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Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is required in order for a student to maintain eligibility for federal or state financial assistance. At the end of each academic semester, after final grades have been issued, the Associate Vice President for Student Financial Planning will verify the academic progress of each student. All periods of enrollment (Fall, Spring, and any future terms Monmouth may offer such as summer, J-term or May-term) will count toward SAP, including when a student does not receive federal/Title IV aid.

Once a student has reached the point in their college career when they have registered and enrolled for their 15th course credit (the equivalent of 60th credit hour), three components must be measured and met in order to maintain eligibility for financial aid.

"Registered Course Credits" include all transfer credits accepted by the college and all credits for which a student has officially enrolled (excluding audit classes) at Monmouth College.

Official enrollment is defined as the credits for which a student is registered at the end of the period for adding a course without a fee (typically the end of the first week of classes) or any 2nd half semester classes for which the student enrolls during the allowable period for adding a 2nd half semester course.

All remedial coursework, repeated coursework, and coursework from which a student withdraws, will be counted and calculated in the appropriate SAP formulas. When a course is repeated, only the most recent grade is used in the Qualitative – GPA calculation. However, both courses (original and repeated) will be used in the Quantitative – Pace calculation.

The three components of Satisfactory Academic Progress which must be evaluated and met are:

  1. Qualitative Standard (GPA
  2. Quantitative Standard (Incremental Pace)
  3. Maximum Time Frame (to complete a program)

Qualitative Standard (GPA)

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 on a 4.0 scale. A student will immediately lose eligibility for all Federal and State financial assistance if the student’s cumulative GPA falls below 2.00.

In the case of a student who receives a grade equal to "I" (Incomplete) or "IP" (In-progress), the eligibility for financial assistance for the next semester will be determined without regard for the "I" or "IP" grade. Subsequent removal of an "I" or "IP" grade and replacement of those grades with final grades may have an impact on future semesters and the eligibility for financial assistance, but it will not have a retroactive effect on semesters for which assistance has already been approved.

Quantitative Standard (Incremental Pace)

Students must also be making incremental progress (consistently earning credits) towards a degree at an acceptable pace. If however, the student is not making incremental progress towards the degree (earning at least two-thirds or 66.6% of the courses for which they are registering), a loss of eligibility for Federal and State financial assistance will occur.

Maximum Time Frame (to complete the program)

The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy contains a maximum time frame component, which allows a student to take up to 150% of the time needed to achieve and obtain a degree. (Transfer credits from another institution will be counted toward the maximum time frame but will not be counted toward the GPA.) For example, a student may take up to six years to obtain a four year bachelor’s degree and still remain eligible to receive financial assistance. Once the student has reached the 150% point in time, no further Title IV aid will be processed.


In any semester where a student has lost eligibility of financial assistance, the student may appeal to the Associate Vice President for Student Financial Planning for the reinstatement of eligibility. The student must show that their cumulative GPA fell to less 2.00 or they failed to make incremental progress towards a degree (as outline above) as the result of 1) the death of an immediate relative of the student, 2) a severe injury to the student, 3) a severe illness of the student, or 4) other unusual circumstances that interrupted their ability to perform academically.

If an appeal is granted and the financial aid eligibility is restored, the student will be placed on financial aid probation and will be eligible to receive financial assistance for one semester. If, at the end of the semester on financial aid probation, a student does not 1) establish a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 or 2) make incremental progress toward the degree (as outlined above), no further aid eligibility will be allowed.

Re-establishing Eligibility

A student may re-establish eligibility for financial assistance in a number of ways. 1) A student may enroll at the college without the benefit of financial assistance and achieve or re-establish satisfactory academic progress during this time. Once a student has done this, by increasing the grade point average and/or incremental pace, the student could be eligible for financial assistance in the following semester. 2) A student may enroll at another institution. When doing so, a student is encouraged to discuss potential class selections with the Registrar's Office to determine their eligibility for transfer back to Monmouth College. The SAP calculations would then be re-run to consider the newly earned transfer credits. When the student has successfully met the SAP requirements, their eligibility for financial assistance will be re-established and granted for the following semester. Note: This could be done over a summer semester and a student could successfully re-establish eligibility for the fall semester. These options are NOT available to students who have been dismissed from financial aid because of exceeding their maximum time frame.

Changing of Major/Program

If a student elects to change their major during their enrollment at Monmouth College, and this change is granted by the academic departments and the Registrar’s Office, the student will still be held to the Maximum Time Frame Component or 150% rule stated above. All coursework taken at Monmouth College will continue to be counted in the Qualitative (GPA) and Quantitative (Pace) formulas outlined above. The SAP status of a student will be applied in continuation from one major/program to the next.

Return of Title IV (Federal) Aid Policy

When any student (new or returning) withdraws from all coursework during a semester, (either officially or unofficially), and the student has received any Title IV federal funds (excluding Federal Work Study wages), the federal government requires the college review the student’s eligibility for those funds. The college will utilize the federally mandated formula to determine the level of federal funding which has been “earned” and which the student is entitled to keep at the time of withdrawal from the college. This review and recalculation of aid eligibility is officially referred to as “Return of Title IV Aid.”

Any student who withdraws prior to the last day to add or drop a course without a fee (typically the end of the first week of classes) in any semester is not considered to have been enrolled for that semester and will have all federal aid returned and all direct charges (for tuition, room and board) reversed by the college.

Any student, who has completed 60 percent of the semester, is considered to have “earned” all of his/her financial aid. No refund of institutional charges, nor Return of Title IV federal funding is required.

Any student who remains enrolled beyond the last day to add or drop a course without a fee (typically the end of the first week of classes) but withdraws from all coursework prior to completion of 60 percent of the semester, will have their institutional direct charges, as well as, their federal financial aid pro-rated at a percentage equal to the percent of the semester which has passed. Federal guidelines provide the college with appropriate parameters with which to calculate the appropriate percentage. If the student is owed a disbursement, the funds will be made directly to the student’s account.

If Title IV funds were disbursed to a student’s account in excess of the calculated “earned” amount, then funds must be returned to the federal government by the college and/or the student and will done within 45 days of the date of the determination of student’s withdrawal. The Office of Student Financial Planning will notify a student with instructions on how to proceed if the student is required to return funds to the government.

To determine the date used for the Return of Title IV funds, the college will first determine if it is an official or unofficial withdrawal.

Official Withdrawal:
For a student to be considered officially withdrawn, he/she must notify the college in writing or orally of his/her intent to withdraw by contacting the Office of Student Affairs. The withdrawal date is the date that the student notifies the Office of Student Affairs of his/her intent to withdraw and/or begins the withdrawal process by completing a withdrawal form.
Unofficial Withdrawal:
If a student ceases attendance without providing official notification to the College, the withdrawal date will be the last day of an academically-related activity, as documented by the College or if past the 60% point, then the midpoint will be used.

Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reduce the outstanding balances in individual federal programs. Financial aid returned by the student/parent or the college will be allocated in the following order:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans
  2. Federal Subsidized Direct Loans
  3. Federal Perkins Loans
  4. Federal Direct Parent (PLUS) Loans
  5. Federal Pell Grants
  6. Federal Academic Competitiveness Grants
  7. National SMART Grants
  8. Federal SEOG Grants
  9. Federal TEACH Grants
  10. Iraq Afghanistan Service Grants

In some cases, a student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement if, prior to withdrawing, the student “earned” more federal financial aid than was disbursed at the time. If a student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement for Title IV funds, it will be processed for the student and any subsequent refund due the student will be processed within 14 days per the Credit Balance Refund Policy.

If a post-withdrawal disbursement included loan funds, the college will obtain the student’s permission before disbursing the loan. A notice will be sent to the student and the student must be respond in writing within 14 days. Students may elect to decline some or all of the loan funds so the student does not incur additional debt.

The college may automatically use all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement in the form of grant funds to cover the tuition and fees incurred by the student. However, the college will obtain permission from the student to use post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other charges incurred by the student.

Refund of Funds from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission Monetary Award Program (MAP)

Per the rules of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, if an IL MAP Grant recipient withdraws after the end of the second week of the semester, the student may receive a MAP grant payment for costs incurred up to the semester award provided the college's tuition refund policy indicates that the student has incurred charges in the amount of the claim.

Refund of Institutional Financial Aid

Institutional financial aid may consist of Monmouth Grant, Monmouth Scholarships and Monmouth Loans. The refund/cancellation of institutional financial aid follows the pro-rata policy for the cancellation of institutional charges.

When a student withdraws prior to completing 60% of a semester, a pro-rated portion of his/her institutional financial aid will be returned to the program(s) from which the student received funds. After completing 60% of the semester, there is no cancellation of financial aid.

A student who withdraws prior to the last day to add or drop a course without a fee (typically the end of the first week of classes) is not considered to have been enrolled for that semester and therefore 100% of the student's institutional aid will be cancelled.

Refund of Private Scholarships, Grants and Loans

Unless otherwise requested by the donor of a private scholarship or grant award, the funds will be retained to cover the costs incurred by the student. Excess funds will be returned to the donor. Private/alternative loans will be the last item retained to cover the costs incurred by the student. This will ensure a student has as little loan indebtedness as possible. Excess loan proceeds will be returned to the lender.

Loan Exit Interview Required

Students who borrow through either the Perkins Loan and/or the Direct Loan program are required to complete an exit interview online to ensure that they fully understand their commitments and obligations under these federally-funded programs. It is required that a student be informed of their rights and their responsibilities as a borrower through a federal program.

Appeal Process

An appeal process exists for students or parents who believe that individual circumstances warrant exception from published College charges and refund policies. Persons wishing to appeal for special consideration should address such an appeal in writing to the Vice President for Finance and Business at Monmouth College.

ISAC Statement

Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant guidance provided by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission

By applying for financial aid and agreeing to share that information with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) you have been considered for the State of Illinois (IL) Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant. All MAP-approved institutions are required by the State of Illinois to announce MAP Grant awards to students who are enrolled or intending to enroll at their institution. An award amount is included on this letter if you have met the eligibility criteria.

The MAP Grant award amount is an estimate made by the Office of Student Financial Planning and is identified as a "State of IL MAP Grant (Est)." Please be aware that the number of available MAP Grants is limited by funding levels approved by the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor, and reductions to estimated or actual MAP Grants are possible.

There are also limitations to how long you can continue to receive a MAP Grant. Usage is tracked by the number of credit hours for which you've received MAP benefits and is referred to as MAP Paid Credit Hours (MPCHs). The maximum number of MPCHs that can be received is 135, and you must be at the junior level or above to use more than 75 MPCHs. For your reference, and to learn more about MPCH limitations, you may access a record of your MPCHs through the ISAC Student Portal.

Additional Guidance provided by Monmouth College

The Illinois MAP Grant is paid to students based on the number of credit hours a student is registered for in a particular semester. Beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, Monmouth College converted to a 4-4 academic calendar. Under the new academic system, students will typically register for 4 course credits per semester. Monmouth College course credits will have to be converted into credit hours for the purpose of collecting Illinois MAP Grant payments.

Below are sample conversions:

  • 3 course credits is equivalent to 12 credit hrs. and would collect 12/15th of the full MAP award
  • 3.25 course credits is equivalent to 13 credit hrs. and would collect 13/15th of the full MAP award
  • 3.5 course credits is equivalent to 14 credit hrs. and would collect 11/15th of the full MAP award
  • 3.75 course credits is equivalent to 15 credit hrs. and would collect the full MAP award
  • 4 course credits or greater would collect the full MAP award
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