Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards to Retain Eligibility for Federal Title IV Financial AID - Graduate Level Policy

  • Academic
  • Financial Aid
  • Student - Graduate
Responsible Unit Financial Aid
Responsible Cabinet Member VP for Enrollment Management
Adoption Date 2016-07
Last Revision Date 2019-04-24
Last Review Date

Policy Statement

 Students are advised that continued eligibility for federal financial aid awards requires that students maintain compliance with Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards are reviewed at the end of each academic term. Students who fail to maintain pace, who fall below the required grade point average, or who meet or surpass the maximum time frame standard, or any combination of the standards, will be considered out of compliance and ineligible to receive Federal Title IV aid for future semesters, beginning immediately, until compliance has been regained. Notification of ineligibility following the term will be sent to students after the semester grades have been analyzed.


There is no purpose/scope provided for this policy at this time


There is no applicability provided for this policy at this time


There are no definitions for this policy at this time.

Policy Procedures

Awards affected at the graduate level

  • Federal Work-Study
  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans - Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal PLUS Loan for Graduate students
  • Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Federal law requires that satisfactory academic progress standards be measured in both quantitative (i.e., pace and maximum time frame) and qualitative terms (i.e., grade point average or GPA).

“A student who completed the academic requirements for a program but does not yet have the degree or certificate is not eligible for further additional FSA funds for that program”- Federal Student Aid Handbook (Vol. 1, Ch. 1,p. 1-10).

Maximum Time Frame Standard

Students receiving funds under Title IV must complete their degrees within 150 percent of the published program length as measured in credits or forfeit federal aid eligibility. For example, for a program requiring 30 credits, a student could not receive aid for more than 45 credits. The maximum time frame standard evaluation will include those credits attempted at SUNY Brockport and those accepted for transfer credit by the academic program in which the student is enrolled.


Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative Brockport grade point average of 3.0 to be in compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. Transfer GPA will not be considered in this standard.


Pace measures a student’s progression to ensure the student will graduate within the maximum time frame of their program. The student’s pace progression is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours the student has successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours the student has attempted. Graduate students at SUNY Brockport must maintain a minimum pace of 66.667% to be in compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. In calculating pace, the following grades are treated as attempted but not successfully completed: E, I, PR, U and W. Courses that are repeated to improve a grade are counted as attempted each time they are taken, but are only counted as completed once. Every term is considered when measuring the completion rate, whether or not the student received federal financial aid.

Repeating a Course

Title IV financial aid will pay for only ONE retake of a previously passed course. Students must be registered for 12 credit hours in addition to any course repeated more than once, to be considered full time for financial aid purposes. In other words, after the second taking of a course in which a passing grade has been received, the course will no longer count as part of the student’s enrollment for federal aid purposes. Courses that are allowed to be repeated for additional credit are not subject to this requirement unless the maximum number of credits has been attained.

Warning System

A review of Federal Academic Standards for Title IV Aid compliance is completed at the end of each academic term for all students.  When a student becomes out of compliance, they will receive one warning term to use aid while working to get back into good Federal Academic Standards for Title IV aid.

Students who are in danger of losing their federal aid will be notified after the grades are calculated for the term and will receive an alert of the potential financial aid loss through Bmail – The University’s official mode of communication. It is advised that students consult with their Program advisor in conjunction with The University’s Academic Compliance Officer to determine what steps need to be taken to reduce the chance of being out of compliance at the end of the following term in which the student is registered for classes.

Students who do not meet the Federal Academic Standards at the end of the next semester in which they are registered for class will be considered out of compliance and ineligible to receive federal Title IV aid for future semesters. Notification of ineligibility will be sent to students after the semester grades have been analyzed.

Regaining Eligibility for Federal Title IV Aid

A student will not be eligible to receive Federal Title IV aid until they have re-established compliance with Federal Academic Standards. Maximum time frame students will not be able to reestablish eligibility. A student may re-establish eligibility in the following ways:

Meeting Federal Academic Performance Standards at One’s Own Cost

A student who loses eligibility may regain it by successfully completing courses at SUNY Brockport to meet the stated requirements. Such courses must be funded without benefit of Title IV aid and under no circumstances will aid be paid retroactively for those courses once eligibility has been reestablished. Upon completion of these courses, a student should submit a request to the Academic Compliance Officer for re-evaluation of eligibility.

Mitigating Circumstances Appeals

Students who fail to meet the established standards for reasons beyond their control may appeal their loss of eligibility due to mitigating circumstances. Federal regulations, however, do not allow for mitigation under any circumstance for students not completing their program of study within 150 percent of the published length of the educational program for full-time students. Mitigating circumstances appeals may only be made for pace and GPA issues.

Such mitigating circumstances must fall in to one of the following categories:

1.) Death of a relative

2.) Injury or Extended Illness

3.) Severe Personal Problems

To make the appeal, students must fill out the appeal form available on the Financial Aid website in the Forms Center.  This will require a statement explaining why the student failed to meet the standards, what has changed in the situation or how the situation is being managed.  Also include any third party documentation available that will support what is cited as the mitigating circumstance. Third party documentation should be in the form of a note from a doctor or counselor, a death notice or obituary, or a notarized memo from a non-professional source. Mitigating Circumstances Appeals will not be accepted without third party documentation.

Completed appeals, including third party documentation, should be returned to the Financial Aid Office. The Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards Committee will review the appeal and will send a letter of decision within two weeks of receiving the appeal. All committee decisions are final. Completing the Mitigating Circumstances Appeal does not guarantee approval.

If an appeal is approved, a student will be granted one of the following options:

Single Semester Financial Aid Probation

The student will be placed on financial aid probation for one semester and will be eligible to receive Federal Title IV aid for that semester. If the student fails to meet Federal Academic Standards at the end of the probationary semester, the student will no longer be eligible for federal aid. A new Mitigating Circumstances Appeal cannot be submitted unless a new and different situation has occurred.

Graduate Student Financial Aid Compliance Academic Plan of Study

This should not be confused with a Return to Good Academic Standing Course Plan associated with Academic Probation that may be completed through the Graduate School. A Graduate Student Financial Aid Compliance Academic Plan of Study may be required with an approved Mitigating Circumstances Appeal, if a student cannot regain compliance after one semester. If a Graduate Student Financial Aid Compliance Academic Plan of Study is required, the student must follow the Plan for a specified period of time to meet Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. The student must successfully complete a specific number of credit hours with a 3.0 GPA for each semester on the plan. Plans will be adjusted accordingly on a student-by-student basis, in conjunction with the Graduate School and the student’s academic department.

Students requiring a Graduate Student Financial Aid Compliance Academic Plan of Study must meet with their advisor(s) to plan for current and future semesters to determine courses and number of credits for each semester. The plan will be reviewed at the end of each semester by the compliance officer to determine if the student is eligible to continue receiving Federal Title IV aid. Students will be eligible to receive Federal Title IV aid for the semester in which the plan is implemented. Students must notify the compliance officer of any changes to the Graduate Student Financial Aid Compliance Academic Plan of Study. The Plan must be updated for all academic changes such as changing programs, dropping or withdrawing from course(s), taking a Temporary Academic Leave, or changing enrollment status (full-time, part-time). Failure to meet the terms of the Plan or to notify the compliance officer of changes to the Plan will void the current plan and may result in termination of Federal Title IV aid. If the current Plan is made void, the student may appeal the Plan, but ONLY if a new and different situation has occurred. Again, only appeals with third party documentation will be considered. The Graduate Student Financial Aid Compliance Academic Plan of Study Appeal form is available through the compliance officer.

Consortium Agreements and Eligibility for Federal Title IV Aid

It should be noted that graduate students utilizing a consortium agreement must provide an official college transcript from the institution where the course is being taken. No transfer credit will be received and no Federal Title IV aid will be released for an upcoming semester until the transcript has been received. A student’s Federal Title IV compliance with the pace standard can be negatively impacted by a transfer course that is not successfully completed (ie: if an E, F, or W are earned). If a student utilizing a consortium agreement has questions about how the course can affect compliance, please contact the Academic Compliance Officer.

Links to Related Procedures and Information

There are no links for this policy at this time.

Contact Information

Academic Compliance Officer

History (in descending order)

Item Date Explanation
Next Review Date 2024-04 Five-year review
Revision Date 2019-04-24 Minor language updates.
Revision Date 2018-11-09 Updated Federal Mandated Language
Adoption Date 2018-11-09 Policy Adopted


This policy was approved by President’s Cabinet on 2019-04-24