Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements for Financial Aid Recipients

Federal and state regulations require that all financial aid recipients must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward completing their degree. While academic standing requirements are set by the Academic Standards Committee for academics (please see the academic catalog), the financial aid requirements for SAP are different. A student must meet the requirements of the financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy in order to be eligible for all federal, state, and institutional financial aid. Satisfactory academic progress will be measured for all students receiving financial aid, regardless of credit load.

Students who receive financial aid while attending Whitman College are required to make progress toward their degree program each semester. Grades that count as credits completed are: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, P, and CR. Grades that do not count towards completed credits are F, AU, NC, X, I, W, and NR. Incomplete grades will be reviewed at the end of each semester during each SAP review. If a student has not completed their Incomplete grade from the prior semester, the Incomplete grade will continue to be counted toward attempted credits, but not completed credits. If the financial aid office is notified of a grade change, the financial aid office will recalculate the prior term SAP status and adjust accordingly, notifying the student of any change in SAP status via email. If a grade change has occurred at the time of SAP review, both qualitative and quantitative progress will be updated at that time.
Repeat Coursework: If a student successfully repeats a previously failed course, the grade and credit for both the failed and completed courses are included in the calculation of the semester, cumulative, and major grade-point averages, which will be counted as well in the attempted credit calculation.
Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes is reviewed at the end of each semester. Cumulative credits and cumulative grade point average includes work for the entire time you have attended Whitman College, and your entire academic history of transfer credits.

Notification of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is monitored at the end of each semester. Students will receive an email notification sent to their Whitman email address if they have been placed on a Warning, Revoke, or Probationary status. All notification emails requiring action from the student, will include links to the applicable SAP appeal form, which lists the required documents needed to be submitted with each appeal.

Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured based on 3 components in order to remain eligible for Title IV Federal Financial Aid:
1) Grade Point Average (GPA) – Qualitative Requirement – Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 1.7 each semester, and must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 after their second semester, and all subsequent semesters. Transferred credits, including those received during foreign or domestic off campus study, do not count in the calculation of the cumulative and term grade point average, but they are included in the calculation of both attempted and completed credits, when calculating completion rate.
2) Completion rate/PACE Requirement - Students must successfully complete 66.67% of all attempted coursework each term, and cumulatively, which includes credits transferred in from other colleges. All courses counted toward federal financial aid will be counted toward pace of completion, which includes incompletes, repeat coursework, transfer credits, change in majors, and additional minors/majors. Pace is determined by dividing Total Earned Credit Hours/Total Attempted Credit Hours. For example, 90 earned credit hours/100 attempted credit hours = 90% pace of completion rate. To have your PACE of completion % calculated for you: Please contact the financial aid office.
3) Maximum Timeframe – Students are eligible to receive financial aid until they have attempted 150% of the minimum published time it takes to complete a degree. For example, a typical bachelor’s degree at Whitman College requires 124 semester credit hours to complete. To remain eligible for financial aid and stay within the maximum timeframe requirement, a student would need to complete their degree within 186 credit hours (124 credits x 150% = 186 credits). Students approaching maximum timeframe limits may receive multiple maximum time frame warnings before a financial aid revoke status is received.

Students that fail to meet any of the three Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements after grades post the end of each semester will receive a SAP status of:
WARNING – First semester of not making Satisfactory Academic Progress.

  • This is a financial aid warning only; no holds will be placed on financial aid.

REVOKE – Second consecutive semester (which could include semesters transferred in from another school) of not making Satisfactory Academic Progress.

  • Financial Aid will be revoked/put on hold, and the student will be provided the opportunity to submit an appeal. Financial aid will remain on hold until a written appeal is submitted and successfully approved.

PROBATION – Status after an appeal has been successfully appealed and approved, students will receive a Probationary status.

  • Financial aid eligibility will be provisionally reinstated. Successfully making satisfactory academic progress while on probation will usually result in satisfactory standing the next semester, but it could take several terms on probation before meeting the cumulative requirements for SAP, and being removed from a probationary status.

Financial Aid Appeal Process

Students that have been placed in a revoke SAP status, where aid has been placed “on hold”, have the opportunity to file an appeal with the Financial Aid Office. We encourage students to submit an appeal as soon as possible; waiting until the next semester has begun is usually too late for the student to make payment arrangements that include financial aid.
Each SAP appeal submitted should include the following documents:

  1. A completed satisfactory academic progress appeal form;
  2. A written statement from the student explaining the extenuating circumstances that lead them to not making satisfactory academic progress. This statement should include the changes the student will be making or the changes that have already been made that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress in future semesters;
  3. A written academic plan and letter of support from the student’s academic advisor, that reflects a plan for future success.

If the SAP appeal is denied, the student’s financial aid will not be reinstated. If the appeal is approved, the student will be granted financial aid on a probationary basis and will be informed what requirements must be met to continue to be eligible for financial aid.

Washington state grant satisfactory academic progress requirements differ slightly from federal requirements. Washington residents must complete their degree within five full time years of eligibility versus 150 percent of the published program length. Washington state aid recipients must successfully complete 50 percent or more of their attempted credits each semester to be eligible for state aid the following semester. Students receiving state aid in a probationary status must complete 100 percent of the credits upon which their state aid was based during the probationary semester, or state aid will be suspended in the following semester.

Whitman scholarships are awarded for a maximum of four years (the equivalent of eight semesters), unless a student is approved for additional semester(s) as part of the 9th semester appeal process. In order for a student to finish his or her degree requirements within four years, at least 31 credits or more should be completed each academic year.

Regaining Satisfactory Academic Progress Without Benefit of Financial Aid

If a student is still in good standing with the academic affairs office’s educational review board and able to continue studies at Whitman, but is ineligible for financial aid (due to being in a Revoke SAP status), the student can raise their cumulative grade point average and/or satisfy credit deficiencies by taking additional course work at Whitman without receiving financial aid. The usual satisfactory academic progress requirements as listed above must be met at the end of the semester without aid in order for aid to be reinstated the following semester. A student who successfully regains satisfactory academic progress should contact the financial aid office for a review of the student’s progress and the possibility of reinstating aid for the upcoming semester.

A student can only eliminate credit deficiencies - but not grade point average deficiencies - by successfully completing course work at another institution and transferring the credits to Whitman. Transfer credits used to satisfy credit deficiencies cannot be credits that were earned prior to the term in which the student incurred the deficiencies. Students are also encouraged to consult the Registrar’s Office to confirm that the transfer credits will be accepted. Once the transfer credits have been posted to the student’s academic record at Whitman, the student should contact the financial aid office for review to evaluate if financial aid can be reinstated for the upcoming semester.

Please note that the Academic Board of Review’s decision to reinstate a student for academic purposes, does not mean that a student will be eligible for financial aid. The Academic Board of Review’s decisions are for academic purposes only and separate from satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.

Page updated 4/19/2024.