Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Federal Financial Aid regulations (34 CFR 668.34) require that the University of Houston-Downtown establishes, publishes and applies reasonable standards for measuring students' satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in their educational programs. Standards require a student to move toward the completion of a degree or certificate within an eligible program when receiving financial aid. Specific requirements for academic progress for financial aid recipients are applied differently than college Academic Standards, Probation, and Suspension. Federal regulations state that Satisfactory Academic Progress standards must include a review of all periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not aid was received. The student must meet all the minimum standards in order to receive financial aid.
Definitions: The following definitions apply to terms used in this policy.
Academic Plan. A plan that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet UHD's satisfactory academic progress standards by a specific point in time.
Appeal. A process by which a student who is not meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards petitions UHD Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for reconsideration of the student's eligibility for title IV program assistance.
Completion Rate. The pace at which a student should progress in order to complete a degree within maximum timeframe requirements.
Financial aid probation. A status assigned by UHD Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress, appeals and has had eligibility for aid reinstated. This period may not exceed more than one term.
Financial aid suspension. A status assigned by UHD Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress and who has been previously granted financial aid probation.
- For an undergraduate program measured in credit hours, a period that is no longer than 170 hours attempted prior to receiving the 1st undergraduate degree.
- For a graduate program, measured in credit hours, a period that is no longer than 54 hours attempted prior to receiving the graduate degree.
Elements of Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress:
- Grade Point Average GPA)
- Pace of progression (earned credits divided by attempted credits)
- Maximum timeframe (maximum number of attempted credits)
Specifically for UHD, the elements required for a student to be considered in compliance are:
- Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement
Undergraduate students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average on all hours attempted at UHD.
Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average on all hours attempted at UHD.
Please refer to the grading system in the UHD catalog for information on how quality points are assigned and how GPA is calculated.
- Pace of Completion Requirement
Students must maintain a cumulative pace of 73%. That is, 73% of all hours attempted at UHD and credits accepted from other institutions must be passed to maintain SAP.
- Maximum Time Frame
Students receiving financial aid must complete their program of study within a reasonable time frame. The maximum time frame established for UHD as an undergraduate is 170 credit hours (including all transfer credit hours). For those students seeking a second undergraduate degree (PB Students), the student must not have attempted over 170 hours prior to obtaining first degree.
The maximum time frame established for UHD graduate students is 54 credit hours (including all graduate transfer credit hours).
Maximum Time Frame for Financial Aid Purposes Undergraduate 15 semesters of full-time (12+ hrs.) enrollment Graduate 7 semesters of full-time (8+ hrs.) enrollment
Whether or not a student has met their maximum term limit, students are not eligible for additional financial aid funds beyond completion of their degree requirements.
Impact of incompletes, withdrawals, course repetitions, and transfer credits on qualitative and quantitative SAP components:
- Withdrawals (“W‟) and Incompletes (“I”) will be counted as failed attempts for the
quantitative SAP component. The qualitative measure is not affected by “W‟ grades.
- Course repetitions: All course attempts will be counted in the quantitative component,
but credit for repeated courses can only be earned once. Only the most recent grade
will be counted in the qualitative SAP component.
- Treatment of transfer credits: All accepted transfer hours are counted as both attempted and earned for the quantitative SAP component. The qualitative measure is not affected by transfer and/or exam credits.
Frequency of Evaluation
- Your academic record will be evaluated once a year, generally at the end of the spring
semester, or when you reapply for aid. If you have been placed on financial aid probation
or Academic Plan, your record will be reviewed after grades are posted at the end
of each term of enrollment.
- All periods of enrollment must be considered when evaluating SAP, regardless of whether
or not financial aid was received each term.
- As described above, SAP may be re-evaluated more frequently if the resolution of an “I” grade may enable a student to re-establish SAP.
Consequences of not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP):
The Financial Aid Office will notify students who fail to meet SAP Standards of their status online via the financial aid web portal.
- Financial Aid Probation – This status is assigned to a student who has failed SAP and has successfully appealed,
and thus had aid eligibility reinstated for one term. At the end of the probation
term, the student must regain SAP or they will be suspended.
- Academic Plan – This status is assigned to a student who has failed SAP and has successfully appealed,
and thus had aid eligibility reinstated for up to three terms. The student is reviewed
term by term to determine if they are meeting the conditions of their plan or if they
have regained SAP.
- Financial Aid Suspension – This status is assigned when a student on Financial Aid Probation or Academic Plan
fails to meet the conditions of his or her Probation or Academic Plan (see definition
above). All financial aid is terminated immediately upon determination of Financial
Aid Suspension status. The student will remain ineligible until such time that he/she
is able to meet the cumulative financial aid SAP standards. Students on financial
aid suspension will be responsible for payment of their own tuition and fees.
- Maximum Time Frame Suspension – If a student fails to meet the Maximum Time Frame standards, he or she will be placed on Maximum Time Frame Suspension and will immediately lose financial aid eligibility.
A student who is placed on Financial Aid Suspension due to circumstances listed below may appeal for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility. The SAP appeal must address why the student failed SAP, and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to meet SAP at the next evaluation. Students may appeal their Financial Aid Suspension in writing to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. Forms are available online. In addition to the Appeal form, student must submit documentation to support circumstances, which may include, but are not limited to medical bills, obituaries, grade transcripts etc.
Appeals may be made based on:
- A death in the immediate family.
- Serious injury or illness of the student or a member of the immediate family.
- Improvement sufficient to meet required standards in hours and/or GPA while attending a subsequent semester at student's own expense.
A student whose appeal is granted will be awarded financial aid on a either on a probationary basis or on an academic plan. Academic progress will be reviewed at the end of the semester to determine if progress has been made. If student is meeting SAP, they will be placed into good standing. Failure to meet SAP at the end of the probationary period will result in suspension. Failure to meet the conditions of an academic plan will result in permanent suspension of financial aid eligibility until such time that student is in compliance to receive financial aid. A student on Financial Aid Suspension whose appeal is denied may attend the University of Houston-Downtown at his/her own expense, if eligible.
A student may submit no more than three appeals within their academic career. After the 3rd appeal no further appeals will be considered. A student on Financial Aid Suspension who is no longer eligible to appeal may attend the University of Houston-Downtown at his/her own expense, if eligible.
Special circumstances to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. (Students on Financial Aid Suspension who have not attended college for at least one calendar year may appeal based on change of circumstances.)
Failure to properly manage one’s time and/or failure to seek recommended academic tutoring do not constitute special circumstances and cannot be used as the basis for a SAP appeal
- A student who is placed on Financial Aid Suspension (see definition above) and does not appeal, or whose appeal is denied, may re-establish SAP by regaining the required qualitative and quantitative measures. SAP status will be measured on the usual schedule (see “Frequency of Evaluation” section above) for students on Financial Aid Suspension, and students who re-establish SAP will be notified by the Financial Aid Office.
Please see Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form for deadline dates.