Satisfactory Academic Progress | Conflict of Interest | R2T4

Satisfactory Academic Progress

In accordance with Federal regulations on Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), the College has established Financial Aid SAP requirements that all students must meet in order to remain eligible for Federal Title IV student aid. Title IV Student Aid Programs include but are not limited to: Pell Grant, SEOG, TEACH grant, Federal Work-Study, and all Federal Direct student loans including the Federal Direct Parent Loan.

Mount Saint Mary College applies the same SAP requirements to all undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of Title IV participation. The GPA minimum of 2.0 for Financial Aid SAP may differ from the GPA requirement required by your major to maintain good academic standing. For information about GPA requirements to maintain good academic standing for your major, view your program requirements in the Undergraduate Catalog or Graduate Catalog.

SAP is divided into two major components: Qualitative (GPA based) and Pace (length of program). By the end of a student’s second year (or 4 academic semesters), a student must have a cumulative GPA of at least a “C” (2.0), and have an academic standing consistent with the College’s requirements for graduation, as found in the college catalog. Financial Aid SAP is reviewed at the end of each academic year.


Student has completed four academic semesters and is at the end of their second year.

The College may, on a case by case basis, determine that a student is making satisfactory academic progress even though a student does not satisfy the requirements above if it is determined that the student’s failure to meet those requirements was based upon:

  1. The death of a relative of the student;
  2. An injury or illness of the student; or
  3. Other special circumstances – Active duty assignment, unsolicited job change, involuntary work schedule or work transfer.

In order to be considered for a Financial Aid SAP appeal, you must file the SAP appeal form found under the Financial Aid main page, under Forms & Instructions. No other format will be accepted. A student must provide appropriate documents from a doctor, hospital, Records Bureau, employer etc., in order to support the request for an appeal. If a student is not making satisfactory progress at the end of the second year; but at the end of a subsequent grading period returns to compliance, the College may classify the student as making satisfactory progress beginning with the next grading period.


Pace refers to the length it takes to complete a program of study. A student must consistently take and successfully complete courses that count toward his degree, and the degree must be earned within 150% of the published length of the program. For a Bachelor’s degree, a student may receive financial aid for a maximum of 180 attempted credits. Undergraduate students seeking a second Bachelor’s degree may receive financial aid for an additional 90 credits. Graduate students are allowed a total of: MBA - 82 credits, MS in Nursing or Education – 67 credits.

Pace is measured by dividing the cumulative number of hours a student has successfully completed by the number of hours the student has attempted. Remedial coursework is excluded from the Pace calculation, but transfer hours accepted by the Mount towards the student’s program are included.

“AW” Grades – Do not affect GPA and will not be counted towards academic progress.

“W” Grades – Grade assigned between 2nd week and third week past mid-semester. “W” grades do not affect GPA; no credit or quality points given. Count towards academic progress as hours attempted.

Incomplete – Students normally have 5 weeks to complete coursework. An Incomplete reverts to an “F” grade if not completed. Count towards academic progress as hours attempted.

Repeat Coursework – are counted towards academic progress and GPA, and a student may repeat a previously passed course once. They may repeat an “F” grade course until it is passed.

Failing to Meet SAP

Financial Aid SAP is evaluated at the end of each academic year. A student who has not achieved the required GPA of 2.0, or who is not successfully completing their educational program at the required pace, is determined to not be meeting Financial Aid SAP and is no longer eligible to receive federal Title IV student aid. 


If a student is determined to not be meeting SAP, they may submit an appeal on the basis of the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances. Students must provide details regarding why SAP was not met, and what has changed in the student's situation that will allow the student to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation, including an academic plan. Application forms and instructions for a Financial Aid SAP appeal are found on the financial aid page of the student portal under Forms and Instructions. No other format will be accepted. Students will be notified of the outcome of appeals via email and/or U.S postal mail.

An appeal may be approved only if the College:

  1. Has determined that the student will be able to meet SAP standards after the subsequent payment period or;
  2. Develops an academic plan that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet SAP by a specific point in time. Failure to maintain progress on an academic plan will result in final loss of Title IV aid. Forms and Verification

Financial aid Probation

Financial Aid (FA) probation is the status that is assigned to a student who fails to make SAP, and who has successfully appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated. A student on FA probation may receive Title IV funds for one payment period. At the end of the payment period, a student must meet FA satisfactory academic progress or the requirements of the individual academic plan to maintain Title IV eligibility. Failure to remain compliant with an individualized plan will mean final loss of financial aid.


Notification of the results of an evaluation that impacts a student’s Title IV eligibility will be sent to students via email and/or U.S. postal mail at the end of the academic year.

Conflict of Interest Policies

The purpose of this policy is to prohibit conflicts of interest in situations involving student financial aid and to establish standards of conduct for employees with responsibility for student financial aid.

This policy applies to all employees who work in the Financial Aid Office and all other College employees who have responsibilities related to educational loans or other forms of student financial aid.


  • Conflict of Interest: A conflict of interest exists when an employee’s financial interests or other opportunities for financial gain compromise or appear to compromise the independence of judgment with which the employee performs his or her duties at the College.
  • Gift: Any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount. The term includes a gift of services, transportation, lodging, or meals, whenever provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred.
  • Revenue Sharing Arrangement: An arrangement between the College and a lender under which a lender provides or issues a loan to a student (or their family) attending the College and the College recommends the lender or the loan products and in exchange, the lender pays a fee or provides other material benefits including revenue or profit sharing to the College or its employees.

College Policy Regarding Educational Loans and Student Financial Aid

  • As required by Federal Regulations, the College participates in the Federal Direct Loan Program.
  • Revenue Sharing Arrangements: The College will not enter into revenue sharing arrangements with any lender.
  • Interaction with the Borrower: Under no circumstances will the College assign a student’s private student loan to a particular lender or refuse to certify or delay certification of any private loan based on the borrower’s selection of a lender or guaranty agency.

Conflicts of Interest
No employee shall have a conflict of interest with respect to any educational loan or other student financial aid for which the employee has responsibility.

No employee may process any transaction related to his/her own personal financial aid eligibility or that of a relative.

Gifts: No employee may accept any gift from a financial aid recipient, his or her family member, a lender, guarantor, or servicer of educational loans. A gift to a family member of any employee or to any other individual based on that individual’s relationship with the employee shall be considered a gift to the employee if the gift is given with the knowledge and the acquiescence of the employee and the employee has reason to believe the gift was given because of the employee’s position at the College.

Prohibited Contracting Arrangements: No employee shall accept from any lender, service provider or affiliate of any lender or service provider any fee, payment or other financial benefit (including the opportunity to purchase stock) as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services.

Advisory Board Compensation: No employee who serves on an advisory board, commission or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group or lenders or guarantors may receive anything of value from the lender, guarantor or group of lenders or guarantors in exchange for providing that service.

Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy

Withdrawal From Classes

Withdrawing from your classes can affect your federal and state aid. Students should know that the effects of withdrawing from the entire semester are different that withdrawing from individual courses while still being enrolled in other courses. If you have any questions about how withdrawing from classes will affect your financial aid, please contact the Office of Financial Aid before withdrawing from classes.

Mount Saint Mary College strictly adheres to federal regulations regarding the return of Title IV federal financial aid per 34 CFR 668.22.

How Withdrawing from All Classes Affects Federal Aid
Students who are considering withdrawing from all of their courses are advised to consult with the Office of Financial Aid before they submit their withdrawal. The Financial Aid Office is required to adjust federal aid in cases when the student has not earned their aid. All types of withdrawals and leaves of absence can impact the student's eligibility for finanical aid in the withdrawn and future semesters. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Voluntary Medical Leave
  • Voluntary Mental Health Leave
  • Involuntary Leave of Absence
  • Withdrawal from Mount Saint Mary College
  • Withdrawal from all courses via the Student Portal
  • Unofficial withdrawal (stop attending and/or never begin attendance)

Return of Federal Funds
Federal regulations require that the Financial Aid Office performs a Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) calculation when a student receiving Title IV financial aid (e.g., Pell, Perkins, SEOG, and Direct Loans) withdraws from college. If a student who received federal financial aid never attends, ceases enrollment, or withdraws from all courses in the semester, the college must determine if these funds are required to be returned to the appropriate financial aid programs within 45 days.

If a student attended 60 percent or less of the semester, the R2T4 calculation may result in a reduction of the student's federal loan(s) and grant(s). The R2T4 calculation is based on the following:

  • The number of days the student attended classes
  • The institutional charges applied
  • The total amount of federal Title IV aid awarded, accepted, and/or disbursed

Based on these factors, the R2T4 calculation will determine if the school and the student are required to return any "unearned" federal aid received.

Unofficial Withdrawal
The Financial Aid Office will work with Office of the Registrar to ascertain official proof regarding the student's last date of attendance (known as the withdrawal date) for the semester and perform the R2T4 calculation to determine the "unearned" federal financial aid that must be returned to the designated program(s). The student will be notified by email and/or U.S. postal mail regarding the results of the R2T4 calculation.

Academic Withdrawal
Any withdrawal, regardless of the reason (medical, mental health, etc.), may affect your financial aid. All students who withdraw from college and received federal Title IV financial aid funding (e.g., Pell Grant, Direct Loans, etc.) will have an R2T4 calculation applied to their federal aid. The calculation will determine:

  1. The amount of financial aid the student has "earned" and is eligible to keep
  2. The amount of "unearned financial aid" that must be returned

The R2T4 calculation will be based on the date that the Registrar's Office receives the official Withdrawal from MSMC form on 

How the R2T4 Calculation is Applied to Your Federal Aid
The R2T4 calculation is used to determine the percentage of the semester the student completed. The percentage of Title IV grant or loan assistance that has been earned by the student is equal to the percentage of the period of enrollment that the student has completed. This percentage is applied to the student's total federal Title IV aid to calculate the amount of aid that the student has earned and may keep. The remaining portion of the student's total Title IV grant or loan assistance is determind to be "unearned financial aid." Unearned financial aid must be returned.

The unearned amount of Title IV assistance to be returned is calculated by subtracting the amount of Title IV funds earned by the student from the amount of Title IV aid that was disbursed (or could have been disbursed) to the student as of the student’s date of withdrawal:

  Total Federal Aid (Title IV) Disbursed/disbursable
- (subtract) Earned Title IV Federal Aid                                             
Unearned Title IV Grant and Loan Assistance to be Returned

If the R2T4 calculation determines that Mount Saint Mary College is required to return any unearned aid, federal awards will be reduced or canceled and removed from the student’s account.  These unearned funds will be returned to the U.S. Department of Education.

This return of unearned funds may result in a balance due on the student’s account.  When this occurs, the student is responsible for repaying Mount Saint Mary College the unearned portion of the returned Title IV funds.Students will receive a notification of the result of their R2T4 calculation and an updated student bill via email and/or U.S. postal mail. 

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement
A post-withdrawal disbursement of federal Title IV aid occurs when the amount of federal aid earned by the student is greater than the amount of the federal aid disbursed for the semester. A student eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement will receive written notification from the college. Students receive a notification via email and/or U.S postal mail that they have the right to accept or decline, some, or all, of the post-withdrawal disbursement that is being offered.

R2T4 Distribution of Financial Aid Refund
Refunds returned to the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of the student are distributed among the financial aid programs in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  3. Federal Direct PLUS received on behalf of the student
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Students will receive written and electronic notifications indicating the type and amount of aid returned to the U.S. Department of Education.

Impact to Future Semester(s)
Withdrawing from the entire semester affects the student’s academic pace. Pace is the percentage of courses successfully completed out of all those attempted.  Since a Withdrawal is considered an unsuccessful attempt, this will negatively impact a student's pace.  As a result, students could be placed on Financial Aid Warning or become ineligible for aid in the next semester.  Review the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for details about how pace affects your eligibility for Federal Title IV student aid.

Withdrawal from some courses & your federal aid

Impact to Current Semester
When a student withdraws from some, but not all classes, eligibility for federal grants will be adjusted to reflect the new enrollment status even if the grant has already been disbursed, unless it occurs after they have incurred full tuition liability, i.e. after the add/drop period. Eligibility for federal loans is not affected in the current semester as long as the student is still enrolled at least half-time when the loan funds are disbursed. If a student waits until after the semester has started to apply for aid, their eligibility will be based on the enrollment status at the time of application or, if eligible for prior terms, based on the number of credits completed.

Students who are not enrolled in a minimum of half-time (6 credits) for six months may be required to enter into repayment of their Federal Direct loans.  Students are advised to review their federal loan history by logging into The student profile will provide personalized information such as your federal student loan balance, disbursement dates, contact information, and your federal loan servicer(s).

Withdrawal from some courses & your new york state tap award

Current Semester Impact
To receive TAP a student must incur full tuition liability for a semester. This means that a student must be enrolled full-time through the end of the add/drop period. Students who drop below full-time before the end of the add/drop period may have a reduced TAP award.  

Impact to Future Semester
Eligibility for TAP in a subsequent semester also is contingent on how many credits were completed in the prior semester. Therefore, withdrawing from a single course or the entire semester could result in the student ineligibility for TAP the following semester. Refer to the New York State Programs section of the Student Handbook for details about TAP eligibility requirements. 

Tuition Appeals
Students who withdraw from classes may request that the corresponding tuition charges be removed.  Such requests are reviewed by Mount Saint Mary College’s Academic Standards Committee and are only granted in cases of exceptional circumstances.  If the appeal is approved the student may have to return financial aid that they received for the semester.  Information about the process and how to apply can be found at the  Academic Standards Submission Portlet on

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