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Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Division of Student Life and Enrollment

Federal regulations require that all students who receive federal financial aid (including lottery scholarships) make Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (also referred to as SAP throughout this policy and the ETSU Office of Financial Aid website) toward achieving a degree. 


Federal Regulations require the Office of Financial Aid at East Tennessee State University to establish, publish and apply standards to monitor a student’s progress toward completion of their degree program.  Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is used to define successful completion of coursework to maintain eligibility for student financial aid.  ETSU students who wish to be considered for financial aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress in their selected program of study.  The Office of Financial Aid evaluates SAP at the end of each semester. 

TRANSFER STUDENTS- Evaluation for Satisfactory Academic Progress will occur once all transcripts have been received, reviewed, and rolled into the student academic history.

REQUIRED FEDERAL STANDARDS (Students must maintain the following standards to remain eligible for financial aid).

QUALITATIVE PROGRESS STANDARDS – Required Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

  • Graduate students must have a 3.0 GPA average overall and on the program of study.  Undergraduate Students are required to maintain the GPA listed below for number of hours attempted.

Qualitative Progress Standards (GPA)

Semester Hours Attempted

Required Cumulative GPA (Net)

0 - 29


29.1 - 45


45.1 - 59.9






  • Students are required to complete 67 percent of total credit hours attempted (make PACE toward their degree). See examples below:

Quantitative Progress Standards (PACE)

Attempted Hours Enrolled

Earned Hours Required


















How to Calculate PACE

Cumulative number of credit hours earned divided by Cumulative number of credit hours attempted


Examples: Student has attempted 15 hours and earned 12.  Take the 12 earned hours and divide by 15 hours attempted (12/15 = 80%).  Student would remain eligible for financial aid. 

Student has attempted 30 hours and earned 18.  Take the 18 earned hours and divide by the 30 hours attempted (18/30 = 60%).  Student would be ineligible for financial aid because PACE is below the required 67% completion rate.

  • Students must receive a satisfactory grade in the courses they attempt each semester.  Satisfactory grades are: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, S, SP, or P.
  • Unsatisfactory grades are: F, W, WF, U, or I.
    NOTE:  Unsatisfactory grades will not be counted as earned credit hours but will be counted as attempted hours.
  • Audits do not count as attempted hours and are not eligible for financial aid.
  • On-campus, off-campus, distance education, telecommunications, television and web-based courses are considered in total attempted hours.
  • Late notification of grade change will result in a recalculation of SAP status upon student request.
  • Students may receive aid for up to 30 credit hours of Learning Support Coursework. 
  • Teacher certification or recertification in the state where the student plans to teach may only receive financial aid for the required courses for the recertification.
  • Graduate Non-Degree (UDEG) students are eligible for federal financial aid for a maximum of one calendar year if they are enrolled in pre-requisite courses that are necessary to enter into a graduate program.


  • Undergraduate and graduate students who have attempted 150% of the required hours for their degree are ineligible for financial aid.
  • Transfer Hours officially accepted by ETSU are included in the MAXHRS.
  • Repeated course credits will be counted toward MAXHRS.  Students may repeat a previously passed course once but may repeat a failed or dropped class until it is passed or until the student is no longer making satisfactory progress.
  • Incompletes and withdrawals are included in MAXHRS.
  • Change of major --students who change their major must complete their new program of study within the 150% time frame.  Changing majors may lead to not completing degree requirements within the maximum time frame.
  • Academic Fresh Start students will have to resolve any prior financial aid holds.  All Academic Fresh Start courses must be included in total attempted hours.  Maximum credit hour eligibility of 150% still applies.

    Maximum timeframe is measured at the end of each semester.  A student is ineligible at the point where he/ she will exceed the maximum time frame; NOT at the point they actually reach MAXHRS.

    Example:  At the end of the semester (evaluation point) the student has attempted 160 credit hours out a possible 180 credit hours allowed under the maximum timeframe but still has 25 hours left to earn a degree.  The student is not meeting SAP due to exceeding the MAXHRS  because he has more hours to earn than what is allowed to graduate within the maximum time frame.
  • Nonattendance - the hours for which a student registers but never attends will be counted towards MAXHRS.

SECOND DEGREE -- A second degree student is defined as a student with a previous degree at the same classification, either graduate or undergraduate.

  • Second undergraduate – The maximum time frame allowable for financial aid eligibility is 150% of the hours needed to complete the first degree, plus up to 100% of hours required to complete the second degree as defined by advisor.
  • Second graduate – The maximum time frame allowable for financial aid eligibility is 150% of the hours needed to complete the first degree, plus up to 100% of hours required to complete the second degree as defined by advisor.


  • Financial Aid WarningStudents will be placed on financial aid warning the first time they do not comply with the GPA and/or PACE standards.  The student may receive financial aid for one semester while on warning status.  The student’s status will be evaluated after the “warning” term and must meet all required SAP standards by the end of the following term to continue on aid.
  • Financial Aid SuspensionStudents are placed on financial aid suspension for any of the following reasons:
    • Students in “warning” status fail to meet SAP according to the standards set above in their next semester of enrollment;
    • Students who do not fulfill the requirements in their academic plan;
    • Students who meet the Maximum time frame limitations.
    • Financial Aid ProbationStudents are placed on Financial Aid Probation when they have appealed a Financial Aid Suspension and the appeal has been approved.  A student on Financial Aid Probation may receive financial aid for additional semesters as long as requirements stipulated in the approval are met each semester or as long as the student is meeting requirements in the academic plan. 
    • DenialStudents whose appeal was reviewed and denied are ineligible to receive any financial aid until they reestablish eligibility on their own.

Students will be notified of their status (Financial Aid Warning, Suspension, Probation and/or Denial) by email at their ETSU email address.


Students may reestablish eligibility for financial assistance on their own by achieving the satisfactory academic progress standards at their own expense.  Once the student has earned the required GPA and/or required credit hours, they must contact the Office of Financial Aid to request reinstatement of their financial aid.   EXCEPTION:   A student who has met the maximum time frame limitations MUST appeal and be approved to continue on aid.


Students who lose eligibility for financial aid can appeal that decision to the Office of Financial Aid. Petitions are reviewed by committee according to the Appeals Committee Meeting Schedule, which can be found below.  Once a decision has been reached on your appeal you will be sent written notice of the decision to your ETSU email. Appeals will be considered for mitigating circumstances such as:

  • Serious illness or accident on the part of the student;
  • Death, accident, or serious illness in the immediate family;
  • Other documented extenuating circumstances.

Appeal Deadlines

Financial Aid Appeals Review Committee

Submission Deadline
Review Committee Meeting
Notification Date
August 10, 2020
August 11, 2020
August 14, 2020
August 17, 2020
August 19, 2020
August 21, 2020
August 24, 2020
August 25, 2020
August 28, 2020
August 31, 2020
September 1, 2020
September  4, 2020
September 18, 2020
September 22, 2020
September 25, 2020
October 9, 2020
October 13, 2020
October 16, 2020
October 26, 2020
October 27, 2020
October 30, 2020
December 11, 2020
December 15, 2020
December 18, 2020
January 6, 2021
January 7, 2021
January 8, 2021
January 11, 2021
January 12, 2021
January 15, 2021
January 25, 2021
January 26, 2021
January 29, 2021
February 15, 2021
February 16, 2021
February 19, 2021


Students will be notified of appeal decision via ETSU email account.

If enrolled in Summer Classes, appeals for Fall will not be reviewed until grades for Summer have been posted and rolled into a student's academic history.

Appeals received after the above dates will not be reviewed until the next scheduled meeting.  Students may need to be prepared to pay registration fees.  If the appeal is approved after the semester begins, the student will be considered for financial aid, if otherwise eligible.

Steps to file an appeal:

  • Complete and submit the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form to the Office of Financial Aid by the Appeal Committee Submission Deadline;
  • Attach a detailed, signed, dated statement outlining the extenuating circumstances that resulted in unsatisfactory progress; and
  • Include a signed and dated statement explaining what has changed that will allow academic success during the next period of enrollment.
  • Attach appropriate documentation to support the circumstances outlined in the appeal.  Documentation may include, but are not limited to, a physician’s signed statement on official letterhead, copy of death certificate, accident report, and medical reports/records.
  • Page #3 of the Academic Plan section of the Maximum Time appeal form must be completed, signed, and dated by an advisor.   

Federal regulations allow for approval of appeals only under the following conditions:

  • It has been determined that the student will be able to meet SAP standards after the subsequent term.
  • An academic plan is developed for the student that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet SAP standards by a specific point in time.

All appeals will be reviewed by the Appeals Committee in accordance to the meeting schedule, which can be found at Appeals with insufficient supporting documentation will be denied. Committee decisions are final and not appealable. However, if students wish to provide additional documentation for review a new appeal form is required along with a new signed, dated statement and the additional documentation.

Students that have an appeal approved must meet SAP standards by the end of the next enrollment period; or be placed on an academic plan to ensure standards are met by a specific point in time.

Students that have an appeal denied remain on financial aid suspension and are ineligible to receive financial aid.


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