Financial Aid Office

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Financial aid eligibility is based on satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards that St. Catherine University's Financial Aid Office is required by the U.S. Department of Education to establish, publish and apply. The Financial Aid Office measures academic performance and enforces SAP standards to ensure that financial aid recipients progress toward completion of their degree or certificate program. Students who fail to meet these standards become ineligible to receive financial aid until compliant with all of the requirements detailed in this policy.

To demonstrate satisfactory academic progress, a student’s academic performance must meet two main SAP components. The first is a qualitative component, represented by grade point average (GPA). The second is a quantitative component measured by credit completion (the ratio between attempted and passed credits) and maximum time frame (the ability to complete the degree or certificate program within an established number of credits).

Students will be notified of their SAP status by a representative of St. Catherine University. A paper letter notification will be sent to the student via U.S. mail. Electronic notification will be sent to the student's official St. Catherine email address when deemed appropriate.

Section 1. Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress


Grade Point Average
All undergraduate students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA that is equal to or greater than the graduation standards published by their program on the program’s website.

Credit Completion
Students must complete 67% of all credits attempted. A completed credit has a grade of A, B, C, D, or S. Withdrawals, F grades, incomplete courses, and repeated courses are included in attempted credits.

Maximum Time Frame
All students are expected to finish their degree or certificate within an acceptable period of time. Financial aid recipients may continue to receive aid through their cumulative attempted credits that equal 150% of the required number of credits needed to complete their program, including transfer credits from another college that apply to the St. Catherine University program. For undergraduate baccalaureate students this means that a student must complete her program by the time she reaches 195 attempted credits. For associate and graduate students, maximum time frame is measured based on 150% of the length of the student’s program. As soon as it becomes mathematically impossible for a student to graduate within the 150% limit, the University will place the student will on Financial Aid Suspension. Students who require developmental coursework may appeal to have the 150% limit extended.

Section 2. Definitions


Credit – A credit is the unit by which academic work is measured.

Attempted credit – An attempted credit includes all credits for which you are registered at the beginning of each term. Audit credits are not included in attempted credits.

Cumulative credits – Cumulative credits represent the total number of credits evaluated (attempted and passed) for all periods of enrollment at St. Catherine University, including summer and J-terms or terms for which the student did not receive aid. Cumulative credits also include transfer credits from another college that apply to the St. Catherine University program.

Passed credits – Passed credits are those that are successfully completed with a grade of A, B, C, D, P, and S. Grades of I, W, U, F, X, or dropped courses are not counted as passed credits. Developmental credits count toward both attempted and passed credits; audit credits are not counted as attempted or passed credits.

Grade Point Average (GPA) – The GPA is calculated using a grade point value outlined in the catalog for grades A, B, C, D, and F and all plus or minus variations. Although a grade of P or S will count as credit earned, it carries no grade point value. Transfer credit grades from another college that apply to the St. Catherine University program are included in the calculation of the cumulative GPA.

Incomplete Courses – An “I” is assigned as a temporary grade for pending course completion, and counts against the completion rate (attempted, but not earned credits). If the incomplete is replaced with a passing grade, the course will be counted as an earned credit.

Repeat Credits – Repeats may be allowed in order to improve a grade or meet program requirements, and they are included in calculations for the SAP grade point average, credit completion, and maximum time frame standards. The most recent grade will become the grade calculated for GPA. Please note a student may only receive financial aid for taking a previously passed course once. If a student needs to raise the grade for a major or other requirement, as long as the course is considered passed, the student cannot receive federal funds for more than one repeat.

Developmental Credits – Remedial coursework is included with registered credits, and will count toward the credit completion and maximum time frame standards.

Transfer Credits – Grades associated with transfer credits are included in the cumulative GPA calculation, and count toward the cumulative credit completion calculation.
Transfer credits accepted by St. Catherine University apply toward the maximum time frame calculation, if they are applicable to the current degree program.

Second Major - Students returning after receipt of a first degree in a program in order to complete the requirements for a second major in the program will have their maximum time frame extended to provide for the additional course requirements of the new major.

Change of Major, and Dual Degree – Many students receive multiple degrees and/or certificates from St. Catherine University. Only attempted credits eligible for application toward the student’s current certificate or degree program will count toward the maximum time frame of that certificate or degree. Attempted and passed credits under all majors will be included in the calculation of GPA and credit completion. Students who change majors or seek a dual degree may appeal for an extension of the maximum time frame provision of this policy. Appeals will be evaluated on an individual, case-by-case basis.

Post-Secondary Education Options (PSEO) – Credits earned while a PSEO student at St. Catherine University will be included in the cumulative credit completion standard, GPA, and maximum time frame calculation. PSEO credits earned at another post-secondary institution will be treated as transfer credits.

Joint Program Credits – Grades associated with joint program credits are included in the cumulative GPA calculation, and count toward the cumulative credit completion calculation.

Section 3. Monitoring Eligibility


The academic progress for every financial aid applicant will be reviewed after each term. All of a student’s academic coursework is considered in the review process, whether the student received aid that term or not. The assessment will be based on the student’s entire academic record, including all transfer credit hours accepted.

Financial Aid Warning
If a student does not meet the minimum cumulative GPA and/or credit completion ratio, s/he will automatically be placed on Financial Aid Warning for the next term of enrollment. Financial Aid Warning puts a student on notice that s/he will be suspended and that s/he will lose financial aid eligibility if both the cumulative GPA and cumulative completion standards are not met at the end of the warning term. During a warning term, a student may continue to receive financial aid provided all other eligibility requirements are met.

Financial Aid Suspension
Students who do not meet the minimum cumulative GPA and/or credit completion ratio at the end of the Financial Aid Warning term become ineligible for federal, state and institutional financial aid and will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Also, at the point in time it is determined that a student will not be able to complete a degree or certificate within the maximum time frame, s/he will be suspended from financial aid. Provided the student is allowed to register by the academic department and the Office of Academic Affairs, s/he may attend St. Catherine University and pay out of pocket or apply for a private, credit-based alternative loan that does not require a student meet satisfactory academic progress standards. Once the minimum cumulative GPA and credit completion requirements have been met, the student may petition the Financial Aid Office to reinstate their financial aid eligibility. St. Catherine University may immediately suspend a student from financial aid in the event of extraordinary circumstances, such as a student who registers for but does not earn any credits for two consecutive terms, or demonstrates an attendance pattern that abuses the receipt of financial aid.

Financial Aid Probation
A student who is placed on Financial Aid Suspension may appeal the suspension status if there are extenuating circumstances such as the death of a relative, injury or illness of the student or other special circumstances. If a SAP appeal of suspension status is approved by the Financial Aid Office, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. While on probation, a student is eligible to receive financial aid. The student’s record will be reviewed and probationary status evaluated following each term. Probation status may continue into subsequent terms until the minimum cumulative standards have been met, provided the student is following her/his academic plan. If the academic plan is not followed, the student will again be placed on suspension, ineligible for aid and may submit a new appeal. For details on the appeal process and explanation of an academic plan, please refer to Section 4: Right to Appeal.

Academic Suspension
Students who have been academically suspended by St. Catherine University are no longer eligible for financial aid. If a student is readmitted, s/he must complete the SAP appeal process. For details on the appeal process, please refer to Section 4: Right to Appeal.

Section 4. Right to Appeal


Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Requirements for Students Meeting SAP Standards:
A student may appeal the financial aid suspension status if:
  • The student has now earned the required cumulative minimum GPA and credit completion ratio to meet SAP standards.
  • The student is readmitted after academic suspension by St. Catherine University and meets the required minimum SAP standards.

  • If you are now meeting the SAP requirements, email or call the Financial Aid Office to request that your record be reviewed for financial aid eligibility.

    Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Requirements for Students Not Meeting SAP Standards:
    A student who is unable to achieve satisfactory academic progress and is suspended from financial aid has the right to appeal. Students may appeal based on unusual or extenuating circumstances, provided they can document the circumstance and demonstrate that the barriers to academic success have been removed. Unusual circumstances that interfered with the student’s ability to meet SAP standards include, but not limited to:
  • illness, accident, or injury experienced by the student or a significant person in the student’s life.
  • death of a family member or significant person in the student’s life.
  • divorce experienced by the student or parent.
  • personal problems or issues with spouse, family, roommate, or other significant person.
  • exceeding time frame while in a second undergraduate or dual degree program or as a result of changing major.

  • Students who have experienced unusual or extenuating circumstances, can document the circumstance and demonstrate that the barriers to academic success have been removed should complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Suspension Appeal Form.

    The student should submit the appeal form and required accompanying documentation within 10 days of notification that the student has been suspended. Appeals received more than 10 days after the student was notified of their suspension status will receive equal consideration, provided there is a reasonable explanation for the delay.

    In order to appeal, a student is required to:

    • Complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Suspension Appeal Form.
    • Submit a written statement that identifies the barrier(s) that prevented the student from meeting SAP requirements in the past and explain what has changed that will now allow the student to meet the minimum SAP requirements in the future.
    • Attach supporting documentation, from a third-party such as a counselor or doctor, to verify the conditions and dates of the circumstances hindering the student’s academic success and to confirm that these barriers have been removed.
    • Outline how the student will be able to meet the minimum cumulative GPA and credit completion ratio after her/his next term of enrollment. If s/he is not able to meet the minimum cumulative GPA and credit completion ratio after the next term of enrollment, the student must meet with her/his Academic Advisor/Program Director to develop an academic plan that clearly details how the student will meet SAP standards.
    • The appeal form must be signed by the student’s Academic Advisor/Program Director and the academic plan developed together must ensure that the student is able to meet the minimum cumulative GPA and/or credit completion ratio by a specific point in time.
      • If you have any questions regarding the SAP policy, the appeal process or appeal form, please contact your financial aid counselor or the Financial Aid Office at finaid@stkate.edu.