Student Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)

Purpose and Background

The Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements are governed by the Higher Education Act, Sec. 484(c), 34 CFR 668.16(e), 34 CFR 668.32(f), 34 CFR 668.34.  The U.S. Department of Education mandates that institutions receiving Title IV funds (federal financial aid) evaluate each student’s progress toward the completion of their degree. Progress is evaluated in Qualitative terms (cumulative grade point average) and Quantitative terms (cumulative course completion rate or pace) which also includes the Maximum Timeframe for program completion.  To be eligible for Title IV funds, a student must make Satisfactory Academic Progress, and Centenary University must have a reasonable policy for monitoring that progress. The Department of Education considers a Satisfactory Academic Progress policy to be reasonable if it meets both the qualitative and quantitative criteria as set by Centenary University. The policy must also establish and monitor maximum timeframes by which a student must complete their program of study.  The goal of this policy is to offer each student the opportunity to succeed academically throughout their program while ensuring that federal funds are used responsibly by students to pursue their academic and professional goals.


This policy applies to all Title IV Federal Financial Aid Programs, as well as any Centenary University Need-Based Aid.  All recipients of the above-mentioned aid types must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress according to this policy.  The policy also applies to all programs of study and enrollment statuses, including those for which students do not apply for federal student aid.  To maintain SAP, all students must satisfy both, the minimum qualitative and quantitative components of the SAP policy. All periods of enrollment are considered when evaluating SAP, even those periods for which the student did not receive Federal Student Aid.

Evaluation Period

Centenary University evaluates SAP at the end of each Financial Aid payment period for which a student is enrolled (Fall, Spring, Summer).  A detailed review of the specific requirements is presented below.

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Qualitative Standard: Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)

All Federal Financial Aid recipients and students receiving Centenary Need-Based Aid must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 at the end of each payment period(term).  This requirement may be more strict than other Centenary academic policies.  Only credits earned at Centenary University will be considered in the calculation of the cumulative GPA. The grade or quality points from transfer courses will not be included in a student’s Centenary University grade point average.

Quantitative Standard: Pace of Progress (Successful Completion of Courses)

This component is a measure of the extent to which a student is successfully completing their coursework.  The quantitative component is calculated by dividing the cumulative earned credit hours by the cumulative attempted credit hours and is evaluated at the end of each payment period.  Students must successfully complete at least two-thirds of all attempted credit hours. For example, if you attempt 12 credit hours a term, you are expected to complete at least 8 credit hours. All students must successfully complete 66.67% of all (cumulative) attempted credit hours to stay on pace with the maximum time frame requirements. This requirement may be more strict than other Centenary academic policies.

Example: Pace of Progress
Cumulative Attempted Credits Cumulative Earned Credits Pace (Completion Rate) Pace/Completion Requirement Met?
24 credits 24 credits 100% Yes
48 credits 12 credits 25% No
72 credits 48 credits 66.67% Yes
10 credits 5 credits 50% No

*This table is meant to show how the Pace calculation is completed. Individual Pace calculations will be based on courses attempted and earned (successfully completed) by the student.

A completed credit hour is defined as a credit hour associated with a course in which the final awarded grade/mark was A, B, C, D, F or P or their +/- variants.  Please note that while some final marks do not count towards the cumulative GPA (i.e. W, AW, WD, NC, TC,I, P or N), they do count towards progress standards regarding the successful completion of courses. The credit hours associated with transfer credits are included in the calculation of pace as both attempted and earned credits.   Grades of incomplete are counted as attempted credit hours, but not earned.  If a student subsequently completes the incomplete course requirements, the Financial Aid Office will be notified and a recalculation of SAP will be conducted.

Repeated coursework is counted as attempted with each occurrence but earned only when a passing grade is received.

Eligibility and enrollment status for retaking coursework:

Federal SAP regulations allow a student to receive Title IV funds for retaking a failed course until the course is passed. Once a course is passed with a grade of D or higher, federal funds will only pay one more time (a student may wish to retake a passed course in order to receive a higher grade). If F grade was received after passing grade, it will count as having taken the course; however, W, X, D statuses after passing grade will not count as having retaken the course.

Credits and Grades Used to Determine GPA, Pace and Maximum Time Frame:

Successfully completed courses are considered attempted and earned in the GPA, Pace of progression and Maximum Timeframe standards. All coursework attempted, including repeated and withdrawn coursework recorded on the student’s academic record is considered when calculating Pace and Maximum Time Frame.

An explanation of the Centenary University Grading System is published at the following link:


All students are expected to finish their degree within a maximum time frame, no longer than 150% of the published length of the program. The Maximum Timeframe is measured in credit hours.  For example, if a degree requires 120 credits, a student may not attempt more than 180 credit hours to achieve the degree; 120 X 1.5 (or 150%) = 180 credits. Additionally, and because Maximum Timeframe is evaluated at the end of each payment period, any student determined to be mathematically unable to complete the program of study within the Maximum Timeframe will be ineligible for aid from the point at which the determination is made. Please see the section on Financial Aid Suspension below.

SAP Review and Evaluation Process

All students are evaluated at the end of each payment period in which the student was enrolled.  One of the following statuses will apply:

Satisfactory: Students are placed in this status after determining that the student is achieving the minimum qualitative and quantitative standards required for satisfactory academic progress. Students with this status will be notified and can continue receiving aid.

Financial Aid Warning. If you fail to meet SAP standards for any term, you will be placed on an initial financial aid warning for the following term. A student on an initial financial aid warning will retain eligibility to receive financial assistance during the warning term.

Financial Aid Suspension. If you fail to meet SAP standards by the end of your warning term, you will be placed on financial aid suspension and lose eligibility to receive financial assistance for subsequent terms.

SAP appeals. If you are placed on financial aid suspension, you may request reinstatement of financial aid eligibility by sending an appeal to the Office of Financial Aid.  Appeal requests must provide an explanation of the circumstances that contributed to your inability to meet the minimum SAP standards, what has changed that will allow you to improve your performance and you must meet with your academic advisor to obtain approval of your proposed academic plans before submitting the written appeal.

Financial aid probation. If your appeal is approved, you will be reinstated on financial aid probation for one semester. Specific benchmarks may need to be reached to retain eligibility beyond the end of the probationary semester or year. In all cases, if you successfully complete a semester while on financial aid probation AND meet both quantitative and qualitative SAP standards at the end of the probationary semester, you will regain full eligibility for financial aid beginning with the subsequent semester (maximum time limits still apply).

Student Notification

A student not meeting the standards at the end of each payment period (term) will be notified via email of their status.  Students can also view their status in their Self-Service portal.  Official notification is given within seven business days after all grades have been posted.  The notification will include an explanation of the standards evaluated and instructions on how to proceed based on the student’s status (Satisfactory, Financial Aid Warning, Financial Aid Probation, Financial Aid Suspensions, etc.).

Special Considerations

Centenary University may elect to disregard courses taken during the COVID-19 pandemic for purposes of future determinations of cumulative GPA, Pace and Maximum Timeframe.  Students must notify the Office of Financial Aid if such a review is requested and all decisions made by the Director of Financial Aid are final and cannot be appealed.


Centenary University may elect to disregard courses taken during the COVID-19 pandemic for purposes of future determinations of cumulative GPA, Pace and Maximum Timeframe.  Students must notify the Academic Dean and Financial Aid Office if such a review is requested and all decisions made by the institution are final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.

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