Financial Aid
Receiving Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress

  • Students receiving financial aid must: 

    1. Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) and
    2. Complete their degrees within the maximum time frame allowed and
    3. Maintain progress toward their degrees at a minimum cumulative pace.

    These requirements apply to a student’s entire period of attendance at Seattle University, and in some instances may include enrollment at other institutions before transferring to Seattle University, even though the student may not have received financial aid for all the terms in which they were enrolled.

    It is important for financial aid recipients to understand that satisfactory academic progress requirements and enrollment standards for financial aid purposes may not be the same as those for academic purposes. It is possible to be making satisfactory academic progress for academic purposes while at the same time not making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes. Therefore, it is important that students contact Student Financial Services to talk with a counselor when considering reducing the number of credits for which they are enrolled.

    Satisfactory academic progress for eligibility to receive federal and institutional aid is reviewed at the end of each spring quarter. For state aid, progress is reviewed at the end of each quarter of enrollment for which state aid is received. While students will be notified via email if they have not maintained satisfactory academic progress, it is their responsibility to monitor their own progress.

    Financial aid will be suspended for students who do not make satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes as outlined briefly above and explained in detail below. That suspension may be appealed as explained in the Appeals section below.

    Grade Point Average (GPA)

    Federal regulations require that students maintain GPAs that are consistent with successful completion of their program:

    Undergraduate students

    Undergraduate students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 or the minimum cumulative GPA required by their program, whichever is higher.

    Graduate students

    Graduate students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 or the minimum cumulative GPA required by their program, whichever is higher.

    Maximum Time Frame

    Federal regulations require that the institution establish the standard length of time that students can receive aid while pursuing a degree. This requirement is called the “maximum time frame” for aid eligibility and, for undergraduate students, includes all applicable credits earned from all institutions attended since high school.

    Undergraduate students

    For its undergraduate students, Seattle University has established a maximum time frame for the receipt of financial aid as the earlier of:

    • Attempting 125% of the minimum number of credits required for a student's degree, or
    • Completing all courses required to earn a degree, regardless of whether or not the student chooses to receive a diploma at that point. For instance, even though the student’s intent is to earn two degrees, eligibility for financial aid ends when the coursework necessary to receive one of those degrees has been completed.

    For undergraduate students, the maximum period of eligibility for federal, state and institutional aid is calculated as follows: 

    • Federal aid:  125% of the published number of credits required to earn the student's degree.
    • State Aid:  Washington State Need Grant eligibility is limited to
      • 15 full-time quarters or equivalent enrollment at less than full-time, not to exceed
      • 125% of the published number of credits required to earn the student's degree. 
    • Institutional gift aid is awarded to eligible, full-time undergraduates for the number of quarters needed to complete program requirements based on the student’s classification upon admission:
      • Four years (12 quarters) for undergraduate students who are classified as freshmen (0-44 credits completed) upon admission.
      • Three years (9 quarters) for undergraduate students who are classified by the Registrar's Office as sophomores (45 to 89 credits) upon admission.
      • Two years (6 quarters) for undergraduate students who are classified by the registrar's office as juniors (90 to 134 credits) upon admission.
      • One year (3 quarters) for undergraduate students who are classified by the Registrar's Office as seniors (135 or more credits) upon admission.

    This policy applies to all institutional aid including grants and scholarships. Institutional aid is not available for extending a program to complete more than one major, minor or degree. To complete the undergraduate program within the institutional funding period, students are encouraged to enroll for 15 credits per quarter.

    Graduate Students

    For graduate students, the maximum time frame of eligibility to receive federal financial aid is 6 years (24 quarters) as long as the minimum, cumulative GPA and pace requirements continue to be met.

    Pace

    Pace measures progress toward a student’s degree within the maximum time frame and is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credits the student has completed by the cumulative number of credits the student has attempted at the end of any review period.

    Seattle University has established the minimum acceptable cumulative pace to be 80%.  Pace considerations: 

    • For students with transfer credits, all accepted credits count as both attempted and completed for the purpose of evaluating pace.
    • A passing grade includes A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, CR and P. A passing grade for financial aid considerations may not allow progression in the major and may not be accepted to fulfill a degree requirement.
    • Incomplete (I’s), suspended (N’s), in progress (IP’s), missing grades (M’s), withdrawals (W’s), hardship withdrawals (HW’s) and failed classes (F’s) count as attempted credits but not completed credits.
      • At the time incomplete, no grade, and missing grades are converted to a passing grade, they are considered in the calculation as completed credits.
      • If a class is repeated, successfully completed credits count only once; but each enrollment will count as credits attempted. Additionally:
        • Students who repeat a class they have previously failed may receive financial aid for each time the class is repeated until they receive a passing grade.
        • Students may only receive financial aid for one re-take of a class for which they’ve previously received a passing grade.
    • Coursework that may not apply to the degree, such as Culture and Language Bridge courses, will be counted toward the qualitative (GPA) component of satisfactory progress, although will not be included in the cumulative GPA on the student’s transcript. This coursework will not be counted toward satisfactory academic progress’s pace quantitative component.
    • Audit grades (Y’s) and audit withdrawal grades (YW) have no impact on pace as they are not included in either attempted or earned credits.
    • Credits earned by means other than by completing a college level course at another institution do not count as either attempted or completed credits.

    Students must complete the minimum number of credits based on:

    • The higher of their actual enrollment status (full-time, three-quarter-time, half-time or less than half-time) or
    • The enrollment status for which they received financial aid, as noted on the "Enrollment Status" line of their award letter. 

    For example, if a student receives aid for initial enrollment of half-time (6-8 credits at the undergraduate level) but adds credits later in the term resulting in full-time enrollment, progress will be evaluated based on that full-time enrollment.

    Enrollment Status

    Enrollment status is defined as: 

    Enrollment Status Undergraduate Students Graduate Students
    Full-time 12 credits minimum;
    15 credits strongly recommended
    6 credits per quarter
    Three-quarter-time 9 credits per quarter 4 or 5 credits per quarter
    Half-time 6 credits per quarter 3 credits per quarter
    Less Than Half-time The # of credits for which you enroll The # of credits for which you enroll

    Less than full time enrollment

    To be eligible for financial aid for less than full-time enrollment, federal, state and/or institutional aid may require proration based on the reduced enrollment level which may, in turn, result in a reduction in the financial aid.

    Institutional Aid

    Institutional aid includes aid awarded through Student Financial Services and other offices at Seattle University which originates from the institution's general fund, departmental funds, the financial aid budget, gifts to the university, and endowed scholarship funds.

    Considerations for receiving institutional aid:

    • Students must maintain full-time enrollment fall, winter and spring terms to receive their institutional aid.
    • Institutional aid will be pro-rated, rather than withdrawn, if a student isn’t required to enroll full-time in their final quarter in order to complete their degree requirements.
    • Institutional aid is not available during summer term.

    Additional Requirements for Specific Institutional Scholarships

    All institutional gift aid is limited to the student’s class standing when they are admitted to Seattle University as outlined above in the “Maximum Time Frame” section.

    All scholarship recipients must maintain a minimum cumulative pace of 80% as outlined above in the “Pace” section.

    It may be possible for students who have met the maximum time frame and pace requirements, but who did not maintain the required cumulative GPA (see specifics below), to improve their GPA by taking classes in the summer (without aid). For more information about this option, students should contact Student Financial Services to talk with a counselor.

    In addition to the named scholarships below, there are other institutional scholarships which come with specific requirements. Those requirements are disclosed in the offer letter associated with those scholarships.

    3.0 Minimum Cumulative GPA Required for Certain Institutional Scholarship Recipients

    Students who received a Sullivan Leadership Award or a Presidential, Trustee, Campion, Messina, Xavier, Bannan or Honors Scholarship when entering Seattle University must meet all the standard satisfactory academic progress requirements outlined above and maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) requirement of at least 3.0. Failure to meet this standard for the Sullivan Leadership Award, Bannan or Honors Scholarship at the spring review may result in suspension of these awards.

    Failure to meet this standard for the other scholarships listed in the paragraph above will result in a year of scholarship probation. Failure to meet the 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA requirement by the end of the probation year will result in the replacement of the scholarship by the next lower scholarship (if minimum GPA requirements are met for that level scholarship) in the year in which the student entered. For recipients of the lowest scholarship, failure to meet the minimum GPA requirement in the probation year will result in a fifty percent reduction of that scholarship for subsequent years.

    Additional State-Specific Requirements

    Washington Financial Aid Programs

    The progress of Washington State Need Grant and/or Washington State Work Study recipients is monitored at the end of each quarter:

    • Failure to complete at least 50% of the credits attempted in a quarter will result in the cancellation of a student’s subsequent eligibility.
    • Students who complete at least 50%, but not all of the credits they attempt for a quarter, will be placed on state aid probation.
      • Receipt of state aid while on state aid probation is only permitted for two consecutive quarters.
      • If eligibility for state aid is suspended, but a student had special circumstances that prevented satisfactory progress, such as a serious illness or injury or a death in the family, the student may submit an appeal to request continued state eligibility.
      • There is no appeal of the maximum number of quarters for which a student may receive State Need Grant funding as described in the “Maximum Time Frame” section above.

    Alaska State Loan Borrowers

    • Undergraduates:  Alaska State Loan borrowers must enroll for at least 12 credits per quarter and achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.
    • Graduate Students:Alaska State Loan borrowers, must enroll for a minimum of 6 credits per quarter and achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

    Appeals for reinstatement of Alaska loan eligibility are made to the Alaska Student Loan Commission.

    Appeals

    Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes is reviewed annually at the end of spring quarter. Student Financial Services notifies students via their Seattle University email account if it appears that they have not made satisfactory academic progress. Students who failed to make satisfactory progress due to unanticipated circumstances beyond their control that prevented regular progress, such as illness or injury, a serious illness or death in the student’s family, may appeal to have their aid reinstated. Students begin the appeal process by contacting a Student Financial Services Counselor by phone at 206-220-8020, by email at financialservices@seattleu.edu or by coming to the Student Financial Services Office in the University Services Building, Room 105 to see a counselor during that office’s walk-in appointment hours which are posted on the Student Financial Services web site: www.seattleu.edu/sfs. Counselors work with students to determine the best course of action based on each student’s specific circumstances.

    If the student and counselor determine that submitting an appeal is the best next step, the student will be given a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form on which to provide the following information:

    • An explanation of the special circumstances that prevented the student from meeting satisfactory academic progress requirements for financial aid and  
    • What has changed in the student’s situation that will allow them to regain satisfactory academic progress in the future and  
    • Any supplemental documentation that supports the student’s case. In the case of maximum time frame, students must provide an academic plan as described in the next paragraph.

    Because eligibility to receive financial aid is suspended pending the outcome of an appeal and the appeal process can take a few weeks to complete, it is important to contact a Student Financial Services Counselor just as soon as possible to begin the process. This is particularly important if you want to receive financial aid for a summer session.

    The Student Financial Services Counselor will review the student’s appeal and make one of the following determinations:

    If likely that you will be able to resume progress

    If it appears possible and likely that you will be able to resume progress within the next quarter: 

    • The student will be placed on probation for that quarter,
    • The student’s progress will be monitored at the end of that quarter,
      • If the student is successful, the probationary status will be lifted and the student will again be considered to be making satisfactory progress
      • If the student is not successful, eligibility will again be suspended and the student will again have the right to appeal that suspension
    • Each appeal will be considered on its own merit. However, while there is no limit to the number of appeals a student may submit, repeat appeals must generally be for reasons different than those of previous appeal to be approved and will take longer to process because they will be reviewed by a committee of Student Financial Services Counselors.

    If it appears unlikely that the student will be able to resume progress within the next quarter and/or the request is that eligibility to receive institutional gift aid be extended, the student will be required to work with an academic advisor to develop an academic plan that, when followed, will

    • Set the requirements the student will be required to meet to ensure that they are able to meet the institution’s satisfactory academic progress standards by a designated point within the maximum time frame, or
    • Indicate the courses required for completion of the student’s degree in support of their request that their eligibility to receive institutional aid be extended.
      • The plan will designate, quarter-by-quarter, the courses, number of credits of enrollment and GPA that must be earned in order to regain progress.
      • The student’s progress will be monitored each quarter.
        • If the student successfully follows the academic plan, they will continue to be eligible to receive financial aid for the following quarter.
        • If the student is not able to successfully follow the academic plan, their eligibility to receive financial aid will be suspended and the student will again have the right to appeal that suspension.

    Each appeal will be considered on its own merit. However, while there is no limit to the number of appeals a student may submit, repeat appeals must generally be for reasons different than those of previous appeal to be approved and will take longer to process because they will be reviewed by a committee of Student Financial Services Counselors.

    Readmitted students who were not making satisfactory academic progress as financial aid recipients when they left Seattle University must resolve that deficiency under the policy in place when they re-enter. Readmitted students should make an appointment with a Student Financial Services Counselor who will make a determination about how the student needs to proceed using the options outlined above for continuing students.

    If the student’s appeal is denied, they will be notified of that decision via their Seattle University email address. A student may appeal that decision by sending an email or letter to the Director of Student Financial Services, explaining in as much detail as possible why they’re asking that the decision be reversed.

    Regaining Eligibility to Receive Financial Aid

    If a student’s aid eligibility is suspended due to failure to make satisfactory academic progress, they may be able to regain eligibility by pursuing their education without the benefit of financial assistance from Seattle University. This may involve taking additional classes at Seattle University to raise their cumulative GPA to an acceptable level, or taking credits at Seattle University or another institution to regain “pace.” Please note that taking credits from another institution will require official transcripts and evaluation of transfer credit, and sometimes an application for readmission, before eligibility can be restored.

    Because regaining eligibility is generally difficult to do, Student Financial Services highly recommends that students meet with a Student Financial Services Counselor to ensure that they understand what is required to regain eligibility. When a student believes they have regained satisfactory progress and are again eligible to receive financial aid at Seattle University, they must submit a request to the Student Financial Services office to confirm that they have regained eligibility. If additional courses were taken, that request must be submitted after the student’s courses have been evaluated and posted to their Seattle University transcript by the Office of the Registrar.