Satisfactory Academic Policies (SAP)
Federal regulations (34 CFR 668.34) require that students receiving federal financial assistance are measured on both a qualitative and quantitative scale towards their degree or certificate. On the Danforth Campus, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is evaluated at the end of the spring term. These standards are applied uniformly to all students when determining their eligibility for federal, state, or University administered funds and/or other funds regardless of whether a student has previously received these funds.
Qualitative–Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements:
The minimum GPA requirements needed to maintain eligibility are dictated by your specific program of study. In each case, per the requirements of 34 C.F.R. 668.34(a)(4(ii), the program requires a minimum of a C average, but any specific program may have a higher minimum GPA. You should refer to your school’s bulletin to determine your minimum GPA requirements. If you fall below the required GPA for your program when the SAP review is performed, you are not considered to be maintaining SAP.
For programs that do not have a GPA requirement (e.g., do not calculate a GPA), the qualitative component is determined to be met if the student’s quality of work is sufficient to be allowed to continue in the program. This evaluation is performed at least annually by committees or instructors and advisors at the program level.
The pace standard for maintaining SAP requires you earn credit for at least 67% of the credits you attempt. Pace is defined as the number of credits earned divided by number of credits attempted. Credits attempted include all enrolled classes, with the exception of classes with a grade of incomplete (e.g. grade of ‘I’), classes where no final grade has yet been assigned, and classes that are dropped within what the school has determined to be the official add/drop period. Transfer credits accepted towards your program requirements are included as both credits attempted and credits earned. If you fall below the required pace when the SAP review is performed, you are not considered to be maintaining SAP.
Maximum time frame requirements:
To maintain eligibility, you must be able to complete your program by attempting no more than 150% of the credits required. For example, if your program requires 120 credits to complete, you must be able to complete your program attempting no more than 180 credits. To determine how many credits are required to complete your program, you should consult your school’s bulletin. If you cannot complete your program without attempting more than 150% of the credits required, you are not considered to be maintaining SAP.
Changing majors, repeat and remedial coursework, incomplete coursework, withdrawals, and second degree coursework:
For a student who changes degree programs, courses that do not contribute towards the new program do not count towards the 150% requirement.
Any course where a student remained enrolled until past the add/drop period and a grade of W is included in the pace and maximum time frame requirement.
Any non-credit coursework, repeat coursework, or coursework for which a grade of incomplete or withdrawn is given counts towards both the quantitative and qualitative measures for calculating SAP. An incomplete grade that is later changed to a letter grade will not result in a recalculation of either measure, but will be instead be counted in the next evaluation.
Any student pursuing a second-degree program is subject to both the 150% requirement, and the minimum GPA requirement.
Re-establishing aid eligibility:
A student who becomes ineligible for aid by failure to meet SAP requirements may not re-establish eligibility by not attending for one or more semesters. Students can re-establish eligibility by enrolling for one or more semesters without the assistance of financial assistance funds to meet standards required by SAP policy.
Students who fail to meet SAP requirements will be notified of their loss of aid eligibility via their Wash U e-mail address. A student who becomes ineligible for aid by failure to meet SAP requirements may also appeal to reestablish aid eligibility. Your appeal will be reviewed by a SAP appeal committee. An appeal must contain the extenuating circumstances surrounding the failure to meet SAP, such as illness or injury, or other circumstances beyond the student’s control.
SAP for medical students
Information about SAP for medical school students can be found in the Medical School Bulletin.
Penalties for drug law violations
Washington University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthful environment for members of the university community by promoting a drug-free environment as well as one free of the abuse of alcohol. Violations of this policy will be handled according to existing policies and procedures concerning the conduct of faculty, staff and students. The complete university’s Drug and Alcohol Policy is published on the WashU website.
Federal Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Violations
The following notice provides information about the Title IV federal financial assistance penalties associated with drug-related offenses under section 484(r) of the Higher Education Act. It also describes how to regain eligibility for such financial assistance after conviction of a drug-related offense.
As prescribed in Section 484(r), a student convicted of any offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance during a period of enrollment when he or she was receiving any grant, loan, or work assistance under Title IV will be ineligible to receive such assistance for the following period of time:
- For one year from the date of conviction for the first offense involving the possession of a controlled substance
- For two years from the date of conviction for the second offense involving the possession of a controlled substance
- Indefinitely from the date of conviction for the third offense involving the possession of a controlled substance
- For two years from the date of conviction for the first offense involving the sale of a controlled substance
- Indefinitely from the date of conviction for the second offense involving the sale of a controlled substance
A student whose eligibility has been suspended under the previous provision may resume eligibility before the end of the prescribed ineligibility period by one of the following means:
- The student satisfactorily completes a drug rehabilitation program that complies with criteria the Secretary of Education prescribes and includes two unannounced drug tests.
- The conviction is reversed, set aside, or otherwise rendered nugatory.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects student information.
Dependency Status and Dependency Overrides
Most incoming, first-year WashU undergraduate students are considered dependent on their parents for purposes of determining financial assistance eligibility. This means that parental information is included on financial assistance applications such as the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. In limited circumstances, schools have the authority to change a student’s dependency status; typically, these are documented circumstances that would make obtaining parental information difficult or impossible.
The following would be situations where a dependency override may be appropriate:
- A student’s parents are incarcerated
- A student has left home due to an unsafe or abusive environment
- A student does not have contact with either parent and is unable to contact them
The following would be situations where a dependency override would not be appropriate:
- Parents refusing to contribute to a student’s education
- Parents refusing to provide information on a FAFSA or for FAFSA Verification
- Parents do not claim a student for tax purposes
- A student demonstrates total financial self-sufficiency
We recognize that each family’s financial circumstances are unique, and that your financial circumstances may not be fully represented by your FAFSA and/or the CSS Profile. If your financial circumstances affect your household’s ability to pay for college, you have the right to submit a request for review. Some examples of situations that might result in a change to your financial assistance award are:
- Loss of employment
- Significant medical expenses
- One-time income
- Extraordinary expenses from a natural disaster
This is not an exhaustive list, and submission of a request does not always result in an adjustment of financial assistance. Please include your special financial circumstances on your CSS Profile or submit our Financial Aid Special Circumstances Form (PDF) to firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to review any request, supporting documentation of your special financial circumstances must be included.
Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and decisions will be communicated to students in a timely manner.
Return of Title IV Assistance
Federal financial aid is awarded to students at Washington University on the assumption that the student will complete the entire period of enrollment for which the aid was awarded. If a student withdraws or otherwise fails to complete the entire period, it may be necessary for Washington University to return a portion of the funds awarded.
If a student receiving aid withdraws prior to completing over 60% of their term, federal regulations (34 CFR 668.22) require that aid that is determined to be “unearned” be returned to the aid source. If a student completes over 60% of the period for which the aid is awarded, a student is determined to have “earned” 100% of the funds. Recalculation is based on the following formula:
- Days of term attended divided by total days in the term=percentage of aid for the term earned
The number of days in the term includes all days from the first day of the period until the last day (including finals), less any scheduled breaks of five days or more.
For example, if a student attends a semester that is 100 days long, and withdraws on day 50, they would be considered to have “earned” 50% of the aid awarded for the semester, and the other 50% would be returned. If funds are required to be returned, they will be returned in the following order, until the total required amount of return is met:
- Unsubsidized Direct Loan
- Subsidized Direct Loan
- Direct PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant for which a return of funds is required
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) for which a return of funds is required
- Federal TEACH Grants for which a return of funds is required
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants for which a return of funds is required
If it is determined that a student is eligible to receive more funds that were originally disbursed, the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of funds. If eligible for a post-withdrawal of grant funds, Washington University may disburse the funds to cover tuition, fees, room, and board without permission.
If the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds, Washington University cannot disburse the funds without permission, and will contact the student within 30 days of the withdrawal.
For questions about whether your withdrawal will require a return of title IV calculation, you can contact your student financial services counselor, available here: https://financialaid.wustl.edu/contact-us/