What is Financial Aid SAP?
Financial Aid SAP is a federal rule required by the Department of Education and reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Services (SFS). It sets academic standards the student must achieve to maintain financial aid eligibility. SAP also ensures the student completes their degree/credential in a timely manner. Financial aid sources impacted by SAP include federal and institutional awards/benefits.
Financial Aid SAP is separate from other academic monitoring policies. The Office of Academic Affairs has standards reviewed and appealed separately from SAP. Some aid programs have different standards for their specific awards. Please contact the specific agency to learn more about their eligibility requirements.
Students will fall into different SAP standings based on their academic progress:
1) 67% cumulative completion pace,
2) 2.00 cumulative GPA, AND
3) Is not at risk of exceeding the 150% Maximum Time Frame
Financial Aid Awards Impacted by SAP
As mentioned earlier, Financial Aid SAP is separate from other academic monitoring policies. Some aid programs have different standards for their specific awards. Please contact the specific agency to learn more about their eligibility requirements.
Financial aid sources impacted by SAP include federal and institutional awards/benefits. This includes, but is not limited to:
Federal Student Loans
Merit Scholarships (Herrmann, Egan, and University)
Stricter Award Eligibility
SAP is considered the minimum standards to maintain federal and institutional financial aid. However, some scholarships/benefits may have stricter standards that could impact eligibility. For example, the Herrmann Merit scholarship requires a 3.00 cumulative GPA to maintain eligibility compared to SAP’s 2.00 cumulative GPA requirement. A program’s GPA requirement supersedes SAP’s if it is greater than SAP’s 2.00 cumulative GPA requirement. Information detailing the terms and conditions of specific institutional awards is shared when the scholarship/benefit is offered. Institutional awards can be reduced if the GPA requirement is not met.
Award Amount and Usage Limits
Financial aid eligibility also considers an award’s amount and usage limits. Some aid programs have different eligibility limits for their specific awards and require a separate appeal (if one is available). Please contact the specific agency to learn more about their eligibility limits.
For example, institutional scholarships have varying limits. Scholarships for traditional baccalaureate programs are limited to eight consecutive semesters. Scholarships for professional associate programs are limited to four consecutive semesters. For transfer students, their scholarship maximum limit will be adjusted based on the equivalent semesters of transfer credits.
Academic Components of Financial Aid SAP
The following academic measurements are used to determine a student’s SAP standing.
When is Financial Aid SAP reviewed?
Mercyhurst monitors SAP at difference intervals:
Any student who was enrolled during the academic year but did not receive federal or institutional aid will still be reviewed for SAP to determine future financial aid eligibility. There is no action required on the part of students if they will not be seeking any financial assistance for the next academic year.
The SAP review will not begin until SFS receives confirmation from the Registrar’s Office that semester grades have been verified and transcribed. Student requests to officially review their SAP standing before this event occurs cannot be honored.
Effect of Withdrawals, Incomplete, Repeated, and Pass/Fail Courses
If a student withdraws from a course or courses (receiving a “W” grade) after the semester’s published Add/Drop date, the credits are included in the count of credits attempted. Credits associated with a “W” grade are not included in the count of credits completed. “W” grades are not calculated in the cumulative GPA.
If a student is granted an incomplete for a course or courses (receiving an “I” grade) after the semester ends, the credits are included in the count of credits attempted. Credits associated with an “I” grade are not included in the count of credits completed until the incomplete grade is changed to an official letter grade. “I” grades are not calculated in the cumulative GPA.
If a student repeats a course, the credits are included again in the count of credits attempted. Successful completion of the repeated course will include the credits in the count of credits completed. Per the Registrar’s policy, the grade for the repeated course will follow the Pass/Fail option and the original grade is changed to a REPEAT (“R”). A Pass (PA) or Low Pass (LP) grade are not calculated in the cumulative GPA, but an F grade does count toward the GPA calculations.
To have a course be graded on the Pass/Fail option, the student must contact the Registrar’s Office. If a student is granted the Pass/Fail option, the credits are included in the count of credits attempted. Successful completion of the course will include the credits in the count of credits completed. If the student receives a Pass (PA) or Low Pass (LP) grade, their grade will not be calculated into their cumulative GPA. If the student fails the course, the F grade is included in the cumulative GPA.
Procedures for Appealing
Students not meeting SAP standards (Unsatisfactory standing) can request financial aid reinstatement by submitting an appeal with documentation. Students are notified about their Unsatisfactory standing and the opportunity to appeal via their Mercyhurst email and a letter mailed to their home address on file. The SAP Appeal form is an electronic form. Students must submit their appeal through the form. Appeals submitted by other methods will not be accepted. The link to the form is available on the communications sent to the student, the SFS Hub, and upon request to SFS.
Appeals are reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee (“the committee”) whose members remain anonymous. The student’s SFS Counselor can serve as liaison for the committee if a student has concerns or questions regarding the appeal process or outcome.
The student must submit their appeal before the semester’s appeal deadline. Accepting appeals after the semester’s deadline is at the discretion of the committee. The committee may request additional information and/or documentation for a student’s SAP appeal before making a final determination. Additional information and/or documentation must be submitted by the semester’s appeal deadline.
Students receive appeal outcome notices via email and a letter mailed to their home address on file. The SAP appeal and outcome applies to federal and institutional financial aid only. Appeal outcomes are final and cannot be further appealed.
The student must include the following in their SAP Appeal:
If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on Probation or Probation with an Academic Plan. Refer to the “What is Financial Aid SAP?” section for more information on these standings.
In most cases, if the student does not return in the planned semester they are approved for, their approval will be honored for the following semester. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate this process with SFS. Additional documentation may be required in some circumstances. If an Academic Plan was required, a new plan needs to be completed and signed by the student before the semester’s payment deadline (indicated on the plan).
If the appeal is denied, the student will remain at an Unsatisfactory standing. At this Unsatisfactory standing, the student is required to pay in full their next semester balance. Refer to the “SAP Appeal and Payment Deadlines” section for more information on payment options.
SAP Appeal and Payment Deadlines
The SAP policy includes several deadlines related to appeal and payment/probation resolution:
SAP Appeal Deadline
This deadline is the last day a student can submit a SAP Appeal for the applicable semester. The student has until 11:59 pm of that day to submit their appeal.
Accepting appeals after the semester’s deadline is at the discretion of the committee. The committee may request additional information and/or documentation for a student’s SAP appeal before making a final determination. Additional information and/or documentation must be submitted by the semester’s appeal deadline.
For Unsatisfactory students, this means it is the last day to satisfy their semester balance in full to remain registered. Payment resolution include:
|SAP Appeal Deadline
|SAP Payment Deadline
|July 21, 2023
|July 28, 2023
|August 11, 2023
|August 18, 2023
|January 5, 2024
|January 12, 2024
Pennsylvania (PHEAA) State Grants and Scholarships
Progress review for all state grants and scholarships occurs at the end of the spring semester. Before crediting a state grant or scholarship to a student’s account, Mercyhurst must certify that for the past academic year during which the student received a state grant, the student completed the minimum required credits hours for the semester to which grant aid was applied. For example, if a student received an equivalent of an academic year state grant award during the prior academic year, the student is expected to have completed successfully 24 credits over the course of the prior academic year and summer.
If the student has received at least one semester of state grant aid during a prior academic year, Mercyhurst must verify that, during or subsequent to those semesters, the student completed the minimum number of semester credits/clock hours needed to make academic progress given the number of semesters of state grant aid received and the student state grant award status (full time or part time) during each of those semesters.
The table below is used to determine the minimum number of credits/clock hours that must be successfully completed for each enrollment status during a semester of state grant aid. It is necessary to add the award counters (according to the student’s specific enrollment and award status) for each semester of the academic year to determine the minimum total number of credits/clock hours that must have been completed by the student for the academic year period in question.
|Student must complete minimum of:
|Full-time semester award
|12 semester credits/450 clock hours
|Full-time quarter award
|12 quater or 8 semester credits/300 clock hours
|Half-time semester award
|6 semester credits/225 clock hours
|Half-time quarter award
|6 quarter or 4 semester credits/150 clock hours
Mercyhurst is required to verify that students completed the minimum number of credit hours required to meet PHEAA academic progress requirements for any semester where PA State Grant was received in the prior academic year before disbursing subsequent PA State Grant funds. State aid grant/scholarship recipients who fail to meet the requirements detailed earlier remain ineligible until the requisite credits have been completed.
All of a student’s coursework, whether it was taken at Mercyhurst or elsewhere, is applicable when performing the academic progress test for state aid. Transfer students who were prior year recipients of a state grant must request that their official academic transcripts from prior institutions be submitted to the Mercyhurst Admissions Office, so academic progress can be reviewed by Student Financial Services. Credits successfully completed at a previous institution need not be transferable to Mercyhurst to be counted toward academic progress.
Effects of Repeated Coursework and Incomplete Courses
Repeated coursework can only be counted once toward the state aid grant/ scholarship academic progress requirement. In the case of students who were permitted a prior semester of state grant on the basis of the remedial exception, only those remedial credits that were counted toward the full-time/ half-time minimum can be considered part of the credits needed to meet the academic progress test for that period of time.
Procedures for Appealing
In cases of extenuating circumstances where a student has failed to complete the required number of credits, the student can submit an academic progress exception form to PHEAA with appropriate documentation. The form can be retrieved from https://www.pheaa.org/grants/state-grant-program/forms.shtml.
Deadlines to Appeal
The State Grant Progress Exception Form must be submitted within 30 days of the start of the semester and will never be accepted after April 1 by PHEAA.
Students who wish to view or obtain a copy of their Student Financial Services records can complete the Request for Access to Student Records Form available from the Student Financial Services Office. Per U.S. Department of Education regulations, financial aid records are retained for three years after the award year for which aid was awarded. After the record retention period has expired, these records will no longer be available.