Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
For a student to receive financial aid and/or merit scholarships, regulations require satisfactory academic progress toward a degree. The following are the satisfactory academic progress standards for students seeking federal or institutional financial aid at Fairfield University.
Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress
*Effective: July 1, 2011
For students to be eligible for federal, state or university need-based financial aid, they must be in good academic standing and must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree. SAP is measured at the end of each academic year and is based on both pace of enrollment and academic performance at the time of measurement. Pace is determined by the total number of credit hours completed as a proportion of those attempted. Incomplete grades, repeated courses and course withdrawals that occur after the drop/add period are counted in the credit hours attempted. If the student has transfer credits, the credit hours are counted in both the credit hours completed and attempted.
Academic performance is measured by GPA including grades earned only in Fairfield University courses. In order to make SAP, students advancing from the first year to the sophomore year are expected to have a weighted cumulative GPA of 1.80 or better. At the end of the sophomore year, students are expected to have a weighted cumulative GPA of 1.90 or better. At the end of junior year, students should have an overall weighted cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. For the purposes of both pace and academic performance, summer courses will be included as the trailing term of the academic year.
Pace of enrollment is measured by the percentage of attempted credit hours that are completed. Students must complete at least 67% of the credit hours attempted in a year in order to receive financial aid in the following year. Overall, students are eligible for university-based aid for up to eight semesters of enrollment; students may receive federal financial aid up to 150% (typically 6 years) of the normal time to degree completion. Repeated courses will be counted as part of the attempted and completed courses, and part of the 150% of normal time to completion.
Students who lose eligibility for financial aid as a result of failure to make satisfactory academic progress may appeal to be placed on financial aid probation. This appeal must include the reasons for the lack of progress and the student's anticipated steps for improvement. In order to consider the appeal, the student will need to submit an approved academic plan that will lead to achievement of SAP standards. If during the probation period the student has not successfully achieved satisfactory academic progress, the student may appeal with a modified academic plan. Probation may last for up to one academic year, unless there are extraordinary circumstances. While on probation, a student's progress will be monitored at the end of each semester.
The Office of Financial Aid will notify all students who fail to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students will be notified of their SAP status by mail.
Reinstatement of Financial Aid
To have financial aid eligibility reinstated, a student may make up the credit hour and/or grade point index deficiencies in a subsequent term without receipt of financial aid for that term. University aid is only offered (if the student maintains eligibility) for eight semesters.
A student who believes his/her failure to meet SAP standards was due to extenuating circumstances beyond his/her control may appeal in writing to the Appeals Committee. Some examples of extenuating circumstances are:
- A student's serious illness or accident
- Death or serious illness in the student's immediate family
- Cancellation/discontinuance of a class by the University
- Other unforeseeable circumstances beyond the control of the student that caused the student to fall below the satisfactory progress standards
Students should submit the SAP Appeal Form, including a personal letter, explaining the reason for the request and reason for their current academic status. In addition, an approved Academic Plan must be completed by the student and by an administrator from the appropriate Dean's Office. The Academic Plan can be obtained in the Dean's Office of any school, or printed online. The appeal form, personal letter, Academic Plan, and any other supporting documentation (if desired), must be submitted to the student's financial aid counselor in the Office of Financial Aid.
If an appeal for one semester of probationary financial aid is approved, a student's progress will be monitored at the end of each semester. If after the financial aid probation period the student has not successfully achieved the required minimum GPA for reinstatement of the full financial aid award, the student may submit an appeal letter to request an extended probationary period of financial aid. Financial aid probation may last for up to one year, unless there are extraordinary circumstances.
Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress & Merit Scholarships
All merit scholarships awarded by Fairfield University are renewable for up to eight semesters of study provided the recipient earns the required minimum GPA for renewal. The GPA renewal requirement, which varies by level of award, is included in the initial award letter provided at the time of the student's admission to Fairfield and is measured at the end of each academic year.
Students who lose eligibility for merit scholarship as a result of failure to meet the minimum GPA requirement may appeal to be placed on merit scholarship probation. Students must submit the SAP Appeal Form, including a personal letter, explaining the reason for the request and reason for their current academic status. The appeal form, personal letter, and any other supporting documentation (if desired), must be submitted to the student's financial aid counselor in the Office of Financial Aid.
If an appeal for one semester of probationary merit scholarship is approved, a student's progress will be monitored at the end of each semester. If after the merit scholarship probation period the student has not successfully achieved the required minimum GPA for reinstatement of the full merit scholarship, the student may submit an appeal letter to request an extended probationary period of merit scholarship. Merit scholarship probation may last for up to one year, unless there are extraordinary circumstances.
Deadlines for SAP Appeals
Appeals must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by July 1, or by other stated deadlines as provided by the Office of Financial Aid. If reinstatement of aid is sought for summer sessions, the appeal must be submitted prior to the first day of classes for that term. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate an appeal before a specified SAP Appeal deadline.