Federal regulations require Furman to establish minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress for students who receive and apply for financial aid. Please note that these standards also apply to most Furman scholarships and grants and follow the same evaluation process and timeline. At Furman, satisfactory academic progress is comprised of three standards:
Students receiving federal aid are evaluated at the end of each academic year. Federal aid programs impacted by this criteria include the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Loan, and Federal Direct PLUS.
Our students must meet minimum cumulative GPA standards and attempt a certain number of hours each semester to retain financial aid eligibility. Cumulative attempted hours includes all work completed at Furman, as well as all accepted transfer credits and credits earned in high school through the Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams. However, credits transferred to Furman are not used in computing grade point averages.
Federal regulations require that a student must make steady progress toward the completion of their degree. This pace is calculated by dividing the total cumulative hours earned by the cumulative number of hours attempted. A student must have earned a minimum of 67 percent of all hours attempted after each academic year.
Federal regulations also specify that a student must complete their degree within 150 percent of the published length of the program. At Furman, students are required to earn 128 credit hours to graduate. That means the maximum time frame for a student to receive federal aid is 192 attempted credit hours. There is no appeal process for the maximum time frame regulation.
Furman students who are not making satisfactory academic progress at the end of the academic year will be notified via email that they are not meeting federal standards. These students will not be awarded federal financial aid for the upcoming semester. To appeal, you may write a formal letter of appeal. This letter will earn you consideration for a probationary semester.
Submitting an Appeal
A formal letter, or email from the student explaining any mitigating circumstances and how the circumstances have or will be resolved in order to achieve academic progress must be submitted to the office of financial aid. Mitigating circumstances are considered to be any situations beyond the student’s control that prevent them from successfully completing the required number of hours attempted or earning the required cumulative GPA.
Some examples of mitigating circumstances include student illness, family illness, other family problems, interpersonal problems with other students, problems adjusting to college life, balancing school, employment obligations, and others. A financial aid counselor may determine if other circumstances documented by the student may be considered.
Appeal Decision Process
In most cases, financial aid counselors have the responsibility of reviewing and making a decision regarding an appeal. However, if the counselor can not make a decision, the financial aid appeals committee will meet and make the decision to approve or suspend aid.
If the appeal is approved, the financial aid counselor will award aid only for one semester on a probationary status. The student will be sent an email explaining that if the student fails to make satisfactory academic progress for that semester, financial aid will not be awarded in the future unless an additional appeal is submitted and approved. All instructions will be sent again to the student.
When a subsequent appeal is submitted, the financial aid counselor may approve it and follow the same procedures. However, students who are not meeting satisfactory academic standards for consecutive or multiple terms are likely to be presented to the financial aid appeals committee for review.
If the financial aid appeals committee agrees that the student should be denied aid based on the latest appeal, notification will be sent to student via email, and alternative financing options will be suggested to the student. The student may decide to self-pay or take a leave of absence. However, a student does not regain eligibility for aid by sitting out a semester. Instead, that student will need to make an additional appeal prior to returning to Furman to be considered for eligibility. A student does not automatically regain eligibility for aid if it has been suspended for a semester.