All students have a responsibility to maintain certain academic standards and make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree. The Financial Aid Office is required by federal and state law to determine the eligibility of financial aid applicants, even if they have not received financial aid previously. These standards apply to all grants, loans, work study, tuition waivers, and some scholarships.
All enrolled students’ academic progress will be evaluated at the end of each payment period (semester).
Federal law requires the consideration of three factors when determining whether a student is making satisfactory progress toward a degree: the qualitative and quantitative standards, and the maximum timeframe allowed.
MINIMUM GRADE POINT AVERAGE (QUALITATIVE STANDARD)
Undergraduates, including post-baccalaureate students seeking a second undergraduate degree, are expected to maintain a 2.0 MSUB grade point average (GPA) and a 2.0 overall GPA.
Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative, MSUB GPA and a 3.0 overall GPA.
PACE (QUANTITATIVE STANDARD)
Pace is the rate at which a student must progress through his/her educational program to ensure that the student will complete the program within the maximum timeframe. Pace is determined by dividing the total number of hours the student has successfully completed by the total number attempted. Successful completion requires a minimum grade of D or P (Passing). Grades of W (Withdraw), I (Incomplete), X (No Pass), N (No grade), and F (Failing) are not considered to be passing grades. Please note that most programs require grades of C or better to fulfill degree requirements.
Students are expected to earn a degree in a specific amount of time, measured by the credits attempted. For both Undergraduate and Graduate programs, this is 150 percent of the published length of the program, measured in credit hours. For example, if a degree requires 120 credits, a student is eligible for financial aid for a maximum of 180 attempted credits. If a student's total attempted credits exceed the maximum allowed for his/her program, or if it becomes evident a student cannot graduate within the maximum credits allowed for his/her program, the student becomes ineligible for financial aid. A student who completes the academic requirements for a program but does not yet have the degree or certificate is not eligible for further federal or state funding for that program. Please note that a change of major does not reset the maximum timeframe.
See the chart below for typical maximum duration of eligibility in various programs:
|Degree/Program||Maximum # Attempted Credits (varies)|
|Undergraduate Bachelor Degree||180-192|
|Assoc. Degree/2 Yr. Certificate||90-120|
|Second Bachelor's Degree||240 (includes all UG credits)|
|Provisional Graduates||(one calendar year)|
Credits attempted at prior post-secondary institutions will be included in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress. The Registrar evaluates and posts transcripts from prior institutions. All posted transfer credit hours on official transcripts are considered attempted and earned. Transfer credit hours and grades are included in the Minimum Cumulative Financial Aid GPA, Pace, and Maximum Time Frame calculations.
If a transcript is provided after financial aid is awarded, Cumulative Financial Aid GPA, Pace, and Maximum Time Frame will be reviewed at the end of the currently enrolled term.
Transfer students with no grade history at MSU Billings will be considered for freshman grade level aid only and placed in Warning status
Students can request to have their transfer hours evaluated early in their first term, but will be held accountable for the SAP calculation results immediately.
Returning students whose academic history would have justified SAP suspension or who were on suspension when they last attended will re-enter on SAP SUSPENSION. (See Appeals below.)
Complete academic transcripts must be submitted to the Office of Admissions/Registrar for any academic work attempted at other institutions before the end of their first semester at MSU-Billings. At the end of the first semester at MSUB, the SAP calculation will include all credits earned at MSUB and from all transfer institutions.
Students making SAP will have grade level recalculated relative to the new accepted credits applying to their degree.
Students who fail to make SAP will be placed on SAP SUSPENSION and lose eligibility for further aid. (See Appeals below.)
Students will be eligible for student financial aid when they are again making SAP, or have successfully appealed and were placed on Probation. (See Appeals Below)
Grades of W (withdraw), I (Incomplete), X (No Pass, Withdraw), N (No Credit / Audit), and F (Failing) will be counted toward the number of credits attempted but not counted as passed or earned. If a graduate student earns a grade of T (work in progress), he/she will need to contact our office for an evaluation of eligibility.
Repeated credits will be counted toward the number of credits attempted. Repeats of previously unearned credits are eligible for funding within reason. Students may receive funding for a previously passed course one time only.
Remedial courses (credit bearing courses numbered below 100) and ESL courses are counted in the qualitative and quantitative standards, and the maximum timeframe allowed for SAP purposes.
FINANCIAL AID WARNING
A student who was eligible at the beginning of a payment period but is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress standards because of GPA or Pace deficiency at the end of a payment period (term), will be placed on financial aid warning status. Students in Warning status remain eligible to receive funding for one additional semester. A student must meet all standards at the end of the one semester Warning period, or he/she will be Suspended from financial aid eligibility.
Students are ineligible for a Warning status and are immediately Suspended, if they:
FINANCIAL AID SUSPENSION occurs when a student:
FINANCIAL AID PROBATION
Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress but who have a successful appeal will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and will be required to follow a specific academic plan.
A student who is suspended from financial aid because of failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress may appeal the suspension. A successful appeal will be based on documented extenuating or special circumstances that caused lack of progress. Examples for the basis on which a student may file an appeal are the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other extenuating or special circumstances.
An appeal consists of:
Appeals are reviewed by committee twice per month. Students will be notified in writing of the results and of any conditions expected. The appeal will be Approved, Tabled, or Denied: