Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Recipients

Federal regulations that became effective on July 1, 2011(Sections 668.16(e), 668.32(f) and 668.34) require that all schools monitor the academic progress of each applicant for federal financial assistance and that the school certify that the applicant is making satisfactory academic progress toward earning his/her degree. This determination of progress must be made at least once a year and before the Financial Aid Office disburses any federal aid funds for the subsequent semester.  Federal and state student aid programs include Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Cal Grants, Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Direct Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans.  For Federal Direct PLUS Loans the parent borrower’s eligibility to receive loan funds is dependent on the student’s SAP status.

The following constitutes Pitzer College’s policy on satisfactory academic progress.

Maximum time frame to earn the degree:  At Pitzer, the maximum time frame for federal financial aid recipients to receive a degree cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the program measured in courses attempted.  The maximum time frame for students is 48 attempted courses (32 X 150% = 48).  Students will forfeit their eligibility to participate in federal financial aid programs after 6 years of full-time enrollment (4 years X 150% = 6years).

A student entering Pitzer as a first-time, full-time freshman is eligible for eight full-time semesters of financial aid in which to complete the degree.  As expressed in years, this means that students are normally expected to complete their degree by the end of 4 years of full-time study. Students who require additional semesters to complete their degree are eligible for federal aid but not for state or institutional aid administered by Pitzer College.

Financial aid eligibility for transfer students is limited to the number of full-time semesters remaining for successful completion of the Pitzer degree after transfer credit is awarded.  This determination is made during the transfer student’s first semester of enrollment at Pitzer and the student will be notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office.

Financial aid eligibility for New Resources students is limited to the number of courses remaining for successful completion of the Pitzer degree.  Any semester in which the student is charged full-time tuition will be considered to use four courses of the student’s financial aid eligibility.  The determination of the number of courses of eligibility is made during the New Resources student’s first semester of enrollment at Pitzer and the student will be notified in writing b y the Financial Aid Office.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Pitzer’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy must specify the quantitative (time-based) and qualitative (grade-based) requirements for a student to be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress.  The quantitative requirement is the pace at which a student must progress through the educational program to ensure that the student will complete the program within the required time frame, and provides for measurement of the student’s progress at each evaluation, which will normally be at  the end of each semester.  The qualitative requirement is that, at the end of the second academic year, the student must have a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0.

Quantitative Standard (Number of courses attempted and completed)

For a full-time student at Pitzer to be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress, the student must complete a minimum of six courses at the end of two semesters, a total of 14 courses after four semesters; a total of 22 courses after six semesters, and a total of 32 courses in order to receive the bachelor’s degree at the end of eight semesters.

A student is expected to complete four courses per semester to graduate in four years, and for satisfactory academic progress the minimum completion rates by semester are shown in the table below :

The percentage of normal completion is calculated by dividing the minimum course completion by the normal course completion.  (For example, 6 courses completed/8 courses to advance grade level = 75% completion rate.)

Normal Completion to advance grade level Minimum completion % of normal completion
At end of two semesters 8 courses 6 courses 75%
At end of four semesters 16 courses 14 courses 87.5%
At end of six semesters 24 courses 22 courses 91.6%

Attempted courses are those courses for which the student was still officially enrolled after the last date to drop courses.  Withdrawals showing as a W on the student’s academic transcript are counted as attempted courses. All courses count in calculating a student’s academic progress, including any for which the student did not receive financial aid.

Withdrawals:  Grades of W are counted as courses attempted and count toward the maximum time frame.

Audited Courses:  Students do not earn any academic credit for audited courses.  They do not count in the calculation of “attempted courses.”

Repeated Courses:  Academic policy at Pitzer states that if a student does not receive a passing grade for a course (no academic credit accepted), the course may be repeated for credit.  Repeating a course does not remove the original course from the academic transcript.  Both the grade for the original course and the repeated course will be posted and will calculate into the student’s grade point average.  Both the original course and the repeated course will be considered as attempted in the calculation of “attempted courses” for purposes of determining satisfactory academic progress.

Pass/Fail Courses:  Courses taken on a pass/fail basis count toward the total of attempted and completed courses.

Transfer Credit:  Transfer credits from another institution accepted by Pitzer College are counted when measuring the maximum time frame to complete the degree.  Pitzer does not accept for credit any transfer grades lower than C (2.0).  Consult the Pitzer Catalog for information about how transfer credits are evaluated.

Double Majors and/or a Minor:  Students who pursue a double major or a minor are expected to complete all degree requirements within the 32-course limit.

Qualitative Standards: (Grade Based—the quality of your performance)

During the first four semesters of enrollment for a student entering as a first-year, full-time student, the qualitative standards for making progress will not be monitored by the Financial Aid Office but by the Academic Standards Committee in accordance with Pitzer’s policy.  During the first four semesters, a student who is allowed to re-enroll and is placed on an Academic Standards Committee contract is eligible for financial aid and will be expected to meet the minimum standards outlined by the Academic Standards Committee for continued enrollment.

In accordance with federal regulations (sections 668.16(e), 668.32(f) and 668.34), a student must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA by the end of the second year of enrollment to be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress for continued participation in federal aid programs.  A student who does not achieve at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA will be ineligible to participate in federal, state, or institutional financial aid programs until this deficiency is corrected.

Students who are receiving financial aid while on an academic contract must resolve all incomplete grades before the Financial Aid Office can make a final determination that they have met the satisfactory academic progress guidelines.

Consequences of Failure to Make Satisfactory Academic Progress

The student’s record will be reviewed at the end of each semester to determine that the student is meeting both the qualitative and quantitative standards described above.  However, the student has the first four semesters in which to attain a 2.0 GPA.  If a student has reached the maximum number of attempted courses without earning a degree, the student is ineligible for further participation in federal, state, or institutional financial aid programs.

Federal regulations require that these standards apply to all students receiving financial aid, even to first-time aid applicants who have previously enrolled at Pitzer, or to those who have not been formally placed on probation.

A student who fails to meet the qualitative and/or quantitative standards will be assigned one of the following SAP Status designations

Financial Aid Warning:

The first time a student fails to achieve either the quantitative or qualitative standard, the student will receive a “Financial Aid Warning” letter, which will remind him/her of the minimum academic requirements for receiving financial aid and will strongly encourage him/her to take advantage of academic services that are available to the student.  A student will be eligible to receive federal, state, and institutional financial aid during this semester.  The student will be notified that his/her records will be reviewed again at the end of the “warning” semester and that further action may be taken if there is not significant improvement during that semester.  Students can only receive financial aid for one semester under this warning status.  Students who fail to achieve satisfactory academic progress by the end of the Financial Aid Warning period are ineligible to receive further federal, state or institutional financial aid.

Right to Appeal:

A student has the right to appeal a satisfactory academic progress determination of ineligibility.  An appeal must be filed within 30 days of notification that aid eligibility has been lost or 30 days after a semester begins (whichever comes first).  The appeal must be made in writing to the Director of Financial Aid.  The appeal may not be based on the student’s need for financial assistance or the student’s lack of knowledge that his/her aid was in jeopardy.  An appeal is normally based on some extenuating situation or condition which prevented the student from passing more of the attempted courses or which necessitated withdrawal from classes or which led to failure to achieve a 2.0 GPA.  Examples of possible extenuating circumstances include documented serious illness, severe injury, or death of a family member.  A student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation (see below) if an academic plan is developed for the student that will ensure that the student is able to meet Pitzer’s satisfactory academic progress standards by a specified point in time.  A student who does not have grounds for an appeal, or whose appeal is denied, may still be able to regain eligibility for future semesters by enrolling at Pitzer at his/her own expense—without federal, state, or institutional financial assistance—and achieving satisfactory academic progress both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Appeal Form: Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Request (pdf)

Appeal Approval:  An appeal will be approved if it is determined that the student will be able to meet Pitzer’s satisfactory academic progress standard by the end of the subsequent semester; or an academic plan is developed for the student that will ensure that the student is able to meet Pitzer’s satisfactory academic progress standards by a specified point in time.

A student whose appeal is approved will receive aid on a conditional basis for one semester.  The conditions will be outlined in the letter sent to the student approving the appeal.  The Financial Aid Office will review the student’s record at the end of the semester to determine his/her status for the following semester.  A student who fails to meet the conditions outlined in the individual letter during the conditional semester will not be able to submit a subsequent appeal.

Financial Aid Probation:

A student who receives a Financial Aid Warning and who still does not meet satisfactory progress standards may be placed on Financial Aid Probation after a successful appeal to reinstate eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid.  Students will normally be allowed only one probationary semester during their academic program.

A student on financial aid probation will receive a separate letter that will outline the academic requirements the student must meet in order to receive aid the following semester.  If the student on financial aid probation meets the terms of the probation, he/she will be eligible for federal financial aid in the next and subsequent semesters.  The Financial Aid Office will review the record of a student who is on financial aid probation at the end of the semester.  A student who does not meet the terms of the financial aid probation will lose eligibility for all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs.

Loss of Eligibility

A student who has lost eligibility to participate in federal, state, and institutional student aid programs for reasons of academic progress can regain that eligibility only by enrolling at Pitzer at his/her own expense and demonstrating that s/he is capable of completing a semester without any failures, incompletes or withdrawals and showing the ability to complete the degree requirements.  The mere passage of time will not restore eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory academic progress.

Students who have been dismissed from Pitzer for academic reasons but who are subsequently readmitted are not automatically eligible to participate in federal, state, or institutional aid program and will be placed on financial aid warning.  Admissions decisions are separate from funding decisions.