Satisfactory Academic Progress

Mercer’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standard is used to determine if an enrolled student is making satisfactory academic progress in his or her educational program, regardless of whether or not he or she is receiving Title IV aid.  The SAP policy provides a consistent application of standards to all students, ensuring both the quality of academic work and the completion of a student’s program within the maximum time frame.

Mercer’s SAP Policy provides that a student’s academic performance will be evaluated at the end of each semester.  The SAP policy will measure both…

·         Qualitative – Cumulative GPA a student must achieve at each evaluation (see chart below)

·         Quantitative – Pace of progression to ensure graduation within the maximum time frame

Qualitative Standard

The Qualitative standard is a graduated standard based on cumulative GPA.  A student must meet the following grade point average (GPA) at each evaluation:

Total Hours                                                                  Minimum
                                                           Cumulative Grade Point

0 – 16                                                                           1.4

17 – 32                                                                         1.7

33 – 48                                                                         1.8

49 - 63                                                                          1.9

64 – 128                                                                        2.0

A student with a cumulative GPA below those listed in the above table will be put on Financial Aid WARNING for the next term and must meet the cumulative GPA standard at the end of the Financial Aid Warning payment period.

Eligibility to Appeal – If you have mitigating circumstances (e.g. death of a relative, injury or Illness of student, or other special circumstance) that prevented you from meeting the 2.0 GPA requirement at the end of your second academic year, you may appeal to the Office of Student Financial Planning for a review of your circumstances as they relate to your academic standing.  All appeals must be submitted, in writing, to the Office of Student Financial Planning within 10 calendar days of receiving the denial letter.

Quantitative Standard
There are two components to the Quantitative Standard:  

  1. Maximum Time Frame allowed for program. 
  2. Cumulative Completion Percentage.  Both standards will be checked at the end of each payment period.

Maximum Time Frame – Students may receive aid for a maximum of 150% of the published length of the educational program.  The measurement is cumulative, including all periods with or without Title IV assistance and all accepted transfer hours.

Maximum Time Frame at Mercer is defined in semester credit hours.  For example, a degree program requiring 120 credit hours to complete will have the following Maximum Time Frame:

120 X 150% = 180 hours (Maximum Time Frame)

A student may NOT receive Title IV aid after attempting 150% of the Program Length.  However, if a student feels there are mitigating circumstances that prevented him or her from completing the program within the 150% time frame, that student may review the appeal process included in this SAP policy and appeal in writing to the Financial Planning Office.

Completion Percentage for payment period:  Students must earn at least 67% of all hours attempted (cumulatively for program) at the end of each semester.  The Completion Percentage will be checked at the end of each payment period.

·         Transfer hours – Accepted into a student’s program will count as both hours attempted and hours earned

·         Withdrawals – Will count as hours attempted ONLY

·         Incompletes – Will count as hours attempted, only until the course is completed.  A passing grade will count as hours earned; a failing grade will remain as hours attempted only

·         Repeat Courses:

o    Repeat courses  are counted for previously failed classes

o    Repeat of previously passed courses are counted ONE TIME only

o    Cannot count repeat of previously passed courses at all IF the repeat of the course is due to the failing of another course in a prior period

Quantitative Evaluation Points

If a student does NOT meet SAP standards at their first Quantitative evaluation point:

·         Student will be automatically placed on Financial Aid SAP Warning for ONE payment period

o    No appeal is necessary by the student at this point in order to receive one Financial Aid SAP Warning period

o    Student must make SAP once Financial Aid Warning semester  is completed

o    If a student does NOT meet the SAP quantitative standard at the end of the Financial Aid Warning Period, the student is no longer eligible for Title IV aid.  The student may submit an appeal in writing to be considered for Financial Aid probation.

Appeal Process

If a student loses Title IV eligibility and they feel they have mitigating circumstances (i.e. death of a relative, injury or illness to student, or other special circumstance) that prevented them from meeting SAP standards, they may provide a written appeal to the Office of Student Financial Planning.  This appeal must be a complete summary of the student’s circumstances and must include all supporting documentation such as death certificate, referrals from Doctor, medical bills etc.  The Financial Planning Appeals Committee will review the appeal and determine if the circumstances warrant a waiver of the loss of Title IV aid and an additional probationary period.   When put on probation, the student is expected to meet SAP standards by the end of the probationary term, or meeting an academic plan designed to ensure student will meet SAP standards by a specific point in time.  A student’s academic plan will be included in his or her appeal response.

If the appeal is not approved, the student will no longer be eligible for federal or state aid until the student meets SAP standards.

SAP Appeal Form

Financial Aid Probation

·         Under Financial Aid Probation, a student may only receive Title IV funds for ONE semester only.

·         A student may not receive Title IV funds for any subsequent payment period unless:

o    Student is  making SAP; or

o    Financial Planning Committee determines student met the SAP requirement specified by the Committee.  A student reinstated to eligibility under academic plan and making progress under the plan is considered to be eligible.