Financial Aid Eligibility and Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Berea College expects all enrolled students to make Satisfactory Academic Progress toward completion of degree requirements. The status of 'Academic Probation' is assigned to a student who is not making sufficient progress but for whom institutional support and student initiative is likely to result in academic improvement. The status of 'Academic Suspension' is assigned to a student who has not demonstrated the capacity or motivation to engage successfully the Academic Program.

The Student Admissions and Academic Standing (SAAS) Committee is responsible for defining the conditions and duration of Academic Probation and Suspension, in keeping with standards adopted by the College Faculty. Making and maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (as specified in the chart that follows) is a condition of continued enrollment and eligibility for Title IV (federal) and state financial-aid programs. (Also see “Academic Difficulty” under Academic Performance Standards.)

Federal regulations that govern Title IV financial-aid programs (e.g. Pell Grants, etc.) and state grants require that Satisfactory Academic Progress be made as outlined in the chart below in order for financial-aid eligibility to be maintained.

Students who fail to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) may lose their eligibility for Title IV federal financial aid. SAP is measured by two components—qualitative and quantitative.




In order to meet qualitative SAP standards, a student must earn the cumulative GPA as indicated in the chart on the Academic Services site.     

Students must complete the total number of course credits per year based on the student’s academic year as listed in this chart.

For financial-aid purposes, a maximum of six (6) academic years will be permitted to complete a baccalaureate program (See Review below.) Courses for which a student receives grades of “F” (Failing) or “W,” “WP,” or “WF” (Withdrawn, Withdrawn Passing, or Withdrawn Failing, respectively) will not be counted as earned courses, but will be counted toward courses attempted. Incomplete courses will not be counted until a grade is assigned. An excessive number of course repetitions will be considered not making SAP. Transfer courses accepted at Berea will be counted toward the total number of courses attempted.  An extension of terms, if approved by the SAAS Committee, will also be considered as meeting SAP if they follow the guidelines below.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be reviewed at the end of each term. Students who do not meet SAP standards will be subject to a probationary period lasting up to one (1) regular term. During this probationary period, students still may receive financial aid. A student who is meeting minimum SAP standards at the end of the first financial aid probationary term will be returned to good standing to receive financial aid. A student who is not meeting minimum SAP standards after one (1) regular term on probation will be placed on financial aid warning, and must submit a written appeal to the SAP coordinator in SFAS.  The SAP Coordinator will be able to approve or deny the appeal based on the extenuating circumstances and a well written appeal outlining steps to regain good standing.  If the appeal is denied and the student remains in school, no federal, state, or institutional funds will be awarded.  If the appeal is approved, the student will again be placed on financial aid probation. 

Due to the College's eight-term limit, appeals for enrollment beyond eight regular terms will be reviewed through the Student Admissions and Academic Standing (SAAS) Committee and, if approved for an extension of terms, will be considered in good standing for SAP as long as the student follows the curriculum plan (or its equivalent), receives the required GPA as outlined on the SAP chart and will be able to graduate on time.  Students who are participating in any of the Study Abroad Programs will not be reviewed for SAP until their transcripts are received from their programs.


Students who lose their Title IV financial aid eligibility due to failure to maintain SAP have an opportunity to appeal. Written appeals must include both an explanation of the circumstances that kept the student from making SAP for the designated period and a plan of action for improvement and be sent to the Student Financial Aid Services SAP Coordinator. Appeals will be due within 14 days of notification of failing to meet SAP. A review of the appeal and decision will occur within 14 days of receipt of the appeal. If an appeal is denied, interest-bearing college loans may be available to help cover any grant aid lost. Information on refunds may be obtained from the Student Financial Aid Services office.

Reinstatement of Title IV Aid Eligibility

Students will be considered in good standing in regard to financial aid eligibility when they again meet the minimum SAP standards as listed in the SAP Chart or receive approval of a submitted appeal. Sitting out for any length of time does not affect a student’s SAP standing. Students who re-enroll after a period of absence are required to submit an appeal when they return in order to determine financial-aid eligibility. (See “Academic Standing and Reinstatement to Good Standing” in the Enrollment and Registration section of this publication for more information.)

Drug Violations Penalties and Financial Aid Eligibility

Under Section 485 and 484r of the Higher Education Act, students become ineligible for federal student aid upon conviction during any period of enrollment of any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs. Federal aid includes Federal Pell Grants, Federal Work Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans.

Penalties for Drug Convictions

Ineligibility period for possession of illegal drugs (controlled substance):

  • First offense: One year from the date of conviction
  • Second offense: Two years from the date of conviction
  • Third offense: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
Ineligibility period for sale of illegal drugs (controlled substance):
  • First offense: Two years from date of conviction
  • Second offense: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction

Regaining Eligibility

Upon successful completion of a drug rehabilitation program, aid eligibility can be reinstated as of the day the student completes the program successfully. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Student Financial Aid Services that they have completed successfully the rehabilitation program.

To be sufficient to reinstate financial aid eligibility, the program must:

  • Include at least two unannounced drug tests; and
  • be recognized as a Federal, State, or local government agency program

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA questions if the student has ever been convicted of a drug-related offense. Failure to answer the question automatically will disqualify the student from receiving Federal aid. Answering this question falsely, if discovered, could result in fines up to $20,000, imprisonment, or both.  Further guidance will be submitted on the FAFSA if the student checks that they have been convicted of any drug related crimes.