Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements

In order to be academically eligible to receive financial assistance from federal, state, or College programs, students must be degree seeking and making satisfactory academic progress in their course of study.  All entering students at Roanoke College, including those returning after a period of academic suspension, are admitted with the confidence that they will make satisfactory progress.

The satisfactory academic progress policy outlined below is applicable to all students receiving financial aid.  The policy does not differ for students based upon their enrollment status (full-time or part-time), their dependency status (dependent or independent), their residency status (resident or commuter) or their selected program/major (undergraduate or graduate).  All students are expected to meet the same guidelines.

What GPA Do I Need to Attain for Roanoke College/Institutional Funds:
Student recipients of institutional funds must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least a 1.7 by the end of their freshmen year (0-7.99 credits earned) and a 2.0 by the end of their sophomore year (8-16.99 credits earned) and for the remainder of their enrollment to remain eligible to receive federal funds.  The Roanoke College Choral, Music, Art and Theatre scholarships are reinstated for each semester of continued participation in the respective program as determined by the Fine Arts Department.  Eligibility for the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant, Tuition Exchange, and all College funded aid is limited to four years, or 8 semesters.  College dollars and the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant are limited to the cost of tuition. 

What Happens to My Institutional Funds If I Do Not Attain this GPA?
If a student does not attain the minimum required grade point average by the end of the academic year, and is academically eligible to re-enroll (as determined by the Registrar of the College), institutional financial aid programs are automatically reduced on a percentage basis and re-instated.  Affected students will receive written notification from the Financial Aid Office noting the exact change as well as the steps to appeal the loss of financial aid.  Please consult the Financial Aid Office for further information. 

What GPA is Required for Federal Funds:
Student's receiving federal financial aid (Federal PELL Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-study, Federal TEACH Grant and/or Federal Direct Loans) are required to attain a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least a 1.7 by the end of their freshmen year (0-7.99 credits earned) and a 2.0 by the end of their sophomore year (8-15.99) and for the remainder of their enrollment to remain eligible to receive federal funds.  Further, the US Department of Education requires students to complete at least 67 percent of all courses attempted to maintain eligibility for federal student aid.  PACE is calculated by dividing the earned credits by the attempted credits.

What Happens to My Federal Funds If I Do Not Attain this GPA?
The Roanoke College Financial Aid Office will review all student records for satisfactory academic progress annual at the end of the spring term.  For students who fail to attain the required GPA, an evaluation of their previous academic performance will be consulted.  If it is the first time that they have failed to attain the required GPA as outlined above, federal and state aid programs will be automatically reinstated for students, assuming financial eligibility is maintained.  Students who fail to attain the required GPA for a second consecutive year will be placed on financial aid suspension and will lose eligibility for federal financial aid programs such as PELL, SEOG, Federal Work-Study and Federal loan programs (Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized and Parent PLUS).  Affected students will receive written notification from the Financial Aid Office noting the exact change as well as the step to appeal the loss of financial aid.  Please consult the Financial Aid Office for further information. 

How Do I Appeal the Loss of Financial Aid?
Affected students will receive written notification from the Financial Aid Office notifying them of their satisfactory academic progress.  It will note the exact reason for their loss (EX: Failure to attain the required GPA for their class level and/or failure to maintain the required pace of completion) and will encourage the student to submit an appeal of that loss.  A specific deadline for filing such an appeal will be noted in this notification letter.  Students will be directed to address a letter to the Financial Aid Appeals committee.  That letter should address specifically what happened during the past semester/year that caused the student to fall below the required GPA/Pace and what they plan to do going forward to mitigate the situation and ensure that they attain the requirements during the next evaluation period.  Examples of circumstances that may result in a favorable outcome may include, but are not limited to, medical circumstances that lead to a disruption in the student's academic program, difficult maintaining a positive learning environment due to national disaster/pandemic, a positive increase in the student's academic progress and/or a significant family situation that caused the student to lose or shift focus away from their studies for a period of time.  Students will be notified in writing after their appeal has been reviewed.

My Appeal Was Granted by the Appeals Committee.  What Happens Next?
If the appeals committee grants the request, the student will receive written notification from the Financial Aid Office notifying them of this favorable result.  The financial aid office will review all appeals submitted by students.  An evaluation will be conducted to determine if it is mathematically possible for the student to attain the satisfactory academic progress standards by the end of the term.  If it is mathematically possible, and the appeal has been granted, the student will automatically be placed on a financial aid probation status for one academic semester.  If it is deemed not to be mathematically possible for satisfactory academic progress to be met at the end of one academic term, the student will be required to meet with a Financial Aid counselor to discuss their specific situation and to develop a plan to ensure success by a specified period of time prior to their appeal being granted and them being placed on probation. Students may be asked to submit additional documentation depending upon the reason cited in their initial appeal.  Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress or meet the established conditions of their plan, at the end of the probationary period, lose their aid eligibility.  After that semester, they must submit an appeal that specifically outlines the steps that they will actively take to ensure that their academic performance falls in line with the requirements as outlined above.  The appeal must also specifically address why they did not successfully complete the plan they developed with the financial aid counselor.  Examples of circumstances that may result in a favorable outcome may include, but are not limited to, medical circumstances that lead to a disruption in the student's academic program, difficult maintaining a positive learning environment due to national disaster/pandemic, a positive increase in the student's academic progress and/or a significant family situation that caused the student to lose or shift focus away from their studies for a period of time.  Students will be notified in writing after their appeal has been reviewed.

How Often Is My Academic Progress Reviewed?
Students are reviewed for satisfactory academic progress at the end of Spring term.  In cases of unsatisfactory progress, affected programs will be reduced as noted above.  Any reduction in assistance may be appealed through the Financial Aid Office.  Only compelling non-academic reasons will be considered.  In cases of less than satisfactory academic progress, reinstatement of aid in full is exceptional and is based on unusual circumstances that must be outlined clearly in a letter from the student.  Letters from parents will not be accepted. New or returning students entering in January are reviewed for satisfactory academic progress at the end of the Spring term.  Successful appeals will result in the aid applicant being placed on financial aid probation until the end of the next academic semester when their satisfactory academic progress will be re-evaluated as described above.

Is There a Maximum Time Frame to Complete My Degree and Receive Aid?
Yes.  The maximum time frame during which a student may complete the degree and retain academic eligibility for federally regulated programs is six years for a full-time student and 12 years for a half-time student (150% for undergraduate programs).  This period is proportionately altered for a student who changes her/his enrollment status from term to term.  A student must have earned at least enough units to complete the proportionate percentage of the time frame at the end of a year of enrollment - 1/6 at the end of the first year, 2/6 at the end of the second year, and so forth for a full-time student.

How Is Transfer Credit Evaluated in Relation to Satisfactory Academic Progress?
Students who have been awarded transfer credit will be evaluated using the increment that is nearest, but does not exceed, the number of transfer credits accepted by Roanoke College.  "Transfer credit" includes credits that were accepted and count toward the student's educational program.  For example, a student who transfers in 18 credits will be placed at the Junior level and be expected to achieve a 2.0 cumulative grade point average.  All credits being counted will be included in the number of attempted and completed hours.

If I Retake a Class, What Affect Will That Have in Relation to Satisfactory Academic Progress?
Grades for classes retaken will replace the previously earned grade.  The cumulative GPA will then be recalculated using the new grade and the evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress will be done using the new earned grade.

How Are Incompletes or Grades of "WP" or "WF" Handled in Relation to Satisfactory Academic Progress?
For purposes of evaluating a student’s eligibility for financial aid, incomplete and withdrawn grades are considered the same as failing grades. These grades will be evaluated as credits attempted but not earned.  When calculating a GPA, they will be assigned a 0. A student’s eligibility for financial aid will be reevaluated upon successful completion of an incomplete grade.

How Are Noncredit Remedial Grades Handled in Relation to Satisfactory Academic Progress?
For the purposes of evaluating a student’s eligibility for financial aid, satisfactory, noncredit remedial grades will be evaluated using the equivalent credit, and will be reviewed as if a minimum passing grade was achieved. Unsatisfactory noncredit remedial grades will be evaluated as the equivalent credits attempted but not earned, and will be assigned a value of 0 when calculating the cumulative grade point average.

For more information, you may view Roanoke College's Institutional Withdrawal Policy