Satisfactory Academic Progress
Tennessee Tech University Policy
Federal, state and other regulations require the Office of Financial Aid at Tennessee Tech University establish and apply reasonable standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for the purpose of awarding financial assistance under federal Title IV programs (including Federal Pell Grants and federal loan programs), Tennessee Student Assistance Awards (the TELS Lottery Scholarship Programs) and various university scholarship programs. Tennessee Tech complies with this requirement by monitoring each student’s “inclusive combined” cumulative grade point average (GPA), pass-rate (PACE), and total attempted hours (maximum timeframe) for completion of the student’s program of study.
To be considered for financial aid students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in their selected course of study, as set forth in our policy. Please read and be sure you understand our full SAP policy. CLICK HERE FOR THE SAP 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, as discussed in greater detail below.
Students should be aware that there are three specific standards related to staying in good standing to receive financial aid.
1. You must be in good academic standing with the university by following the criteria below (GPA):
- 1.6 for 0-29 earned hours
- 1.8 for 29.01-50 earned hours
- 2.0 for >50 earned hours
2. You must complete and pass at least 67% of all attempted courses in order to remain eligible to receive financial aid (PACE).
*COVID-19: Please note that Tennessee Tech will continue processing SAP following our normal policy, but we will allow leniency in quantitative only (PACE) as applicable to courses with PASS/FAIL due to COVID-19, Spring 2020.
3. Federal law allows students to receive Title IV assistance up to 150% of the program's published length (MAX Timeframe). (Example: for most undergraduates who are in a 120 credit hour program, this means that you may receive financial aid only up to 180 total attempted credit hours because 120 x 150%= 180).
4. Graduate students, for GPA, PACE, and Max Timeframe, must meet the academic requirements set forth in the graduate catalog as applicable to their program.
Notification to Students
Students not maintaining any one or more SAP standard(s) will be placed on financial aid suspension and will receive a Missing Information Notice through their campus email directing them to their Eagle Online account for status updates. Financial aid suspension does not prohibit you from continuing your education at Tennessee Tech. It does prohibit you from receiving Federal, State and some institutional aid until you meet the required standards. Students who fail to meet the standards have the option to appeal this suspension if they had significant mitigating circumstances which seriously affected academic performance. When a student appeals, the decision of the appeal will be sent via email to the students Tennessee Tech email account.
There are limited options for appealing the status of financial aid suspension based on lack of satisfactory academic progress. Please be aware that depending on the timing of when the appeal is submitted, the appeal may not be reviewed prior to when registration fees are due for the upcoming semester. You may need to be prepared to pay registration fees while your appeal is being reviewed. If the appeal is approved after the semester begins, the student will be considered for financial aid, if otherwise eligible. However, there is no guarantee that any appeal will be approved, and if you have paid your registration fees out-of-pocket for the term, you may not be eligible for a refund. Please note that in-person appeals are not permitted.
Appealing SAP based on GPA requirements (Qualitative measure)
To remain eligible for financial aid, both undergraduate and graduate students must minimally meet the academic standards as specified above. If your GPA falls below the standard required to remain in Good Academic Standing, you may appeal your financial aid suspension to the SAP Appeal Committee. The decision of the SAP Appeal Committee is final with regard to this financial aid requirement.
Appealing SAP based on percentage of credit hours passed (PACE Standard- Quantitative measure)
Students who fail to complete and pass a minimum of 67% of all attempted courses may appeal their suspension from financial aid based on the documentation of serious extenuating circumstances. To calculate PACE, divide the total number of credit hours passed/completed by the cumulative number of credit hours attempted (“inclusive combined” hours).
Student attempts 26 credit hours for the academic year and earned 15 of those credits. 15/26= 57.6%. Student would not be meeting the 67% minimum standard for SAP.
Student attempts 30 credit hours for the academic year and earned 24 of those credits. 24/30=80%. Student would be meeting the 67% minimum standard for SAP.
Appealing SAP based on Maximum timeframe (150% of a program’s published length)
Federal law allows students to receive Title IV assistance up to 150% of the published length of program. Students will be allowed to appeal this limitation as related to one of the circumstances below.
1. Undergraduate 150 total attempted hours, graduating this term
2. Undergraduate < 180 total attempted hours
3. Undergraduate Change of Major
4. Undergraduate 2nd Bachelors
TO APPEAL a suspension of financial aid based on GPA, PACE, or MAX Timeframe you must submit a completed and signed SAP Appeal Form, along with all documentation required. Additional details as well as examples of documentation required can be found on the appeal form.
Send complete appeal packets to:
Tennessee Tech University / Office of Financial Aid
Attn. SAP Appeal Committee
Campus Box 5076
Cookeville, TN 38505
Appeals take approximately two (2) weeks for processing. Once your appeal is processed, the decision notification will be sent to your Tennessee Tech email account. If your appeal is approved, you will be directed to the conditions of your approval for reinstatement of aid eligibility. Once you review and agree to the terms and conditions of your approved appeal, you may receive financial aid for that term if otherwise eligible. The terms and conditions you agree to are binding.
Financial Aid Probation (FAPROB). Students who are successful in their appeal and can reach good standing in one term, aid will be reinstated for one payment period/term. The Office of Financial Aid will review the student’s record at the end of the semester to determine the outcome for future semesters. At the conclusion of the term, the student must be meeting the school’s SAP standard in order to qualify for further financial aid.
Financial Aid Plan (FAPLAN). Students who are successful in their appeal and cannot reach good standing in one term will be placed on a Financial Aid Plan developed by the Office of Financial Aid, and monitored each term. If the student fails to meet the standards outlined 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 the plan during the specified, allowable timeframe will not be eligible to receive future federal aid unless a subsequent appeal is submitted and approved.
Additional information about your specific Financial Aid Plan may be found in your “ACTIVE MESSAGES” through Eagle online under “Financial Aid Status”.
**Students who are on a Financial Aid Plan are required to successfully complete a minimum of 75% of all attempted courses EACH semester, as well as receiving a grade of “C” or better in EACH course completed. Failure to complete these requirements will result in a loss of financial aid.
If the SAP Appeal Committee denies the appeal, you will remain on financial aid suspension. In a small number of cases, the finding of the SAP Appeal Committee may be that the appeal, as presented, has merit but lacks sufficient documentation. In those limited cases, you will be afforded the opportunity to re-appeal by presenting new documentation not previously submitted for consideration. Re-appealing does not imply a guarantee of a positive outcome.
If your appeal is denied, this does not keep you from continuing your education. Denial of an appeal simply means you cannot receive federal, state and some institutional aid. Students may utilize alternative student loans through a private lender as an alternate source of funding. (Click here for the Alternative Loan page)
Information on how (W)ithdrawals, (I)ncompletes, and transfer course work reflects in your academic progress is found in our SAP Policy.
Students may re-establish their eligibility for financial aid by achieving the satisfactory academic progress standards. Once eligibility has been re-established, the student must contact the Tennessee Tech Office of Financial Aid to request reinstatement of their financial aid.