EM118 – Satisfactory Academic Progress



Approval Body: CASA

Effective Date: 02/20/24

Category: Students

Last Review: 08/01/2023

Next Review: 03/17/2026

Contact: Director of Financial Aid

 901.448.7703


Related Policies:

Attendance Policy

Course Add/Drop Policy Withdrawal Policy


The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is required to establish and monitor academic progress standards for students who are Federal Student Aid (FSA) applicants. This policy ensures that any student who receives or applies for financial aid is making progress towards a degree. The student’s total academic history is monitored regardless of whether he/she previously received financial aid. Students can view their Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status on their Banner Self-Service website. Email notifications will be sent out at the beginning of a term to students placed on warning, probation or suspension status.

To be considered administratively capable, aschool must have asatisfactory academic progress policy that is the same as or stricter for an FSA recipient as the school’s standards for a student enrolled in the same educational program who is not receiving FSA funds. All students enrolled at UTHSC are evaluated for SAP at the end of each payment period, regardless of the length of their program.


In order to maintain eligibility for financial aid, a student must meet the Quantitative, Qualitative, and Maximum Timeframe requirements listed below. Failure to meet any one of these requirements may result in the loss of federal student aid. Programs affected by these SAP requirements are:

Federal Work Study, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Direct/Stafford Loans, Federal Grad PLUS Loans, Federal Parent PLUS Loans, Federal Loans for Disadvantaged Students and Federal Loans for Health Professions.

Quantitative Measure

The quantitative measure for SAP requires that a student must successfully complete 67% of enrolled credit hours. This will be measured on a cumulative basis. Example: If the student enrolls for a total of 24 credit hours the first academic year, the student must satisfactorily complete 16 credit hours (24 credit hours x .67 (67%) = 16 credit hours).

Qualitative Measure

The qualitative measure for SAP requires that a student maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average.

During the entirety of a student’s program, the student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 within the degree program in which the student is enrolled and as detailed in the Academic Bulletin. A student’s SAP GPA will be assessed after each payment period.

Maximum Timeframe

An undergraduate student must complete the academic program within 150% of the published credit hour length of the program. Graduate students are considered eligible for financial aid as long as they are meeting the academic requirements set forth by the graduate school to complete their degree.

Treatment of Attempted, Failed, Audited, Incomplete, Pass/Fail, Repeated, Transferred, and Withdrawn Credit Hours

  • Attempted Hours: In keeping with the Registrar’s policy, attempted hours include credit hours the student is in enrolled in as of the end of the 14th day of the term (generally known as the “census date”).
  • Failed credit hours: Included in GPA and attempted but not included in completed credit hours.
  • Incomplete and withdrawn credit hours: Included in attempted but not included in GPA or completed credit hours.
  • Audited credit hours: Not included in attempted, completed, or in a student’s GPA.
  • Transfer credit hours: Included in attempted and completed credit hours but are not included in the GPA.
  • Repeated credit hours: All final grades earned in each repeated course will be averaged into the overall cumulative grade point average. Each repeated course is counted only once in determining credit hours for graduation. Students are allowed to repeat a course twice for a total of three attempts per course unless approved by the Academic Dean. A grade of “W”, “WP”, and “WF” counts as one of the three attempts. Financial aid may only be awarded for one repeat of a previously passed class.

Warning Status

Academic progress will be reviewed following each term to determine if the SAP requirements have been met. The first term the student fails to meet any requirement for SAP, the student will be placed on “Financial Aid Warning” status.

The warning period should be utilized by the student to meet SAP requirements. The student still remains eligible for all Federal funding during a warning status. Email notifications will be sent to students who are placed on a warning status at the start of the next term.

Suspension Status

A student failing to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements by the end of the warning term will be placed on “Financial Aid Suspension” status. A student may not receive any federal funds while in a suspension status.


If special circumstances exist such as the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstance, the student can complete a SAP appealform to request their financial aid be reinstated. Also, as it

relates to maximum timeframe requirement, the following will be considered: concurrent majors, change of majors, change of degree program, and transfer credits that do not apply to degree program. The appeal form is accessible via hardcopy or on the Financial Aid website.

Each SAP appealrequires the student complete an academic plan with their college. The academic plan outlines those quantitative and/or qualitative measures each term that the student is required to obtain. The academic plan remains in place until the student has achieved Satisfactory Academic Progress.

The appeal will be reviewed by an SAP Appeal Committee comprised of UTHSC Faculty and Staff. The appeal will be reviewed within two weeks of submission to the Financial Aid Office. The student will be emailed the decision on the reinstatement of their federal student aid. Until a decision is made by the committee, any future decisions of enrollment by the student should be under the assumption that Federal student aid will not be provided and that payment of tuition will be the obligation of the student. Decisions of the appeals committee can be appealed in writing to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management.

Probation Status

A successful SAP Appeal will result in the student being moved to a “Financial Aid Probation” status. This allows the student to continue to receive Federal student aid for one term or as long as the student is meeting the requirements set forth in their academic plan. The student will be reviewed at the end of their probation term to determine if the student is meeting SAP requirements. If the student is not meeting SAP requirements at the end of the probationary term or is failing to meet the terms of their academic plan, the student will be moved to a “Financial Aid Suspension” status.

Regaining Eligibility

A student who fails to obtain SAP requirements and does not achieve a successful appeal, can regain eligibility for Federal student aid by completing the number of credit hours necessary to achieve the 67% course completion requirement and minimum cumulative grade point average for the student’s degree program as outlined in UTHSC’s catalog. However, this will be at the student’s own expense. When the student has attained the SAP requirements, the Financial Aid Office will notify the student that they are eligible for federal student aid funds.


Effective: June 16, 2015, Committee on Academic and Student Affairs (CASA) Revised: November 6, 2018

Approved: November 6, 2018, CASA

Approved: November 28, 2018, Chancellor

Reviewed/Revised: March 17, 2020, CASA

Approved: March 31, 2020, Chancellor

Reviewed/Revised: August 1, 2023 CASA


Extenuating circumstances are formally defined as:

The U.S. Department of Education allows the UTHSC’s Financial Aid Office limited discretion in making professional judgments based on extenuating circumstances that may affect your family. If your family has experienced extenuating circumstances that would result in a change to the data you provided in your aid application, then you may be able to appeal for a re-evaluation of your aid.

UTHSC is committed to meeting your needs, however, funding is limited and appeals decisions will be based on both the availability of funding and the strength of the appeal.

Examples of Extenuating Circumstances

  • Documented medical/health issues
    • Must be a Physician’s statement or copies of medical records
  • A serious family emergency
    • Must have two letters to verify situation.
    • If medical emergency, need a Physician’s statement or copies of medical records
  • Death of an immediate family member
    • Must provide copy of death certificate or obituary
  • Divorce (may incur additional cost orprevents student from attending classes)
    • Must have a letter from an attorney if divorce is pending,
    • if divorce is final must provide court documents
  • Homelessness
    • Must provide two letters to verify situation
  • Major accident or injury (Self, child, or parent)
    • Must have police report or
    • Documentation from Physician/medical records if injured
  • Work commitments
    • Must have statement from employer on company letterhead
  • Loss of transportation (prevents student from attending classes)
    • If vehicle is being repaired, need estimate or documentation from repair company; if not
    • Must provide two letters to verify situation
  • Long term Jury duty service
    • Must have copy of jury duty notice
  • Legal problems (incarceration)
    • Must have copies of release papers if incarcerated
    • Must have paperwork (on letterhead) if an attorney is involved
    • Must have court documents if court is involved
  • Victim of a crime or unexpected disaster
    • Must have copy of police report or official record of disaster

What Circumstances Are NOT Taken Into Account?

The following are examples of circumstances which are NOT considered to be relevant for the instatement of marks due to failure to meet a deadline:

  • Minor ailments and illnesses on the day of coursework submission such as:
    • colds,
    • coughs,
    • sprains,
    • headache.
  • Personal disruptions or events which could have been anticipated; such as:
    • Holidays,
    • weddings,
    • being a single parent,
    • lack of childcare,
    • repeated transportation issues,
    • changing address or employment,
    • religious holidays or
    • festivals which are usually known in advance.
  • Study-related circumstances; such as:
    • Computer failure,
    • printing problems,
    • unavailability of books,
    • photocopying problems, as these problemsshould be factored into the organization of your work load.

EM118 – Satisfactory Academic Progress
Version: 2 // Effective: 02/20/2024
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