Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy - Undergraduate Students

Arcadia University is required by federal regulation to monitor student progression toward completion of his/her degree. This Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard includes both a quantitative and qualitative measure of progress. The quantitative measure states that a student must complete a specific percentage of attempted credits in order to maintain satisfactory progress for Title IV (federal) aid purposes. The qualitative measure requires the student to maintain a cumulative GPA that meets the minimum standard for Academic Good Standing according to University policy.  This determination of progress must be made at least once a year and before the Financial Aid Office disburses any Title IV (federal) funds for the subsequent semester or year. Title IV (federal) funds include: Federal Direct Stafford, PLUS and GradPLUS Loans, Perkins Loans, Pell Grants, SEOG, TEACH Grants and Federal Work Study.  

Pursuant to Title IV (federal) regulations, the following constitutes Arcadia's policy on satisfactory academic progress for undergraduate students. 

Maximum Hours to Earn Degree: To quantify academic progress, a school must set a maximum time frame in which a student is expected to complete a program. For an undergraduate program, the maximum time frame cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the program measured in credit hours attempted.

The majority of Arcadia undergraduate programs require 128 credit hours for graduation. The maximum time frame for students in these programs is 192 attempted credits (128 x 1.5=192). Students whose specific academic programs require more than 128 credits for a degree will have a higher limit. Adult degree-completion students must complete 120 credits in most cases and therefore have a maximum time frame of 180 attempted credits.

Earned Credits: Credits earned toward degree completion. This includes transfer credits, advanced standing and advanced placement credits.  It does not include courses assigned a W or U, or audited courses.  

Attempted Credits:  Includes all transfer, remedial, English as a Second Language (ESL) and Arcadia-registered credits, including Pass/Fail courses and courses from which a student enrolled but subsequently withdrew (courses for which a student is registered for at the conclusion of the formal drop/add period do count toward attempted credits). Does not include audited (non-credit) courses. 

Quantitative Standard

To be eligible for continued receipt of Title IV (federal) financial aid, students must satisfactorily complete at least 70% of all attempted credits as measured on an academic year basis. Withdrawals/Dropped courses, transfer credits, Pass/Fail courses and remedial courses are counted as attempted credits. (Note: Credits from the preceding summer can count toward this percentage, provided they did not count toward progress for the prior academic year).

Example: If a student attempts 34 credits total in an academic year, he/she must minimally successfully complete (no F grades) 24 credits for that given academic year.

Qualitative Standard

To be eligible for continued receipt of financial aid, students must achieve the following cumulative grade point average (GPA):

Less than 27 credits toward graduation 1.75 cumulative GPA
27 and above cumulative credits toward graduation 2.0 cumulative GPA

Measurement of Academic Progress

Academic Progress measurement includes all semesters and is usually measured at the end of the spring semester. Students beginning their program in the spring semester will be evaluated based on their academic performance during their first spring semester and at the end of each subsequent spring semester. Also, the satisfactory progress standards are cumulative and will include all semesters of the student’s enrollment, even those for which the student did not receive financial aid.

Failures and withdrawals do count as “attempted credits”, not “earned credits”. Incompletes are not counted toward credits completed until after the course work is successfully completed and a grade is posted by the Registrar’s Office. Repeat courses will be evaluated for satisfactory academic progress.

When Minimum Standards of Academic Progress are Not Achieved

Students who fail to meet either the quantitative or qualitative standard will be notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office after information on academic progress becomes available at the end of the academic year (typically late May/early June). Students who fail to meet either the quantitative or qualitative standard will not be eligible for Title IV (federal) financial aid until all requirements have been met. This academic progress determination will supersede any financial aid package for the upcoming year which may have been offered to the student at that point. Under no circumstances will financial aid be awarded retroactively to the semester(s) in which the requirements were not met.

Students who fail to meet these requirements have the opportunity to make up the hours and grade point requirements needed during the Summer sessions (at their own expense). Keep in mind, credits completed at another college/university are not counted toward one’s Arcadia GPA. Once the Summer course work is posted by the Registrar’s Office, the student will be considered for financial aid for the next semester if the requirements are met. It is the student's responsibility to ensure official transcripts reflecting the grades and credits completed have been properly submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Additionally, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office once this has occurred so his/her eligibility can be re-reviewed. Note: If the courses are taken outside of Arcadia, an Approval for Non-Arcadia course form (available at, under Forms), must be submitted prior to enrolling in the course. 

Academic Progress Appeal Process 

If a student feels that there were extenuating circumstances which prevented him/her from making satisfactory academic progress (i.e.- the death of a relative, a serious personal illness/injury, or other extenuating circumstance), and can demonstrate that the illness/injury or extenuating circumstance had a direct impact on his/her academic performance, he/she will be notified accordingly and may submit the Financial Aid Academic Progress Appeal Form, available at to the Executive Director of Federal Aid Programs.  Information submitted by way of an Academic Progress Appeal will remain confidential. If the Financial Aid Academic Progress Appeals Committee feels that there are mitigating circumstances that had a direct bearing on the student’s academic performance, then the student can receive Title IV (Federal financial aid) during a probationary period for one semester. If a student fails to meet both standards of academic progress for Title IV aid purposes at the end of the probationary period (semester), then the student becomes ineligible for Title IV aid until he/she meets the appropriate progress standard(s).  

Please note: The mere passage of time will not automatically restore Title IV aid eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory progress.

Also, students who have been academically dismissed from the university but who are subsequently given permission to re-enroll are not automatically eligible to continue to receive Title IV aid. Academic Standing Committee decisions and Registrar re-admission decisions are completely separate from Title IV financial aid determinations.

Important Academic Progress Reminders

  • As expressed in years: students are normally expected to complete an undergraduate degree by the end of 4 years of full-time study. Therefore, students will forfeit their eligibility to participate in Title IV (federal) financial aid programs after 6 years of full time enrollment (4 x 150% = 6).
  • Withdrawals: Grades of W are counted as courses attempted and count toward the maximum time frame.
  • Audited Courses: Students do not earn any academic credits for audited courses. They do not count in the calculation of "attempted credits."
  • Pass/Fail Courses: These credits do count in the calculation of “attempted credits” and “earned credits.”
  • Transfer credits accepted for the student's academic degree or certificate program are counted when measuring the maximum time frame to complete the degree or certificate. More information on the Transfer Credit Policy. Transfer credits are not counted toward the Arcadia cumulative GPA.
  • Double Majors and/or Minors: Students who are pursuing a double major or minor will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 192 attempted hours.
  • Change in Majors: Students who change their majors will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 192 attempted hours.
  • Attempted credits are those hours for which students were still officially registered at the conclusion of each semester's Add/Drop period. Withdrawals are counted as “attempted credits” when reviewing student’s satisfactory academic progress.

* Note: a grade of "U" counts as a failing grade in GPA calculations.

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