Satisfactory Academic Progress - Office of Financial Aid | Briar Cliff University

Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that each student maintains satisfactory progress in his or her pursued course of study to receive Title IV Federal Financial Aid. At Briar Cliff University, these standards are also applied to state and institutional programs.

End of Semester GPA Requirements

Academic Progress will be measured both qualitatively and quantitatively. A minimum GPA and a minimum number of credit hours completed in the academic year are requirements.

Semester 1 1.5
Semester 2 1.75
Semester 3 1.90
Semester 4 2.0

Five-Year Limit for Financial Aid

Students attending full-time have a maximum of five academic years to complete a program of study at BCU. Students will only receive state funding for four academic years. If the student’s major required additional completion time, a fifth year of institutional funding can be allowed. 

Warning Notification

If a student does not meet the grade point average requirement for SAP, they will receive a Warning notification for one semester. Students unable to achieve the required grade point average after a second consecutive semester will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Students can also be placed on Financial Aid Suspension after two semesters for not completing 70% of the hours they attempted.

The Right to Appeal Suspension

Students placed on Financial Aid Suspension have the right to appeal the suspension. The suspension form is mailed to the student to complete. The appeal will require the reasons for the suspension and an Academic Plan which must be signed off by the student’s Academic Advisor. The student will have a time frame to have the document completed and submitted to the Financial Aid Office so a decision can be made. Students who are granted approval will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. After the probationary semester the student will either be in good standing or will not be able to receive any federal, state or institutional funds until they are in good standing again.

Eligibility can also be terminated when the credit hours required for a specific degree/program are earned or the student has attempted greater than 150% of the credit hours required for a specific degree program.

Transfer Students

Transfer students will be assumed to be maintaining satisfactory academic progress at the time of admission. Transfer credits and GPA that are accepted at Briar Cliff are counted toward the total attempted credit/cumulative GPA in determining satisfactory academic progress compliance.

Repeated Coursework

When students repeat a course, the most recent grade received is used in the calculation of the cumulative GPA unless the student performs worse. In that case, the better of the two grades is counted toward cumulative GPA

Non-Credit Coursework 

Non-credit coursework is not counted in the minimum credit requirement.

Financial Aid Probation

In the event that a student fails to successfully complete courses at the minimum level, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. A student in this category may receive financial aid for one additional semester. If the student does not meet the minimum levels by the end of the warning period, the student is considered to be making unsatisfactory progress and is placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

Financial Aid Suspension

Financial Aid Suspension means the termination of all financial aid except private loans. The Financial Aid Office evaluates the progress of each student according to these standards on an annual basis. If a student is placed on Financial Aid Suspension, that student will have the opportunity to appeal the suspension. A student will receive notification of suspension and an Appeals Document. The appeals committee will review the student’s request and notify the student of its decision in writing.

Changes in Academic Load

During the first week of each semester, called “Validation Week,” students will have an opportunity to change their registration or room/ board plan with no financial penalty. After Validation Week, there will be no adjustment to tuition or financial aid if the student drops a class or changes to a different room/board plan.

Refund on Tuition

Students who completely withdraw from the University may be allowed a refund on tuition, fees, room/board (if applicable). Federal and state regulations require that all or a portion of the refund be returned to the appropriate government aid programs. Refunds on behalf of the federal aid recipients must be returned in the following order: Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Grad PLUS, Federal Direct PLUS, Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, TEACH Grant, other Title IV aid.

Failure to Make Satisfactory Academic Progress

For students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress.

Level 1: Warning

The first time a student fails to meet the requirements for SAP as outlined in the previous section:

  1. Written notification is sent to the student’s permanent address (as on file in the Financial Aid Office).
  2. No further action is taken by the Financial Aid Office and none is required by the student.
  3. The student’s SAP record is set at “Warning” and failure to meet SAP requirements in a future measurement period will flag the student for further action.

Level 2: Suspension

If a student was previously at “Warning” level and fails to meet requirements for SAP for a second semester in succession:

  1. The student’s financial aid is suspended
  2. Written notification, outlining the appeals process is sent to the student’s permanent address (as on file in the Financial Aid Office).
  3. If the appeal is approved, notification will be sent to the student telling them what is required of them each semester (normally a “Plan of Action” is developed stating what grade point average and credit hours that need to be completed will be outlined for the student each semester). The student in this situation is now placed on “Probation” and his or her financial aid will be reinstated for the following measurement period (semester).
  4. If the student chooses not to appeal or the appeal is denied the student’s SAP record is set at “Termination” and his or her financial aid will remain suspended and will not be reinstated until he or she has successfully met SAP requirements for the measurement period (semester).

Level 3: Termination

If a student was previously at “Probation” level and again fails to meet the requirements for SAP at any point in the future:

  1. The student’s financial aid is suspended indefinitely.
  2. Written notification is sent to the student’s permanent address (as on file with the Financial Aid Office).
  3. Financial Aid may be reinstated on a case-by-case basis and only if the student first meets SAP requirements at Briar Cliff for a measurement period (semester) or received adequate grades from another institution, which indicates the student is ready to continue in good standing.


We’re here to help. Call us at (712) 279-5200, or contact the Office of Financial Aid online.