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Iowa State University

2009-2011 Courses and Programs

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Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients

In order to remain eligible to receive financial aid from the student aid programs listed below, a student must meet both quantitative and qualitative academic standards as described within this policy. These standards are minimum expectations; specific aid programs may require a higher level of progress. A student not in compliance will be unable to receive aid from these programs until the deficiency has been corrected. Progress toward a degree will be reviewed each term and enforced at intervals no longer than one year. The programs affected by this policy are:

Federal, state, and institutional grants
Federal student and parent loans
Some private student loans

1. The qualitative academic standard for undergraduate students is to maintain a cumulative grade point average of a 2.0 or higher.

2. The quantitative academic standard for full-time undergraduate students is described below:
a. Duration of eligibility. Students may receive federal, state, and institutional aid for a maximum of six academic years or twelve semesters. Students who have not accumulated sufficient credit hours at the end of this time period to complete their course of study will not be eligible to continue to receive financial aid.
b. Annual credit hours to be earned. An undergraduate student who receives financial aid from one or more of the programs cited above must complete credit at a rate at least equal to the scale below, where the numbers in the top row indicate academic years completed, and those in the bottom row indicate credit hours required:

1 2 3 4 5 6
15 30 51 72 96 120

3. The quantitative academic standard for all part-time students is as follows:

a. The duration of eligibility for part-time students is the same as above, but adjusted by the rate of attendance. For example, a student with a maximum duration of six years who is attending school half-time would have the duration of eligibility adjusted to twelve years.
b. Part-time students who are otherwise eligible for financial aid must maintain the academic standards or rate of completion as stated above, adjusted by the number of hours attempted at the time the financial aid was disbursed.

9 to 11 credit hours = 3/4 time
6 to 8 credit hours = 1/2 time

4. Regaining eligibility. If a student is denied financial aid because of failure to comply with the above standards, the additionally required credit must be earned at the student’s own expense at Iowa State University, or the student must transfer sufficient hours taken at another institution to make up the deficiency.

5. Transfer students. A student transferring to Iowa State University for the first time will be treated as a first-term student and will not be held responsible for previous terms or credit hours taken at former institutions. If a student attends Iowa State University, transfers to another institution, and then transfers back to Iowa State, the credits earned at the other institution will be added to the student’s total earned credit hours.

6. Noncredit courses. Noncredit courses may be converted to credit hours by translating weekly contact hours as defined by the Office of the Registrar.

7. Appeals. Students ineligible for financial aid as a result of this policy, or ineligible for any other reason, may appeal this decision by submitting in writing extenuating circumstances beyond their control that affected their progress to the Office of Student Financial Aid. Forms for this purpose are available on the Student Financial Aid web site at

The appeal must be signed by the student’s academic adviser. If this appeal is denied, a further appeal may be made to a committee composed of the chair of the University Financial Aid Committee, the chair of the University Academic Advising Committee, and the director of Student Financial Aid. Appeals of other financial aid decisions, including loss of athletic grants-in-aid, shall also follow this procedure.

8. General Information and Definitions

a. Incompletes, repeated courses, withdrawals. A student who receives an Incomplete, repeats a course, or withdraws may continue to receive financial aid upon reentering the university as long as the student completes the required credit hours for each academic school year and maintains the minimum grade point average standards. However, the duration of eligibility will not be extended for a student who withdraws or repeats a course. (See the section Duration of Eligibility.)

b. Exceptions to the policy.

(1) Veterinary Medicine students. For those students enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine, eligibility will be based on the academic criteria of the college.
(2) All other Graduate students. For academic standing and time-to-degree standards please see the Graduate College Handbook.

c. Academic school year. This includes the summer session and regular semesters within any 12-month period. Credits earned during the summer session will be included when totaling credit hours earned each academic year.

d. Changes in program of study. The duration of eligibility will not be extended for a student who changes from one program of study to another. (See Duration of Eligibility, in the section, Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients.)

These academic progress criteria are defined in minimal terms. If the student earns only the minimum credit hours for financial aid eligibility, the student’s total eligibility for particular programs may be exhausted prior to degree completion. (See the Duration of Eligibility and credit hour earning scale.) In addition, the student’s college or department may require more credit hours than required by this policy.