As of July 2011, SMU has updated their Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy to accommodate the changes to the Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements as prescribed by the Program Integrity Regulations of 2010. All undergraduate students will be evaluated at the end of each term to determine if they are meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress(SAP). The change from annual evaluation to term evaluation gives SMU the ability to use the Warning term for students that fail to meet SAP for the 1st time.
Updating and Dissemination of UG SAP Policy and Procedures:
Undergraduate SAP Policy and Procedures will be reviewed and updated each fall term by a Committee of FA Advisers and a panel of Students . The Director of Financial Aid will approve any updates. Any policy changes will become effective at the end of each term when SAP is measured. These Policies and Procedures will be published on the Financial Aid Website.
Measures of SAP:
- Qualitative Measure of Satisfactory Academic
- At the end each term, a undergraduate student must
be making Satisfactory Academic Progress measured by the
student's cumulative gpa of 2.000 or better since that
is the standard for graduation at SMU.
- Graduates students must meet the cumulative GPA
requirements listed in their school catalog. Many
programs require 3.000 GPA.
- Quantitative Measure of Satisfactory Academic Progress
- At the end of each term, a graduate or undergraduate student should completed at least 75% of all classes attempted including transfer credits. All classes will be included in the attempted hours regardless of completed status.
Students will be assigned one of the Satisfactory Academic Progress statuses listed below at the end of every term:
- Meets SAP - this will be assigned to all
students that have an SMU Cumulative GPA greater than or equal
to 2.000 and has completed at least 75% of all classes
- Warning status - Students enter warning
status when they were in Meets SAP status at the beginning of
the term and fails one of the SAP tests above at the end of
the term. The student will be sent a warning letter from the
Financial Aid office within the next term. The student will be
awarded aid for the next term without further action required by
the student. Academic Advisor on record in Access.SMU will be
notified of student's status via email.
- Probation status - A student that begins
the term on Warning Status and now fails one of the SAP tests
above. The student will be sent an electronic notice with the
appeal procedures required for that student to regain
eligibility for aid for the next term. After the student
submits the appeal documentation, the advisor will approve
appeal or submit the appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals
committee for approval. Once the appeal is approved, then the
advisor will award the appropriate Federal, State and
institutional aid for one term.
- Academic Plan - A student that begins the
term on Probation or Academic Plan and fails one of the SAP
tests above will be sent a notice from the Financial Aid office,
and the student's progress on their academic plan will be
- If student is complying with establish academic plan,
student will be awarded aid for the next term.
- If Student is not complying with the established
agreement the student will be allowed to appeal one more
time for aid. The appeal documents will be sent
electronically to the student. Aid will be awarded if the
appeal is approved by the Financial Aid Appeals committee.
Students whose appeal is denied will be contacted
electronically by the financial aid advisor and will be
given a detail plan on how to regain eligibility for aid.
- A Financial Aid Hold blocking enrollment may be placed
on students with an academic plan.
- If student is complying with establish academic plan, student will be awarded aid for the next term.
- Disqualified Status - Student may be denied
aid if they meet one of the following criteria:
- Attended more than 6 academic years for full- time
status or 12 years at a part-time status. All terms will
count regardless of whether Federal, State or Institution
aid is received.
- Attempted more than 150% of the hours required to
complete a degree at SMU.
- At any point could it be determined that the student
will not complete their degree within the above stated
- Attended more than 6 academic years for full- time status or 12 years at a part-time status. All terms will count regardless of whether Federal, State or Institution aid is received.
The Appeal Process:
Student is notified by email that financial aid cannot be awarded due to SAP. This communication explains how to appeal and instructions on how to proceed. The Financial Aid Advisers have the responsibility of reviewing and approving an appeal. At the Financial Aid Advisor discretion the appeal can be reviewed by the Appeals Committee.
The Appeals Committee is made up of the various staff members of the Division of Enrollment Services, as selected by the Associate Director of Undergraduate Advising. The Appeals Committee will meet when necessary.
Requirements for Making an Appeal:
- A personal letter/email from Student to his/her
Financial Aid Advisor is required. The letter should explain
student's mitigating circumstances.
- Mitigating circumstances are considered to be any
circumstance that prevents the student from successfully
completing the required number of hours attempted or earning
the required 2.000 cumulative GPA necessary for satisfactory
- Examples of mitigating circumstances - student illness,
family illness, other family problems, emotional upsets,
interpersonal problems with other students, problems
adjusting to college life, balancing school, work, etc.
(the FA Adviser has the responsibility, using professional
judgment, to determine if other circumstances documented by
the student can be considered)
- The Student's Academic Advisor should
sign the Appeals Instructions Letter for the student
confirming student was advised that Financial Aid may be in
jeopardy if a 2.000 cumulative GPA and full time enrollment
are not maintained. A detailed course plan will be require
for students with a GPA of less than 1.8 and/or a
completion rate of less than 70%.
- If an Appeal is approved, the Financial Aid Adviser will
award aid (using professional judgment) for one term only,
override the SAP status on the Maintain Student SAP data
page within Access.SMU and make a comment on this page,
place documents in imaging and notify the student via email
and self service (access.smu) that aid has been awarded for
one term only. Valid SAP override codes are:
- ACPL for students required to follow an Academic
PROB for students who will clear the SAP deficiency in 1 term
- ACPL for students required to follow an Academic Plan
- This email will suggest that the student can receive
help with classes if needed through resources offered at The
Learning Enhancement Center. This on campus center offers
help with class-work for all enrolled students through
tutoring, testing, and counseling. The Adviser should also
attach a document to the email giving student information,
location, phone number and website of the LEC. http://www.smu.edu/alec/home.html
- If the appeal is denied, the Financial Aid Advisor will notify the student via there SMU email account.
- 150% Rule
- Undergraduates and Graduates students will not be
allowed to complete more than 150% hours required for
their degree plan. If a student exceeds this number of
hours prior to complete their degree, the student will
be no longer awarded federal, state and institutional
aid. Students are allowed to file an appeal for
extension of time.
- Changed Majors: A student who has
attempted 150% of the hours needed to earn his/her
degree because the student has changed majors, is an
example in which professional judgment can be used to
allow additional hours to be attempted.
- Transfer Students: if the student
originally came to SMU as a Transfer Student Financial
Aid may exclude transfer hours from the maximum number
of hours attempted and, using Professional Judgment,
create a situation in which the student could be
- The above represents two examples of when a decision
could be made to allow aid after a student has reached
the maximum time/hours frame for quantitative and
quantitative measures. Documentation supporting
professional judgment by the Financial Aid Adviser
should be placed in imaging and appropriate comments
made on the FA Screens.
- Undergraduates and Graduates students will not be allowed to complete more than 150% hours required for their degree plan. If a student exceeds this number of hours prior to complete their degree, the student will be no longer awarded federal, state and institutional aid. Students are allowed to file an appeal for extension of time.
- Maximum Terms
- Undergraduate students are limited to 12 terms or
six academic years.
- Graduate students are limited to the time frame
listed in their schools catalog.
- Students are allowed to appeal for aid if they are
exceeding this time limit.
- Students attending less than full time will be allowed extra terms to complete their degree.
- Undergraduate students are limited to 12 terms or six academic years.
Earned hours and attempted hours all count toward the quantitative measure of 150% of hours a student may attempt when working toward a degree.
- Withdrawals and failures = included in attempted hours
but not earned hours
- Transfer hours and consortium hours - included in
attempted and earned hours not toward GPA.
- Repeated classes and First Year Repeat - failed
classes count toward attempted hours and will adversely
affect your GPA but will not count as earned hours. First
year repeats will not be excluded from attempted hours and
will be included in a student's attempted hours. Successful
completion of hours will be included in earned hours.
- Incompletes - count toward attempted hours and if never
completed student is assigned a failing grade and this grade
counts toward gpa. Incompletes that are completed count
toward attempted and earned hours and GPA.
- Summer hours count toward attempted and earned hours and
- Pass /Fail courses - Passing is counted in
attempted and earned hours (not counted in GPA). Failing is
counted in attempted hours but not earned hours.
- Earned hours count toward attempted hours and toward GPA
Non Credit or Remedial Courses:
SMU does not offer Federal Financial Aid to students who enroll in non-credit or remedial courses or to those students who attend the University in the summer for probationary or remediation status before the first year (Upward Bound Program, Athletes and Academic Prelude).
Definition of an Academic Year at SMU:
An Academic Year is defined by fall and spring terms (15 weeks each) and 30 weeks of instructions. Summer Term is defined as a trailer to the Academic Year and consists of 4 mini terms for Undergraduates. These include May Term, Summer I, Summer II, and August Term. Weeks of instructions in summer = 10.