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Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress


NDNU complies with federal requirements to monitor student aid recipient’s satisfactory academic progress toward a declared, approved educational objective of a bachelor’s degree, certificate or master’s degree. The university has established a satisfactory academic progress policy that measures progress:

  • Qualitatively: Ensuring the student’s GPA is consistent with requirements for receipt of a degree or certificate;
  • Quantitatively: Ensuring the student completes his/her program within a maximum period of time, and;
  • Incrementally: Ensuring the student’s term by term credit hour completions are sufficient to enable the student to complete his/her educational objective within a maximum time frame.

The Financial Aid Office (FAO) has established parameters for minimum GPA in accordance with federal regulations that require students who have completed the equivalent of their first two years of undergraduate work to maintain a 2.0 (C average) cumulative GPA. In determining the maximum time frame for completion, the FAO allows 150% of the time it normally takes students to complete a program. Incremental, term by term, completion requirements have been established to be consistent with and support the maximum time frame requirements.

Progress is monitored on an annual basis after spring semester when a student is evaluated for receipt of aid for the subsequent year. The university academic progress policy is distributed to students in student application materials, and on the Financial Aid area of the website. Students are notified of deficiencies to the progress policy via probation and disqualification letters which are accompanied by a copy of the policy and information and instructions for petitioning to appeal the policy.

Students may petition the progress policy when special, mitigating circumstances prevent the student from meeting minimum requirements. Petitions are reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee and decisions are made to grant or deny the petition by that body. Students may appeal the decision of the Appeals Committee with the VP of External Affairs.

Reinstatement of suspended eligibility is accomplished either through the granting of an appeal to waive requirements, successfully meeting the terms of a contract, or (with the exception of maximum time frame) when the student successfully removes the deficiencies that caused the disqualification, e.g., making up deficient units and/or raising the cumulative GPA to 2.0.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

  1. All aid applicants must have a declared, approved educational objective that leads to a degree or certificate.
  2. All undergraduate students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  3. Students are expected to complete their course work after having attempted 180 semester units.Grades of “W” and “I” will be included in the calculation of the 180 units maximum.
    1. Students who change major or educational goals that require unit completions beyond 180 will be evaluated individually based on a written petition for special circumstances.
    2. Remedial units are limited to 30 total units in residence and in transfer.
  4. All undergraduate financial aid recipients must make progress toward completion of their educational goals consistent with the enrollment status for which aid is awarded by meeting the following unit completion requirements:If awarded for:Must complete at least:
    Full-time                                                              12 Units
    Three quarter-time                                             9 Units
    Half-time                                                              6 Units
    Less than half-time                                            All Units of enrollment

    1. Only graded units of A, B, C and D, and “CR” are considered as completed units.
    2. F, NC, W, IP, AF and I grades are not considered as units completed. Students who received I or IP grades must notify the Financial Aid Office with verification when hours have been completed.
    3. A student may repeat a course for which a grade of C, D or F was received but repeats are limited to the number of times specified in the University Catalog. Students may repeat only courses designated as repeatable in the Catalog. Independent study may not be used to repeat a course. These classes will be included in enrollment status and must be taken for letter grade.
    4. Consortium Agreement Credits taken at other institutions under “Consortium Agreement” will be considered as transfer credits and will be part of the SAP calculation.
    5. Study abroad courses approved by NDNU for academic credit toward a student’s degree taken in a study abroad program are counted as attempted and completed credits.
    6. Incomplete courses will not be considered as being successfully completed. An incomplete grade will count as credit/s attempted and credit/s not earned until the grades have been changed to a passing grade.
  5. Students who fail to meet the minimum completion rates and/or students who fail to achieve a minimum 2.0 GPA will be placed on financial aid disqualification. Students on financial aid disqualification have the right to appeal.
  6. Students who appealed and were approved will be placed on financial aid probation. Financial aid probation is removed when:
    1. The student meets the minimum unit completion requirement in the probationary term, and/or
    2. The student meets the minimum GPA requirement in the probationary term.
  7. All aid applicants must have complied with the terms and conditions of any prior financial aid contract to continue to be eligible.
  8. Students may reinstate full eligibility by:
    1. Demonstrating satisfactory academic progress (completing the required number of units with the required GPA in a semester, either at NDNU or another institution) without receiving financial aid,
    2. Petitioning to have requirements waived due to mitigating circumstances,
    3. Meeting the special conditions of a contract constructed as a result of a petition.
  9. Graduate students (master’s programs) must complete 3 units per semester to be eligible for financial aid with a 3.0 GPA. Graduate students who fail to meet the minimum of 9 units per academic year will be allowed one semester to remove the deficiency. Deficient units must be earned in addition to the 3 required to complete the current semester requirements.

Monitoring Satisfactory Academic Progress

  1. Progress for students is monitored on an annual basis.
    1. Progress exception students are identified at the end of the academic year.
    2. Students who are deficient during the prior year are notified via letter that they will be placed on probation during the subsequent semester of attendance and failure to complete the minimum requirements during that semester will result in disqualification.
    3. Student’s financial aid account in PowerFAIDS Custom Data is coded for SAP disqualification or probation for the appropriate term. This field is selected to run a report that is used to check the probationary student’s progress during the probationary term.

Appeals and Contracts

  1. Students are notified of disqualification of aid eligibility due to lack of progress through the “Disqualification Letter” and advised that to appeal they must submit the petition (appeal and any appropriate documentation) form to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.
    1. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee consists of:
      1. Director of Financial Aid, Chair
      2. All active Financial Aid Counselors
      3. Director of Retention.
      4. VP of External Affairs may be used on an ad hoc basis if another member is unavailable or asks to be excused from a particular appeal.
    2. The appeal and any documentation are reviewed by the Committee.
  2. Review of petitions is performed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The Committee reviews the student’s transcript as well as the educational plan and petition. Decisions are made to either:
    1. Approve the petition based on the student’s circumstances and/or the student’s proximity to program completion.
    2. Request a second, more detailed petition when circumstances are not well documented or the student’s plan is unclear.
    3. Deny the petition when the student appears to have consistently demonstrated inability to meet minimum requirements.
  3. Note of the decision of the Committee is made by the Financial Aid Director who writes a letter stating the decision of the Committee to the student. If there are any conditions of the Committee, these are added to the letter. The student is notified of the Committee decisions within five days.
    1. Denials, requests for additional information, or referrals to the VP of Enrollment or Provost are noted in the “comments” in PowerFAIDS and the Custom Data field is updated with either an additional probationary term or disqualification term.
    2. Disqualified student’s tracking status if placed in a hold status in PowerFAIDS.
    3. Students who have been disqualified must produce documentation to the Financial Aid Office that they have met the conditions of reinstatement before aid can be reinstated.

Academic Plan

  1. If during the appeal process, the Office of Financial Aid determines that a student cannot meet SAP standards by the end of the probationary period (one payment period), an academic plan will be required to approve the student’s appeal.
  2. NDNU’s Academic Success Center (ASC) will work closely with students in developing an academic plan; both ASC and the student must adhere and agree to the plan. The overall purpose of the academic plan is for students to meet SAP standards at the end of the semester specified in the academic plan.
  3. The plan will be reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid after every payment period; a student who fails to meet the requirements set in the plan will be put on final disqualification and no further appeal will be granted.

Definition of Terms

  1. Financial Aid Satisfactory: The student has met SAP requirements and is eligible for federal student aid.
  2. Financial Aid Unsatisfactory/ Disqualification: The student has not met SAP requirements and is ineligible for federal student aid.
  3. Financial Aid Probation: The student has successfully appealed an SAP Unsatisfactory/ Disqualification and is eligible for federal student aid for one term or at the end of the semester specified on the academic plan.
  4. Financial Aid Warning: The mid-term report during the fall and spring semester will be utilized to identify students who are in danger of not meeting SAP requirements. An undergraduate student will receive a financial aid warning if he/she gets a grade of C- or lower and a graduate student will receive a financial aid warning if he/she receives a grade of B- or lower.
  5. Cumulative GPA: Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. Graduate students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  6. Maximum Time frame (150% rule): Students must complete their program within 150% of the standard time frame required to earn their degree.

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