Satisfactory academic progress policy 2016-17

All students receiving Federal Title IV financial aid, Georgia state financial aid or SCAD grant aid benefits must adhere to SCAD policy on satisfactory academic progress. The Higher Education Act, as amended by the U.S. Congress, mandates that higher education institutions establish minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress for students receiving financial aid.


  1. Full-time and part-time students must receive a passing grade in at least 67 percent of all credit hours attempted. 
  2. Undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0-point scale. 
  3. Graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0-point scale.
  4. Course repeats count as attempted credit hours and as earned or unearned credit hours depending on the grade received. The repeat course grades count in the cumulative GPA. The first course attempt is not included in the cumulative GPA if the student repeats the course.
  5. All transfer credit hours accepted by SCAD count as both attempted and earned credit hours and do not impact the cumulative GPA. 
  6. Course withdrawal grades count as attempted credit hours but not as earned credit hours and do not impact the cumulative GPA.
  7. Students must complete degree requirements within a maximum time frame of 150 percent of the required credit hours for the program by the following standard:
Degree Hours required Maximum hours attempted
B.A., B.F.A. 180 270
M.A. 45 67
M.F.A., M.U.D., M.Arch.* 90 135

*Based on the catalog of entry, M.Arch. students enrolled in a 45-hour program, which has a limit of 67 maximum hours attempted, should contact their graduate adviser for clarification of the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.


Evaluation points

  1. Degree-seeking students in a program longer than one year are evaluated annually.
  2. Students enrolled in a degree program of one year or less are evaluated at the end of each quarter. 
  3. The same review standards and sanctions, including financial aid probation and assignment of an academic plan, apply to all students, regardless of whether they are reviewed quarterly or annually.
  4. SCAD does not utilize financial aid warnings for students who are evaluated at the end of each quarter. Students who are evaluated at the end of the quarter become ineligible for financial aid if they do not meet the minimum standards.  

The process
After completion of the academic year, usually at the end of spring quarter or at the end of the quarter for students in one-year programs, a review is conducted of all students receiving Federal Title IV financial aid, Georgia state financial aid, SCAD grant aid or Veterans Affairs benefits. Failure to achieve the required pass rate or cumulative GPA, or reaching the maximum time frame as described in the policy, results in the student becoming ineligible for all forms of financial aid discussed in this policy. Students are notified in writing of their failure to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards and their loss of financial aid eligibility. 

Financial aid eligibility may be reinstated after the student successfully makes up the deficiency on a subsequent evaluation or successfully appeals the loss of eligibility on the basis of extenuating circumstances.

If, during the period of ineligibility, a student takes required coursework at another institution to improve their pass rate percentage, the transient student policy applies. Any approved transient credit is evaluated and applied to the student’s academic transcript as transfer credit. A cumulative GPA deficiency may only be improved by successfully completing courses at SCAD using other funding resources. Students may only be reinstated after meeting the minimum standards at a regularly scheduled evaluation point.  

Financial aid appeals
Students with extenuating circumstances such as illness, injury or death in the family may appeal in writing for reinstatement of their financial aid. As a general rule, SCAD does not approve appeals for lack of college preparedness, immaturity or similar circumstance. 

Appeals are also considered for students who exceed the maximum time frame for academic reasons, such as program changes or double majoring.

Appeals should be submitted by email to using the Unsatisfactory Progress Appeal form. The appeal must be submitted in a timely fashion and provide appropriate supporting documentation for the extenuating circumstance. Appeals must address the reason why satisfactory progress was not attained and must also describe how the problem has been corrected. The financial aid office provides an appeal decision in writing to the student. All appeal decisions are final.

Students with an approved appeal are placed on financial aid probation for a period of one quarter. The student must meet the satisfactory academic progress standards at the end of the probationary quarter to continue receiving financial aid. Failure to meet satisfactory academic progress standards at the end of the probationary quarter results in the student becoming ineligible for additional financial aid. Students may not be on probation status for two consecutive quarters and an appeal can only be approved for one quarter during a student’s enrollment at SCAD. 

Academic plan
If it is determined during the appeal process that a student needs longer than the probationary quarter to meet minimum standards, the student is placed on an academic plan. Financial aid administrators consult with academic advisers to develop academic plans that ensure standards are met in a reasonable amount of time and promote student success. The academic plan prescribes the number of credit hours and grades required at each evaluation point.

Students on an academic plan are evaluated based on the requirements of the plan at the end of the probationary quarter, or the first quarter of the academic plan, and then as defined by the academic plan for subsequent evaluations. If a student does not meet the minimum standards set forth in the academic plan, the student becomes ineligible for financial aid and is not allowed to appeal.