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Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Policies and expectations regarding satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policies 


Section 484 of the Higher Education Act (HEA), as amended requires a student to maintain satisfactory academic progress (qualitative & quantitative) in the course of study he or she is pursuing in order to receive aid under the financial assistance programs authorized by Title IV.  Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress could result in the loss of federal aid.  Students at Mississippi College may apply for Title IV federal student aid programs to assist them in paying for their college education.  Mississippi College is committed to assisting students in helping them to meet their educational goals.

Title IV aid consists of the following programs:

  •  Federal Pell Grant (PELL)
  •  Federal Supplemental Educational Supplemental Grant (SEOG)
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH)
  • Federal Work-Study
  • Federal Direct Loan Programs (Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS)

All students at Mississippi College must achieve and maintain SAP in order to retain Title IV aid eligibility as directed by the U.S. Department of Education.

SAP is checked at the end of each semester.  The semesters are summer, fall and spring.  Summer school is our “header”.  Students that fail to meet academic progress are first placed on financial aid warning, beginning with the next semester for which they attend. The financial aid warning status is assigned to a student without appeal or other action by the student.  During this semester a student can still receive federal and institutional aid but needs to proceed cautiously when considering dropping classes and expectations towards academic progress.

If a student, who is on financial aid warning fails to show academic progress during the following semester, they are then placed on financial aid suspension.

A student that is on financial aid suspension is not allowed to receive federal or institutional aid during the period of suspension, unless successful upon appeal (“Financial Aid Appeals” below).  A student is allowed to continue work at Mississippi College as long as they are not on financial aid (academic) suspension.  These students would have to make other arrangements in order to clear their balance.

There are three ways that are used to measure satisfactory progress for the student at Mississippi College

1.  Minimum GPA Requirement

An undergraduate must achieve and maintain cumulative GPA of 2.0 on his/her course of study at Mississippi College.  Mississippi College’s academic year is divided into three semesters.  The summer, fall and spring semesters.  The fall and spring semesters have at least 15 weeks of study. 

 A graduate student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at Mississippi College. 

      The Cumulative GPA is based on coursework taken only at Mississippi College.

2.  The Two-Thirds Rule or 67% Completion

A student at Mississippi College must successfully pass at least 67% of the hours that he/she has attempted for the semester.  To successfully complete a course, one must make one must receive a final grade of A, B, C, D, or P.  Unsuccessful grades are W, F, and I.

The pace of a student’s progression through his/her academic program is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours the student successfully completed by the cumulative hours the student attempted.  Attempted hours are those hours that appear on the transcript.

Cumulative hours earned / Cumulative hours attempted examples:

For example, A student begins the semester taking 12 hours.  He successfully completes 9 hours.  The student has successfully completed 75% of his courses.  He is maintaining SAP. (9/12=.75X100%= 75%)  This is more than 67%.

Another example:  This same student starts with 12 hours, but drops to 6 hours.  This student is not maintaining SAP.  (6/12= .5 X100%= 50%)  This is less than 67%.

3.  Completion Rate/Maximum Timeframe

An undergraduate student’s total number of hours attempted at Mississippi College and all other institutions (including attempted hours gained in pursuit of another undergraduate degree) cannot exceed more than 190 hours.

A graduate student will not be eligible to receive aid once they have completed 72 total hours in pursuit of a Master’s degree, 100 hours in pursuit of a Specialist degree, or a grand total of 160 total hours in pursuit of all graduate degrees including Doctorate.

Even if a student does not use Title IV aid to pay for hours attempted, these hours are also counted toward the Maximum Timeframe.

Only Transfer credits that count toward the students major will be counted in the Maximum Timeframe. 

Factors that Influence a Student’s SAP

Incomplete Grade:

All MC credit hours are included in the Satisfactory Academic Progress calculations.  Grades of “I” are not counted as hours completed, but they are counted as hours attempted.  Incomplete courses are graded hours but count as failed hours until a different grade is submitted.  If the course is never completed, the grade will be changed to “F”.

Repeat Courses

All repeat courses are counted as attempted hours.  Previously passed courses may only be repeated ONCE for Title IV aid. Grades for the same class will be averaged together to count as one final grade


Grades of “W” (withdrawal) do not count as graded credit hours, and thus do not impact the student’s GPA.  Course withdrawals can affect the student’s Two-Thirds Rule, as withdrawn courses count as hours attempted.

Failed Courses:

An instructor reporting an “F” must report the student’s last date of attendance.  If the student earned the “F”, then the “F” will affect the cumulative GPA, completion rate, and Two-Thirds Rule.  If the student receives an “F” for stopping attending the class, this will go towards the student’s GPA, completion rate, and Two-Thirds Rule. 

Transfer Hours:

Credit hours that are earned at another institution that count towards a student’s educational program are accepted by Mississippi College.  Transfer grades are not used at Mississippi College to calculate overall GPA.  The transfer hours are only used in the calculation of a student’s completion rate.

Financial Aid Appeals

Students placed on financial aid suspension are allowed to appeal their suspension.  The student is notified by email of their suspension.  The email will let the student know the time frame of when to return their appeal.  An appeal form is included with the email (See attached for an example of the appeal form).  The appeal form must be returned to the Office of Financial Aid.  The appeal will then be submitted to the Admissions and Financial Aid Appeals Committee.

The student must explain is his/her appeal what extenuating circumstances (death of a relative, injury, illness, or other special circumstances) occurred which was why he/she did not maintain SAP.  The student must also explain what has changed in his/her situation that would allow the student to demonstrate SAP at the end of the next semester. This may include but is not limited to, meeting with the Office of Student Success, seeking tutoring, enrolling in fewer hours, etc. Students are not allowed to receive their aid until their appeal had been reviewed and approved.  All appeals decisions are final.

If a student’s appeal is approved the Admissions and Financial Aid Appeals Committee, an email will be sent to the student’s school email address. It will provide a suggested academic plan for the student, that if followed will ensure that the student is able to meet SAP by a specific point in time. In most circumstances, this plan includes meeting with the Office of Student Success to determine what courses a student needs to take and at what pace those courses should be taken to ensure SAP within the following year. Graduate students would meet with the Graduate office to determine an academic plan based on their specific field of study and an appropriate course load to ensure SAP within the following year. The plan would also include resources available to the student if necessary such as, but not limited to: the counseling center, a tutoring center based on a field of study, a degree evaluation, etc.

If the student’s appeal is denied, then a letter will be sent to the student’s permanent address.  The student will not be allowed to receive Title IV aid should they decide to continue at Mississippi College.  The student may continue taking courses at Mississippi College as long as the student is not on Academic Suspension.  The student may appeal his financial suspension again after he/she has completed one semester, and has shown satisfactory academic progress. 


A student that has been successful in his/her appeal will be placed on a probation period of one semester.  If a student was successful upon appeal for not maintaining the Two-Thirds Rule, the student will be informed per email that they will need to complete at least 67% of course credit hours enrolled for at the beginning of the semester.  This student will be evaluated again at the end of the probation semester to determine if the Two-Third Rule has been satisfied.  If the Rule is not satisfied, then a letter is sent to the student explaining that they have lost their Title IV aid eligibility due to the failure to meet the Two-Third Rule.  If in future terms they complete at least 67% of their coursework their appeal can be re-evaluated.

If an undergraduate student is successful upon appeal for suspension due to academic probation (GPA), then an academic plan will be emailed to him/her in order for the student to be notified about see what grades must be achieved to get back into good standing with a 2.0 GPA.  At the end of the student’s probation period, SAP will be run on this student to determine is the student successfully met the requirements of his/her academic plan.  If the student was successful, then the student is back in good standing and they are no longer on probation.  If the student not successful, then they placed back on Financial Aid Suspension.

Reestablishing Title IV Eligibility

An undergraduate student that is on academic suspension must cease attendance for one semester before appealing to be reinstated to the university and to receive Title IV aid.  A student’s academic progress remains at Mississippi College.  It will not go with him to another university.   

A graduate student may reestablish eligibility by being reinstated into their graduate program.

If the student’s appeal has been denied, the student must complete at least one semester before he/she may try to reestablish their eligibility for Title IV aid.  The student must be in good standing with the university.  The student must have an overall GPA of 2.0 for undergraduates.  The graduate student must have an overall GPA of 3.0 to become eligible to receive Title IV aid.

A student may appeal up to two times to have their Title IV aid reestablished.