Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Tennessee Tech University Policy

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Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid at Tennessee Tech University to establish and apply reasonable standards of satisfactory academic progress for the purpose of the receipt of financial assistance under the programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The law requires institutions to develop policies regarding satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Each institution must design criteria which outlines the definition of student progress towards a degree and the consequences to the student if progress is not achieved. TTU students who wish to be considered for financial aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress in their selected course of study as set forth in this policy.

Tennessee Tech University Policy

The Office of Financial Aid evaluates student academic progress at the end of each Spring Semester for continuing and transfer students who have submitted a FAFSA for the New Year and weekly thereafter as new FAFSA’s arrive. Students are evaluated on the basis of three criteria: 1) grade point average (GPA.), 2) pace (PTERM), and 3) maximum time frame limitation (MAXHRS).

Please note that for SAP purposes, the Federal government requires that Tennessee Tech University use coursework completed at Tennessee Tech University in addition to transfer hours/courses, which apply to your degree as outlined in your Academic Plan. Also, the Academic Fresh Start program is an institutional policy that is NOT considered for federal aid policy.

Criteria One – Qualitative - Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

To receive financial aid, a student must maintain a minimum qualitative measure of progress defined as cumulative G.P.A. as listed below:

1. Freshmen must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 1.6

2. Sophomores must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 1.8

3. Juniors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0

4. Seniors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0

5. Graduate Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0

Criteria Two: Pace (PTERM)

In order to maintain financial aid eligibility, all students are required to complete 67% of the total credit hours attempted.

How to calculate PACE

Cumulative number of credit hours earned

Cumulative number of credit hours attempted

Criteria 3: Maximum Time Frame (MAXHRS)

Undergraduate students at Tennessee Tech University may attempt a maximum of 180 credit hours or 150% of the required program hours

2nd Undergraduate Degree Students

Undergraduates working on a second degree (not a change of major) maybe given an additional number of hours to earn their second degree but must submit an appeal that explains

1) the economic necessity for the 2nd degree and 2) copy of their most recent Degree Works University Degree Evaluation Form. * Note: Transfer credits are included. Students will be permitted to take up to but not exceed 270 credits.

Students working on teacher certification must provide a plan of the course requirements to complete the certification in lieu of submitting an appeal.

Please note that federal policy allows for 150% of the total hours in a program to complete the degree so changes of major and students choosing to enroll concurrently for dual degrees will not be an acceptable reason for an appeal to be approved.

Graduate students may attempt a maximum of 90 hours. Graduate students working on a second degree will be given an additional 45 credit hours to earn their second degree. *Note: Transfer credit hours are included.

Students who are aware of learning or other disabilities should immediately contact the Office of Educational Accessibility so that appropriate accommodations can be made. A student with a documented disabilityand functional limitations is still held to the same satisfactory academic progress expectations as other students.

Students who have completed all undergraduate course requirements and are eligible to graduate, but do not graduate (for anyreason), are ineligible for funding. Reasons not acceptable for further funding include, but are not limited to: raising GPA to meet graduation requirement, needed to pass writing proficiency exam, wanting to complete a minor or second major (double majors).

Academic Progress can be re-evaluated at any time throughout the year, as identified by a member of the Financial Aid Office.


Students with an academic history showing patterns of enrollment with inability or unwillingness to progress, such as numerous Satisfactory Academic Progress appeals, withdrawals, repeats, incompletes, or enrollment inconsistent with the student’s educational objective, may be regarded as ineligible for future financial aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Review (Updated 7/03/17)

The Office of Financial Aid evaluates student academic progress at the end of each Spring Semester for continuing and transfer students who have submitted a FAFSA for the new academic year and weekly thereafter as new FAFSA’s arrive. Students not maintaining SAP standards will receive a Missing Information Notice directing them to their Eagle Online Account for status updates.

Pleasenote that students who havenot received financial aid in previous years, but are applying for financial assistance for the first time will also be held to the requirement of maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress. Satisfactory Academic Progress is reviewed for all semesters of a student’s enrollment regardless of whether the student was eligible for financial assistance during a term. If students exceed the maximum allowable time, they are not meeting satisfactory academic progress, thus, all aid will be terminated.

Financial Aid termination does not prohibit you from continuing your education at TTU. It does prohibit you from receiving Federal and State financial aid until you again meet the standards for satisfactory academic progress.

Financial Aid Termination

Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress are placed on financial aid termination. You have the option to appeal this termination. An appeal must be based on significant mitigating circumstances that seriously affected your academic performance. The decision of the appeal will be sent via email to the students TTU email account.

A student, who fails to meet any of the three criteria, singularly or in any combination, can appeal the termination status if you have mitigating circumstances that have caused you to be placed into this category, such as major illness, death in family or other tragic event AND you can provide corresponding evidence. The appeal will be addressed to:

Satisfactory Academic Progress Review Committee

Tennessee Technological University

Campus Box 5076

Cookeville, TN 38505

All appeals MUST contain the following items:

1) Signed Appeal Cover Sheet.

2) Be typed format in MS Word, no handwritten appeals.

3) What extenuating circumstances caused the student to fail the SAP Policy, and documentation to support the circumstances.

4) What corrective action/steps have you taken to maintain SAP by the next payment period.

Additional Appeal Requirements for Special Populations

2nd Undergraduate Degree Failing MAXHRS criteria only

  • The economic necessity for the 2nd degree and
  • Copy of the Degree Evaluation Plan from Degree Works

Change of Major and Dual Enrollment

Please note that federal policy allows for 150% of the total hours in a program to complete the degree so changes of major and students choosing to enroll concurrently for dual degrees will not be an acceptable reason for an appeal to be approved.

Note: Please make sure your TTU student email account is activated.

ALLOW TWO WEEKS for the review of this appeal and receipt of the decision notification through your TTU email account. If your appeal is approved, the decision notification will direct you to the conditions of your contract for reinstatement of aid eligibility. The contract is binding and your academic progress will be reviewed at the end of the enrollment period specified. If your appeal is denied, you will be notified through your TTU email account. Status updates are also available via Eagle online.

Financial Aid Probation

For students who are successful in their appeal and could reach good standing in one term, aid will be reinstated on a probationary basis for one payment period/term. Emails will be sent to students on financial aid probation advising them of the conditions needed. The Financial Aid Office will review the student’s record at the end of the semester to determine his/her outcome for future semesters. At the conclusion of the probation term, the student must be meeting the school’s SAP standard in order to qualify for further Title IV Funding. If it is determined that a student will need more than one probationary term, the student must be placed on an academic plan.

Academic Plans

An academic plan will be developed by the Office of Financial Aid. All academic plans will be monitored each term. If the student fails to meet the standards set up in the plan, the student will no longer be eligible for financial aid until the student re-establishes eligibility on their own. Students who fail to meet the conditions outlined in their academic plans during the specified allowable time frame will not be eligible to receive future federal aid unless a subsequent appeal is submitted and approved.

Re-establishing eligibility

Students may re-establish their eligibility for financial assistance by achieving the satisfactory academic progress standards. Keep in mind this will be at the student’s own expense as they are ineligible for aid. Sitting out a semester will not assist in re-establishing eligibility. Once the student has earned the required grade point average or completed the required credit hours, they must contact the Financial Aid Office to request the reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility.

Students not making SAP at the end of the second year, but at the end of the subsequent grading period come into compliance with the school’s graduation requirements; will be considered making SAP beginning with the next grading period.

Withdrawing from courses

Withdrawing from courses may impact your financial aid awards. Before withdrawing from class, you should contact your academic advisor to determine the consequences.

Withdrawing from the university

Students who totally withdraw and receive aid may owe the university money. Before withdrawing from the university, you should contact your advisor to determine the consequences.

Withdrawing from all courses for two consecutive semesters may result in the loss of financial aid eligibility.

Incompletes

Courses assigned a grade of “I” are not considered complete and will not be included in the total credits earned until the final grade has been submitted. For students on an Academic Plan, no aid will be awarded

Transfer and Repeat Coursework

Accepted transfer credits must count as both attempted and completed hours.

Repeated coursework will count toward enrollment status where no more than one repetition of a previously passed course or any repetition of a previously passed course due to the student

failing other coursework in a prior term.

Remedial courses may be included, however, enrichment and ESL courses ARE NOT taken into consideration on SAP calculation.

Other examples: PACE requirement

Student attempts 26 credits for the academic year, earned 15; student would not be meeting satisfactory academic progress at the time of sap review. Total credits needed would be 17.42 or 18 credits earned.

Student attempts 30 credits for the academic year, earned 24, student would be meeting the

PACE standard for satisfactory academic progress at the end of sap review. Number of minimum credits needed would be 20.1 credits.


Updated July 3, 2017  

Reviewed Jun 14, 2018