Higher Education Opportunity Program

Higher Education Opportunity Program


Higher Education Opportunity Program

Understanding Financial Aid

Academic Standing

State and federal financial aid regulations require institutions to publish standards of good academic standing and satisfactory academic progress that will be used in determining eligibility for financial aid. The State of New York defines good academic standing in terms of program pursuit and satisfactory academic progress, whereas federal (Title IV) regulations call only for standards of satisfactory progress. Both state and federal regulations require satisfactory academic progress to be defined in terms of total credits and cumulative grade point average (GPA) earned by a given point in time.

Program Pursuit

To remain in good academic standing from the standpoint of program pursuit, an Ithaca College undergraduate student must receive passing, failing, or incomplete grades in a certain percentage of the minimum full-time course load for each term of study as follows: 50% in the first year, 75% in the second year, and 100% in each year thereafter. At Ithaca College the minimum full-time course load is 12 credits per semester. Grades of W (withdrawal) can not be counted toward meeting these requirements. To be eligible for tuition assistance from the State of New York, a student must declare a major by the beginning of the fifth semester of undergraduate study.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for TAP and other Financial Aid

To remain in good academic standing from the standpoint of making satisfactory academic progress, an Ithaca College undergraduate student must earn at least the number of credits and the cumulative GPA indicated in the appropriate table below. The credits and average must be earned by the beginning of the term in which the financial aid is to be disbursed. Incomplete grades represent credit not yet earned. Grades in repeated courses count in the GPA calculation, but the credit counts only once. In order to continue to receive Title IV aid, an undergraduate Title IV aid recipient must complete his/her program within 150% of the published length of the program measured in credit hours attempted. For instance, if the published length is 120 credit hours, the maximum time frame to complete the program cannot exceed 180 attempted credit hours. The table below apply to full time students.

Before term/payment number / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10
a student must have accrued this many credits / 0 / 3 / 9 / 21 / 33 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 / 105
with at least this cumulative GPA / 0 / 1.10 / 1.20 / 1.30 / 2.00 / 2.00 / 2.00 / 2.00 / 2.00 / 2.00

Waiver of Standards

The above standards for program pursuit and satisfactory academic progress can be waived provided fully documented medical or unusual personal circumstances can be shown to exist. Procedures explaining when a special circumstance merits a waiver are on file in the Office of Student Financial Services. Additionally, under New York State education law the president of NYSHESC can waive the requirement of a minimum C (2.00) cumulative GPA for a student who has received two years of state-funded aid.

The student may appeal in writing; the circumstances must be specific to the issue of the student's inability to achieve the C (2.00) cumulative GPA as of the end of a particular semester or term. The statutory language provides for a waiver of the 2.00 requirement for undue hardship based on the death of a relative of the student, the personal injury or illness of the student, or other extenuating circumstances. Use of the one-time commissioner's waiver does not preclude waiver of the C (2.00) cumulative GPA requirement alone in a subsequent semester. Conversely, waiver of the C (2.00) cumulative GPA requirement alone in a term does not affect a student's subsequent eligibility for the one-time waiver of the NYSHESC standards. Waivers of standards are granted for one semester only.

Academic Status

Academic status decisions, such as academic warning and suspension, are made independently of a student's financial aid status. Thus, standards of eligibility for financial aid may be stricter than standards of eligibility to remain at the institution. Individual schools and departments may have more stringent academic requirements than the minimum standards indicated in the tables above. Therefore students should check their school and department listings for special academic status policies.

Please contact Student Financial Services for clarification.

Posted by OSG on Tuesday, November 9, 2010