Federal regulations require that all student financial aid recipients progress at a reasonable rate or “make satisfactory progress” toward achieving a degree. The standard applies to all terms regardless of whether or not students received financial aid. Students’ cumulative grade point average and credits earned in relations to those attempted and the length of the academic program measure academic progress. Satisfactory Academic Progression (SAP) evaluation for undergraduate and graduate students occurs at the conclusion of the spring semester.

All students who receive financial aid at Alcorn State University must conform to the standards for SAP set by the University and outlined here. These standards encourage students to successfully complete their educational goals in a timely manner. It is important to remember that this SAP policy is administered by the Office of Student Financial Aid and is separate from the Academic Standards administered by the Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost for Academic Affairs.

Components of SAP

The following components are measured to determine whether students are meeting SAP standards: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Maximum Time Frame.

Qualitative Standard (Grade Point Average):

The qualitative component measures the quality of students’ SAP by conducting a review of the cumulative grade point average (GPA). To meet the qualitative requirement, students must have a minimum cumulative and overall GPA of at least a 2.0 (undergraduate) or 3.0 (graduate/specialist). Credits accepted from other schools that may be applied to a degree are counted in the calculation of students’ GPA and therefore are included in the qualitative measure.

(Specific federal, state, and institutional scholarships and grants may require a higher GPA for continued eligibility. This is a separate and distinct factor in renewing or continuing eligibility for these specific financial aid funds. The GPA for specific scholarships and grants supersedes the GPA requirements referenced above. Information about the terms and conditions of specific student aid programs that have GPA requirements are provided to students at the time the award is offered).

Quantitative Standard (Calculating PACE or Completion Ratio):

The quantitative component measures the pace at which students must progress through his/her program of study to ensure completion (within the maximum time frame permitted and provides for the measurement of students’ progress) at the end of each evaluation. Pace or completion rate is calculated according to the formula below:

Cumulative Attempted/Cumulative Earned = Completion Ratio of 67% or higher

Credits accepted from other schools that maybe applied to a degree are counted in the calculation as both attempted and earned hours. To meet the quantitative requirement, students’ completion ratio must be 67% or higher (undergraduate and graduates). “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, and “P” grades count as successfully completing the course. F”, “I”, “W”, “WF”, and “WP” grades do not count as the successful completion of a course. Repeated courses also count as attempted hours.


12 .26
Student’s completion ratio is 26% (.26 x 100). Therefore, the student did not meet this standard.
36 .80
Student’s completion ratio is 80% (.80 x 100). Therefore, the student met this standard.

Maximum Time Frame Measure:

Students’ financial aid is available up to 150% of the number of hours required to complete the specific program of study.


Degree Seeking Required Hours 150% of Required Hours
B. S. in Biology 120 180

If a bachelor’s program requires 120 hours, students may attempt a maximum of 180 hours before becoming ineligible for financial aid. Students who change majors or degree programs may reach eligibility limits before obtaining a degree. Students who decide to change majors or degree programs should do so early to prevent jeopardizing eligibility for student financial aid.

Students Seeking Subsequent Degree:

Students that have a degree higher than an associate degree and wish to seek another degree must complete and submit a Subsequent Degree Application. An Academic Degree Plan/Program of Study (can be retrieved from go.alcorn.edu) must be attached to the Subsequent Degree Application.

If approved, students must be admitted into the subsequent degree program and are restricted to enroll in only courses listed on the Subsequent Degree Certification of Hours Plan. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 (undergraduate)/3.0 (graduate/specialist) Financial Aid GPA; earn 67% of hours attempted at the end of the spring semester; and not exceed 150% of hours required to complete the degree. Students are required to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Alcorn State University Financial Aid Application, other required documents, and review their loan status at www.nslds.ed.gov.

SAP Review Process

SAP will be reviewed at the end of the spring semester to determine if students met the GPA, PACE, and Maximum Time Frame standards. If students fail to meet SAP after the spring, status will change to “Financial Aid Suspension.” There is no further action required if SAP standards are met. Students will remain eligible for financial aid. For those students that receive a Financial Aid Suspension status will be ineligible to receive financial aid.

Students who lose eligibility for federal, state, and institutional aid due to not meeting SAP requirements may submit a Satisfactory Academic Progression Appeal for Eligibility Application. Unless academically dismissed, students denied federal, state, and institutional aid may continue attending using other aid sources or by funding their education themselves. It is students’ responsibility to monitor his or her academic progress and understand requirements to complete their degree according to SAP standards.

Financial Aid Suspension

Financial Aid Suspension status is assigned to students who fail to make SAP at the end of the spring semester;
does not fulfill the requirements set forth according to his or her Academic Plan of Study or Subsequent Degree Certification of Hours Plan. Students can reestablish SAP eligibility by choosing one of the following options:

Self-Pay: SAP Suspension does not prevent students from registering for classes. However, payment is the responsibility of students and must be made as required by university policy.

Private or Alternative Student Loans: Students who do not qualify for Federal Financial Aid (because of financial aid suspension/ineligibility (reached max limit for federal financial aid) can apply for private or alternative student loans. These loans are nonfederal loans, made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, or state agency. Eligibility for private/alternative loans depends on the student’s creditworthiness. These loans are offered by private lenders and the amount you may borrow varies and depends on the lender of your choosing. The Office of Financial Aid will process any private/alternative loan of your choice upon notification. ASU does not have a preferred lender list, but you can search private or alternative student loans and compare terms and conditions of the loans before you decide on a particular lender.

Appeal: See SAP Appeal Process

Financial Aid Probation

Financial Aid Probation status is assigned to students who fail to make SAP and who has successfully appealed
and has had eligibility for financial aid reinstated. Students who are placed on financial aid probation may receive financial aid for one subsequent semester/term. Students on Financial Aid Probation may be required to meet certain terms and conditions while on financial aid probation, such as taking a reduced course load or taking specific courses. Students assigned a Financial Aid Probation status will be placed on a Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progression Plan of Study. At the conclusion of the SAP Academic Probation semester/term, students must either meet the SAP standards or fulfill the requirements specified in the Academic Progression Plan and Program of Study. Students who met the requirements of the plan and are still on Financial Probation, must meet with your Academic Adviser to submit an updated Academic Plan of Study.

Academic Circumstances that Affect Financial Aid Status

Withdrawals: Students who receive financial assistance and withdraw from the university (officially or unofficially) will adhere to the quantitative and qualitative measures listed above.

Incomplete: An incomplete does not mean that students have successfully completed the course. Incomplete will be treated as failing grades until removed. An incomplete will be treated as hours attempted.

Developmental Courses: Students advised to enroll in developmental courses will be considered enrolled in regular classes to a limit of three (3) hours for Developmental Mathematics, three (3) hours for Developmental English, three (3) hours for Developmental Studies Lab, and three (3) hours for Developmental Reading.

Repeats: Repeated courses enable students to achieve a higher cumulative GPA. However, for financial aid purposes, repeated courses count as additional hours attempted and may affect your financial aid award.

Change of Major: A change of major can have an adverse effect on your Satisfactory Academic Progression.
The credits students earn at Alcorn State University under all majors will be included in the calculation of qualitative, quantitative and maximum time frame measures.

SAP Appeal Process

If students do not meet SAP at the end of the spring semester, an appeal process is available for those students with extenuating circumstances. Students can appeal for reinstatement of Financial Aid by completing the Satisfactory Academic Progression Appeal for Eligibility Application. Students must COMPLETE all information on the application and SUBMIT completed application.

Students who have their federal financial aid suspended because of failure to meet quantitative or qualitative standards may appeal ONLY for a Valid Reason.

Valid Reason for your Financial Aid Suspension: Circumstances relating to the typical adjustment to college life such as working while attending school, financial issues related to paying bills and car maintenance/travel to campus, are not considered extenuating for purposes of appealing a financial aid restriction.

Reasons for Financial Aid Suspension

  • Medical: A personal medical problem contributed to your failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Attach documentation from a medical professional from whom you have received advice or treatment. All documentation MUST include the dates. Your personal statement must include the dates of treatment and a resolution to the medical issues as well as clearance to return to school from your doctor/physician.
  • Death/Illness: The death or illness of an immediate family member contributed to your lack of academic progress. Attach appropriate copies of medical records, death certificate, obituary, etc. Your personal statement must include your relationship to the immediate family member.
  • Military Service: You were required to report for active duty unexpectedly and had to withdraw. Provide a copy of official orders for active duty. Your personal statement must include your dates of deployment.
  • Other Unforeseen Events: An unexpected event occurred which affected your academic progress. Personal statement must include an explanation of the extenuating circumstance(s) and include appropriate documentation substantiating the reason(s) for lack of Satisfactory Academic Progress. Your personal statement must include dates of occurrences and a resolution to the issues.

Detailed Personal Statement: Federal regulations requires that you provide a detailed explanation of the special circumstances that prevented you from maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Specific dates as to when your special circumstance occurred, and detailed documentation to support your statement.

Documentation to support your personal statement. Review the reason you selected above and provide the requested documentation. Documentation should be specific and provide detailed information.

Academic Plan or Program of Study: Plan can be found at go.alcorn.edu or seek an academic advisor concerning a review of your plan before submitting.

Important Facts Concerning the SAP Appeal Process

  • Financial Aid policies are not directly related to policies for academic admission. Reinstatement to the University after academic suspension or dismissal does not ensure that students’ financial aid will also be reinstated.
  • The Financial Aid Committee realizes that students may not be able to immediately continue their education without financial assistance. However, financial hardship is not an extenuating circumstance that can be considered by the Financial Aid Committee.
  • Circumstances relating to the typical adjustment to college life such as working while attending school, financial issues related to paying bills and car maintenance/travel to campus, are not considered extenuating for purposes of appealing a financial aid restriction.
  • All documents must be submitted along with the SAP Appeal Application online.
  • SAP Appeals are due by the specified deadline on the SAP Appeal Application. Late appeals will not be accepted. Incomplete appeals will not be reviewed.
  • SAP Appeals are reviewed by the Financial Aid Committee. The Financial Aid Committee decisions are final.
  • The Financial Aid Committee decision on your appeal will be communicated in writing to the students’ email address provided on the application.
  • The Financial Aid Committee may not begin reviewing appeals until the beginning of the semester; therefore, you may not know the outcome of your appeal before classes begin. It is important to submit your appeal by the priority deadline.
  • If you decide to enroll in classes, you are responsible for the payment of all charges regardless of the outcome of the SAP appeal.

SAP Appeal Deadlines

Term Application Available Online Application Deadline
Summer May 10 May 16
Fall May 21 June 30
Spring December 1 January 6

Policy Effective:Fall 2012/Spring 2014/Spring 2015
Revised: July 1, 2012/December 9, 2013/March 17, 2015