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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) must be maintained by a student in order to receive federal financial aid. In accordance with state and federal regulations, Columbia Business School has established standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for all financial aid applicants checked officially on an annual basis. These standards apply to all scholarship and loan programs administered by the Financial Aid Office. The purpose of these regulations is to encourage the timely and successful completion of a degree or credential objective. When accepting disbursement of a financial aid award you are entering into a contract with the Financial Aid Office agreeing to maintain satisfactory academic progress. It is important that you read and understand the following financial aid standards for maintaining SAP.
Changing Letter Grades to Pass/Fail will not impact a student's Title IV aid as long as the classes continue to count toward the student's degree completion requirements. As long as the courses still count toward degree completion, normal satisfactory academic progress (SAP) rules continue to apply.
There are 3 conditions for meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress:
- Minimum GPA Requirements, Probation and Dismissal;
- Pace of Completion; and
- Maximum Timeframe to Complete a Degree.
Minimum GPA, Probation & Dismissal
Full-time MBA students academic standards can be found here.
EMBA student academic standards can be found here.
Students whose records have been reviewed and who are not meeting one of the quantitative or qualitative standards, are not deemed to be satisfying the SAP requirement. A letter is sent to the student in writing by Student Affairs explaining the SAP status, and what needs to be accomplished to regain SAP status. Students who are deemed to be not making SAP are not eligible for financial aid funding in subsequent semesters. During the academic review process at the end of each semester, Student Affairs monitors the academic performance of all students and makes available a support system for those in need of assistance. Students whose GPA falls below the minimum requirements are subject to probation or dismissal. For dual degree students, the Business School GPA is determined by the grades received while in residence at the Business School and includes all courses taken in those semesters, even those offered by the student’s other school. Grades for Business School courses taken while in residence at their other school are not included in their cumulative GPA for the Business School.
- A student who was dismissed from the School might reapply, via regular admissions procedure, to the program. If admitted he/she might have the option of using credit for certain past courses taken at the School. A student can appeal his/her dismissal to the Academic Standards Committee that could allow the student to stay in the program under certain conditions. A student can be on probation for one semester, at most. A second probation implies dismissal.
Pace of Completion
You must complete at least 67% of credit hours attempted each semester to remain compliant with SAP Policy. Credit hour progression will be based on a cumulative total of attempted hours to earned hours. For example, a full-time student who attempts 18 credits in a semester must successfully complete at least 12 credits to meet the 67% requirement. However, credits that are not completed will count towards maximum units attempted towards degree objective.
Maximum Timeframe to Complete a Degree
The maximum allowable timeframe for receiving aid is equal to 150% of the length of your academic program. If you are a student in the full-time MBA program, which requires 60 credits for graduation, you would reach the maximum timeframe at 90 credits attempted. If you are a student in a dual-degree MBA program, which requires 45 business school credits for graduation, you would reach the maximum timeframe at 67.5 credits attempted.
Consequences of Failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress
The Financial Aid Office measures SAP at the end of each academic year (with warning letters sent after each completed semester). If the student meets all three of the conditions listed above, they remain eligible to receive federal student aid funds in the next semester of enrollment, unless otherwise agreed upon by the student and the Financial Aid Office. Otherwise, one of the following SAP Status designations will be assigned to the student: financial aid warning or financial aid probation.
Financial Aid Warning: If a student without an existing SAP status fails to meet any or all of the SAP conditions, the student will enter Financial Aid Warning status for their semester of enrollment. The student will be notified of this status via electronic communication from the Financial Aid Office and the Office of Student Affairs. The student will continue to be eligible to receive federal student aid funds while in Financial Aid Warning status. Students who do not meet Minimum GPA Requirements at the end of their Warning semester will be placed on Probation for the next term.
Financial Aid Probation: A student on Financial Aid Probation is ineligible to receive federal student aid funds. For instance, if you are found to be on academic probation after your second term, you will not receive federal financial aid for your third semester. Only private loans can be borrowed. Your academic standing will be reviewed after Term 3 to determine whether or not you can receive federal financial aid in your fourth and final semester. Students who withdraw from all courses and/or who fail to successfully complete any courses in the previous semester, will be automatically placed on Probation, regardless of prior financial aid status. Students on an approved leave of absence are excluded.
Students are required to continue to make satisfactory progress towards the completion of the degree requirements as defined by their academic program. Students who have lost their financial aid eligibility due to failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP), do have the option to appeal. To begin the appeal process, students should complete the following steps:
- Initiate the appeal process by submitting a written appeal detailing the circumstances that led to the loss of your financial aid eligibility (along with any supporting documentation). Examples of circumstances that could be appealed include (but is not limited to): the serious physical or mental illness of the student, the serious physical or mental illness of a student’s immediate family member, death of a student’s immediate family member, or other extenuating special circumstances.
- In consultation with an academic advisor, students must develop an Academic Plan that will outline the action that the student will need to take in order to ensure that academic progress improves in the subsequent term.
If the appeal is approved, students will have one semester to meet the requirements listed in the Academic Plan in order to remain eligible for financial aid in the subsequent term.
Updated with COVID policy: /financial-aid/system/files/BU_SAP_Policy_061720.pdf