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Federal regulations (Sections 668.16(e).668.32(f) and 668.34) require that schools monitor the academic progress of each applicant for federal financial assistance and that the school certify that the applicant is making satisfactory academic progress toward earning his/her degree. A student’s entire academic history is considered, whether or not the student received federal aid. This policy is at least as strict as the policy the institution applies to a student who is not receiving assistance under the Title IV, HEA programs. This regulation applies to all students applying for financial aid, including those that have not previously received financial aid. This determination of progress must be made at least once a year and before the financial aid office disburses any federal aid funds for the subsequent semester. Note these guidelines are separate from academic progress as monitored by the Academic Standards Committee.
Students who are aware of learning or other disabilities should immediately contact the Office of Accessibility Services so that appropriate accommodations can be made. A student with a documented disability and functional limitations is still held to the same academic expectations as other students. If the student is registered with the Office of Accessibility Services and receiving appropriate accommodations, the student should be able to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid eligibility purposes.
Pursuant to Federal regulations, the following constitutes Russell Sage College’s policy on satisfactory academic progress for undergraduate students.
Maximum hours to earn degree
To quantify academic progress, a school must set a maximum time frame in which a student is expected to complete a program. For an undergraduate program, the maximum time frame cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the program measured in credit hours attempted.
The majority of undergraduate programs require 120 hours for graduation (minimum). The maximum time frame for students in these programs is 180 attempted hours (120 x 1.5 = 180). Students whose programs require more than 120 hours for a degree will have a higher limit.
As expressed in years: students are normally expected to complete an undergraduate degree by the end of 4 years of full-time study. Therefore, students will forfeit their eligibility to participate in federal financial aid programs after 6 years of full time enrollment (4 x 150% = 6).
- Any course in which the student remains enrolled beyond Week One (add/drop) will count towards attempted courses regardless of the grade received.
- Undergraduate courses with a final undergraduate grade of A through D- will be counted towards credits attempted and completed.
- Withdrawals: Grades of “W” are counted as courses attempted and count toward the maximum time frame.
- Incompletes – Grades of “I” are not included in the GPA calculation but are considered a non-completion of attempted coursework until the incomplete grade is replaced with a permanent grade and academic progress can be evaluated.
- Audited Courses: Students do not earn any academic credits for audited courses. They do not count in the calculation of “attempted hours.”
- Pass/Fail Courses: These hours do count within the total of attempted and earned hours
- Transfer credits: accepted for the student’s academic program or degree is counted when measuring the maximum time frame to complete the degree or program. Russell Sage College does not accept for credit any transfer grades lower than C-.
- Repeat Policy: Federal and institutional aid students can repeat a course once. The most recent attempt will count towards GPA as well as in the calculation for attempted and completed credits.
- Double Majors and / or Minors: Students who receive permission from their Dean to pursue a double major / minor will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 180 attempted hours.
- Change in Majors: Students who change their majors will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 180 attempted hours.
Second Bachelor’s Degree
A student who has already been awarded a bachelor’s degree may apply for a second degree only if the second degree is different from the first degree. Ordinarily, a second degree at the undergraduate level is discouraged, and a graduate degree is encouraged.
- Students working towards a second bachelor’s degree are no longer eligible for Federal Pell Grants and Federal SEOG Grants.
- Undergraduate students are limited in how much they can borrow under the Federal Stafford Loan Program. These limits are not increased for students working on a second Bachelor’s Degree.
- Students seeking financial aid for a second bachelor’s degree are monitored for satisfactory academic progress based on the following:
- Students who have received their first bachelor’s degree from another institution will be granted a maximum of 72 credits or six semesters of institutional aid, whichever comes first, to complete their second bachelor’s degree at Sage.
- Students who have received their first bachelor’s degree from Sage will be granted a maximum of 60 credits or five semesters of institutional aid, whichever comes first, to complete their second bachelor’s degree at Sage.
- Students who enroll in a second bachelor degree program are still held to the 150% maximum time frame rule. However, only the credit hours from the first degree which apply to the second degree will be counted as attempted hours.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students have a limited amount of time to complete their undergraduate degree requirements. To earn our basic undergraduate degree, students must successfully complete 120 credit hours. Undergraduate full-time status equals 12 or more credits per semester. However, in order to graduate in 4 years, a student must complete 30 credits each academic year. Federal or institutional aid recipients enrolled less than full-time are required to meet these standards on a basis proportional to their enrollment status.
For transfer students, satisfactory academic progress will be measured by equating transfer credits accepted by Sage to the number of cumulative credits earned, as indicated on the chart below. All transfer credits accepted by Sage will be considered attempted and completed credits for purposes of determining Satisfactory Academic Progress. For example, if a student transfers in 60 credits, he/she will be required to maintain a cumulative 2.000 GPA in order to be considered in good academic standing.
For a student to be considered as progressing normally and maintain eligibility for federal and institutional financial aid; students must achieve specific quality (grade point averages) and quantity (credits earned) standards. Below are outlines of academic standards which must be met to comply with federal and institutional requirements. Academic progress is monitored by the Office of Financial Aid through established institutional guidelines.
|0 – 30||1.500||67.000%|
|30.5 – 47.5||1.750||67.000%|
|48 or more||2.000||67.000%|
Qualitative Standards: Grade Point Average (GPA)
In accordance with federal regulations, by the second calendar year of enrollment in a post-secondary educational program, the student must have at least a 2.000 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) to be considered making satisfactory progress for continued participation in federal and institutional aid programs. Students who do not meet this test will be ineligible to participate in federal and institutional financial aid programs until this deficiency is corrected. Cumulative Grade Point Averages (GPA) requirements to remain in good academic standing are as follows:
|0 – 30||1.500|
|30.5 – 47.5||1.750|
|48 or more||2.000|
To remain eligible for financial aid, all students must successfully complete (earn) a minimum of 67.000% of the total cumulative hours attempted. Attempted hours include all credits attempted at Sage as well as those credits that were accepted as transfer credits. Pace of completion is determined by dividing the total number of credit hours earned (successfully completed) by the total number of credit hours attempted.
Quantitative Standards: Credits Earned (Pace of Completion)
Sage recommends students earn at least 30 credit hours per academic year in order to graduate in four years. In order for students to monitor their academic progress, both the cumulative GPA and the Pace of Completion can be found in SageAdvisor Student Planning-Progress screen using the Show Program Notes link.
Students who are receiving aid must resolve all incomplete grades before the Office of Financial Aid can make a final determination that they meet the satisfactory academic progress guidelines. Students must report any grade changes that impact their aid eligibility directly to the Office of Financial Aid.
Each aid recipient’s record will be evaluated at the end of the spring semester to determine that the student is meeting the standards described above. If the student has reached the maximum number of scheduled hours without earning the degree, the student must be excluded from further participation in federal financial aid programs.
Federal regulations require that these standards apply to all students, even to first-time aid applicants who have previously enrolled at Russell Sage College, or to those who have not been formally placed on probation.
Failure to Demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students who are not making satisfactory academic progress will lose their eligibility for federal and institutional aid. Students who do not meet the required qualitative and quantitative standards will be sent a letter indicating that they have not met the required standards and are given the opportunity to appeal the loss of the federal and institutional financial aid. Students that successfully appeal the loss will be placed on financial aid probation for one semester. Students will be allowed only one probationary period during their academic program.
Financial Aid Probation
A student will be placed on financial aid probation, for one semester, after an appeal has been submitted and approved by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. Students on financial aid probation will receive a separate letter that will outline the academic requirements the student must meet in order to receive aid for following semester. If the student on financial aid probation meets the terms of the probation, he/she will be permitted to continue to participate in the federal student aid programs for a subsequent semester.
Students who have been placed on probation shall be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress for the purposes of receiving financial aid as long as the student continues to meet the academic requirements outlined in the Standards of Academic Progress Policy. During the time the student is placed on probation, he/she must successfully complete the semester without any failures, incomplete grades, or withdrawals.
The Financial Aid Office will review the records of students who are on financial aid probation at the end of the semester they are placed on probation. If the student does not meet the terms of the probation, the student will forfeit eligibility for all federal and institutional financial aid programs.
Loss of eligibility due to lack of satisfactory progress
A student who has lost eligibility to participate in federal and institutional student aid programs for reasons of academic progress after being placed on Financial Aid probation can regain that eligibility only by enrolling at Sage at his/her own expense and demonstrating that he/she is capable of completing a semester without any failures, incomplete grades or withdrawals and showing the ability to complete his/her degree requirements in a more regular fashion. The mere passage of time will not restore eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory progress.
Students who have been academically dismissed or suspended from Sage but who are subsequently given permission to re-enroll are not automatically eligible to continue to participate in federal, state, or institutional aid programs. Admissions decisions are totally separate from funding decisions.
Right to Appeal
Students have the right to appeal any decision of ineligibility to continue to receive financial assistance unless they have previously been granted an appeal. Appeals must be filed within 30 days of notification that aid eligibility has been lost. An appeal must be typed and sent to:
Director of Financial Aid
Office of Student Services
Russell Sage College
65 First Street
Troy, NY 12180
The appeal may not be based upon your need for the assistance or your lack of knowledge that your assistance was in jeopardy. An appeal should be based upon some unusual situation or condition which prevented you from passing more of your courses, or which necessitated that you withdraw from classes. Examples of possible situations include documented serious illness, severe injury, or death of a family member.
If you do not have grounds for an appeal, or if your appeal is denied, you may still be able to regain your eligibility for future semesters. This is done by enrolling at Sage at your own expense – without financial assistance — and meeting Sage’s satisfactory academic progress guidelines.
Appeal Approval Conditions
Appeals can only be approved if the Financial Aid Appeals Committee determines the student will be able to meet Sage’s satisfactory academic progress after the next payment period and the student has a letter of support from the their academic advisor or program director.
If an appeal is granted, students whose appeals are granted will be placed on financial aid probation and will receive aid on a conditional basis for one semester. The conditions will be outlined in the letter sent to the student granting the appeal. During the time the student is placed on probation, he/she must successfully complete the semester without any failures, incomplete grades, or withdrawals.
The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review the student’s record at the end of the semester to determine his/her status for the following semester. Students who fail to meet the conditions outlined by the committee during their conditional semester will not be permitted to submit a subsequent appeal.
All F Grades or Zero GPA
Students receiving all F grades in one semester may have their status automatically moved to Unsatisfactory Academic Progress (USAP) and may not be eligible for federal or institutional financial aid. Depending on when the all F grades occured, students who are meeting other SAP requirements may continue to receive financial aid. Until the student is making satisfactory academic progress, he/she is responsible for all charges due to the college.
During the semester that the student received all F grades or a combination of F’s and Incompletes (I) the student will be asked to verify attendance. Failure to verify attendance will be considered an “unofficial” withdrawal and aid for that semester is subject to the Return to Title IV (R2T4) Federal Calculation of repayment. This calculation could result in the student having an outstanding balance with the college due to returned funds to the Department of Education.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for New York State Aid
To be eligible, and remain eligible, for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), students must:
- be a full-time (12 credits or more required credits per semester) and matriculated student at each level of study,
- Maintain good academic standing by meeting program pursuit and satisfactory academic progress requirements as detailed below.
Program Pursuit is defined as:
- completion of at least 6 credits during each term of study in the first year for which an award is received; or
- completion of at least 9 credits during each term of study in the second year for which an award is received; or
- completion of at least 12 credits during each subsequent term for which an award is received.
For students who received aid in 2007-08 through and including 2009-10 and HEOP students first receiving aid in 2007-08 and thereafter:
|Before being certified for this amount||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||6th||7th||8th||9th||10th|
|A student must have accrued at least this many credits||0||3||9||21||33||45||60||75||90||105|
|With at least this grade point average||0||1.1||1.2||1.3||2.0||2.0||2.0||2.0||2.0||2.0|
For non-HEOP students first receiving aid in 2010-11 and thereafter:
|Before being certified for this payment||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||6th||7th||8th||9th||10th|
|A student must have accrued at least this many credits||0||6||15||27||39||51||66||81||96||111|
|With at least this grade point average||0||1.5||1.8||1.8||2.0||2.0||2.0||2.0||2.0||2.0|
Summer Accelerated Study
At Sage, enrollment for the summer term is always considered accelerated study. In addition to meeting general TAP eligibility criteria, students qualify for accelerated study awards only upon earning 24 credits applicable to their degree program in the prior two semesters at Sage. Transfer credits cannot be used to meet the accelerated study requirement. The required 24 credits can be earned in any combination (e.g. 6 in the fall and 18 in the spring).
For the purpose of determining eligibility for a state award for the accelerated study at Sage, an earned credit is a credit for which the student has taken at Sage, received a passing grade and which is applicable to the student’s degree program.
Requirement for accelerated study apply to all full-time study scholarships that do not allow for part-time study. Veteran’s Tuition Awards and Part-Time TAP Awards for student with disabilities are not affected by the accelerated study requirement.
There is no waiver provision available for students who do not meet the accelerated study earned credits requirement.
Loss of Good Academic Standing
Students who lose good academic standing in a term when they received a state grant or scholarship are not eligible for an award for the next term.
Reinstatement of Good Academic Standing
Students who have lost good academic standing may restore this standing in one of the following ways: make up past academic deficiencies by completing one or more terms of study without receiving any state grants or scholarships; be readmitted to school after an absence of at least once year; transfer to another school, or be granted a waiver.
New York State Commissioner of Education regulations permit students to receive a one-time waiver of the good academic standing requirement. The waiver is not automatic, and may only be granted in extraordinary or unusual circumstances which are beyond the control of the student. There must be a reasonable expectation that the student will meet future requirements. To request a one-time waiver, students must submit a completed one-time waiver application along with supporting statements and documentation. One-time waiver applications are available in the Financial Aid office. If granted, the waiver becomes part of the student’s financial aid record and the student is expected to meet good academic standing requirements thereafter.
Please note that applying for a one-time TAP waiver is not a guarantee that you will be approved. In addition, the decision made by the appeals committee is final and not subject to appeal. However, in the event that a request is denied, the student may submit additional documentation for review if they feel it is pertinent to the original TAP waiver request.
One-Time Waiver Due to COVID-19
The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) is working to protect New York’s students and borrowers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. HESC has determined that impacted students receiving financial aid will not suffer negative consequences regarding their current or future awards.
HESC is working to ensure that students receiving financial aid retain their awards if they are unable to satisfy their eligibility requirements due to COVID-19.
This effort is targeted towards students who would have met all eligibility requirements, but their studies were disrupted because they became sick with the virus or campus closings, the implementation of distance learning, or NY PAUSE impacted their ability to complete classes.
Impacted Students are those students who are deemed by their college to be unable to complete courses for the term or earn fewer credits than required by award programs due to COVID-19, regardless of where or how, including:
- Students who came in contact or became sick with the virus or served as the primary caretaker of someone who was sick with coronavirus
- Students who were impacted by emergency closures or temporary campus closures in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19
- Students who met full-time study requirements, but because of COVID-19, have fallen below the credit requirements. This may include,
- Students who do not have the means to continue coursework in their homes and could not complete classes that transitioned to online instruction
- Students who could not earn their term credits because they were enrolled in a course that was cancelled because it could not transition to online instruction
- Students who were unable to complete student teaching assignments due to school closures and were unable to earn their term credits
- Students who were unable to complete credit-bearing internships due to closures under NY Pause and no alternative coursework could be offered by your college
- Students impacted by other related emergency events implemented in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Unimpacted Students are those who successfully complete all credits for the term, even if impacted by COVID-19.
What do I need to do if I was impacted by COVID-19 and unable to complete courses for the term or earned fewer credits than required by the TAP Program Pursuit requirements?
If you are an impacted student, please contact the Financial Aid Office to request a One Time COVID-19 Waiver of Program Pursuit.
C Average Requirement
Students who have received the equivalent of two or more full years of state-funded financial aid must have and maintain a cumulative GPA of C (2.0 on a 4.0 grading scale) or better to be eligible for continued state-funded assistance. Cumulative GPA for readmitted students who have previously attended Sage is based on prior grades at Sage. Students who are denied an award for failing to achieve a cumulative GPA of C can regain award eligibility by completing appropriate coursework, without state support, to achieve a cumulative GPA of C. Students cannot regain eligibility by remaining out of school for a period of time.
Waiver of the C Average Requirement
The C average requirement may be waived for undue hardship based on the death of a student’s immediate family member; or the student’s personal illness or injury; or other extenuating circumstances. To request a C average waiver, students must submit a completed waiver application along with the appropriate supporting documentation. C average waiver applications are available in the Financial aid office. If granted, the waiver becomes part of the student’s financial aid record and the student is expected to meet good academic standing requirements thereafter.
Courses in which the student has already received a passing grade cannot be included in meeting full-time study requirements for state-sponsored financial aid.
Repeated courses may be counted toward full-time study requirements if a student repeats a failed course, if a student repeats the course for additional credit, or when a student has received a grade that is passing at the institution but is unacceptable in a particular curriculum.