Satisfactory Academic Progess - Undergraduate

Recipients of federal financial aid, and certain state aid, retain eligibility by maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).  An institution must have a written SAP policy which is available to all students.  The SAP policy must be the same as or more strict than the academic policy applied to students in the same program who are not receiving federal student aid.

An institution’s SAP policy must include a quantitative measurement (maximum time frame and pace of completion), qualitative measure (GPA), and must specify the regular intervals when SAP is measured (not less than once annually).  The policy must address the treatment of remedial, ESL, audited and pass/fail credits as well as incompletes and withdrawals and credits earned by transfer or consortium agreement.  Finally, a SAP policy must address how pursuit of a second degree or a change of major impact eligibility.


This policy applies to all undergraduate students and applies to all institutional, federal student aid, and any state grants/scholarships or private/outside loans, grants and scholarship which specifically require that the student maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress as determined by Student Financial Services.

Appeal Form

Quantitative Standard

Maximum Time-Frame

For an undergraduate program, the maximum time frame cannot exceed 150% of the published program length in credit hours attempted.

Undergraduate programs at Saint Michael’s College require 128 credits for graduation and the maximum timeframe is therefore 192 attempted credits.

In the event that a student’s program requires more or fewer than 128 credits (for example based on an earlier catalogue year), the maximum timeframe is determined by multiplying the number of credit hours required for graduation by 150% and rounding down to the nearest whole integer.

The maximum timeframe is not extended for students who change majors, pursue a double major and/or minor or double minor.


Undergraduate students must earn at least 67.00% (cumulative) of the credit hours they attempted.

Attempted Credits

A credit hour is considered attempted if the student was officially registered for the credit at the conclusion of the drop/add period for the applicable term except that:

  • Retroactively added credit hours, added after the conclusion of the drop/add period are considered attempted;
  • A credit is not considered attempted if a student is officially registered for a credit hour at the conclusion of the drop/add period for the applicable term but the course professor or Dean’s office subsequently certifies that the student never began attendance in the course and the course is retroactively dropped.

Qualitative Standard

Students must maintain at least the minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) specified below based on the number of credits completed:

  • 1.80 GPA required up to 32 credits completed
  • 2.00 GPA once 33 or more credits are completed

Treatment of Incompletes, Withdrawals, Audits, Pass/Fail, Repeated, Transfer, Consortium and Remedial Courses

Incompletes and Withdrawals

Grades of “I” and “W” are counted as courses attempted but not earned when calculating pace of completion and these courses also count toward the maximum timeframe.

Audited Courses

Students do not earn any academic credit for audited courses. They do not count in the calculation of GPA, attempted or earned credits. Financial aid is not available to assist with courses taken for audit.

Pass/Fail Courses

These hours count toward the total attempted and, if passed, earned hours. They do not impact a student’s GPA.

Repeated Courses

A course is repeated when a student takes the same course, with the same content, more than once. Content, not course subject, number and title, determines whether a course is being repeated. (For example, a student who takes Classics 096/Special Topics in the fall and spring terms is not repeating the course if the fall course studies Plato and the spring course studies The Aeneid.) In cases where the course subject and number repeat, but new content is provided, the course is not considered to be repeated and all attempts of the course are included when calculating a student’s GPA and attempted and earned credit hours.

When a course is repeated:

  • The credit hours for both attempts are counted in the GPA calculation;
  • The credit hours for both attempts are counted in the calculation of attempted credits;
  • A student may not earn credits twice for the same course – therefore:
    • If a student successfully passes both attempts, the calculation of earned credits includes only one attempt;
    • If a student is unsuccessful (fails) both attempts the calculation of earned credits includes both attempts.
    • If a student successfully completes one attempt, the calculation of earned credits includes only the successful attempt.

Transfer/Consortium Credits

Transfer credits are counted as hours attempted and earned. Transfer credits are not factored when calculating a student’s GPA.

Credits earned before enrolling in a degree program

Credits taken while a non-degree student at Saint Michael’s College, but which apply toward a student’s undergraduate degree are included in the calculation of a student’s attempted and earned credits and when calculating a student’s GPA.

Remedial and ESL courses

The credit hours from these courses count as both attempted and earned if the courses are passed and will be included in the GPA calculation.


SAP Evaluations

Each financial aid recipient’s progress is reviewed once annually, at the conclusion of the spring term. Students are measured against both the qualitative and the quantitative standards. Students are responsible for notifying Student Financial Services of any grade changes which occur after grade processing and satisfactory academic progress evaluations are complete.

If a student is not meeting the standard, the student’s eligibility for Federal Student Aid is terminated. The student is notified that his/her eligibility has been terminated. Notification is also provided to the Associate Dean of the College. The notice provides students information about the SAP standards and how the student can appeal the decision to terminate his/her aid eligibility.

If a student was placed on probationary status based on a previous appeal, their progress will be reviewed after each term to verify that s/he is meeting the conditions of his/her academic plan.

Financial Aid Probation

Financial Aid Probation status is assigned to a student who has failed to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards and whose financial aid eligibility has been reinstated based on a successful appeal. During a period of Financial Aid Probation, a student who meets all other eligibility requirements remains eligible for federal and institutional aid. When a student’s appeal is granted, Financial Aid Probation is granted for one or more terms based on an academic plan provided as part of the student’s appeal. Students remain on Financial Aid Probation provided they comply with the terms of their academic plan.

Academic progress of students on Financial Aid Probation is reviewed each payment period to ensure that the student continues to meet the terms of his or her academic plan. If a student continues to meet the terms of his or her academic plan, his or her Financial Aid Probation continues. If s/he is not meeting the terms of his or her academic plan, his or her eligibility for Federal Student Aid is terminated.


Students may appeal a termination of financial aid based on failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress based on extenuating circumstances. Students are advised to appeal within 60 days of the date of their termination notice. All appeals must be submitted using the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form. On the appeal form the student must clearly document why the student failed to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards and what has changed that will allow the student to meet the standards. In addition, the student must include an academic plan which indicates the specific actions the student will take to meet the standard and when the student will meet the standard. If the student will not meet the SAP standards at the end of the next payment period, the academic plan must show the specific GPA and completion rate benchmarks a student will meet each payment period until s/he meets the SAP standards. Complete appeals along with the academic plan and supporting documentation should be submitted to Student Financial Services.

If the appeal is granted, the student will be placed on Satisfactory Academic Probation contingent upon successful completion of the academic plan provided as part of their appeal. The student shall remain on probation provided they comply with their academic plan, until they are meeting the College’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. If the appeal is denied, the student can continue to attend the College, but it would be without federal student aid.

The student will be notified of the outcome of the appeal via their St. Michael’s College email in approximately 10 to 14 business days after receipt of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility

A student whose financial aid eligibility has been terminated for failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress and who is subsequently found to be meeting the SAP standards and who meets all other eligibility requirements shall regain eligibility for federal student aid, but not retroactively.