Satisfactory Academic Progress | IBCS

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Learn what Satisfacotry Academic Progress is and how it applies to you.


Satisfactory Academic Progress

To be eligible for Federal Student Aid, a student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP refers to specific standards defined by the federal government pertaining to financial aid awarded to students under Title IV of the Federal Code. Pell Grants, other government scholarships, and student loans administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) are all subject to SAP. International Baptist College and Seminary (IBCS) is required to establish, report, and apply these SAP standards for all students receiving Title IV Federal Financial Aid.

In order to be eligible for federal financial aid, a student must maintain three (3) SAP standards. These standards are:

  1. The GPA (Qualitative) Standard
  2. The Pace of Progress (Quantitative) Standard
  3. The Maximum Time Frame (Degree Completion) Standard

Failure to fulfill any one of the above standards will result in the student’s becoming ineligible for federal financial aid.

The GPA (Qualitative) Standard

The GPA (Qualitative) Standard – Students must achieve and maintain a satisfactory grade point average (GPA). The required GPA standard for the undergraduate student is:

Program Credits Successfully Completed GPA
Associate’s 33+ 2.0
Bachelor’s 67+ 2.0

The required GPA standard for graduate students is:

Program Credits Successfully Completed GPA
M.Ed. 16+ 3.0
*M.A. Min. 16+ 2.0
*M.Div 46+ 2.0
D. Min. 16+ 3.0

*A 2.0 GPA is required per IBCS SAP Standard. Students receiving military or tribal financial aid may be required to maintain a higher GPA per federal requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of specific military or tribal GPA requirements.

The Pace of Progress (Quantitative Standard)

Students must achieve and maintain a satisfactory completion rate for attempted credits. Completion rates are measured by dividing the cumulative number of hours the student has successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours the student has attempted. Remedial courses may be excluded from the calculation.

Each student must successfully complete at least 67% of all credit hours attempted each semester (Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer) in order to qualify for financial aid the following semester. To successfully complete credit hours, the student must pass the coursework associated with those hours.

Student Type Full-Time Status Minimum Hours Completed
Bachelor of Arts 12 credit hours 8 credit hours
Graduate 9 credit hours* 6 credit hours

*For chaplain candidate students, some exceptions may apply pending administrative approval

The Maximum Time Frame (Degree Completion) Standard

Students must complete their chosen degree in no more than 150% of the stated period for each degree program.

Degree Program Stated Period Maximum Time Frame
Associate’s 2 years 3 years
Bachelor’s 4 years 6 years


Degree Program Stated Period Recommended Time Frame
*M.A.Min., M.Ed. 3 years 4.5 years
*M.Div. 4 years 6 years
D.Min. 3 years 4.5 years

*The Federal Guideline of the 150% maximum period does not apply to graduate programs. IBCS policy defines the maximum period in which graduate students may complete their program.

Sessions in which the undergraduate student did not receive federal funds are counted in the Maximum Time Frame calculation.

SAP Status

There are four (4) designations used to describe a student’s SAP status. These designations are:

  1. SAP/FA Compliant
  2. SAP/FA Warning
  3. SAP/FA Suspension
  4. SAP/FA Probation
SAP/FA Compliant
  • This status is assigned to a student who is in good standing under all three SAP standards.
  • This student is eligible for financial aid.

SAP/FA Warning

This status is assigned to students who fail any one of IBCS’s three SAP standards (GPA, Pace of Progress, or Maximum Time Frame).

  • Students may continue to receive Title IV financial aid for a subsequent semester (Warning Semester).
  • No FA/SAP appeal is necessary.
  • If the student fails SAP at the end of his or her Warning Semester, he or she will be on SAP/FA Suspension.

Students with SAP/FA Warning status are in one of two conditions. (Each of these conditions has its own stipulations and requirements.)

  • Students have failed to achieve and maintain SAP for a single regular semester, or
  • Students are transferring into IBCS with less than the minimum cumulative GPA.

For the student who has failed to achieve or maintain SAP for a regular semester:

  • This student is to meet with the FAA and is given written notification of his or her status.
  • The student will then remain on SAP Warning for one regular semester (fall or spring).
  • If at the end of that regular semester, the student on SAP/FA Warning achieves SAP, then he or she is returned to an SAP/FA Compliant status.
  • If at the end of that regular semester, the student on SAP/FA Warning fails to achieve SAP, then that student will be placed on SAP/FA Suspension.

For the student transferring into IBCS with less than the minimum cumulative GPA:

  • Students thus admitted retain SAP/FA Warning status until they have earned a total of at least 12 hours at IBCS and have earned a cumulative GPA at or higher than the minimum. Their GPAs must be raised to the minimum in one semester. At that time, they are given an SAP/FA Compliant status.
  • If the student fails to earn the minimum for these 12 hours, he or she is placed on SAP/FA Suspension.
  • Students on SAP Warning will be monitored every semester for improvement. While on warning status, a student is expected to complete all courses for which he or she is registered with a semester GPA of at least 2.0.
  • A minimum of 12 credit hours must be completed satisfactorily before a student is removed from SAP/FA Warning.
SAP/FA Suspension

This status is assigned to a student who fails to meet SAP standards at the end of the warning semester.

  • The student is not eligible for federal financial aid for the current and subsequent semesters.
  • The only option for the student to avoid loss of federal financial aid is for the student to submit a “SAP Appeal Form” and all required documentation.
  • If the student’s SAP Appeal is approved, the student will be placed on SAP/FA Probation for one semester and will continue to receive federal financial aid.

Neither paying for one’s classes nor sitting out a semester affects a student’s SAP standing. Absence does not restore eligibility to receive Title IV financial aid.

A student subject to SAP/FA Suspension for a second time may be subject to denial of financial aid indefinitely.

There are two ways to remove the SAP/FA Suspension status:
A. Complete the suspension

  • Complete at least 12 credit hours without financial aid at IBCS or another accepted institution.
  • Achieve a minimum of a 2.00.
  • Complete 67% of all attempted credit hours.

After the suspension is completed, the student will automatically be placed back on SAP/FA Warning by the FAA.

B. Submit an SAP Appeal (appeal requests are allowed only for special circumstances)

  • Submit a completed SAP Appeal Form to the FAA.
  • This form must be submitted within thirty (30) calendar days of the SAP/FA Suspension notice.
  • Upon completion of a formal review, the FAA will notify the student as to whether or not the appeal has been approved.
  • Submission of an SAP Appeal Form is not a guarantee of approval and/or reinstatement of federal financial aid eligibility.
SAP/FA Probation

SAP/FA Probation is a status assigned to a student who is failing to make SAP and who successfully appeals. Eligibility for aid may be reinstated for one payment period.

  • An SAP/FA Suspension student is placed on SAP/FA Probation only after he or she has submitted an SAP/FA Appeal and his or her appeal is approved by IBCS.
  • SAP/FA Probation status will not be given automatically.
  • The SAP/FA Probation student must make SAP at the end of one regular semester payment period on probation.
  • If IBCS determines, based upon the student’s appeal, that he or she should be able to meet the SAP standards by the end of the subsequent payment period, IBCS may place the student on SAP/FA Probation without an Academic Plan.

Consideration for Special Circumstances: Second Appeals

  • If the student is still not making SAP at the end of the SAP Probation payment period, in very special circumstances IBCS may allow a student to submit a second SAP/FA Appeal. Review of a second SAP/FA Appeal will be granted only for situations in which a student faces extenuating circumstances beyond his or her control.
  • The second appeal must contain information about why the student failed to make SAP at the end of the probation payment period, including what circumstances caused the student not to make SAP during the probationary payment period and how specifically they will improve their academic performance.
  • If a second appeal is submitted and approved, IBCS will require the student to be placed on an Academic Plan.

SAP Exceptions and Appeals Process

An SAP/FA Appeal is a process by which a student who is not meeting IBCS’s SAP policy petitions IBCS for reconsideration of the student’s eligibility for Title IV aid.

IBCS is under no obligation to grant exceptions or approve appeals to SAP standards; however, IBCS acknowledges that there are times when special circumstances may warrant a legitimate request for an appeal. It must be noted in the process of evaluating a student’s formal appeal that IBCS will not eliminate nor disregard any grades or credits attempted in a student’s SAP calculation. No permanent academic record will be modified in any way.

By approving an appeal, IBCS simply acknowledges that the student may continue to receive federal financial aid even though he or she fails to meet SAP standards.

It is the student’s responsibility to follow the correct procedures when submitting an appeal via the SAP Appeal Form. SAP/FA Appeal Forms and SAP information may be obtained from the IBCS Financial Aid Office.

If a student’s SAP/FA Appeal is approved, the student will be assigned SAP/FA Probation status. The FAA will notify the student of the results of the appeal request and any change in SAP status. The FAA will also reevaluate the student’s SAP within one semester. A student subject to SAP/FA Suspension for a second time may be subject to denial of financial aid indefinitely.

Any exceptions to this policy will be made on an individual basis and in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations governing financial aid.

Additional SAP Considerations

1. Incomplete Course Grades

Students who fail to complete at least 67% of attempted credit hours because of incomplete grades will be placed on SAP/FA.

2. Warnings/Withdrawals

Any student who withdraws from all classes will have his or her financial aid eligibility suspended until the student meets with the FAA. Any student who fails to complete 67% of attempted credit hours because of withdrawal from classes will be placed on SAP/FA Suspension and may be responsible for returning federal aid.

3. Repetition of Classes

A grade of “F” may be removed only by repeating the course. A student may be permitted to repeat a course in order to raise an earlier grade of “D.” The last grade earned is considered the grade of record as it pertains to credit toward graduation. Federal regulations require that credits from all attempts must be included when assessing if the student meets the quantitative SAP standard. See the Registrar or Financial Aid Administrator for further guidance regarding retaking a class more than one time.

4. Change of Major

Credits attempted and grades earned that do not count toward the student’s new major will not be included in the calculation of a student’s SAP standing; however, transferred credits that do apply toward the current program will count. IBCS reserves the right to limit how many times a student may change majors and reset SAP.

5. More than Two Majors

Credits attempted and grades earned in the attempt to complete more than two majors will be subject to all SAP standards. Any mitigating/exceptional circumstance that adversely affects the more-than-two-major student should be addressed using the SAP appeal procedure.

6. Support for Students on SAP Warning Status

Students who are on Financial Aid Probation are required to meet with the CAO or his designee to discuss strategies to assist in student success.

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