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Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid

To be eligible and continue to receive Federal Student Aid (FSA) on an annual basis, students must make satisfactory academic progress toward achieving and completing their program of study through measurement of qualitative (grade-based) and quantitative (time-based) standards.

Qualitative Standard:

  • Students enrolled in campus and online undergraduate degree programs must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Students enrolled in campus and online graduate degree programs and the Accounting graduate certificate must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Students enrolled in direct assessment programs must maintain a mastery of competencies equivalent to 67% of the total competencies attempted.

Quantitative Standard:

A student must have successfully completed at least 67% of all the credits or competencies he or she has attempted at Southern New Hampshire University during the entire period of enrollment. This is calculated by dividing the total credits earned by the total credits attempted.

To ensure pace towards program completion, each program within the university has a defined number of credit hours required for completion. Students must complete their program within 150% of the published credits which is defined as the maximum timeframe. All credits attempted will count towards this timeframe.

  • Associate degree candidates may attempt a maximum of 90 credits.
  • Direct assessment AA degree candidates in six month terms may attempt a maximum of 180 competencies. BA degree candidates may attempt a maximum of 360 competencies (including Transferred competencies).
  • Direct assessment AA degree candidates in sixteen week trimesters may attempt a maximum of 90 competencies. BA degree candidates may attempt a maximum of 180 competencies (including Transferred competencies).
  • Bachelor degree candidates may attempt a maximum of 180 credits.
  • Graduate degree candidates may attempt a maximum of eight years of study in a specific graduate program.
  • Accounting Graduate Certificate candidates may attempt a maximum of 32 credits.
  • Direct assessment certificate candidates in six month terms may attempt a maximum of 90 competencies.
  • Direct assessment certificate candidates in sixteen week trimesters may attempt a maximum of 45 competencies.

For example, if the program requirements are 120 credits or competencies, then the student must satisfy all requirements of his/her program without having to attempt more than 180 credits or 180 competencies.

Coursework Results Used to Measure Standards:

Attempted credits are credits that a student has enrolled in as of the end of the add/drop or standard registration period.

Attempted competencies are competencies that a student has engaged in during the term regardless of the outcome.

Successfully completed credits completed are defined through the assignment of a passing grade to the courses attempted and equates to the number of credits earned. An IP grade is defined as 'in progress satisfactory' and is counted as successfully completed credits. Other successful grading includes: MA-Master, P-Passing, S-Satisfactory, and CR-Credit.

Unsuccessfully completed credits are defined through the assignment of a grade that constitute failure and non-earned credits which includes: F-Fail, U-Unsatisfactory, UF-Unearned F, and IF-Incomplete Fail.

Successfully completed competencies completed are defined through the assignment of a Mastery (MA) grade.

Unsuccessfully completed competencies are defined through the assignment of a Non-Mastery (NM) grade.

Incompletes are credits attempted but not earned until the course is completed by receiving a passing grade.

Repeated coursework is counted in the calculation as credits attempted for failures and grade improvement. Previously passed courses can be repeated once and be eligible for federal financial aid. Calculation of Satisfactory Academic Progress Grade Point Average (GPA) will follow the method used by SNHU to calculate academic GPA, specifically with reference to repeating of the same course to improve a grade. The first course grade will not be computed into the total grade-point average instead, the most recent grade will be used.

Developmental coursework will be counted as attempted credits and completed credits if successfully completed.

Audits are not attempted credits and not earned credits.

Transfer credits are considered to be credits attempted and completed toward the completion of the student's program and counted toward the maximum time frame.

Frequency of Reviews

Academic progress will be determined by Student Financial Services based upon the information contained on the student's academic record as of the date of the review. A student must meet both the qualitative and quantitative standards in order to be eligible and continue to receive federal financial aid. Academic reviews will include all terms of the student's attendance (including summer terms) and will coincide with the end of a payment period. Annual reviews with always occur within 52 calendar weeks.

The payment period is the academic period established for which financial aid is awarded and disbursed. It is not always aligned with the registration and billing period for a program. Students are encouraged to learn and understand their program's payment period definition.

  • Undergraduate and graduate campus and online students are reviewed annually within 52 calendar weeks except:
    • Online direct assessment students are reviewed at the end of each term; and
    • Graduate students enrolled only in the Accounting graduate certificate are reviewed at the end of each term.
  • All students on approved academic plans will be reviewed at the end of every payment period.
  • Prior to an SNHU continuing student receiving federal aid for the first time.

Review Results:

Satisfactory academic progress reviews result in a status for Title IV eligibility. One of the following results will occur upon an academic review for satisfactory academic progress:

  • Satisfactory: Students are placed on this status upon review that determines the student is achieving the qualitative and quantitative standards required for satisfactory academic progress and can continue.
  • Financial Aid Warning: Students enrolled in the College for America (CfA) programs and the Accounting graduate certificate are placed on financial aid warning for the subsequent term of enrollment who fail to meet the qualitative and/or quantitative standards for satisfactory academic progress upon review. Notification is provided when the student is placed on this status and the student's eligibility for aid is considered to be reinstated for the subsequent term of enrollment only.
  • Financial Aid Suspension: Failure to meet either the qualitative or quantitative standards for satisfactory academic progress will result in the student being placed on unsatisfactory status that suspends financial aid eligibility until the next evaluation period. Notification is provided when placed on this status and the student is not be allowed to continue to receive financial aid. Students may continue to take coursework without the use of financial assistance until eligibility is reinstated by achieving the required SAP standards.

Student Actions:

Students who are on financial aid suspension can:

  • Submit a financial aid satisfactory academic progress appeal form; or
  • Continue to enroll in coursework towards their degree without using federal student aid to assist with the cost. Students will have their Title IV eligibility reinstated upon successful achievement of the satisfactory academic progress standards.

Students are encouraged to work with their advisors to submit their appeal as soon as possible. Students cannot appeal a financial aid suspension due to reaching the maximum timeframe to obtain a degree. This appeal must include the following criteria to be considered:

  1. Reason why the student failed to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, and
  2. Explain what has/will change that will allow the student to make Satisfactory Academic Progress at the next evaluation period; and
  3. As appropriate, an academic plan developed and in place with their academic advisor or learning coach that is signed by the student which will ensure the achievement of the minimum SAP standards by a specific point in time.

Appeals are reviewed and decided upon through a committee. Students will be notified of their appeal decision through Student Financial Services. Students who have an appeal approved will have their status updated to financial aid probation.

  • Financial Aid Probation: Students who have been initially placed on unsatisfactory status but have an approved appeal are placed on financial aid probation and have their Title IV aid eligibility reinstated.

Students on approved academic plans will be reviewed after each payment period or academic term to ensure progress and achievement of the agreed terms and conditions of their academic plan. Students who are not meeting their requirements will have their Title IV eligibility suspended and all current and future aid will be canceled immediately, regardless of current enrollment. Students who are suspended as part of this process may appeal this decision.