Satisfactory Academic Progress Q&A

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Satisfactory Academic Progress is a standard all students need to meet in order to be eligible to receive Federal, State, and Institutional financial aid. Students must maintain a good GPA and complete enough credits each year in order to move forward towards successfully completing their degree.

How is Satisfactory Academic Progress measured?

Satisfactory Academic Progress has two components: a qualitative measure and a quantitative measure.

Qualitative Measure

The qualitative measure is simply looking at the student’s GPA, as well as the number of credits attempted, to determine if a student is meeting the progress required for their degree. At Westfield, we use the following standard:

Credit Hours Attempted                                   Cumulative GPA 0-23              1.75

24 and more                                                                2.00


If your GPA is below the required cumulative GPA, you are not making Satisfactory Academic Progress and are, therefore, not eligible for financial aid.

Quantitative Measures

The quantitative measure is how we measure whether you are earning enough of the credits that you are enrolling in and receiving aid financial aid for. All students (full-time, part-time, and graduate) must successfully complete at least 67% of all credits attempted during the course of the year. A few things to note about this measure:

  • Courses with grades of W (withdrawn), Incomplete (I), and F (Failure) are counted as credits attempted, but not successfully completed
  • Courses dropped during the add/drop period do not count as credits attempted
  • Transfer credits accepted toward your degree program are counted as credits attempted
  • Repeated courses are counted as credits attempted
  • Courses taken as Pass/Fail count toward credits attempted

We measure this because there is another standard that we must follow: Maximum Timeframe. Students must progress through their academic program in a timely manner, which means a student cannot exceed 150% of the length of the program. For example, if the published length of an academic program is 120 credit hours, the maximum time frame in which to complete the program could not exceed 180 attempted credit hours (120 x 1.5).

Looking at this from another perspective, if you took 30 credits in your first year and only passed 15, you are no longer on track to meet the 150% maximum timeframe and as a result, you are not making progress.

I looked at my record and I am seeing that I earned 67% of my credits

– is it possible there was a mistake?

It is possible there was a mistake, but remember to count your attempted credits (grades of “W” count) then determine the 67% mark.

For example, let’s say you earned 18 credits for the year. If you attempted 30 credits this year, but withdrew from 2 courses, your record may show that you attempted 26 credits. Under that calculation, you would have earned 67% of your credits based on earning 18 credits. However, the calculation would be based on the 30 credits, not the 26.

Why are withdrawn, incomplete, and failing grades counted?

Your financial aid is based on the number of courses you were enrolled in for the year. Since certain financial aid funds (like Pell Grant and Mass Grant) are based on the number of credits you enroll in, Satisfactory Academic Progress is also based on the number of credits you are enrolled in.

I have been told I am no longer making Satisfactory Academic Progress. I am never allowed to receive financial aid again?

No! There are a few options available for you to help regain eligibility.

  1. If you have incomplete courses, you can finish the courses and receive passing grades. You can then notify the Financial Aid Office and we can reevaluate your record to see if you are meeting the standard.
  2. You can transfer in courses from another institution that would allow you to either raise your GPA or meet the maximum timeframe component.
  3. You can appeal your standing and request to be placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress Probation. You must demonstrate that you had extenuating circumstances beyond the normal demands of student life in order to be eligible. If approved, you are placed on Probation for 1 semester and allowed to receive financial aid. If at the end of the probation period you have improved your GPA or earned your credits, you will be able to once again receive aid.