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Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid

Academic progress is the standard by which progress toward degree completion is measured. It applies to all students whether or not they are receiving financial aid. According to federal regulations, in order to be eligible for financial student aid funds, a student must make satisfactory academic progress and all schools must define their Satisfactory Academic Progress in terms of both Quantitative and Qualitative measures. Students also have a limit to the length of time to graduation, and must complete their degree within a maximum timeframe of 150% of the published length of the program. In order to be making satisfactory progress, students must meet both quantitative and qualitative measures each year. Students who fail to meet these standards may lose their eligibility for financial aid. 

The College, in accordance with these regulations, has instituted the following guidelines for all students for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Hampshire College does not use the traditional grade point average (GPA) as a method of evaluation, therefore 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 successfully completed courses,incomplete courses, courses in progress, courses marked as “No eval”, transfer, and courses from which the student had withdrawn.
  • To meet the qualitative standard, the ratio of successfully completed courses to total courses (including courses evaluated and those marked as “no eval”; excluding incomplete, in-progress, and withdrawn courses) must be at least 1:2 or 50% (i.e. for every two courses attempted, one must be successfully completed).  A Five College course is successfully completed at a C or better.
  • 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 the spring semester each academic year. Students who are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards described above are not eligible for financial aid, will be placed on financial aid suspension, and monitored each semester. Students who wish to appeal this decision should refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Financial Aid Appeal Policy outlined below. In order to maintain financial aid after being placed on financial aid suspension, an appeal will be required each semester until the student makes the minimum SAP standards. If the student does not make progress toward meeting the standards as outlined in their plan, 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, incomplete courses, courses for which you receive a “no evaluation,” and Five College courses graded below C will make it more likely that you will not reach the minimum course completion rate of 67% and lose eligibility for financial aid. 

Hampshire College Financial Aid Suspension, Probation, and Appeal Policy

Financial Aid Suspension - Students who fail to make SAP will be placed on financial aid suspension and are not eligible for financial aid. Students who lose aid eligibility due to financial aid suspension, but who are not dismissed or academically withdrawn from the college can appeal this decision to the Financial Aid Office.

  • Students on financial aid suspension may continue to attend the college without financial aid. Students may become eligible for financial aid once SAP is obtained.
  • Students who are dismissed, withdrawn, or who withdraw from the college but who are subsequently reinstated may be considered for financial aid based upon SAP standards as determined by a review of their academic record since separating from the college.

Financial Aid Probation - Students who have successfully appealed and overturned a financial aid suspension, will be placed on financial aid probation for one term. The student will be eligible for financial aid while on probation. Students who do not earn SAP at the end of the term are placed on probation and will lose financial aid eligibility.

Students may continue to be eligible for some outside sources such as private loans or outside scholarships. Students are urged to contact the source to determine if they remain eligible. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Financial Aid Appeal - A SAP Appeal is the process by which a student who is not meeting SAP standards may petition for reconsideration of eligibility to receive financial aid. A student may submit a written appeal for review to the Financial Aid Office via email at financialaid@hampshire.edu. Appeals are due no later than one week prior to the start of the new term in which the student seeks financial aid. Appeals will be reviewed within 7 business days by both the Financial Aid Office and the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA). 

An appeal will be considered based on the following extenuating circumstances:

  • Death of a relative
  • Injury or illness of the student
  • Other special circumstances
    • Family difficulties, such as divorce or illness
    • Interpersonal problems
    • Difficulty balancing work, school, responsibilities
    • Financial Difficulties

The written appeal may be used to reconsider either the quantitative standard, qualitative standard, or for the maximum timeframe of completion. The appeal must include the following items:

  1. A signed explanation for not achieving SAP.
  2. Documentation for extenuating circumstances (i.e. non-family member third party letter, doctor’s note, letter of support from faculty advisor, etc.)
  3. An academic plan listing how the required standards will be reached by the next evaluation period.
  4. Support for the plan provided by CASA.

Note on academic plans: The plan needs to state the number of courses the student must complete in one semester in order to be compliant at the next SAP review. However, if the student will require more than one semester to become compliant with SAP standards, an academic plan must be developed that specifies the coursework and number of courses necessary to become compliant within two semesters. An academic plan should not exceed two semesters of enrollment. The academic plan will be approved if it contains a reasonable schedule with a minimum of 3 courses per semester, agreement by the student to meet with advisor and CASA for support, and agreement by the student to complete all courses stated in the plan.

An incomplete appeal will automatically be denied. 

If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on financial aid probation for one semester. Unless otherwise noted in the academic plan, it is expected that after one semester a student will be making satisfactory academic progress. If the appeal is not approved, then the student’s financial aid will be suspended until the student is making satisfactory academic progress. The decision is final and cannot be appealed. Written appeals, documentation, appeal decisions, and plans will be saved in the student’s financial aid file. Plans will also be on file with CASA.

Students not making SAP will have their progress monitored by CASA throughout the semester. These students will also be reviewed by CASA, Financial Aid, and the Registrar at the end of each semester to determine if they are making progress towards completing the number of courses necessary to maintain SAP. If the student is not meeting those terms, further eligibility for aid will be suspended immediately.

Students may submit an appeal each semester they are not making satisfactory academic progress. 

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.  

If your course completion rate falls below 67% you can work with CASA to develop a Satisfactory Academic Progress plan and submit an appeal to the financial aid office by the due date. If the appeal is approved, then you will be allowed 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 may work with CASA to develop a Satisfactory Academic Progress plan and submit an appeal to the financial aid office by the due date. If the appeal is approved, then you will be allowed 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, R.W. Kern Center, 2nd floor, finaid@hampshire.edu, 413-559-5484 

CASA, Lemelson Center, advising@hampshire.edu, 413-559-5498 

Central Records, Lemelson Center, centralrecords@hampshire.edu, 413-559-5421