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SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS POLICY

FOR FINANCIAL AID RECIPIENTS

Lincoln University
Jefferson City, Missouri
 
Eligibility to receive financial aid from federal Title IV programs requires that students maintain satisfactory academic progress. In response to requirements within the law for these programs, the university has developed this requirement in addition to existing academic policy and designated that it also extends to selected and institutional programs of assistance.

PURPOSE

The intent of this requirement is to: 1) ensure that students using financial aid programs are demonstrating responsible use of public funds in pursuit of their educational goals; 2) set standards for monitoring all financial aid recipients’ course completion rates each term, warning individual students when progress is so slow that financial aid eligibility may run out before completion of the degree program; and 3) give students whose progress does not meet the standards of this policy at least one term of financial aid on a probationary basis in which to improve their academic progress.

DEFINITIONS

Attempted Course--A course that remains on the student’s record after the first three weeks of the term.
Completed Course/Earned Credit--A course in which a grade of A, B, C, D or S was received. Withdrawals, no credits, blank grades, incomplete grades (I) or (X), failure (F), progress (PR) or unsatisfactory (U) are not considered “earned credit” for meeting progress requirements.
Developmental Course--Course with the prefix of “AE” or numbered “0XX” (not 100 level skills course).
Financial Aid--Federal Title IV programs, plus the state and institutional programs listed below:
-   Federal Pell Grant
-   Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
-   Federal Work Study
-   Federal Direct Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized)
-   Federal Direct PLUS Loan
-   Missouri State Financial Assistance Programs
-   Foundation Scholarships/Grants
-   Scholarships (LU, departmental or external)
-   Tuition Waiver (except graduate and employee waivers)
-    Sponsored Billing
Financial Aid Probation--A term in which a student who has been identified as not meeting one or more standards in this policy but continues to receive financial aid. By the end of the term of financial aid probation, a student is expected to have improved his or her academic progress in order to receive further financial aid.
Financial Aid Termination--The point at which a student is no longer eligible to receive financial aid as defined in the policy; normally, this is following an unsuccessful term of probation.
Incomplete--A grade of “I” or “X” received for an attempted course; no credit until the course is completed.
Maximum Time Frame--Time limit set for receipt of financial aid that is specific to a student’s program of study. For undergraduate programs, federal law defines this limit as 150% of normal program length.
Satisfactory Academic Progress/Satisfactory Progress--Completion of courses at a rate that meets the standard defined in this policy.
Transfer Credit--Course accepted for credit at Lincoln University from another institution.

AUTHORITY

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and final regulations set by the United States Department of Education (34CFR668.16) require that institutions of higher education establish reasonable standards of satisfactory academic progress as a condition of continuing eligibility for federal aid programs. Nothing in this policy shall be construed as an exemption of the requirements of any other federal or state agency, or other granting or governing authority that apply to what assistance a student receives, nor does this policy limit the authority of the Director of Financial Aid when taking responsible action to eliminate fraud or abuse in these programs.

SATISFACTORY PROGRESS STANDARDS

To remain eligible for financial assistance, a student must:
-   complete courses at an overall rate which will ensure graduation within the maximum time frame;
-   earn credit for a reasonable number of credit hours toward a degree or certificate each term;
-   complete developmental and incomplete courses in a timely manner;
-   graduate prior to the maximum time frame specific to his/her degree program;
-   maintain academic standing, usually specific term and cumulative grade point average, consistent with Lincoln University academic policy.
Maximum time frame--to retain financial aid eligibility, a student must complete his/her degree program within a specified time limit defined in cumulative attempted hours for undergraduate students. Attempted hours, for this purpose, include regular and developmental course hours, as well as accepted transfer credit. Once a student reaches the maximum time frame, he/she is ineligible for financial aid. Maximum time to degree completion is as follows:
First baccalaureate degree                         186 attempted hours
Second baccalaureate degree                    60 attempted hours
Undergraduate appeals for an additional term of financial aid eligibility cannot be granted in excess of 150% of program length (1.5 times 124) or 186 hours.
Overall completion rate--completion rates reflect the rate at which students earn credit for courses attempted (e.g. a student earning nine of twelve hours would have a 75% completion rate). A student must meet an increasing standard of completion as he/she moves through the degree program in order to graduate within the maximum time frame. Satisfactory completion rates for this student are as follows:
0-36 cumulative attempted hours             70% completion
36.1-60 cumulative attempted hours        75% completion
60.1-84 cumulative attempted hours        80% completion
84. L+ cumulative attempted hours          85% completion
**Second baccalaureate attempted**
0-42 cumulative attempted hours             85% completion
 
Minimum completion within a term--A financial aid recipient is to earn credit for at least one course per term. A student who receives financial aid but does not earn credit for any course within a term is not to receive financial aid in subsequent terms. If mitigating circumstances were responsible for zero completion hours within a term, a student may appeal and be granted a term of financial aid probation if adequate documentation is provided (e.g. doctor’s statement).
Incomplete grades--Students receiving incomplete or “I” grades are not progressing satisfactorily. Consequently, a student who has six or more hours of incomplete in any term or at any time will be placed on financial aid probation for the next term of attendance and expected to complete the courses with “I” grades according to the university’s “I” grade policy. A reduced course load may be recommended during the term of financial aid probation to ensure that both the course with the incomplete grades and new attempted courses can be satisfactorily completed by the close of that term.
Developmental course completion--Students taking developmental courses are eligible to receive financial aid for the first 20 hours of developmental classes attempted. Developmental courses must be completed at the same rate as other courses (see overall completion rate above). A student who must attempt developmental courses beyond twenty hours may appeal to continue receiving aid on probation during a term in which the additional developmental courses are attempted. As part of the appeal, the student should provide a letter of support from the Director of Student Support Services, Academic Enrichment Center or the Counseling Center.
Grade point average/suspension--Students must meet the university’s policy on scholastic standing and grade point average as defined in the appropriate catalog. A student on scholastic suspension has not maintained acceptable academic progress. Student Financial Aid initially will block that student from receiving financial aid any other subsequent term. If readmitted or reinstated, the student may appeal to receive financial aid during a term of financial aid probation.

NOTIFICATION OF FINANCIAL AID PROBATION OR TERMINATION

The Department of Student Financial Aid will send an email to any student who is placed on probation or a termination email to any student who is no longer eligible for financial aid. The email will be sent to the student’s campus email address or personal email address that was provided to the University from their FAFSA application.

REINSTATEMENT

Undergraduate with greater than 160 attempted hours and no degree--The student must appeal on the appropriate form and provide a graduation plan signed by his/her academic advisor. If the plan is considered reasonable, the student will receive financial aid on probation for one or more terms until the degree is completed.
Student on Financial Aid probation--The student may regain eligibility in one or two ways after a term of financial aid probation: a) by meeting the completion standards which apply to the student after financial aid probation under this policy (e.g. at least 36 attempted hours with a 70% completion rate); or b) by improving their cumulative grade point average (cum GPA) to a 2.0 or above.
Student with grade changes--The student may regain financial aid eligibility by notifying Student Financial Aid of the grade change, including grades posted for incomplete courses.
Student previously suspended--A student loses financial aid eligibility at the time of suspension from the university and must appeal on the appropriate form to receive approval for a term of financial aid probation if reinstated or readmitted.
Student terminated under prior policies or for zero completion--The student must complete at least 12 hours with a 2.00 grade point average at his/her own expense and then may appeal to receive financial aid on a probationary basis.

APPEALS

1. A student who does not meet the undergraduate or graduate overall completion rates specified in this requirement will be placed on probation for one term following identification of unsatisfactory progress.
2. For all other purposes, a student who desires to appeal termination of his/her financial aid eligibility must appeal in writing, usually on a form designated for that purpose, to the Department of Student Financial Aid by the date indicated in the termination letter. The Director of Financial Aid may take action on the appeal or forward it to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee for review. The committee’s decision may be appealed to the Director; the Director’s decision may be appealed to the Vice President for Student Affairs.
The Financial Aid Appeals Committee, appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs, shall have a membership that consists of two faculty and/or staff members familiar with university academic policy, in addition to a member of Student Financial Aid and Student Accounts Receivable. It may also have an additional member who participates in general committee matters. The committee considers, in a timely manner, appeals that are referred to it. The committee normally reviews on the written record and does not conduct hearings unless unusual circumstances warrant such. A student is encouraged to submit third party written document to support his/her appeal.

AMENDMENT TO THE REQUIREMENT

This requirement will be amended whenever applicable federal or state law or regulations are changed. Upon approval of the President, the Director of Student Financial Aid is authorized to incorporate and implement changes required by federal or state law or regulations. Other amendments, not required by changes in the law or regulations, will be considered through the revision procedures.