-- How to Apply for Aid --
Step 4: Maintain Your Eligibility
To be eligible to receive financial aid, Federal regulations require that you must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward an approved, eligible academic program.
What's on this page?
About Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Three components of your academic record determine whether you are maintaining satisfactory academic progress: (1) course completion, (2) grade point average (GPA) and (3) maximum eligibility. The requirements in each area vary according to your status as an undergraduate, graduate or professional student, your school/college of enrollment, and your enrollment status (full-time, half-time, or less than-half-time). This federal policy affects your eligibility for all forms of assistance, including but not limited to, the following aid programs:
- Federal: Federal Work-Study, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct PLUS Loan (Parent loan), Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Graduate PLUS Loans, Federal Family Education Loan Program, Federal Direct Loan Program (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), Nursing Student Loans and Health Professions Loans and Grants
- State: All State eligible loan and grant programs.
- Institutional: Departmental scholarships/grants, Howard University Student Employment Program (HUSEP), Graduate Remission or Assistantships.
- Private Loans: Students on SAP may only apply for private (alternate) loans that do not seek a student's academic progression (or lack thereof) a necessary criterion. This is often done by conducting an internet search.
New policy (effective January 2017)
Satisfactory Academic Progress will be evaluated at the end of each academic year. It will no longer be evaluated on a per semester basis. Once a student finds themselves on 'financial aid suspension' per email notification and by checking their BisonWeb account, they then are to initiate the appeal process. Once an appeal has been received, reviewed, and approved by members of the office's Appeals Committee, students must also submit an Academic Plan (AP) to be electronically signed and acknowledged by their major advisor. The AP must have the advisor's signature on it to confirm they have approved the courses a student plans to take and successfully pass in upcoming Fall semester.
If AP's are not received within a timely manner, this will subsequently affect the disbursement of a student's aid for that particular award year. At the conclusion of each academic year, a student's performance will be assessed upon the following criteria:
Your enrollment status is reviewed at the conclusion of each academic year to verify that you have earned the required minimum number of credits during fall and spring semesters. You are required to complete at least 70% of all attempted hours of coursework each academic semester. (E.g. If a student registers for 15 credit hours in the fall semester; 5 (3 credit) courses, they must pass each course with a letter grade of "C" or better.) Grades or indicators of ‘F’ (Fail), ‘I’ (Incomplete), ‘U’ (Unsatisfactory), ‘UW’ (Unofficial Withdrawal), ‘NR’ (Never Reported) all count against your completion ratio. Repeated coursework may not be used in the calculation of your completion ratio and is not covered by financial aid.
Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)
As an undergraduate student, your cumulative grade point average (GPA) will be reviewed at the end of each academic year of attendance. Freshmen and continuing undergraduate students, if your GPA at the conclusion of the academic year (fall and spring) is lower than a 2.0, you will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Graduate and professional students are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA. For graduate/professional students, you must also maintain satisfactory progress in order to be promoted to the next level. Students in the College of Medicine must pass the USLME Steps.
Regardless of the program of study, you are automatically SAP suspended once you do not meet the required minimum GPA (or academic standards) of the program; at the conclusion of the academic year. In the event that you are suspended from the University, you are automatically SAP suspended. And, you must not only appeal to the Dean of your School or Department, you must also complete the Financial Aid SAP appeal process.
You will maintain financial aid eligibility for a specified period of time. Undergraduate and graduate students must complete their chosen academic program within 150 percent of the number of credit hours required for graduation or successful completion. (For example, an undergraduate student may attempt a maximum of 191 credit hours for a program requiring 127 hours for graduation.)
Undergraduate students will be notified when they are within 24 credit hours, and graduate students within 18 credit hours of reaching the expiration of their financial aid eligibility. You must continue your studies at your own expense when you have reached your maximum eligibility. Because of the special nature and delivery format of the professional education programs, professional program students will maintain financial aid eligibility for a period not to exceed the following:
3 academic years
(or 6 semesters)
|Master of Law (LLM)
2 academic years
(or 4 semesters)
5 academic years
(or 10 semesters)
|Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
4 academic years
(or 8 semesters)
2 academic years
(or 4 semesters)
|Doctorate with previous
5 academic years
(or 10 semesters)
|Doctorate without previous
7 academic years
(or 14 semesters)
Financial Aid Probation
If you fail to achieve the required GPA or you are not successfully completing your educational program at the required pace, you are not eligible to receive financial aid.
Students may only be placed on Probation if the student has an approved Financial Aid Appeal (See Types of Financial Aid Suspension and Appeal Process sections).
If your appeal is approved and you are on PROBATION of any kind (e.g. Probation for Credits, Probation for Grades and Probation for Grades/Credits), you are eligible to receive aid for the next semester. You must meet all SAP criteria for any subsequent terms of attendance in order to maintain your aid eligibility.
Types of Financial Aid Suspension
Your financial aid eligibility will be suspended if you fail to earn the necessary credits or achieve the required GPA. At that time, you will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid to attend Howard University. To reinstate your financial aid eligibility, you must appeal to the Office of Financial Aid by the proposed deadline. If a student's appeal is denied for whatever reason, they then may re-enroll and successfully complete the courses they have registered for at their own expense, at least for one academic year. At the conclusion of that particular academic year, students may then re-appeal to the Office of Financial Aid explaining in a detailed type-written narrative to then request to have their aid be reinstated. Students cannot receive financial aid if they do not meet the necessary criteria. Students who have been suspended consecutively will be ineligible for aid reinstatement until they have covered the courses they have registered for at their own expense. Students are more than welcome to seek other sources of funding that include alternative loans that do not consider SAP to be a criterion.
You are not eligible to receive financial aid if you have been de-matriculated (academically suspended) from the University. When you have been readmitted by the University; a process students must complete with the Office of Admission, as a Former Student Returning, you must complete the SAP appeal process. Your financial aid eligibility status will be determined based on the SAP criteria and a thorough a review of your academic transcript.
The following types of registration and grades cannot be used to fulfill probation, suspension or re-matriculation requirements: credits by special exam, Advanced Placement or CLEP exams, distance education or correspondence courses for which you have not obtained prior approval, audit, withdrawal, incomplete and zero credit courses.
You may appeal a financial aid suspension status by submitting a completed appeal packet to the Office of Financial Aid by the deadline date. It is the responsibility of the student to follow up with their advisor as often as possible, throughout the semester, by checking their BisonWeb account for updates by checking their financial aid eligibility from one year to the next, as well as their personal preferred email address for emails on pertinent deadlines and updates.
Types of suspension that CAN BE appealed by the appropriate deadline are::
- Suspension from the University - Student is academically suspended from the University.*
- Suspension for Credits - Student did not earn at least 70% of the credit hours attempted in the previous two (2) academic years.
- Suspension for Grades** - Student did not earn minimum GPA required for ‘good standing‘ for previous two (2) years.
- PhD Degree Suspension - Student has met or exceeded maximum degree timeframe (1.5 times the total minimum credit hours required for degree) OR has more than 12 hours of incomplete credits.
- Master‘s Degree Suspension - Student has met or exceeded maximum degree timeframe (1.5 times the total minimum credit hours required for degree) OR has more than 12 hours of incomplete credits.
- Medicine/Law Suspension - Student is suspended according to academic rules of program (MD, DN, LW)
- Professional School Suspension - Student is suspended according to academic rules of program (PH, MD, DN, LW)
Types of suspension that CANNOT be appealed:
- 4 Year Undergraduate Suspension - Student has met or exceeded maximum degree timeframe (1.5 times the total minimum credit hours required for degree).
- 5 Year Undergraduate Suspension - Student has met or exceeded maximum degree timeframe (1.5 times the total minimum credit hours required for degree) OR has more than 12 hours of incomplete credits.
For SAP appeal forms, you may visit the Office of Financial Aid in Suite 205 of the Administration Building or by browsing through the Financial Aid Forms, Worksheets & Links webpage.
If you have failed to achieve SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) because of mitigating circumstances, your appeal packet must consist of the following:
- SAP appeal form with type of suspension indicated per your BisonWeb account
- Detailed type-written narrative of what led to your suspension status, and explanation of what you intend to do to improve your plan of action, and
- Copies of all supporting documentation attached. With your HU ID number on each page beginning with the '@' symbol.
Mitigating circumstances would include, but are not limited to extreme illness or injury, family crisis, or death of an immediate relative. The circumstances must be documented and will not be considered for approval without the supplemental documentation attached. Examples of documentation would include medical documentation, birth or death certificates, etc. Please do not submit letters of stipulation from your school/college along with your appeal documents. If at the end of an academic school year, you have found yourself to be suspended, you may appeal to have your current SAP status reviewed by:
- Attending a summer session at Howard University, by increasing your GPA or earned credits and then appealing once those grades have been submitted to the Office of the Registrar. It will not be until the summer courses are updated to your account that an evaluation of your courses can be made. Please monitor your BisonWeb account for appropriate updates as well as the email address you have provided on your appeal form. Summer credits will count toward determining your maximum eligibility for the next school year.
You must complete the appeal process at the end of the summer term. Summer credits will count toward determining your maximum eligibility for next school year.
Please send your appeal with any required documentation to:
Office of Financial Aid
2400 6th Street, NW Suite # 205
Washington, DC 20059
Attention: Appeals Committee
(202) 806-2818 (fax)
Once your appeal has been received and reviewed by the Appeals Committee, you will receive written notification of the committee's decision by email to the address you have provided in your appeal packet. You will also notice the appropriate changes made to your award package on your BisonWeb account. Note: All incomplete appeals will be denied. All appeal decisions are final and the submission of a SAP appeal does not guarantee reinstatement of aid eligibility. Students who are currently SAP suspended are strongly advised to create alternate financial plans in the event your appeal is denied.
Additional SAP Requirements
- If you are listed as being SUSPENDED FROM THE UNIVERSITY, the appeal process is two-fold. Step 1: You must appeal to your school/college as well as Step 2: the Office of Financial Aid. It is your responsibility to stay abreast of deadlines. Academic stipulation letters from your academic department do not ensure financial aid reinstatement and one is not contingent upon the other. For further inquiries please contact the Office of Financial Aid at http://www.howard.edu/financialaid/contacts/staff-finaid.htm
- Although you may not be receiving financial aid, you will be evaluated for financial aid eligibility on the same basis as students who receive federal and state aid. Should you apply for aid, your eligibility will be based on your prior academic performance at Howard University.
- If you are enrolled in a dual degree program, you may appeal for an extension of the maximum time frame provision of this policy.
- If you are an undergraduate student pursuing a second degree, you may attempt an additional 48 credit hours to complete your second degree program, including prerequisite courses. Graduate/professional students may attempt an additional 24 credit hours.
- If you are a transfer student, your maximum eligibility will be reduced by the number of transfer credits accepted by Howard University.
- Credits you have earned at foreign institutions will be included in your SAP evaluation provided they are applicable to the degree/program sought.
- Courses in which you receive a grade of ‘I’(incomplete) accompanied by a letter grade will be considered when evaluating your completion ratio, and will influence your term and cumulative GPA. All attempted and earned credits are considered in maximum eligibility determination.
- Courses in which you receive a grade of ‘W’ (withdrawal) do not earn credits or affect your GPA, but they will be considered when evaluating your maximum eligibility. You may retake courses from which you withdraw and those credits will count toward determining your enrollment status and completion ratio, provided you have not earned credit for the same course.
- If you are enrolled in undergraduate remedial courses, credits attempted/earned will count toward determining your enrollment status, minimum credits earned and maximum eligibility.
- If you take undergraduate courses while you are a graduate student, courses that are satisfactorily completed do not earn graduate credit or influence your graduate GPA, nor will they count toward determining your enrollment status or minimum credits earned at the graduate level.
- All undergraduate and prerequisite courses are evaluated in SAP Maximum Eligibility.
- If you are taking courses to earn professional licensure, you must be admitted to a degree program in order to receive financial aid. Students completing licensure courses and are not seeking a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree are not eligible for financial aid.
- The credits earned from repeated courses will count toward the determining your enrollment status and maximum eligibility. However, for purposes of financial aid satisfactory academic progress, only credits adding to the cumulative credits earned will be acceptable toward the required minimum number of credits earned per year.