Financial Aid Services Center

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

The primary purpose of financial aid programs is to help students successfully complete their degree or certificate programs in a timely manner. To receive aid, students are required to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements while completing their degree or certificate programs. Financial aid programs include grants, tuition and fee waivers, work study employment, need-based and non-need-based loans, private student loans (loans through private lenders), and scholarship programs. Specific scholarship programs may have specialized academic progress requirements that exceed the general policy requirements outlined below. Questions about the academic progress requirements of individual scholarship programs should be directed to the Scholarship Center.

The academic progress of all students is measured on a quarterly basis. Financial aid recipients who fail to meet academic progress requirements for aid programs will be among the first to receive word that their academic goals are at risk. Students placed on financial aid warning or suspension under the satisfactory academic progress policy will be notified immediately following the quarter in which the warning or suspension occurs. Notification will be delivered via e-mail to the student's official WWU e-mail address. Financial Aid staff will inform students in this situation of a number of specific, on-campus resources to help them meet satisfactory academic progress requirements.

Failure to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements will result in financial aid warning or suspension. Students whose aid is suspended may appeal for aid reinstatement. Students whose appeals are approved will be placed on financial aid probation.

General Policy Requirements

Maintain the required grade point average (GPA)

Grade Point Average Requirements

Students must meet the scholarship standards of the University to remain eligible for financial aid. University scholarship standards include maintaining at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA. The GPA requirement is monitored quarterly. Scholarship standards allow for a limited number of quarters during which a student may improve his or her cumulative GPA to the 2.00 minimum requirement. Students dismissed from the University for not meeting the scholarship standard will also have their financial aid eligibility placed in suspended status. There is no financial aid warning period after university dismissal. Scholastic standards for undergraduate and graduate students are fully described in the University Catalog.

Successfully complete the minimum number of credits associated with the enrollment status at lock (second Friday of each quarter)

Quarterly Credit Completion Requirements

The Financial Aid Department reviews academic progress at the end of each quarter for all students. To establish and maintain financial aid eligibility, all students must successfully complete the minimum number of credits associated with their enrollment level at lock (see Changes in Enrollment). The following grades do not indicate successful completion of academic credit: F, Z, U, NP, K, W, I, X, NX, SW, audited classes, or absence of a grade.

If a student's coursework does not meet minimum requirements, the student will be placed on financial aid warning or suspension, depending upon the extent of the deficiency.

Students with a corrected grade must first confirm that the Registrar's Office has made the grade change and then notify the Financial Aid Department of the change in writing. Incomplete grades of "K" that are updated to a passing grade are not considered a grade correction. Satisfactory Academic Progress will not be re-calculated until the next evaluation period. Correspondence courses must be completed within the term for which they were registered to count toward completed credits. Credits earned for repeated coursework may count toward current quarter academic progress requirements in some cases. Contact the Financial Aid Department if you plan to repeat a course. In general, you may receive aid for repeating a previously passed course once and receive aid for repeating a failed course that fulfills degree requirements until it has been passed.

Students who fail to meet the minimum credit requirement for a given quarter will be placed on financial aid warning or suspension for the next quarter, depending on the extent of the deficiency. Students whose appeals for financial aid reinstatement have been approved will be placed on aid probation.

Credit Completion Requirements
Enrollment Status Undergrad and Post Baccalaureate Students Graduate Students
Full-time 12 8
3/4 time 9 6
1/2 time 6 4
Less than 1/2 time All credits attempted N/A

Maintain PACE: successfully complete at least 80 percent of cumulative, attempted credits

PACE

Students must successfully complete at least 80 percent of their cumulative attempted credits to meet financial aid PACE requirements. Attempted credits are defined as all credits that appear on the academic history record. These credits include repeated, failed, incomplete, withdraws, and transcript transfer credits. The PACE requirement is monitored on a quarterly basis. Students failing to meet the PACE requirement will be placed on financial aid warning and are allowed one quarter to successfully complete sufficient credits to meet the PACE requirement and regain good satisfactory academic progress standing. Students failing to meet the PACE requirement at the end of the warning period will have their financial aid eligibility placed in suspended status.

Complete your degree or certificate within the maximum allowable attempted credits

Maximum Attempted Credit Requirements

Students receiving aid are allowed to attempt a specified number of credits in order to complete their degree or certificate program. As soon as it is clear that a student will not graduate within this period, the student becomes ineligible for aid. Western determines whether students have reached or exceeded their maximum attempted credits limit by totaling the number of credits they have attempted. Attempted credits are defined as all credits that appear on the academic history record. These credits include repeated, failed, incomplete, withdrawals, and accepted transfer credits. If the Financial Aid Department learns that graduation is imminent, aid eligibility must be calculated and limited solely to enrollment in courses required for graduation. Students are expected to notify the Financial Aid Department when they have completed all the coursework required for their degree or certificate program. Failure to do so may result in the student having to repay all or a portion of the aid they received. Second majors and elective minors are not eligible to be funded with financial aid unless they are included in the official university registration record at the point of appealing.

Changes to approved Maximum Attempted Credits appeals due to the addition of additional majors, minors, or certificate programs are discouraged as such revised appeals are generally denied.

Undergraduate Students:

  • May attempt up to 125% of the minimum credit requirements for their declared baccalaureate program of study, as defined in the University Catalog. No additional allowance is granted for concurrent completion of a double major or an elective minor, unless it is included in official university records at the point of appealing.

Graduate Students:

  • May attempt up to 125% of the number of credits required by their graduate plan of study. Graduate students are advised to limit their enrollment to the courses appearing on their plan of study. Courses not on the plan of study generally are not fundable with financial aid. Also, additional coursework beyond the 125% limitation cannot be funded and may jeopardize continued financial aid eligibility under the maximum attempted credit requirement.
  • Thesis credits: Although academic departments may allow a variable number of thesis credits, funding for thesis credits is limited to the first twelve thesis credit attempted.

Postbaccalaureate Students Pursuing a Second Undergraduate Degree or a Certificate Program:

  • May attempt up to 125% of the credits required for completion of the degree or certificate program.

Financial Aid Warning

Students who were previously in good standing for financial aid satisfactory academic progress purposes but have not met the following requirements will be placed on financial aid warning if they did not:

  • Meet the minimum credit requirements but successfully completed at least half-time enrollment status (6 credits for undergraduates, 4 credits for graduates); or
  • Meet the PACE requirement.
  • Meet the 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA requirement after completion of six quarters or 90 credits

Students remain eligible to receive aid for one quarter while in warning status. Failure to meet these requirements listed above during the warning quarter will result in financial aid suspension.

Financial Aid Suspension

Financial aid suspension is an aid-ineligible status whereby aid for future quarters is canceled and processing to calculate future aid eligibility is placed on hold until eligibility is regained.

Students will be placed on financial aid suspension if they do not:

  • Successfully complete at least a half-time quarterly enrollment (6 credits for undergraduates and post baccalaureate, 4 credits for graduates); or for students who enroll less than half-time, all attempted credits;
  • Meet the GPA scholarship requirement, resulting in academic dismissal from the University;
  • Maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA beginning with their sixth quarter at WWU or after completing 90 credits (including transfer credits);
  • Meet the minimum quarterly credit requirement, while in financial aid warning status;
  • Meet the PACE requirement, while in financial aid warning status; or
  • Meet the maximum timeframe requirement.

Appeals for Reinstatement of Aid Eligibility

Students placed on financial aid suspension may appeal for aid reinstatement if unusual circumstances prevented them from meeting satisfactory academic progress requirements. Reinstatement is not guaranteed and appeal approvals do not reinstate aid retroactively.

Appeals must:

  • Explain why the student was unable to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements;
  • Describe what has changed that will allow the student to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements at the next evaluation
  • Provide an academic plan for each deficiency indicated in the Notice of Suspension; and
  • Provide a Degree Evaluation and indicate the number of remaining credits required to complete the degree or certificate if the suspension resulted from exceeding the maximum attempted credits.

If a student's appeal is denied, the student may re-appeal after having successfully completed one of the following:

  1. a full-time quarter, without receiving financial aid (a plan is required)
  2. sufficient credits necessary to bring the student in compliance with all three Quarterly Satisfactory Academic Progress (QSAP) requirements without receiving financial aid
  3. one year period of non-attendance at Western

Alternatively, students in a suspended status who are able to attend without financial aid, and again meet all SAP requirements, regain their eligibility without having to appeal. Such reinstatement begins with the next quarter of attendance.

Financial Aid Probation

Financial aid probation is an aid-eligible status for a given quarter that allows students who failed to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements and who have appealed and had aid eligibility reinstated to receive aid. The Financial Aid Department will specify conditions for such students to receive continued financial aid.

If eligibility for financial aid is reinstated, the amount of financial aid the student receives is subject to the availability of funds. As a result, it is possible that some funds originally awarded will not be available for a reinstated student.

Students placed on financial aid warning, suspension, or probation will be notified after the end of the applicable term. Notification will be delivered via e-mail to the student's official WWU e-mail account.

It is the student's responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Department if a grade correction becomes available that may re-establish their eligibility for financial aid.

Withdrawals

Aid recipients withdrawing from all coursework (full school withdraw) may be required to repay all or a portion of the financial aid they have received. Students are considered as having unofficially withdrawn from the University if they have received a combination of the following grades for a given quarter: F, Z, U, NP, W, X, and received no passing grades. Aid recipients who fail to complete a course covering the entire period for which aid was provided may be required to repay all or a portion of their financial aid for the applicable quarter. For more information about aid repayment when official and unofficial school withdrawal, see our Withdrawing from WWU web page.

Specific Requirements for Private Student Loans Recipients

Private student loans recipients who fail to meet all satisfactory academic progress requirements for three consecutive quarters may be required to address the failure with the Financial Aid Department.

Specific Requirements for Alaska Loan Recipients

Satisfactory academic progress requirements for continued receipt of Alaska Student and Alaska Family Education loans differ from those associated with Federal and Washington State aid programs:

  • Full-time attendance is required for most Alaska Loan programs. The Alaska Supplemental Education Loan may allow for less than full-time attendance.
  • Students considering less-than full-time enrollment are urged to consult the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, as state residency and future loan eligibility may be jeopardized by such enrollment.