United States Department of Education regulations, Illinois Student Assistance Commission rules, and University policy require a student applying for and/or receiving federal, state, and University financial assistance to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress in order to receive these funds. Students must be making academic progress regardless of whether the student has previously received aid. The standards must be cumulative, and as such all prior terms of attendance are included in the evaluation, per Federal, State, and University regulations. Students who have been academically suspended from the University are also suspended from financial aid and, if allowed to re-enroll, must successfully complete the reinstatement process or have an appeal granted in order to receive future financial aid.
The intent of this policy is to 1) ensure that students using financial aid programs are demonstrating responsible use of public funds in pursuit of their educational goals; 2) set standards for monitoring all financial aid recipients' course completion rates each term (or each year for dental medicine students), warning individual students when progress is so slow that financial aid eligibility may run out before completion of the degree program; and 3) give students whose progress does not meet the completion rate and/or GPA standards of this policy at least one term of financial aid on a probationary basis in which to improve their academic progress.
If, at the end of the probation term, a student has achieved a cumulative completion rate greater than or equal to 67% and their cumulative GPA is greater than or equal to 2.00, they will be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid.
If, at the end of the probation term, a student has not achieved the required cumulative rate, but their term completion rate is greater than or equal to 67% and their term GPA is greater than or equal to 2.00, they will stay on probation as their term progress contributes to their cumulative progress.
If, at the end of the probation term, both the cumulative and term requirements are not met, the student will be placed on financial aid/academic termination/suspension.
The Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended and final regulations set by the United States Department of Education (34CFR668.16) require that institutions of higher education establish reasonable standards of satisfactory academic progress as a condition of continuing eligibility for federal aid programs. Nothing in this policy shall be construed as an exemption from the requirements of any other federal or state agency, or other granting or governing authority that apply to a student or to the financial assistance the student receives, nor does this policy limit the authority of the Director of Financial Aid when taking responsible action to eliminate fraud or abuse in these programs.
Satisfactory Progress Standards
To remain eligible for financial assistance students must:
Maximum timeframe - To retain financial aid eligibility, a student must complete his or her degree program within the published program length of the program, defined in cumulative attempted hours for undergraduate/graduate students and years for dental medicine students. Attempted hours for this purpose includes regular course hours, as well as accepted transfer credit. Once a student reaches the maximum timeframe, he or she is ineligible for financial aid. The timeframe limit may be reevaluated by the Director of Financial Aid if there are program changes that can eliminate prior courses that do not apply toward the current degree program. Developmental hours are eliminated from the timeframe limit; while they may be required, they do not contribute to the hours required for a degree.
Notification of Financial Aid Probation or Termination
The Office of Student Financial Aid will send a warning letter to any student who is put on financial aid probation or a termination letter to any student who is no longer eligible for financial aid. The letter will be sent to the student's local address during any term of enrollment and to the permanent residence during term breaks. It is the responsibility of the student to maintain current addresses with the Office of the Registrar. Students on Academic Probation are notified by the University of their standing, the financial aid office does not send notification of Academic Probation.
Students who have extenuating circumstances that contributed to their failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress may complete a Financial Aid Appeal. These circumstances must be documented.
Extenuating circumstances that will be considered in an appeal include, but are not limited to, the following:
Extenuating circumstances that will not be considered in an appeal include, but are not limited to, the following:
Extenuating circumstances must be documented and should pertain to all terms that contributed to the failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Students who cannot meet the above requirements for an appeal must reestablish Satisfactory Academic Progress through Reinstatement before regaining eligibility for assistance.
Students granted an appeal will regain eligibility for financial assistance on Probation. They will remain on Probation until both their completion rate and GPA are satisfactory according to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. While on Probation, failure to maintain the required completion rate and GPA during any term will result in Suspension.
The Financial Aid Appeals Committee consists of at least three faculty and staff members familiar with University academic policy. The Committee considers, in a timely manner, appeals that are referred to it. The Committee normally reviews only the written record and does not conduct hearings unless unusual circumstances warrant it. The Director of Student Financial Aid may also review appeals without the Committee on occasion.
This policy will be included in University catalogs and other appropriate University publications. The policy, or a summary of its primary features, will be provided to each financial aid recipient with his or her award letter. The Office of Student Financial Aid will update it as needed.
Amendment to the Policy
This policy will be amended whenever applicable federal or state law or regulations are changed. Upon approval of the Chancellor, the Director of Student Financial Aid is authorized to incorporate and implement changes required in this policy by federal or state law or regulations. Other amendments to the policy, not required by changes in the law or regulations, will be considered through the revision procedures of the Financial Aid Advisory Committee.
Approved by Chancellor effective 3/26/04
This policy was issued on April 1, 2004, replacing the February 9, 2000 version.
Document Reference: 4A2
Origin: OP 7/21/86; OP 11/29/89; OP 4/9/90; OP 11/5/90; OP 5/9/91; CC 16-91/92; OP 4/21/95; OC 3/26/04