Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require that all federal financial aid recipients must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program and maintain satisfactory academic progress toward a degree to maintain eligibility. We monitor each student's cumulative grade point average (GPA), completion rate, and maximum time frame for completion of a degree. All federal financial aid programs at Lipscomb University are held to this policy.

In order to receive federal financial aid, students must be making satisfactory academic progress. The university is required to apply standards that are both qualitative and quantitative.

  • Qualitative - Students must be accepted for admission and be eligible to enroll for classes.  In addition, students must achieve and maintain a cumulative grade point average based on each program's academic requirements.
  • Quantitative - All students must earn a cumulative minimum of 66.7% of all hours attempted.  Students cannot receive federal aid after attempting 150% of the hours required for completion of their academic program.

The federal government expects a student to pass at least 66.7% of all attempted hours, not earned hours. Attempted hours include all "W, F, NC, U, I or IP" and/or dropped courses. Satisfactory Academic Progress is reviewed by the Financial Aid Office at the end of each term in which a student receives Title IV aid.  Students placed on Federal Financial Aid Warning or Probation will be notified by email to their LU email address. Students on Warning must pass 75% of their attempted hours in the semester in which they are currently enrolled. If the student does not pass 75%, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation.

All probations may be appealed in writing by completing a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form (located in the Financial Aid Office). All appeals must include documentation of any unusual circumstance that contributed to the probation.  A plan must be in place to ensure success of the student for the following semester and future minimum SAP requirements and be signed by a faculty member (or appropriate instructor).  Federal Financial Aid Warning or Probation is not the same as Lipscomb University Academic Probation or Suspension. If a student receives a grade change or satisfies an incomplete grade after Satisfactory Academic Progress is confirmed, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office during the appeal process.

I. Completion Rate

Students must earn 66.7% of their cumulative credits attempted to remain eligible for financial aid. Grades of "A", "B", "C", "D", “S”, and “I” count as credits earned. All courses for credit will be counted as hours attempted including withdrawals, incompletes, courses repeated, and courses receiving a grade of "NC", "U", and "F".

  1. Students whose completion rate is greater than 50% but less than the required 66.7% will be placed on probation.
  2. Probation-Second-term Failing SAP: Students whose completion rate is less than 50% of the credit hours attempted, or those previously placed on probation whose completion rate does not improve by the next review, will be suspended from eligibility for federal grants, loans, and federal work-study employment. If a student feels the suspension is unjust, there is an appeal process and form to complete. 

II. Time Limitations

  1. Undergraduates: The maximum time limitation for the completion of a first degree is limited to 150% of the program's published length. Most undergraduate programs require 126 hours (some degrees require additional hours), so the average maximum attempted hours allowed is 189. This time limitation does not include remedial or developmental courses for which the maximum federal limitation is 30 hours. The 189 hours includes all transfer hours, all attempted hours, and hours attempted while not receiving financial aid. Students who change majors during their junior or senior year will be allowed 24 additional attempted hours to obtain a degree. The Registrar’s Office must have the change of major recorded prior to reaching the 189 hour limitation.
  2. Second Degree Students:  Students who are pursuing a second bachelor’s degree must declare the intent to pursue a second degree to the Registrar’s Office and have an approved plan on file.  This approved plan must also be submitted to the Financial Aid Office to determine aid eligibility and reasonable timeframe for completion of second degree.
  3. Graduates: The maximum time limitation for graduate students will be 150% of the standards established by the Graduate Office and published in the Lipscomb University Graduate Catalog.  Hours accepted for transfer credit will reduce this time frame.

III. Review of Progress Standards

  1. Grade Point Average (GPA):  The Financial Aid Office reviews the GPA at the end of each fall and spring semesters.  Hours taken in the summer will count in the cumulative GPA.
  2. Completion Rate: The Financial Aid Office reviews the completion rate at the end of each semester.
  3. Time Limitation: The Financial Aid Office reviews the maximum time limitation at the end of each semester.
  4. Repeated Courses:  The Registrar’s Office  will calculate the GPA for students who repeat a course at the end of each semester.  Students must notify the Financial Aid Office if a repeated course would impact academic progress.

IV. Notification/Appeals

  1. SAP Maximum Time Frame: Students who have attempted over 150 credit hours will be sent an email to the LU email address from the Financial Aid Office notifying them of the 189-hour limitation on Federal financial aid.
  2. SAP Warning: Students placed on financial aid warning will be sent an email to the LU email address from the Financial Aid Office notifying them of their financial aid status and the expected requirements. Each student will be allowed at least one warning period during the course of his or her enrollment.
  3. SAP Probation: Students on probation from financial aid will receive an email to the LU email address from the Financial Aid Office.  Students will be allowed to appeal their probation by completing the appeal form along with documentation of extenuating circumstances beyond their control that significantly contributed to their academic performance. Examples would include the death of an immediate family member, an extended medical illness etc. The Financial Aid Office will work with each student to determine approval or denial of an appeal. Provisions may also be made for students who have military credits that cannot be counted toward a degree.
    1. Financial Aid Appeals: An internal committee composed of financial aid staff reviews student appeals. Each student will be notified of the appeal decision, and if denied, what action must be taken to regain financial aid eligibility.
    2. If denied, a student may attend Lipscomb University at his or her own expense with no institutional, Federal or State aid.

V. No Credit Hours Earned

A student who earns no credit hours for one semester will be placed on SAP warning. A student who earns no credit hours for the last two semesters enrolled will be placed on probation from federal financial aid. However, the student may appeal this status.

VI. Exceptions

The University may suspend a student's financial assistance in the event of extraordinary circumstances that are not accounted for in this policy. In all instances, the student will be notified of the appeal process.