Federal Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements

Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
The standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for federal financial aid is the same as Herkimer College’s academic standards.
Federal regulations require that students receiving financial aid maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward an eligible degree or certificate program. This policy applies to students applying for Title IV financial aid and ensures that only those recipients demonstrating satisfactory academic progress toward completion of their educational programs continue to receive federal financial aid.

Standards of Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress
To ensure student success, Satisfactory Academic Progress is evaluated on a student’s entire academic history regardless of whether they received financial aid. Herkimer College’s Financial Aid Office reviews SAP at the end of each semester; fall, spring and summer. A student’s performance is measured using three (3) components: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Maximum Time Frame.

1. Qualitative Standard (Cumulative GPA) – Qualitative standard refers to the student’s cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA). A student is considered to be in good standing if he or she maintains a minimum GPA at the conclusion of each semester.

Grades for remedial courses are not calculated in the student’s GPA. but will be included in the qualitative assessment of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

Qualitative Progress Measure

Total Credit Hours Attempted

Minimum cumulative GPA

  0 - 11.5


12 - 18.5


19 - 36.5


37 - 54.5


55 or more


2. Quantitative Standard (Pace of Progress) – Quantitative standard refers to successful completion of credits towards the student’s degree or certificate. A student’s academic progress will be measured by comparing the number of attempted credit hours with the credit hours successfully completed (earned). Remedial credits, though they do not apply toward graduation, are included in attempted hours, and if a passing grade is achieved, they are included as earned credits as well. The outcome of this evaluation measures the pace at which a student must progress to complete their program within the maximum time frame to receive federal financial aid.

Quantitative Progress Measure

Total Credit Hours Attempted

% of credits successfully completed

 0 - 11.5


12 - 18.5


19 - 96


   97 or more

Not eligible for federal aid

3. Maximum Time Frame for Completion – Federal regulations require a maximum time frame for completion of a degree or certificate program not to exceed 150% of the normal requirements of that program. For Title IV federal aid purposes only, Herkimer College has defined a maximum number of attempted credit hours* for completion as 150% of the credits required for that particular degree or certificate. All periods of the student’s enrollment count when assessing pace. Transfer credits that count toward the student’s current program must be counted as both attempted and earned hours. For students who change majors, credits and grades that do not count toward the new major will be included in the satisfactory progress determination and maximum time frame calculation.

Example 1:
An associate’s degree that requires 64 credits can be funded up to 96 credits (64 x 150% = 96). Once a student has attempted 96 credits they are no longer eligible for federal financial aid.

Example 2:
A certificate program requires 30 credits and can be federal funded up to 45 credits (30 x 150% = 45). Once a student has attempted 45 credits, they are no longer eligible for federal financial aid.

Maximum Time Frame Appeal Process: A student who has lost his/her financial aid eligibility due to exceeding the maximum time frame may submit a 150% Federal Appeal Form to the Financial Aid Office. Only extenuating circumstances which contributed to the student's inability to complete the program of study will be considered. Examples of extenuating circumstances would be medical concerns, death in the family, fire or other catastrophic events, legal problems or other circumstances beyond their control. Appeal forms are available by contacting the Financial Aid Office. 

Students are required to work with their advisor to develop an academic plan for success toward graduation, and obtain their advisor’s signature on the appeal form before submitting to the Financial Aid Office. Final decisions regarding federal student aid are determined by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee and students will be notified of their financial aid eligibility. At the end of the term, the Financial Aid Office will evaluate if students have met their academic plan for their continuation of aid for the subsequent semester. Students who fail to meet their academic plan may lose federal aid eligibility for the future semester.

A typical student in his/her second semester who attempted 32 credits must have a minimum of 21 credits earned and a minimum 1.50 GPA to meet satisfactory academic progress as indicated on the chart below.

Semester        Credits attempted     Completion %                   Earned credits and/or Min. GPA  

1st                                16                    55%                              9                            1.00        

2nd                                32                    67%                            21                            1.50      

3rd                                48                    67%                            32                            1.75

4th                                64                    67%                            43                            2.00

5th                                80                    67%                            54                            2.00      

6th                                96                    67%                            64                            2.00

Financial Aid Warning
If a financial aid review determines that the student does not meet the requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one semester (fall, spring or summer). Students on Financial Aid Warning are strongly recommended to meet with an advisor from the Advisement Center. They will remain eligible for federal aid for that term but will be notified that they must improve their academic performance to avoid losing their future financial aid. After the Financial Aid Warning semester, the warning status is removed if students successfully meet the SAP requirements. Any student not meeting the Federal SAP requirements at the end of the Financial Aid Warning period will not be eligible for Federal Title IV aid unless they successfully appeal and are placed on Financial Aid Probation.

Financial Aid Probation
Students whose federal financial aid eligibility is reinstated due to approval of an appeal will be awarded federal aid and placed on a status of financial aid probation for one semester. During the probation term, the student will be required to meet either the SAP requirements of the College or the requirements of an academic plan. In some cases the student may require more than one term to meet the SAP standards. It is recommended that the student meets with their academic advisor to develop an academic plan to ensure their academic success within the maximum time frame. The academic plan can be developed that would ensure that the student will be able to meet Herkimer College’s SAP standards by a specific point in time.

The Financial Aid Office will review the student’s progress at the conclusion of the financial aid probation term. If the student is meeting the requirements of their personal academic plan, the student remains eligible to receive Title IV federal financial aid as long as the student continues to meet those requirements and is reviewed according to the requirements specified in the plan. Students on financial aid probation who do not meet either the satisfactory academic progress requirements of Herkimer College or the requirements of the established academic plan in the next subsequent semester of enrollment will become ineligible for federal financial aid.

Reestablishing Aid Eligibility
A student who does not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards after the financial aid warning period or in the past was placed under Financial Aid Probation and did not meet SAP is no longer eligible for Title IV federal aid.
Reinstatement of federal financial aid eligibility may occur in one of three ways:

  1. The student registers at Herkimer College and completes a minimum of six (6) college-level (non-remedial) credits with a 2.5 GPA (“C” grade) or higher in each class during the semester in his or her program of study without the benefit of federal financial aid.
  2. The student attended another college since eligibility was lost and the student successfully earned at least 6 credits. The 6 credit hours must have a 2.0 GPA or higher and the credits must be applicable to their program of study at Herkimer. Students must still submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee to evaluate progress and review official transcripts.
  3. The student submits a successful appeal due to special circumstances that inhibited the student’s academic progress.

Financial Aid Appeal Process
If a student fails to make Satisfactory Academic Progress after the Financial Aid Warning period or was previously placed under financial aid probation, he/she may file a Financial Aid Appeal Form on the basis of: injury, illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstances with appropriate documentation. The appeal must explain why he/she failed to make SAP and what has changed in his/her situation that will allow him/her to make SAP at the next evaluation. Appeals must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office by the due date posted for consideration of reinstatement of aid.  Applications are available by contacting the Financial Aid Office.

Attempted Credit Hours
Attempted credit hours include, but are not limited to, all course work in the student's academic history at Herkimer College, which includes all passed credits, applicable transfer credits, advanced placement credits, repeated classes, incomplete grades, failed grades, remedial classes, and withdrawn classes.

Earned credit hours
Earned credits include all attempted courses for which a passing grade has been received (D- or higher), remedial credits* for which a passing grade is received (“S”), and all applicable transfer credits. Grades listed as "Incomplete" at the time of evaluation will be considered attempted and unearned, but will not affect the grade point average.

*These earned remedial credits are only applicable to assessing federal SAP eligibility.

Incomplete Grades
A letter grade of "I" (incomplete) will count as attempted credits toward a student's pursuit of program. In certain cases, financial aid eligibility and satisfactory academic progress cannot be determined with incomplete grades. These students will not be eligible for financial aid and will be responsible for all college costs incurred until a final grade is determined. It is the student's responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office once a final grade has been submitted. The college policy is incomplete grades must be converted within 45 days of the semester in which it was assigned or it will be converted to an “F” grade.

Repeat Classes
Repeating a course which was previously passed (D- or higher grade) may affect a student's eligibility for financial aid. To be eligible for federal aid, a student may repeat a previously passed course only once for that class to be included as part of the student's enrollment status. However, if a student passed a class once, then received federal aid for retaking it, and fails the second time, the student may not be paid for retaking the class a third time. For state financial aid, repeated passed classes will not be included for determining full-time attendance for state award programs (unless the student is in her/his final semester).

Course Load Requirements
The U.S. Department of Education mandates that courses must be applicable toward the degree, diploma or certificate program in which the student is enrolled. Financial aid may be adjusted or canceled if enrolled courses are not applicable toward their degree program.

Academic Amnesty
The Federal Student Aid Program regulations make no provision for the concept of academic amnesty renewal. A school must always include all courses, whenever taken, in evaluating a student’s satisfactory academic progress. Readmission to Herkimer College after an absence does not automatically mean reinstatement of aid eligibility.