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Office of Financial Aid

Applying for Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards to Receive Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards - Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards - Winthrop Think College (WTC) Students (pdf - 125 KB)


Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards - Undergraduate and Graduate Students

All institutions of higher education must measure students' academic progress toward graduation as required for participation in the Federal Title IV student aid programs, state need-based program, and certain private loans. These programs include Pell, Supplemental Education Opportunity (SEOG) and TEACH Grants; Work-Study; Perkins, Direct Student and PLUS (Graduate/Parent) Loans; South Carolina Grant; and Private Loans.

Types of Measurement 

Academic progress for financial aid must be measured by both qualitative and quantitative standards. Qualitative measurement refers to grade point average.  Quantitative refers to the percentage of hours earned over a period of time.  Students who fail to meet either the qualitative or quantitative standards of satisfactory academic progress are ineligible to receive federal student aid.

Qualitative (Grade Point Average)

Winthrop's qualitative measure is consistent with the University's determination of undergraduate students' academic eligibility according to the standards published in the Academic Regulations section of the Undergraduate Catalog.  Beginning in fall 2012, all undergraduate students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.  Students who do not have a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA can still meet the qualitative measure by achieving at least a 2.0 term Winthrop GPA in the most recently completed term.

Undergraduate students meeting the qualitative standards, who are eligible to continue enrollment at Winthrop, are deemed to be making satisfactory academic progress so long as the student also meets the quantitative standards.

Graduate students are considered to be making satisfactory academic progress by qualitative standards as long as the student meets the Graduate School's academic requirements for continued enrollment.

Quantitative (Hours Earned)

The quantitative measurement consists of two parts:  Maximum time frame (total hours attempted) and percentage of hours earned out of hours attempted.  

Maximum Time Frame:  Students must complete a first baccalaureate degree within 150% of the published time to complete the degree program.  Therefore, students who attempt more than 186 semester hours have met the maximum time frame for obtaining a first baccalaureate degree at Winthrop and are, therefore, not considered to be making satisfactory academic progress.  Total hours attempted include hours attempted at Winthrop plus hours accepted for transfer from other institutions. 

Graduate students must complete coursework within the time limit established for degree-granting purposes as published in the graduate catalog.

Percentage of Hours Earned:  Students must cumulatively earn 66.67% (two-thirds) of all hours attempted to make sufficient progress toward their first baccalaureate degree within the maximum time frame stated above.  

The percentage of hours earned is determined by dividing the total number of hours earned by the total number of hours attempted.  The resulting percentage must equal or exceed 66.67 for a student to be considered making satisfactory academic progress. 

Transfer Hours:  Credit hours from another institution that are accepted toward a student's degree program are counted as both attempted AND earned hours when calculating the percentage of hours earned

To ensure progression toward a degree, graduate students must also earn 66.67% of all attempted hours.

Repetitions, Withdrawals and Incomplete Grades

Repeating courses:  In accordance with Winthrop's academic policy, students are allowed to repeat courses under certain conditions.  The grade earned in the original course is excluded from calculation of the cumulative grade point average and is replaced with the grade earned in the repeated course.  However, the credit hours of the original course and the repeated course will both count in the student's attempted hours for calculation of percentage of hours earned.

Withdrawal and incomplete grades:  Credit hours where "N" grades were assigned for withdrawal beyond the drop/add period and credit hours for courses where incomplete, "I", grades were assigned will count in the student's attempted hours for calculation of percentage of hours earned.

Frequency of Measurement

Winthrop University evaluates a student's academic progress each semester at the conclusion of each term.  Students who do not demonstrate satisfactory academic progress, or who fail to meet the provisional status requirement, will be ineligible for financial aid for subsequent semesters until satisfactory progress has been achieved.

Notification of Satisfactory Academic Progress

After grades are posted, satisfactory academic progress is determined for all students.  Students who are determined to be making insufficient academic progress are then notified in writing.

Appeal Process

Students who have been notified of insufficient academic progress may file an appeal if the student has experienced extenuating circumstances that interfered with his/her ability to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress standards.  Extenuating circumstances include situations beyond the student's control, such as student illness or immediate family illness or death. 

Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Office of Financial Aid. Documentation must accompany all appeals.  An Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form is available at Forms Online.

Students who have met or exceeded the maximum 186 attempted hours for a first baccalaureate degree may also file an appeal. The appeal must be based on admission to a second-undergraduate program or change in major during enrollment (creating additional hour requirement beyond the typical needed for graduation).

Please note that filing an appeal does not guarantee eligibility for federal student aid.  Approval of the appeal is determined by the Office of Financial Aid and is contingent upon sufficient documentation of the student's circumstances.  Students will be notified of the outcome of the appeal and, if approved, the academic conditions of approval.

Financial Aid Warning

A student who has just completed his/her first term at Winthrop University and is not making academic progress will be granted a financial aid warning for one term only. Student will remain eligible for financial aid for during the warning term. At the end of the warning term, the student's academic progress will be reviewed to determine if student is now making academic progress. Failure to meet satisfactory academic progress standards will result in a termination of eligibility for student aid until the student has regained eligibility by meeting the requirements discussed in the Regaining Satisfactory Academic Progress section below.

Financial Aid Probation

A student whose appeal is approved due to extenuating circumstances may receive aid under a probationary status for one term only.  At the end of the probationary term, the student's academic progress will be reviewed to determine whether the student satisfactorily met the conditions of the appeal approval.  Failure to meet the conditions by the end of the probationary term will result in a termination of eligibility for student aid until the student has regained eligibility by meeting the requirements discussed in the Regaining Satisfactory Academic Progress section below.

Academic plan:  Appeal approvals most often will require the student to meet certain minimal academic conditions as determined on a case-by-case basis; this is called an academic plan.  The student's academic plan may include a minimum grade point average requirement and/or earned credit hour requirement to ensure the student is on track to regaining satisfactory academic progress.

Regaining Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students who are ineligible to receive financial aid due to insufficient academic progress and who cannot document extenuating circumstances may regain eligibility by meeting the qualitative and quantitative requirements outlined in this policy.  The student is responsible for reporting a change in status to the Office of Financial Aid should grade changes cause the student to regain satisfactory academic progress.

Students who are ineligible to receive financial aid due to insufficient academic progress and who cannot document extenuating circumstances may be able to regain eligibility by completing a sufficient number of credits to demonstrate academic progress is being made. The number of credits needed would be determined on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Financial Aid.

During the Satisfactory Academic Progress review, any student formerly ineligible for aid due to insufficient academic progress will regain eligibility for federal student aid once the student has been determined to be meeting both qualitative and quantitative standards.