You are here

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid

The College, in accordance with recently updated regulations concerning federal financial aid, has instituted new guidelines for all students for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The requirements have three different components: a quantitative measure, a qualitative measure, and a limit on length of time to graduation. Because Hampshire College does not use the traditional grade point average (GPA) as a method of evaluation, the College will examine the ratio of successfully completed courses to total courses. To meet the quantitative standard a student must successfully complete at least 67% of all courses attempted. Attempted courses include incompletes, in-progress, and withdrawn (W) courses. To meet the qualitative standard, the ratio of successfully completed courses to total courses, excluding incomplete, in-progress, or withdrawn courses, must be at least 1:2 or 50% (i.e. for every two courses attempted, one must be successfully completed). Finally, Hampshire College has determined that a student may not take longer than 10 full-time semesters to complete the degree requirements.

Hampshire College will measure Satisfactory Academic Progress standards at the end of spring semester each academic year. Students who are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards described above are not eligible for federal financial aid until an approved Satisfactory Academic Progress plan is developed in consultation with CASA. As long as the student is making progress toward meeting the minimum standards, the student can continue to receive financial aid one semester at a time. A new Satisfactory Academic Progress plan will be required each semester until the standards have been met. If the student does not make progress toward meeting the standards they will lose eligibility for financial aid until all three standards (quantitative, qualitative, and the limit on the length of time to graduation) are met.

The Impact of Not Completing Courses

Withdrawing from Courses

Every course in which you remain enrolled after the add/drop deadline counts toward your total attempted courses. To maintain eligibility for financial aid, you must complete at least 67% of the courses you attempt. If you withdraw from a course your course completion (quantitative) rate will decrease. Withdrawing from too many courses can put you at risk of losing your financial aid.

Failing or Never Completing Courses

As with course withdrawals, failed or never completed courses will make it more likely that you will not reach the minimum course completion rate of 67% and lose eligibility for financial aid.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to my financial aid if I don’t complete all the courses for which I am registered?

To remain eligible for aid, you must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of the courses you attempt. Since this measure is based on your entire academic history (including transfer credits), your performance in an individual course may have no impact on your eligibility for financial aid. However, an accumulation of unsuccessful courses will affect your eligibility. Transfer courses accepted toward your degree count as both attempted and completed courses. Accepted transfer courses are those that are recorded as passed Division I or a filed Division II contract.

If your course complete rate falls below 67% you can work with CASA to develop a Satisfactory Academic Progress plan that will allow you to retain financial aid eligibility while you work toward meeting the minimum standard.

What if the qualitative rate falls below 50%?

Hampshire College does not have a traditional Grade Point Average (GPA), therefore to remain compliant with federal regulations we have developed an alternative ratio comparing successfully completed courses to unsuccessfully completed courses, excluding transfer, withdrawn, incomplete and in-progress courses. If that ratio should drop below 1:2 (one successfully completed courses for every two courses attempted and evaluated, or 50%), you can work with CASA to develop a Satisfactory Academic Progress plan that would allow you to retain financial aid eligibility while you work toward meeting the minimum standard.

What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw from some, but not all, of my courses after the add/drop deadline?

Your financial aid award will not change for that semester. However, you must remember that withdrawals decrease your course completion rate and increase your risk of falling below the required minimum of 67% course completion rate.

What happens if I take an incomplete in one or more courses?

An incomplete is counted as an attempted course that has not been successfully completed. Incompletes decrease your course completion rate and increase your risk of falling below the required minimum of 67% course completion rate. You should finish any incomplete work as soon as possible, and follow up with your instructor to be sure that the evaluation for the work is recorded.

What happens if I need more than 10 semesters to complete my Hampshire degree?

You automatically lose eligibility for future financial aid after you have attempted 10 semesters.

Can withdrawing from a course now affect my eligibility for aid later?

Yes. Your course completion rate is a cumulative measure. Course withdrawals at any time decrease your overall course completion rate and can eventually put you at risk for falling below the required minimum 67% course completion rate.

For more information

To learn more about Satisfactory Academic Progress and how it impacts your financial aid please call or visit:

Financial Aid, Blair Hall, 1st floor, 413-559-5484
CASA, Lemelson Center, 413-559-5498
Central Records, Lemelson Building, 413-559-5421

Notification to Family of Academic Contract/Academic Dismissal

Under Massachusetts law, the age of majority is 18 and carries full adult rights and responsibilities. The College communicates directly with students in matters concerning academic progress. It is the policy of the College to notify in writing both students and family when an academic contract goes into effect and of dismissal from the College only when the student has granted such permission. In communicating with parents concerning other matters, it is normal College policy to respect the privacy of the student and not to disclose information from student educational records without the prior consent of the student. 

A student may appeal their academic standing by submitting a written statement to the dean of academic support and advising. The statement may cite mitigating circumstances for review.

Students who return from withdrawn status are sometimes placed on an academic contract as part of the readmission decision. This information will be provided to advisors.

Guidelines for Graduation in Four Years

The academic program at Hampshire College is a negotiated education; each student will work out a plan of study for graduation in four years with their advisor. The following guidelines are intended to encourage early and frequent discussions between students and advisors concerning a student’s academic progress:

  • Completion of the Division I course requirements by the end of the second term
  • Passing Division I in the beginning of the third term
  • Filing of the Division II contract by the beginning of the fourth term
  • Passing Division II by the end of the sixth term
  • Filing of the Division III contract at the beginning of the seventh term
  • Passing Division III by the end of the eighth term

It is important to note that students have a maximum of ten semesters in which to complete all degree requirements. In rare instances, because of injury, severe illness, or death of a close relative, it may be necessary for a student to exceed the maximum period for completing degree requirements. In such cases, the student must submit a plan for completion on extension status to their Division III committee and to the committee on exceptions to academic policy. A student who is granted such an appeal would be placed on leave of absence status for at least the following semester but for no more than two consecutive semesters, before being allowed to return to Hampshire on extension status. Extension status carries a fee rather than tuition, and does not qualify students to receive financial aid. Students on extension status for completion of degree requirements may not live on campus.

Filing Dates and Deadlines for Division II and III

Central records publishes the academic calendar, which details the filing deadlines for each academic year.