Satisfactory Academic Progress

Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Students at Montana Technological University have a responsibility to maintain certain academic standards and make satisfactory academic progress towards a degree whether or not aid is being received.  Federal regulations, HEA Sec. 484(c), §668.16, 668.34, require all schools participating in Title IV federal financial aid programs to have a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy that conforms to the requirements detailed below.  These standards apply to all grants, loans, work study, some tuition waivers and some scholarships.

Academic progress will be evaluated at the end of each payment period (semester/term).

Federal law requires the consideration of three factors when determining whether a student is making satisfactory progress towards a degree: the qualitative and quantitative standards and the maximum time frame allowed.

  1. Minimum Grade Point Average (Qualitative Standard)
  • Undergraduates, including post-baccalaureate students seeking a subsequent undergraduate degree, must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA).
  • Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA).
  1. Pace of Completion (Quantitative Standard)
  • Pace is the rate at which a student must progress through his/her educational program to ensure that the student will complete the program within the maximum time frame.  Pace is determined by dividing the total number of hours the student has successfully completed by the total number of hours the student has attempted. Students are required to maintain a pace of 67% or higher.
  • Successful completion means that a minimum grade of D- or P (satisfactory in a pass/fail class) has been achieved. Grades of I (incomplete), F (failure), W (withdrawal), and AU (audit) are not acceptable for satisfactory academic progress and will lower your completion rate.  These grades do count as attempted credits.  Please note that most programs require grades of C- or better to fulfill degree requirements.
    • Students who complete a course in which they previously received an ‘I’ grade may contact Financial Aid for an evaluation of eligibility. The grade change must be reflected on a student’s transcript before the re-evaluation will be performed.
  1. Maximum Time Frame
  • The number of attempted credits allowed is 1.5 times the number of credits required to earn a degree or certificate. The point at which a degree or certificate cannot be earned under maximum time frame is when financial aid is terminated.  Please note that a change of major does not reset the maximum time frame.

The chart below shows typical maximum duration of eligibility in various programs.

Type of Degree

Credit Requirement

Maximum Attempted Credits

Undergraduate Bachelor Degree

120-136

180-204

Post-Baccalaureate Degree

 

240 (Including undergraduate)

Associate Degree

60-76

90-114

Certificate Programs

30-41

45-62

Master’s Degree

30-31

45-47

Repeats: A student can repeat a failed course as many times as Montana Tech academic policy allows and receive aid for the class.  A previously successfully completed course may be repeated once.  An “N” is considered continuing for academic requirements for the following semester.  Repeating classes may lower your completion rate because a class can only be counted as earned one time but is counted as attempted each time taken.

Remedial Credits:  Aid can be received for remedial credits as long as the student is enrolled in a program leading to a degree or certificate.  No student may receive aid for more than 30 attempted remedial credits.  These courses are counted in the quantitative standard and the maximum timeframe allowed for satisfactory academic progress purposes for all students.  These courses are counted in the qualitative stand for Highlands College programs per academic policy.

Transfer Credits:  Credits attempted at prior post-secondary institution(s) will be included in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress. Enrollment Services posts transfer credits as earned credits. Transfer credit hours are included in Pace and Maximum Time Frame calculations as attempted and earned credits.

If transfer credit hours are posted after financial aid is awarded, Pace and Maximum Time Frame will be reviewed at the end of the currently enrolled term.  Transfer students must have all of their official transcripts submitted to Enrollment Services before the end of their first semester at Montana Tech.

Transfer students who do not have any transfer credit hours on record with Montana Tech at the time they are reviewed for financial aid eligibility, will be considered for freshman grade-level aid only.  Transfer students can request to have their financial aid reviewed if transfer credit is posted during their first term. At that time all transfer work will be assessed per the policy standards detailed in this policy.

If transfer credit hours are posted prior to financial aid being awarded, Pace and Maximum Time Frame will be reviewed according to the policy standards detailed in this policy.

Financial Aid Warning

A student who was eligible at the beginning of a payment period but is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress standards because of GPA or Pace deficiency at the end of a payment period (term), will be placed on financial aid warning status.  Students in warning status remain eligible to receive funding for one additional semester.  A student must meet all standards at the end of the one semester warning period, or he/she will be terminated from financial aid eligibility.

Students are ineligible for a warning status and are immediately terminated, if they:

  • Earn zero credits during a semester
  • Become academically suspended
  • Cannot complete a degree within the maximum time frame
Financial Aid Termination

Financial Aid Termination will occur if a student:

  • Completely withdraws from Montana Technological University during the semester.
  • Earns zero credits after any semester. This includes summer, fall, or spring.
  • Fails to meet minimum SAP standards after Warning period
  • Is academically suspended.
  • Exceeds the maximum time frame for the 150% of the established length of the academic program or at any point when it becomes mathematically impossible for the student to complete the program within the maximum timeframe
  • Has met the degree or certificate requirements regardless of applying for graduation.
Reestablishing Eligibility

Students who choose not to appeal their ineligibility, or who have an appeal denied, will have their eligibility reinstated once their academic record is in compliance with the policy.  This means that alternate means of funding must be used to fund their education until they are once again eligible.

Appeal Procedures

A student placed on financial aid termination because of failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress may appeal.  The appeal must document extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as a serious illness or death in the immediate family, which prevented the student from doing well academically. 

An appeal consists of:

  • A typed, signed letter that is no longer than one-page addressing why SAP was not met and what has changed to be able to successfully progress towards your degree.
  • An academic Plan of Study that is completed by the student and the advisor that shows how the student will meet Satisfactory Academic Progress by a specific time or complete the program.
  • Appropriate documentation to support the reason for the appeal and/or showing how the problem has been resolved or alleviated. If there is no appropriate documentation, the letter of appeal must explain why.

The appeal form explains the appeal process and necessary documentation. It is available in Enrollment Services, Mining and Geology Building room 207, and online at https://www.mtech.edu/financial-aid/pdf/fa-sap-appeal-form-acc.pdf.

Appeals are reviewed by the committee twice per month. Students will be notified in writing of the committee’s decision and any conditions of the appeal.  The appeal will be approved, tabled, or denied.

Approved Appeal

If the appeal is approved by the Appeals Committee, the student is placed on financial aid probation or academic plan. Students are eligible to receive funding provided they continue to meet the conditions of the academic plan.  For example, a student may be required to earn 100 percent of the credits he/she attempts each semester with a grade of “C-“ or higher.

Students on financial aid probation or academic plan will have their grades reviewed at the end of each payment period (semester) to ensure that he/she is meeting the terms of the appeal.

  • If the student meets SAP standards (2.0 cumulative GPA, 67% Pace), probation will be removed and the student will be moved to satisfactory standing.
  • If the student has met the terms and conditions of the appeal and is following the Plan of Study but is still not meeting the minimum SAP standards, the student will remain on academic plan.
  • If the student fails to meet the terms and conditions of the appeal or fails to follow the Plan of Study, financial aid will be terminated. Students cannot appeal the termination for the same or similar reasons that the appeal was originally granted.
Tabled Appeal

If the committee needs additional documentation or information before determining whether an appeal is approved or denied, the appeal will be tabled pending receipt of appropriate information or materials.  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure any needed materials are submitted.

Denied Appeal

If the committee denies an appeal, the student will be notified of the committee’s decision and given an explanation of how they can restore Financial Aid eligibility if it is possible to do so. 

If a student has additional or new documentation after an appeal is denied, they can submit a new appeal for consideration.

*Exceptions or amendments to any of the specific provisions regarding satisfactory academic progress standards may be made at any time without publication due to changes in federal, state, and/or institutional regulations or policies.