Satisfactory Academic Progress

Quantity & Quality Standards

In order to receive federal student aid (both grants and loans), students must maintain satisfactory academic progress during their college years. Normal progression is defined as maintaining a 2.0 GPA and successfully completing 120 credits in eight full-time semesters. However, situations do arise—illness, family crises, etc.—that can slow a student’s progress. Therefore, a minimum standard has been established in an effort to make allowances for the unforeseen in a student’s life.

This standard considers both the quantity and quality of hours achieved within the academic year. To meet the minimum quantity standard, a student must successfully complete at least 66.7% of the credits he/she has attempted. Credits earned at another institution that are accepted as credits towards a program at Southern Virginia University are counted as both successfully completed and attempted credits. To meet the minimum quality standard, a student must achieve at least a 1.8 cumulative GPA following their first year and second year. However, once junior status (56 credit hours successfully completed) has been achieved, a minimum GPA of 2.0 is required for continued federal aid eligibility.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements

The following tables represent the minimum number of credits and GPA required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress:

Normal Full-time Progression


Normal Full-time Progression

1-4Must earn 66.7% or more of credits attempted1.80

*Note: These tables do not reflect Southern Virginia University’s summer term, which is optional. We strongly encourage students to use the summer terms to gain extra hours and improve their GPA to aid in meeting satisfactory academic progress standards. Students may use hours earned in the summer terms at Southern Virginia University or another institution to meet quantity standards. However, only the GPA earned at Southern Virginia University counts toward the quality requirement.

Evaluation of Student Records

At the end of the academic year, each student’s record will be evaluated for satisfactory academic progress. If a student fails to meet the minimum qualitative or quantitative requirements, he or she will be ineligible to receive federal financial aid during the following academic year unless the student successfully appeals and is willing to comply with and commit to an academic plan.

For a degree program requiring 120 credit hours to graduate, federal financial aid eligibility ends after 180 credit hours are attempted, whether or not those hours have been successfully completed.

If a student retakes a course, only the highest grade will count in the tally for the qualitative requirement, but both courses will count as credit hours attempted and affect the quantitative requirement.

If a student withdraws from a course after the regular add/drop period at the beginning of the term ends, he/she will receive a grade of “W”. That course will count in the total hours attempted for the student’s degree program. If a student withdraws or takes a leave of absence from the university mid-semester and re-enrolls at a later date, those courses from which the student has withdrawn will also count towards time spent on their degree program and be calculated into the total hours attempted.

Any course that is awarded a grade of “I” for being incomplete will be counted towards both the total hours attempted as well as the cumulative GPA of the student.

ESL and remedial courses are included in the evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Changing majors or seeking additional degrees has no impact on the evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Appeal Process

A student has the right to appeal in writing to the Director of Financial Aid as to why the probation or suspension of aid is not justified. In order to appeal aid suspension, a student must submit in writing information regarding why he/she failed to make satisfactory academic progress and what has changed in the student’s situation that would allow him/her to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation. Some of the acceptable situations that warrant an appeal are listed below. Students should identify the specific circumstances that caused the unsatisfactory progress and include all mitigating circumstances they feel should be considered.

Acceptable Reasons for Appeal

  1. Severe illness of the student or member of immediate family member
  2. Death of an immediate family member
  3. Successfully raised GPA at another institution, which did not transfer into Southern Virginia
  4. Mental illness or severe trauma to the student
  5. Family crisis

All letters of appeal need to be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid prior to the start of fall term. The Director of Financial Aid will review appeals on a case-by-case basis. If the appeal is granted, the student will be placed on Aid Probation. If the appeal is denied, the student may be placed on Aid Suspension. All appeals will responded to within fourteen calendar days via email.

Southern Virginia University does not have a financial aid leave of absence policy.

Aid Probation

Aid Probation is defined as a status assigned to a student when he/she fails to make satisfactory academic progress at the end of an evaluation period, has successfully appealed, and has eligibility for aid reinstated. Only one term is allotted as the probationary period, no matter the length of the term (e.g. probationary period could be Summer II term only). During the probationary period, the student will retain eligibility for Title IV federal financial aid as well as need-based institutional aid, not subject to a higher GPA requirement.

At the end of the probationary period, the student must have regained satisfactory academic progress as defined above. If that level of progress has not been achieved, the student will be placed on Aid Suspension unless he/she is successfully following the established academic plan.

Aid Suspension

Aid Suspension is defined as a status assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress at the end of a probationary period and is also not successfully following any established academic plan. A student placed on aid suspension is ineligible to receive any federal financial aid, which includes all federal grants (Pell Grants, SEOG grants, etc) and all federal loans (Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, and PLUS). The student will remain on aid suspension until satisfactory academic progress standards are met.

Students should be aware that private alternative loans and other outside funds are still available to them even while on aid suspension.

Academic Plans

Students that successfully appeal will need to successfully complete an academic plan. This plan may consist of working with the Student Success Team and/or other individuals at the Provost’s discretion. The following may be components of the academic plan.

  1. Meet with the Student Success Team on a regular basis
  2. Meet with appropriate tutor(s) on a regular basis
  3. Meet satisfactory academic progress requirements in a reasonable and acceptable timeframe

Students failing to comply with their academic plan and who do not meet the satisfactory academic progress standards at the end of their probationary period will be placed on aid suspension.

Notifying the Student

While it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to be aware of the standing based on this policy, every effort will be made to advise the student on aid probation or suspension for financial aid purposes. An email will be sent to the current email address on record with the university. The university also will send a letter to the student’s legal home permanent address on file with the university advising the student of his/her failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress, the details of the sanction (probation or suspension), and the details of the appeal process. The university is not responsible for lost, late or misdirected mail whether via the U.S. Postal Service or electronic format.