Financial Aid Eligibility and Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require all students who receive any federal financial assistance make measurable academic progress toward a degree. Progress is determined quantitatively (hours attempted versus hours earned and time frame) and qualitatively (GPA). Students must maintain satisfactory progress in all three areas in order to received Federal Financial Aid. Progress is monitored at the conclusion of each payment period (Fall Term, Spring Term, and Summer Term).

Berea College expects all enrolled students to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward completion of degree requirements.  Further, students are responsible for understanding the SAP and graduation requirements and to monitor their academic standing to ensure compliance with these policies. Students who fail to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will lose their eligibility for Title IV federal financial aid. These are financial aid standards and do not replace or override Berea College academic policies.


A minimum standard for full-time enrollment is 3 credits per semester. A minimum standard for part-time enrollment (at least half-time) is 1.5 credits per semester.


The maximum time frame in which a student must complete his or her degree cannot exceed more than 150% of the published length of the student’s major. All majors at Berea require a minimum of 32 credits to complete the degree but must be completed in six (6) academic years for financial aid purposes. Berea College students can, therefore, attempt up to 48 credits and still be eligible for aid. Once 48 credits are exceeded, eligibility for federal aid would be suspended.  All repeated courses, failed courses, withdrawals, and transferred hours will count as credits attempted toward the maximum time frame.

In addition, students must earn at least two-thirds or 67% of the credits attempted.

Number of Total Terms Expected Credits Minimum Credits
1 4 earned 3 passed
2 8 earned 6 passed
3 12 earned 9 earned
4 16 earned 13 passed
5 20 earned 18 earned
6 24 earned 22 earned
7 28 earned 26 earned
8+ 32 earned 32 earned


In order to meet qualitative SAP standards, a student must earn the cumulative GPA of 2.0. As indicated below, the only exception to the 2.0 minimum GPA is for the 2nd and 3rd terms of attendance (b if a student is on continued probation).

Number of Total Terms Minimum Cumulative GPA
1 2.00
2 2.00 (1.67b)
3 2.00 (1.85b)


All enrolled students are evaluated for SAP at the end of each payment period after official grades have been posted.  Students who do not meet SAP standards will receive communication from Student Financial Aid Services. Students who fail SAP for an isolated term will be placed in a Financial Aid Warning Status. Warning status allows students to receive aid for one more period of enrollment. Students who fail SAP for two consecutive terms will be placed in a Financial Aid Suspension Status. With a suspension status, students are not eligible to receive financial aid. However, students placed on suspension status may appeal the suspension. Students granted an approved appeal will be placed on Financial Aid Probation Status. Probation status allows students to receive aid for one period of enrollment.


Appeals must be submitted to Student Financial Aid Services in written form. The appeal must speak to the circumstances surrounding the failure to meet the SAP standards of the Berea College this term. The appeal must tell of the plans in place to achieve academic success for the upcoming term and what changes have been made or will be made in order to graduate on time. The appeal must also list the resources students will utilize to support the plan.

Students will be considered in good standing in regard to financial aid eligibility when they again meet the minimum SAP standards 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.

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 said student has successfully completed 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 the box indicating conviction in the case of any drug related crimes.