Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal Regulations require that Dominican University of California (Dominican) establish, publish and apply requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid eligibility. This policy pertains to Institutional, Federal and/or State Financial Aid and is separate from the Academic Policies established by Dominican. The purpose of measuring and enforcing these requirements is to ensure Financial Aid recipients’ progress towards graduation. To be eligible for Financial Aid, a student must be in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress towards the completion of a degree within a maximum time-frame. All enrolled students are evaluated after each semester to ensure that the minimum requirements are being met. Students failing to meet the minimum requirements will be assigned one of the following statuses:

Financial Aid Warning: If a student fails to meet the SAP requirements, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for the following semester (or the next semester that the student enrolls at Dominican). While on Financial Aid Warning, the student may retain their Financial Aid eligibility and receive a Financial Aid Award. At the end of the Financial Aid Warning semester, the student’s record will be re-evaluated. If the student is meeting the SAP requirements after the Financial Aid Warning semester, the student may be taken off of Financial Aid Warning and re-establish Financial Aid eligibility for the following semester (or the next semester that the student enrolls at Dominican). Financial Aid Warning is only allowed once, during the student’s degree tenure at Dominican.

Financial Aid Suspension: If a student fails to meet the SAP requirements for any semester after the initial Financial Aid Warning semester, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will not be eligible for Federal, State and/or Institutional Financial Aid. The status of Financial Aid Suspension will remain in place until the student is again meeting the SAP requirements or the student has filed a successful SAP Appeal.

Guidelines

The academic year at Dominican consists of the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. Fall begins the academic year and Summer concludes it for most programs. If a student changes majors or academic programs, all units reflected on the transcript for that academic level will be included in the qualitative and quantitative measurements.

Qualitative Standard

Students are required to maintain a fixed qualitative Grade Point Average (GPA), based on their degree program in order to remain eligible for Financial Aid. University policy requires that Undergraduate students maintain a cumulative 2.00 GPA throughout all grade levels. Graduate students must maintain a 3.00 GPA (or equivalent).

Please Note: Some Private, Gift and/or Other Scholarships/Grants may fall outside of the scope of the SAP Policy due to more stringent requirements. Please see Scholarship and Grants for more information.

Quantitative Standard

Students are required to maintain a minimum quantitative Completion Rate, based on their degree program in order to remain eligible for Financial Aid. Completion Rate is calculated by dividing a student’s total earned units by the student’s total attempted units. Attempted units is defined as any unit(s) the student remains enrolled in after the Census Date, including units that the student withdraws from. All students must successfully complete at least 67% of all units attempted. Course grades of I, F, UF, PR and W represent units attempted, but do not count towards the measure of units satisfactorily completed.

Example A: If a student attempted 32 units and successfully completed 26 of those units (dropped 3 units and failed 3 units) the completion rate will be 26 units earned divided by 32 attempted units = 81.2% completion rate therefore meeting the measurable progress component of this requirement.

Example B: If a student attempted 32 units and successfully completed 20 of those units, and dropped, failed, had an incomplete in, or withdrew from the other 12 units, the completion rate would be 20 divided by 32 = 62.5% completion rate and therefore does not meet the completion rate requirement and would not be eligible for financial aid assistance.

Maximum Time-Frame (Time Limit)

At Dominican, students are required to complete all degree requirements within a percentage of the minimum credits required to degree completion. The maximum time-frame allowance is 150% of the published program length of the student’s currently enrolled program of study (200% for MSCP students). Dominican will issue a Financial Aid Warning notification to students who have reached 125% (175% for MSCP) of the maximum time-frame. This warning is issued for students who have reached this threshold and/or it appears mathematically impossible for the student to complete their program within the maximum time-frame.

Example A: If the degree requires completion of 124 credit hours, the reasonable length of time will be 124 hours X 150% = 186. The student would be within their reasonable length of time during their first 186 hours of attempted course work.

Example B: If the degree requires completion of 124 credit hours and the student transferred in 54 hours, the reasonable length of time will be 124 - 54 transfer hours = 70 x 150% = 105. The student would be within their reasonable length of time during their first 105 hours of course work attempted at Dominican.

Example C: If a graduate degree requires completion of 40 credit hours, the reasonable length of time will be 40 hours X 150% = 60. The graduate student would be within their reasonable length of time during their first 60 hours of attempted course work.

Institutional Aid (Extended Enrollment)

Institutional Aid, such as Merit Scholarships and the Dominican Grant, are awarded to students for a limited number of semesters. If the student does not complete their degree within the specified number of semesters, the student will lose eligibility for Institutional Aid. The student may file a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal in order for their aid eligibility to be reconsidered.

Repeat Coursework

If a student has received a passing grade for a course, Federal Aid may be applied to the payment of that course for one additional semester. Some dissertation and thesis courses may be exempt from this requirement. Repeated courses beyond the initial retake will be excluded from the enrollment calculation. Also, repeated courses will be counted as hours attempted but not earned when calculating the percentage of courses completed.

Repeated courses will affect the qualitative, quantitative, and time-frame measurements even if they are not eligible courses to establish Financial Aid enrollment status. Only courses taken at Dominican will be looked at under this policy.

Incomplete Courses

For purposes of evaluating SAP, grades of incomplete count as attempted units, but not earned units. Therefore, these units will not be counted towards meeting the minimum GPA or unit completion and may qualify the student for Financial Aid Warning or Financial Aid Suspension until a grade has been posted.

SAP Appeal Process

Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Suspension have the right to appeal their status to the Office of Financial Aid. Students may submit their appeal documents to the Office of Financial Aid in person.SAP Appeals must be based on extenuating circumstances that seriously affected the student’s academic performance.

Examples of Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Death in the family
  • Disabling illness or injury to the student or immediate family member (that required the student’s care)
  • Emotional or mental health issue of the student that required professional care
  • Other extenuating circumstances that were beyond the student’s control

To appeal Financial Aid Suspension, students are required to submit the following to the Financial Aid Office:

  • The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form
  • A detailed letter explaining the extenuating circumstance(s) that caused the student to fail SAP and what has changed to allow the student to be successful
  • Supporting documentation of the circumstance(s) cited
  • An Academic Plan detailing how the student will meet SAP requirements for the upcoming semester

Examples of supporting documentation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Obituary/Death Certificate
  • Documentation from the student’s (or family member’s) medical provider
  • Statement from a third-party that is familiar with the circumstances (preferably in a professional capacity)

Appeals will not be accepted for any of the following reasons:

  • Lack of knowledge/understanding of the SAP Policy at Dominican
  • Medical appeals for illness/injury/hospitalization that do not coincide with the semester(s) of sub-standard progress
  • Work/Scheduling conflicts (including voluntary overtime)
  • Acclimation issues with regard to being in a university setting
  • Student has submitted a previous SAP appeal, regardless of reason, and the student is still not meeting SAP requirements
  • Student is repeating courses to increase the student’s GPA or the student is taking courses for degree requirements outside the student’s current program
  • Student is taking pre-requisite(s) for a degree program for which the student is not currently enrolled in

The SAP Committee will thoroughly review each appeal. If the SAP Committee needs clarification or additional information, the committee will contact the student directly. Any requested documentation is to be submitted as soon as possible. SAP Appeal decisions are final and will be emailed to the student within 3-5 weeks of submission. Students are encouraged to submit their SAP appeal and documentation as early as possible to allow on-time disbursement of aid if the appeal is approved.

If the student’s SAP Appeal is approved by the SAP Committee, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and may be able to receive Federal, Institutional and/or State Aid for the following semester (or the next semester that the student is enrolled at Dominican). All Federal Financial Aid rules will apply. A successful SAP appeal does not override the academic requirements established by Private/Gift/Other Scholarships that have more stringent eligibility requirements. Therefore, these funds may not disburse with an approved SAP Appeal. For approved SAP Appeals, the Office of Financial Aid will monitor the student’s progress against the Academic Plan to determine if the student is making satisfactory progress. A student must make progress congruent with the Academic Plan in order to continue receiving Federal, State and/or Institutional Financial Aid. If the student has not regained compliance with the SAP requirements or met the conditions of their Academic Plan when their progress is checked by the Office of Financial Aid, the student will lose Financial Aid eligibility.

If a student’s SAP Appeal is denied or the student chooses not to submit a SAP Appeal and continue enrollment at Dominican University of California, the student becomes financially responsible for any and all charges without Federal, State and/or Institutional Financial Aid until they are again meeting the SAP requirements.