Student Registration & Financial Services

Satisfactory Academic Progress

If you are receiving federal and/or state financial aid, you are expected to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress toward completing your degree.  The purpose of this requirement is to encourage all students to progress steadily at a reasonable rate toward graduation. 

In addition to complying with the financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy, all students must also comply with the University’s Graduate and Undergraduate Satisfactory Academic Progress policies.

St. Cloud State University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy applies to the following financial aid programs:

  • Federal and State Funded Grant Programs (Pell Grant, SEOG, MN State Grant, TEACH Grant, MN Post-Secondary Child Care Grant, MN GI Bill, MN Indian Scholarship)
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan Programs (Subsidized, Unsubsidized, PLUS, and Grad PLUS)
  • Federal and State Work Study
  • St. Cloud State University Scholarships

In addition, some private loan and scholarship programs may require the student to maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the school.

Minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

To measure your progress, the Financial Aid Office will evaluate your academic record each semester by reviewing your cumulative GPA, credit completion rate, and the number of credits you have earned compared to the published length of your program.  To maintain satisfactory academic progress you must meet all of the following requirements:

Cumulative Grade Point Average and Percentage of Credits Completed

Grade Point Average (GPA) - Qualitative Measure

Undergraduate: A student with 0 – 44 attempted credits must maintain at least a 1.75 GPA. A student with 45 or more attempted credits must maintain at least a 2.00 GPA.

Post-baccalaureate: A student pursuing another undergraduate degree, certificate or licensure must maintain at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA in courses completed following the conferring of the first bachelor’s degree.

Graduate and Doctoral: A graduate or doctoral student must maintain at least a 3.00 cumulative GPA based on all SCSU coursework taken at their respective admission statuses to be eligible for financial aid.

Credit Completion Rate (CCR) and Maximum Time Frame - Quantitative Measure

Students are required to progress toward completion of a program by successfully completing at least 66.67% of the credits they attempt. This percentage is called the Credit Completion Rate (CCR).  Any credits accepted by St. Cloud State University in transfer are counted as attempted and completed credits in the credit completion calculation. Transfer credits are not included in the credit completion rate calculation until the student has completed one term or semester at St. Cloud State University following the acceptance of the transfer credits. Successful completion of credits means earning a passing grade (A+ through D- or S) in a course. Grades of F, FN, U, I, IP, W, and Z in a course count as non-completed credits.

Maximum Time Frame

Students must complete their degree program within a certain time frame which may vary according to student status and program. Credits attempted at St. Cloud State University and credits accepted from other institutions are counted for determining this standard. A student who reaches or exceeds the maximum number of credits allowed will have aid terminated at the end of that term. The maximum allowable time frame for a student to complete an academic program without having financial aid terminated is outlined below:

  • Undergraduate: 180 attempted semester credits.
  • Post-baccalaureate, certificate, licensure, or graduate: Actual number of credits varies by program of study but shall not exceed 150% of the published credit length of the program. To calculate the maximum time frame for your program, multiply the maximum credits your specific program(s) requires to graduate by 1.5.
  • Doctoral: 108 attempted semester credits.

Federal regulations require the university to measure progress toward the completion of a student’s academic program regardless of whether the student received financial aid for the terms and credits measured. Students may change majors, add a minor, participate in an internship or program of travel, etc. to enrich their educational program but must do so within the maximum allowable time frame. After you have reached the maximum attempted credits (including accepted transfer credits), you are no longer eligible to receive financial aid, whether or not you have completed your degree program.

Additional Policy Information

Evaluation Period

A student’s progress is determined three times each year after fall, spring, and summer semester grades are recorded. All prior terms of attempted enrollment are considered when determining satisfactory academic progress regardless of whether aid was awarded for the term.

Failure to Meet Standards

Financial Aid Warning

  • A student who, at the end of the evaluation period, has not met either the grade point average (GPA) or credit completion minimum requirement will be placed on financial aid warning for the next term of enrollment.  Students placed under a warning status are eligible to receive financial aid for the term in which they are under warning status.
  • A student placed on warning must make an appointment at the Academic Advising Center to discuss academic progress.
  • If the student has met the cumulative grade point average and credit completion minimum requirements at the conclusion of the warning period, the student’s eligibility for financial aid shall be reinstated.

Financial Aid Suspension for Students After Warning Status

If at the end of the warning period the student under warning status has not met both the cumulative grade point average and the credit completion standards, the student’s financial aid eligibility shall be suspended immediately upon completion of the evaluation.  A student remains ineligible for financial aid until in compliance with the financial aid policy or successfully appealing the financial aid suspension.

Financial Aid Suspension for Students for Other Reasons

  • Suspension for maximum time frame. If at the end of the evaluation period a student has failed to meet the standards for measurement of maximum time frame, the student’s financial aid eligibility shall be suspended immediately upon completion of the evaluation.
  • Suspension for extraordinary circumstances. Any student may be immediately suspended from financial aid eligibility in the event of extraordinary circumstances, including but not limited to previously suspended (and reinstated) students whose academic performance falls below acceptable standards during a subsequent term of enrollment; students who register for courses, receive financial aid, and do not attend any classes; and students whose attendance patterns appear to abuse the receipt of financial aid.
  • Suspension for inability to meet program requirements within the maximum time frame. If it is determined that it is not possible for a student to meet the grade point average (GPA) and credit completion standards before reaching the end of the program for which the student is receiving financial aid, the student’s financial aid eligibility shall be suspended immediately upon completion of the evaluation.

Appeals

If a student’s financial aid eligibility has been suspended due to not maintaining satisfactory academic progress the student has the right to appeal based on the following:

  • death of a relative
  • an injury, illness or hospitalization of the student
  • a student who transferred credits to SCSU that were earned through military service which are not applicable to any specific course or degree requirements at SCSU
  • other special or extenuating circumstances.

A written appeal must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office for review.

106 Administrative Services Building
720 Fourth Ave South
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498
financialaid@stcloudstate.edu
p: 320-308-2047
f: 320-308-5424

The appeal must include:

  • An explanation of the circumstances that affected your progress, and
  • Appropriate written supporting documentation, and
  • What has changed in your situation that will allow you to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation?

You will receive a written decision in response to your appeal within six business days. If your appeal is approved you will be placed on probation and your financial aid eligibility will be reinstated for one semester or term. You may also be required to complete specific requirements contained in an academic plan developed for you by SCSU.

Appeals cannot be processed retroactively for a prior term. Any appeal information submitted to the Financial Aid Office on or after the last regularly scheduled class day (excluding finals week) of the term for which you are requesting your financial aid eligibility be reinstated will not be reviewed.

If your appeal is denied and you feel there are factors that were not considered, a second appeal, including any additional supporting documentation, may be submitted in writing to the Director of Financial Aid. Second appeals will be reviewed by a committee and you will receive a written response within six business days.

Probation

A student who has successfully appealed shall be placed on financial aid probation for one evaluation period.  If at the end of the next evaluation period a student on financial aid probation status:

  • Has met the cumulative grade point average and completion percentage standards, the student shall be returned to good standing and will be eligible for financial aid.
  • Has not met the cumulative grade point average and completion percentage standards but has met the conditions specified in his/her academic plan, the student shall retain his/her financial aid eligibility under a probationary status for a subsequent evaluation period.
  • Has not met the cumulative grade point average and completion percentage standards and has also not met the conditions specified in his/her academic plan, the student shall be re-suspended immediately upon completion of the evaluation.

Notification of Status and Appeal Results

Status

If you are placed on warning, suspension, or probation according to the terms of this policy, you will receive written notice via your St. Cloud State email account.

Appeals

You will receive a written decision in response to your appeal within six business days. If your appeal is approved you will be placed on probation and your financial aid eligibility will be reinstated for one semester or term. You may also be required to complete specific requirements contained in an academic plan developed for you by SCSU.

If your appeal is denied and you feel there are factors that were not considered, a second appeal, including any additional supporting documentation, may be submitted in writing to the Director of Financial Aid. Second appeals will be reviewed by a committee and you will receive a written response within six business days.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid

In order to regain eligibility a student must meet the requirements of the satisfactory academic progress policy. Neither paying for your own classes nor sitting out a period of time is sufficient in and of itself to re-establish your financial aid eligibility. Students who previously have not maintained satisfactory progress, and who believe they now are in compliance with the policy, should notify the Financial Aid Office in writing in order to continue the processing of their financial aid application. You may regain your eligibility for the current term or a future term but not for a term once it has ended.

Treatment of Grades and Credits

I, IP, W, F, FN, U, and Z Grades: Courses for which you receive a letter grade of I (incomplete), IP (in-progress), W (withdrawal), F (failure), FN (failure for non-attendance), U (unsatisfactory), and Z (no grade reported) will be treated as credits attempted but not successfully completed.

Academic Forgiveness: Credits for which students have been granted academic forgiveness will be included when determining your cumulative GPA and percentage of credits completed, and also maximum time frame calculations.

Audited Courses: Classes taken for audit purposes only will not count as credits attempted or credits earned.

Consortium Credits: If you are an SCSU student and enroll in credits at another college or university through a consortium agreement, these credits will be treated as transfer credits (see "Transfer Credits" below).

PSEO and Senior to Sophomore Program Credits: Credits earned while a student is enrolled in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) at SCSU or taking courses at their high school through the Senior to Sophomore Program (college courses taught in their high school) will be included in the cumulative credit completion standard, GPA, and maximum time frame calculation. PSEO credits and Senior to Sophomore credits earned at another post-secondary institution will be treated as transfer credits.

Remedial/Developmental Courses: Classes in these categories will be included when determining both your cumulative GPA and your percentage of credits completed. Up to 30 remedial/developmental credits shall be excluded from the maximum time frame calculation.

Repeats: Repeated credits will be treated as credits attempted but no additional credit will be allowed. The SCSU Academic Policy may limit the number of times you may repeat a course. When an undergraduate course is repeated, the highest grade earned will be the official grade used to calculate GPA. When a graduate or doctoral course is repeated, both grades are used in determining the cumulative grade point average.  Federal financial aid rules dictate that students cannot receive financial aid to attempt a course a third time if they have previously passed the course at least once.

Transfer Credits: Transfer credits accepted by SCSU count as credits earned and attempted for calculation of your cumulative completion percentage; however, grades associated with these credits will not be used to calculate your cumulative GPA. Transfer credits accepted by SCSU will be used to determine the credit range for the minimum cumulative GPA requirement and will apply toward the maximum time frame calculation. If you are transferring to SCSU with a significant number of credits, you should determine how many credits of remaining eligibility you have. Then plan your coursework accordingly to ensure graduation within the maximum time frame, including accepted transfer credits and attempted SCSU credits. Transfer credits are not included in the credit completion rate calculation until the student has completed one term or semester at SCSU following the acceptance of the transfer credits.

Withdrawals: Credits for which a grade of “W” is received are considered attempted credits but not successfully completed.

Definitions

Academic Plan: a student who successfully appeals for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility may be required to complete, during a probationary period, specific requirements contained in an academic plan developed for that student by St. Cloud State University.

Class Registration: If a student is not meeting satisfactory academic progress and his/her financial aid has been canceled, their class registration will not automatically be cancelled for non-payment of tuition and fees. Students must cancel their registration to avoid being charged for tuition and fees.

Credit by Examination: Courses which appear on a student’s SCSU transcript as credit-by-examination will not count as credits attempted but will count as credits earned.

Credit Completion Percentage: the percentage of cumulative attempted credits that a student must successfully complete in order to retain financial aid eligibility.

Evaluation Period: A student’s progress is determined three times each year after fall, spring, and summer semester grades are recorded.

Financial Aid Suspension: The status assigned to a student for the term or semester after being placed on warning. This is a second semester or term in which the minimum requirements of the policy are not met. Financial aid eligibility is suspended at this status.

Financial Aid Warning: The status assigned to a student after the first semester or term in which the minimum requirements of the policy are not met. Financial aid eligibility continues for one additional semester or term at this status.

Maximum Time Frame: the maximum number of cumulative attempted credits within which a student must complete his or her academic program.

Probation: The status assigned to a student who successfully appeals a suspension of eligibility or has successfully completed the requirements of an academic plan.

Qualitative Measure: the Grade Point Average (GPA) a student must maintain in order to retain financial aid eligibility.

Quantitative Measure: the "Pace" at which a student must progress through his or her program in order to retain financial aid eligibility.

See University Policies for all additional academic requirements.