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Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1965, students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress, both in quality and quantity to receive Title IV Federal Financial Aid and State Financial Aid. The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for remaining in good academic standing for the purposes of receiving financial aid at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) are as follows:

Qualitative (GPA) - Undergraduates students must earn the graduating GPA of 2.0. Graduate students must earn the graduating GPA of 3.0.

Quantitative (67% Pace of Completion) - Students must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of the total attempted hours which he/she registers for at GSW. Repeated classes, ESL courses, Incompletes, Withdrawals and earning grades of F, W, WF, WS, U, IP, I, NR done in excess could have a negative impact. These hours count as attempted hours and do not count in earned hours. Example: Your Total Earned Hours divided by Your Total Attempted Hours = ____. This ____ percentage rate must be at least 67% to maintain eligibility.

Maximum Time Frame - Students are allowed to attempt up to 150% of the hours required for their degree level. Example: If a bachelor program requires 120 credit hours, a student may attempt a maximum of 180 hours before becoming ineligible for financial aid. All periods of enrollment count toward time frame whether or not aid was received. Students who have completed all the coursework for their degree but have not received the degree are no longer eligible for aid. There is only one level of appeal for exceeding the 150% time frame. This appeal can only be made to the Financial Aid Office.

Learning Support/Developmental - Students can receive financial aid for no more than 30 hours of remedial course work. Students who are required to take remedial course work will be eligible to have their maximum time frame extended by the number of remedial hours taken up to a maximum of 30 hours. If terminated from aid for failure to exit Learning Support students may apply for reinstatement of aid when he/she has successfully exited Learning Support. There is no right of appeal for extended time for exiting Learning Support.

Second Degree - Students who have graduated with a Bachelors degree and wish to pursue a second Bachelors degree will be allowed 60 additional attempted hours toward the second degree. The minimum requirements of (2.0 overall cumulative) GPA and (67%) pace remain. An evaluation can be initiated by filing an appeal.

Transfer students - The GPA earned at GSW will be used in the qualitative standard. Credits transferred from prior institutions will be counted as part of the student’s “attempted credit hours”, in calculating the quantitative pace (67%) and maximum time allowed (150%) segment of the SAP calculation.

Transient Courses/ESL – Are not eligible for federal financial aid.

Changing Majors - Students who change majors during the academic year are strongly encouraged not to withdraw from any classes as they still must meet the 67% completion rate. Students who decide to change majors or degree programs should do so early in their academic career so as not to jeopardize future eligibility for student financial aid at GSW. Changing majors is not a justification for failing to maintain SAP.

S.A.P. Financial Aid Appeals Process

GSW has established a SAP Financial Aid Appeals Process to assist students who have failed to maintain SAP due to mitigating circumstances (which has now been resolved or stabilized). Under this process, Georgia Southwestern State University will on an annual basis (the traditional timeline is at the end of Spring Semester) review students’ Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Whether financial aid can be renewed will be based on the results. If students are not meeting SAP and have a documented mitigated circumstance they may file a financial aid appeal to the Financial Aid Office (FAO). This is essentially an unanticipated and unavoidable occurrence beyond the student’s control which directly affected his or her ability to be academically successful and which has been resolved or stabilized so he or she is now able to become academically successful. Examples of mitigating circumstances include documented illness, death in the immediate family, or natural disaster. Students will be notified by mail or email of the outcome of an appeal. As part of an appeal, students must also explain how the situation has been resolved or stabilized.

Reinstatement – If an appeal is approved with conditions those requirements must be met each semester to maintain eligibility. Once the student is meeting SAP standards he/she may return to the annual checkpoint and is no longer held to the conditions. If the student's appeal is denied with conditions, the student is eligible to file another appeal by meeting those requirements without the use of financial aid. Paying out of pocket (including private loans) or sitting out does not qualify a student for reinstatement of aid. Aid will be automatically terminated if the student is suspended from GSW.

Georgia Scholarship Recipients - In addition to the SAP standards above Zell Miller and HOPE Scholarship recipients must adhere to Georgia guidelines. For your convenience those guidelines can be found at the gacollege411 website. These scholarships will be reviewed at the end of spring semester, at 30, 60, and 90 attempted hours. Zell recipients must maintain a 3.30 HOPE GPA and Hope recipients must maintain a 3.0 HOPE GPA. After 127 HOURS (or maximum degree requirements) have been attempted eligibility ends. Students who lost Zell or HOPE eligibility, but have regained a minimum 3.0 GPA, should submit a HOPE/Zell Evaluation Form to determine if and when aid can be reinstated. Additionally, seven years after high school eligibility expires if not used.

Academic Renewal - The US Department of Education does not recognize academic amnesty or academic renewal in relation to financial aid satisfactory academic progress. GSW is required to include all courses and grades in evaluating a student’s satisfactory academic progress. However, if there were documented mitigating circumstances please file a financial aid appeal for further consideration. Students may be awarded Federal Pell Grants, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study, Federal Direct (Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and Parent PLUS) loans, HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, etc. for the semester in which the student is now making SAP, the semester for which a SAP appeal has been approved, or for the next period of enrollment.

Deadlines – Appeals should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office prior to the beginning of the semester for which aid is being requested. Appeals received after the semester begins will be reviewed but students must pay fees and be reimbursed if the appeal is approved.

Decision - Students who wish to appeal the outcome, (except for maximum time and learning support) may appeal to the Director of Financial Aid prior to the beginning of the semester for which aid is being requested.  All other rules and regulations governing federal and state financial aid programs still apply and are subject to change without notice. If you have questions concerning the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Student Financial Aid Recipients telephone 229-928-1378, email finaid@gsw.edu or visit the Financial Aid Office, (fax- 229-931-2061) located in Canes Central.