Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid is required to monitor satisfactory academic progress (SAP) as it relates to the renewal of financial assistance. To remain eligible for most types of financial aid, particularly federal and state assistance, students must meet minimum academic requirements at the conclusion of each academic year (May). Please note that these standards may differ from the Degree Requirements established by the Registrar’s Office. All periods of enrollment, whether or not the student received aid, are included in the SAP review. This SAP Policy applies to all Gettysburg College Students regardless of their program of study and enrollment status - full time, part time, graduate student, and certificate program. 

Maximum Time Frame

Gettysburg’s Satisfactory Academic progress policy specifies a maximum time frame, for undergraduate and post baccalaureate teaching certificate students, not to exceed 150% of the published length of the program, as measured in credit hours or expressed in calendar time, in which an undergraduate student must complete his or her program. Gettysburg’s maximum time frame policy is that students must complete 67% of cumulative course units attempted at the end of each academic year which is considered the PACE at which a student must progress within the maximum permitted timeframe. The published length of our educational program for a full time student is four years and 32 courses. Therefore, the regulations would allow for a full time student to receive Title IV assistance for up to 6 years and attempt 48 courses. Graduate students have a maximum of 5 years to complete the 30 credit hour/10 course program.

The financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy requires that students meet the following standards:

  • Successfully complete 67% of cumulative course units attempted at the end of each semester which is considered the PACE at which a student must progress within the maximum permitted timeframe (12 semesters).
  • Achieve an appropriate cumulative grade point average (GPA) at the end of each semester.
    • 1.5 GPA: between 1 to 3 course units
    • 1.8 GPA: more than 3 and up to 6 course units
    • 1.9 GPA: more than 6 and up to 10 course units
    • 2.0 GPA: more than 10 course units

Satisfactory academic progress reviews at Gettysburg College will take into consideration only those course units posted to the student’s academic record by the Registrar’s Office. Grades for courses transferred into Gettysburg College are not included in the student's cumulative grade point average (GPA).

Treatment of course withdrawals, incomplete(s), change of major, and repeated courses

Withdrawals: Courses dropped within the 100% refund period (during the add/drop period) will not count as attempted. However, classes dropped after this point will count as attempted and will be factored into a student’s satisfactory academic progress. Students who take a leave of absence mid-semester may have difficulty meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards upon their return to the College. We encourage those students to file a Letter of Appeal requesting a review of the situation and the development of an “academic plan” that will permit them to continue receiving financial aid from Title IV Federal Student Aid resources.

Incompletes: A student will not lose eligibility because of a course incomplete, unless he/she is already on financial aid warning or probation. However, the final grade results might impact future eligibility. Grades submitted by the mid-point of the semester will be considered for the current semester; grades submitted later in the semester will not be considered until the following semester. 

Repeated courses: Courses that are repeated will show as units attempted each time they are taken; however, only the final attempt will be included as a unit completed. Only the last reported grade will be included in the student's cumulative GPA. 

Change of major: All coursework at Gettysburg College is counted towards Pace and GPA calculations.

Transfer Students and VA Benefits

Transfer Students: For new transfer students, course credits from another institution which are accepted toward the student's educational program at Gettysburg will count as both attempted and completed course units.

VA Benefits: Gettysburg College is required to notify the VA when a student is placed on academic probation. The Gettysburg College Yellow Ribbon Grant will only be awarded once funding from the VA is confirmed.

Treatment of English as Second Language (ESL) coursework and Remedial Coursework

ESL and Remedial Coursework: ESL and Remedial courses are not counted in the calculations for Pace or GPA unless this coursework is part of a larger, degree-seeking program.

Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress

The Office of Financial Aid will notify students who do not meet the minimum standards with a letter in late May/early June. The first time a student fails to meet one or more of the satisfactory academic progress requirements, he/she will no longer be eligible to receive federal and/or state financial assistance.


A student who is not meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards may petition for reconsideration of Title IV eligibility. The reasons one may file an appeal include:

  • Death of a relative/family member
  • Medical emergencies
  • Severe health issues
  • Severe personal/family problems
  • Financial or personal catastrophe

The student is required to provide the following appeal information – a letter stating why the student failed to meet satisfactory academic progress, how the student plans to get back in compliance, and what has changed that will allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the end of the next evaluation period. When writing your appeal letter, please be as specific as possible. Instead of saying that “I did not get along with my roommate” list specific reasons such as “my roommate would come in at 1 AM most nights and play loud music which prevented me from sleeping.” In addition, when explaining how you will return to compliance, instead of putting “I will try my best this semester,” be more direct and state “I am meeting with a representative from Academic Advising once a week to develop better study habits.” We recommend that you list 2 – 3 specific actions. To answer the final question of how you will continue to demonstrate academic progress be clear on what plan you will take or have been taking to ensure your academic success in the future. Include a few specific examples such as, “I will meet with my counselor twice a month to discuss my family situation.”

Students will also need to attach any relevant documentation to substantiate their appeal. Examples might include a doctor’s statement, counselor or advisor statement, copy of hospital/urgent care/physician’s bill, obituary, funeral notice, or death certificate.

Appeals need to be submitted in writing with the Letter of Appeal Form and addressed to the Director of Financial Aid at least 30 days before the semester in which the student is seeking financial assistance. The student will be notified in writing of the decision within two weeks from the date the appeal is received. The appeal decision is final.

A student who has a successful appeal with eligibility for Title IV aid reinstated will be placed on Financial Aid Probation or Academic Plan for the next semester. If after the probation period satisfactory academic progress standards are not met, the student will no longer be eligible to receive federal financial assistance.


A student who is denied financial aid due to the lack of satisfactory academic progress can have eligibility reinstated once he/she is in good standing with all of the requirements. A student may reestablish eligibility for financial aid at any point during the academic year and be given the same consideration for aid as other students maintaining satisfactory academic progress, provided funds are available.


Financial Aid Probation- Financial Aid Probation means a status assigned by an institution to a student who fails to meet satisfactory academic progress and who has appealed and has had eligibility for federal aid reinstated.

Academic Plan-A plan that is created by the SAP Appeals Committee when it is mathematically impossible for a student to meet SAP standards in one semester. The plan is tailored to the individual based on his or her circumstances.