Satisfactory Academic Progress and Academic Probation

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid Recipients

Standards for satisfactory academic progress (SAP) are used to determine individual students’ eligibility for financial aid. Federal regulations require the College to establish, publish and apply standards for monitoring each student’s progress toward degree completion. Students not meeting these standards are placed on academic probation, which has implications for financial aid. The College of Wooster evaluates student progress at the end of each semester.

Consistent with federal regulations, the College specifies a qualitative and a quantitative standard for determining SAP. Students must meet the minimum thresholds of both standards to meet the SAP standards and to remain eligible for financial aid.

Qualitative Standard (Grade Point Average)

College and federal regulations require a qualitative standard, represented by a student’s grade point average (GPA).

GPA: A student must maintain both a semester GPA and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.

Quantitative Standard (Pace)

College and federal regulations also require a quantitative standard; the quantitative standard measures a student’s pace towards the successful completion of an academic program.

Students must make sufficient progress to graduate within 150% of the time required to graduate in their respective program to remain in good academic standing and eligible for financial aid. At Wooster, assuming consistent full-time status, most programs are designed to be completed in 4 years. Therefore, a student enrolled full-time at Wooster must maintain sufficient progress to graduate in 6-years.

Pace: A student must complete at least 67% of credits attempted, and students cannot attempt more than 48 credits to graduate. A student enrolled as a full-time degree seeking student in a 4-year program must earn credits according to the following pace:

Semester Minimum Number of Credits Earned
1 2.67
2 5.33
3 8.00
4 10.67
5 13.33
6 16.00
7 18.67
9 24.00
10 26.67
11 29.33
12 32.00

Definitions and Terms

The following definitions and terms apply to the qualitative and/or quantitative standards:

  • Courses graded with a letter grade: All credits for courses in which a student receives a letter grade of ‘D’ or better are considered earned.
  • Courses graded using a two-level system: All credits for courses in which a student receives a grade of ‘S’ is considered earned.
  • Courses graded using a four-level system (Senior Independent Study 45200): All credits for courses in which a student receives a grade of ‘S’ or better are considered earned.
  • Any repeated courses in which a student receives a ‘D’ grade or better, or a ‘S’ grade (or better in the case of 45200) are considered attempted and earned. Repeated courses with a letter grade of ‘F’ or ‘NC’ are considered attempted but not earned. Credit for a class will only count as earned one time (even if both grades are ‘D’ or better), and only the grade in the second course will count toward the cumulative GPA.
  • Transfer credits from another institution that are accepted by The College are considered attempted and earned. Transfer credit is not used in the determination of the GPA.
  • Incompletes are not factored into either the qualitative or quantitative SAP formulas until a grade is finalized.
  • Students may withdraw from a class according to The College’s established withdrawal procedures. Withdrawals that are within these procedures are not factored into either the qualitative or quantitative SAP formulas. Such courses are “dropped” from a student’s course schedule. 
  • If a student withdraws from a course after the last day of an official withdrawal period (after 6 weeks of regular classes), the associated credits will be considered attempted. Whether or not the credit is considered earned will depend on the finalized grade, if one is issued. Withdrawals within the first six weeks of classes will not count as attempted or earned.

Financial Standing

A student's need-based financial aid standing follows his or her academic standing as determined by the College's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.  Students who are placed on academic probation by the Committee on Academic Standards will be placed on financial aid warning for the following semester but will remain eligible for federal, state and College need-based student aid. The Financial Aid Office, in coordination with the Dean of Students Office notifies students by e-mail and/or letter that they must re-establish satisfactory academic progress by the end of this following semester in order to maintain their need-based aid awards.  Students who do not re-establish satisfactory academic progress, as determined by the Committee on Academic Standards, by the end of this following semester will lose their need-based financial aid eligibility.


Students who have lost their need-based financial eligibility by failing to maintain satisfactory academic progress may appeal, in writing, to the Committee on Academic Standards through the Dean of Students Office.

The appeal must explain the special circumstances why the student failed to meet satisfactory academic progress standards--illness or injury, for instance, or the death of a close relative--and provide an academic plan showing how the student will re-establish satisfactory academic progress by a pre-determined specific point in time. If the Committee on Academic Standards accepts the student's appeal, the student is placed on financial aid probation and remains eligible for federal, state, and College need-based financial aid during that semester and subsequent semesters if the student meets the requirements specified in the academic plan. If a student wishes to appeal the Committee on Academic Standards' decision on his or her appeal request, the student should submit the appeal, in writing, to either the Dean of Students or Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement.

Re-Establishing Student Aid Eligibility

Students will be considered in good standing in regard to need-based financial aid and non-need based merit award eligibility when they again meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress and good academic standing standards as described in this policy statement, or upon acceptance of their appeal by the Committee on Academic Standards. Withdrawal or hiatus from the College for any period of time will not affect a student's satisfactory academic progress standing. Students who apply for re-admission are required to submit an appeal in order to determine financial-aid eligibility.