Undergraduate Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Education Amendments of 1976 require that institutions award federal financial assistance only to those students who, according to institutional standards, are in good standing and making satisfactory progress. The guidelines are established to encourage students to complete courses successfully. At Plymouth State University, students must be in good academic standing and be making satisfactory academic progress in order to be eligible for financial assistance.

Good academic standing (qualitative progress) is defined in the Academic Catalog under Academic Policies and Procedures. All degree candidates must maintain academic standing consistent with PSU’s graduation requirements, which is based on a graduated scale (see Academic Catalog) with a 2.0 GPA required for graduation. Continuing students’ quantitative progress (credits earned) will be reviewed once a year prior to the award/disbursement of financial aid for the next academic year. Readmitted students’ quantitative progress will be reviewed at point of re-entry. Satisfactory Progress, for full-time undergraduate baccalaureate is outlined on the following chart.

Number of Years Enrolled 1 2 3 4 5
Minimum # of credits student is expected to earn each year 15 18 24 24 24
Accumulated total: 15 33 57 81 105

To graduate in four years Bachelor degree students need to earn an average of 15.25 credits per semester for 8 semesters. Any and all credits attempted and completed while enrolled at PSU count towards meeting Standards of Academic Progress.  PSU expects that full-time students are capable of earning more credits in succeeding semesters. For example, we expect the following minimums:

  • 1st Semester – 6 Credits
  • 2nd – 4th Semesters – 9 Credits
  • 5th – 11th Semesters – 12 credits

Summer and Winterim credits earned are included in the annual minimums. Less than full-time enrollment periods will be considered on a pro-rata basis. For an undergraduate program (bachelor degree), the maximum time frame for aid eligibility may not exceed 150 percent of the published length of the educational program (bachelor – six years).

Incomplete, withdrawn or repeated courses will be appropriately counted as indicated on the student’s academic transcript in determining number of credits earned. Completion of non-credit courses will count in determining satisfactory progress.

Students who are not successfully completing courses at the minimum levels as outlined on the chart are not making satisfactory academic progress. Such students will not receive further financial aid until satisfactory progress status is achieved.

Transfer Credit Satisfactory Academic Policy

Courses transferred to PSU from other institutions will be included in the number of credits earned.   Transfer credits will be converted to semester equivalents (ie 12 credits count as one semester) to determine the number of semesters completed for satisfactory academic progress review.

Second Degree Satisfactory Academic Policy

Undergraduate Degree Students seeking a second undergraduate degree will be considered making satisfactory academic progress at the start of the second degree coursework. Only coursework required to complete the second degree will be considered as part of the student’s eligible program.

All Plymouth State University credits attempted and all credits transferable towards a Plymouth State University program of study are counted toward the 150% maximum time frame. This means that students pursuing a second (or more) baccalaureate degree remain eligible until they’ve reached 150% of the published length of their current program.

Previous PSU Student.

Student A attended only PSU, and completed a first baccalaureate degree. Student A is pursuing a second baccalaureate degree at PSU, which requires a minimum of 120 credits to complete. In order to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid, Student A must complete the second degree program within 150% of the number of credits required.

120 credits X 150% = 180 credits

All credits Student A previously attempted at PSU count towards the maximum 180 allowable credits for financial aid. This means that if Student A previously attempted 120 credits at PSU, she/he has 60 credits within which to complete the second baccalaureate program in order to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.

Second degree students must maintain a 70% completion rate.

Students who reach this timeframe will have an opportunity to appeal the decision.

Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree are eligible only for federal student loans at the undergraduate level.

First undergraduate degree from a different institution.

Student B attended XYZ University and transferred to a PSU program that requires 120 credits to complete. Student B completed 120 credits at XYZ University. However, only 100 XYZ University credits count towards Student B’s program of study at PSU. Since, under PSU’s financial aid satisfactory academic progress rules, students must complete their program of study within 150% of the minimum credits required, Student B has 80 credits (180 maximum minus 100 transferred credits) within which to complete the program of study and maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.


A Financial Aid Officer will inform students by letter regarding non-eligibility for financial aid. If students choose not to appeal, reinstatement for financial aid consideration will occur when students attain the necessary credits on the chart, by earning credits above the semester minimums and/or attending a summer or Winterim session(s).

If there have been mitigating circumstances which have prevented satisfactory progress, a student must complete the steps on the checklist that was mailed to them in order to appeal the decision. These steps include:

1. A signed Letter of Appeal which addresses the following:

  • Explain why you did not make satisfactory academic progress
  • Explain in detail what changes have occurred (or will occur) that will allow you to make satisfactory academic progress in the future.
  • OPTIONAL: Any documentation you feel will support your appeal. You might want to document difficulties you experienced which prevented your progress in the past. Or you might want to document a solution to past troubles. Documentation could be a letter from someone with whom you have been working who can support your appeal letter (Doctor, Counselor, Instructor, Advisor, Minister, etc.) Or documentation could be something to verify a past event (hospital records, accident report, etc.)

2. Online Financial Awareness Counseling at https://www.studentloans.govNotification will be automatically sent to us once this process is completed.

Once both steps have been completed and required documentation received, the PSU SAP Appeal Committee will review your appeal and a decision will be made within two weeks.

At the time of review, the student’s appeal will either be approved to continue financial aid eligibility (normally based on mitigating circumstances with actions required each term aid is awarded) or denied.

If the student’s appeal is denied, communications will be provided on how eligibility may be restored.   Until satisfactory progress status is met, a student will not have access to any federal, state and PSU aid, including grants, scholarships, loans and/or federal work study employment.

April 7th, 2014 by Eric

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