the SAP cover sheet and personal letter explaining why the student has failed and what changes they have or will make to successfully complete their degree.  Undergraduate students will need to complete the SAP cover sheet and include a personal letter.

Notification of Appeal Decision

SAP appeals will be reviewed once all required documentation is received.   Notification of the decision will be emailed to the student’s Virginia Tech email address within 15 business days.

Approved Decision:

If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on an academic plan/contract whereby specific conditions must be satisfied to demonstrate progress toward degree completion.  The academic plan/contract is an agreement with the student and financial aid office that may be stricter than the above guidelines in order for a student to successfully graduate.  Acceptance of the approved plan/contract supersedes all other SAP regulations.  The student’s approved academic plan/contract may be shared with his or her academic department.

The Financial Aid Office will evaluate all students that have a SAP plan/contract at the end of each semester.  If a student meets the terms of the plan/contract but is not back in compliance, the contract will be extended for another term.

A student that fails to meet the terms of the plan/contract will lose financial aid eligibility until the student is able to meet all the SAP standards.

Denied Decision:

If the appeal is denied, the student may pay for the classes out of pocket or make monthly payments using the budget tuition plan. Students will regain eligibility for federal, state, and institutional aid once they meet SAP standards.

Students Who Do Not Appeal

Students who choose not to appeal will be required to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards before regaining eligibility for financial aid.  Once the student has regained SAP, the student is eligible to receive financial aid at Virginia Tech.  The student cannot automatically regain eligibility by paying for classes for a semester, by sitting out a semester, or by taking classes elsewhere.