2015-2016 Walden University Student Handbook (March 2016) 
    
    Jun 01, 2020  
2015-2016 Walden University Student Handbook (March 2016) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards


Return to: Federal Programs  

Course-Based Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Walden University’s satisfactory academic progress (SAP) requirements to receive Title IV student financial aid comply with U.S. Department of Education regulations. These standards are intended to establish minimum, reasonable levels of advancement toward degree completion and to guard against abuse of federal financial aid programs. Satisfactory progress requirements for receipt of federal financial aid are separate and distinct from the university’s academic progress requirements for academic continuance.

Satisfactory academic progress for all students is reviewed after each period of enrollment. Students receive written notification to their Walden University e-mail account if they are placed on financial aid warning status. Upon receiving this status, students have one period of enrollment to return to the standards listed below. If students do not meet these standards, they may appeal for a period of financial aid probation. If the appeal is not granted, students become ineligible for federal financial aid.

It is the student’s responsibility to know the requirements for meeting satisfactory academic progress. Failure to receive notification will not nullify a student’s financial aid status with Walden University.

Students considering a decision to withdraw from a class, drop a class, or stop participating in a class should check first with their Academic Advisor. Such a decision may affect their financial aid status.

Minimum Standards for Federal Financial Aid 

Program Type

Minimum Financial Aid Course Completion Rate (Pace)

Minimum Cumulative Financial Aid GPA

Maximum Time Frame to Receive Federal Aid

Bachelor’s degree 

67%        

2.0

272 financial-aid-attempted credits

Master’s degree 

67%

3.0

20 quarters or 15 semesters

Doctoral degree 

67%

3.0

32 quarters or 24 semesters

Stand-Alone Quarter-Based Certificates

67%

3.0

With 1–29 credits, 8 quarters

With 30–45 credits, 12 quarters

Stand-Alone Semester-Based Certificates 67% 3.0

With 1–19 credits, 6 semesters

With 20–30 credits, 9 semesters

Education Specialist 

67%

3.0

20 quarters or 15 semesters 

Teacher Preparation (without master’s-degree option) 

67%

3.0

56 financial-aid-attempted credits 

Endorsement (without master’s-degree option) 

67%

3.0

32 financial-aid-attempted credits

Preparatory coursework 

67%

2.0

12 consecutive months

 

The following policies will apply:

  • Minimum financial aid GPA is cumulative for the current program of study.
  • Minimum financial aid course completion rate is calculated by dividing financial-aid-completed credits by financial-aid-attempted credits (e.g., if 40 credits are attempted, the student must have successfully completed 27 credits).
  • Financial-aid-attempted and financial-aid-completed credits are cumulative for all courses in all programs attempted at Walden.

The following grades adversely impact the course completion rate: I (incomplete), F (fail), U (unsatisfactory), W (withdrawal).

Students must meet both the GPA and course completion rate requirements within the defined maximum time frame.

Financial-aid-attempted and financial-aid-completed credit requirements include transfer credits.

Financial-aid-attempted credits include all registered courses with the exception of courses dropped before the start of the term or during the drop period.

For course repetitions, only the most recent grade is counted in the cumulative GPA and the most recent credits are counted in the completed credits; the credits from all attempts must be counted in the course completion rate and maximum time frame.

The maximum time frame will be reset for students completing a second or further degree at Walden.

The maximum time frame for students who change programs without earning a Walden degree is cumulative for all programs attempted and is measured against the maximum time frame for the current program.

The maximum time frame excludes quarters/semesters of nonenrollment and quarters/semesters in which all courses are dropped before the start of the term or during the drop period.

Financial aid progress requirements include all terms of enrollment, including periods in which the student did not receive federal aid.

Courses that adversely impact financial aid academic progress cannot be removed from the academic transcript.

Maximum Time Frame

Federal financial aid eligibility expires without warning when the student reaches the maximum time frame or if the financial aid academic progress review makes it clear that the student cannot mathematically finish the current program within the maximum time frame.

Right to Appeal

Occasionally, a student’s academic progress may be impacted by unusual circumstances that are beyond the student’s control. A student may appeal for an extension of financial aid after a period of financial aid warning if the student successfully completes the warning term and if the student can document that unexpected, unusual, and temporary circumstances affected the student’s ability to progress at the required rate. Examples of such mitigating circumstances are a death in the immediate family, illness, or other significant life change.

Students may appeal to the Office of Financial Aid no later than 15 calendar days following the end of the financial aid warning period.

Students who wish to appeal must complete the Financial Aid Academic Progress Appeal form and provide the Office of Financial Aid with supporting documentation for review. Failure to provide supporting documentation will result in an automatic denial. If the appeal is accepted, the student must meet the requirements outlined in the written approval of the appeal.

Pre-existing life issues (an issue or illness that is not limited to medical that you had before beginning any Walden program) are not cause for appeal.

Students may not use the same circumstances in a subsequent appeal, although a student may submit an appeal for a future period of difficulty for different mitigating circumstances.

Courses that adversely impact financial aid academic progress cannot be removed from the student’s academic transcript.

Decisions by the Office of Financial Aid are final.

Financial Aid Annual Award Year Definition

Walden defines the annual award year as three 12-week quarters or three 16-week semesters.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards for Tempo Learning® Programs

Walden has implemented a satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy designed to identify and assist any student who is not progressing at a pace that will allow them to complete the Tempo Learning® student program within the maximum 48-month time frame. SAP is a key measure for tracking a student’s academic progress toward degree completion and is  a requirement for all Tempo Learning® students, whether or not they receive federal financial aid.

SAP is measured every 26 weeks. In order to demonstrate quantitative satisfactory academic progress, a student must complete at least 50% of the full time credit equivalents attempted. Qualitative progress is demonstrated by the completion of competency credit equivalencies. At the beginning of each subscription period, students will document which competencies they plan to attempt during that term. The academic plan must include, at a minimum, the number of credit equivalencies required to complete the program in 24 months. Student progress will be measured after every 26-week SAP evaluation period is completed, which may not align with the end of a student’s loan payment period. Students who fail to complete at least 50% of attempted credit equivalencies will be placed on warning for the next 26-week SAP evaluation period.

Progress will be reassessed at the end of the SAP warning/evaluation period, and if students have not returned to SAP, they will be suspended from federal financial aid eligibility (as applicable), will be exited from the Tempo Learning® modality, and may consider moving into a course-based modality. Students who have not returned to SAP will have the option to appeal for an extension of academic continuance and federal financial aid eligibility if they can demonstrate that unusual, temporary, and unexpected circumstances impacted their ability to progress at the required rate.

In addition to keeping their academic progress in line with the Walden SAP policy, students in their first subscription period must complete a minimum of two Program Competencies or be automatically dismissed from the Tempo Learning® modality. This additional first-period policy is to ensure Walden has a mechanism to quickly identify students who will not be successful in the competency-based modality.

The following policies will apply:

  • Qualitative progress is demonstrated by the completion of competency credit equivalencies.
  • Minimum financial aid credit completion rate is calculated by dividing the completed credit equivalencies by the attempted credit equivalencies (e.g., if 16.5 credit equivalencies are attempted, the student must have successfully completed 8.25 credit equivalencies).
  • Financial aid attempted and completed credit equivalencies are cumulative for the program.
  • Financial aid attempted and completed credit requirements include transfer credits.
  • Financial aid attempted credits include all registered credit equivalencies with the exception of credit equivalencies dropped during the drop period.
  • The maximum time frame will be reset for students completing a second or further degree at Walden or changing from a nondegree- to a degree-seeking status.
  • The maximum time frame for students who change programs without earning a Walden degree is cumulative for all programs attempted and is measured against the maximum time frame for the current program.
  • The maximum time frame includes periods of LOA.
  • Financial aid progress requirements include all periods of enrollment, including periods in which the student did not receive federal aid.

Maximum Time Frame

Federal financial aid eligibility expires without probation when the student reaches the maximum time frame or if the financial aid progress review makes it clear that the student cannot mathematically finish his or her program within the maximum time frame.

Right to Appeal

Occasionally, a student’s academic progress may be impacted by unusual circumstances that are beyond the student’s control. A student may appeal for an extension of academic continuance financial aid after a period of financial aid warning if the student completes at least 4.25 credit equivalencies within the warning term and if the student can document that unexpected, unusual, and temporary circumstances affected the student’s ability to progress at the required rate. Examples of such mitigating circumstances are a death in the immediate family, illness, or other significant life change.

Students may appeal to Tempo Learning Academic Appeal Committee 30 days prior to the end of the financial aid warning period.

Students who wish to appeal must complete the Academic Progress Appeal form and provide the Academic Appeal Committee with supporting documentation for review. Failure to provide supporting documentation will result in an automatic denial. If the appeal is accepted, the student must meet the requirements outlined in the written approval of the appeal.

Pre-existing life issues (an issue or illness that is not limited to medical that you had before beginning any Walden program) are not cause for appeal.

Students may not use the same circumstances in a subsequent appeal, although a student may submit an appeal for a future period of difficulty for different mitigating circumstances.

Decisions by the Academic Appeal Committee are final.

Treatment of Courses and Credits

Competency Repetitions: Because competencies are not time bound, there are no repetitions.

Drops: credit equivalencies dropped before the end of the drop period are not included in the financial aid satisfactory progress calculations.

Periods With No Financial Aid: Financial aid progress requirements include all periods of enrollment, including periods in which the student did not receive financial aid.

Second Program: The maximum time frame will be reset for students who complete one program or degree at Walden University and begin a subsequent program or degree.

Transfer Credits: All transfer credits are considered as both attempted and completed when calculating the minimum credit completion rate and maximum time frame.

Credit Equivalencies are not tied to specific competencies: The student agrees to a specific number of competencies in the Customized Learning Plan at the start of a subscription period. The student may switch the competencies attempted within the subscription period without necessarily changing the overall attempted credit equivalency attempted total.

Policy and Definitions

Appeal: Occasionally, a student’s academic progress may be impacted by unusual circumstances that are beyond the student’s control. A student may appeal for an extension of academic continuance and financial aid if the student completes at least 4.25 credit equivalencies during the warning term and can document that unexpected, unusual, and temporary circumstances affected the student’s ability to progress at the required rate. See the Right to Appeal section of this policy for details.

Maximum Time Frame: Federal financial aid eligibility expires without warning when the student reaches the maximum time frame or if the financial aid academic progress review makes it clear that the student cannot mathematically finish the current program within the maximum time frame.

  • The maximum time frame will be reset for students completing a second or additional degree at Walden.
  • The maximum time frame for students who change programs without earning a Walden degree is cumulative for all programs attempted and is measured against the maximum time frame for the current program.
  • The maximum time frame includes periods of LOA.
  • Financial aid eligibility for an academic program ceases as soon as all academic requirements for graduation have been met regardless of maximum time frame standing.

Minimum Credit Completion Rate (Pace): A percentage calculated by dividing cumulative successfully completed credit equivalencies by total credit equivalencies attempted. For example, a student who has successfully completed 8.25  credit equivalencies at Walden out of a total of 16.5 attempted credit equivalencies has a course completion rate of 50%. This rate includes credits transferred in to Walden.

SAP Evalulation Period:  26-week interval beginning with the start date of the student’s first subscription billing period. The first SAP Evaluation Period includes the first and second subscription billing periods, the second includes the third and fourth subscription billing periods and so on. 

Status—Financial Aid Warning: This status is assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress during his or her most recent SAP evaluation period. The student has one SAP evaluation period to be successful and maintain eligibility for academic continuance and financial aid.

Status—Financial Aid Probation: This status is assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress during his or her SAP evaluation period, fails to successfully return to satisfactory progress during one period of  SAP  warning, completes a successful appeal for mitigating circumstances, and has eligibility for academic continuance and financial aid reinstated on a probationary basis. Academic probation is assigned for one SAP evaluation period. It may be extended if accompanied by an academic plan.

Academic Plan: This status is assigned in order to assist students in returning to compliance by a specified date. The option for extended probation with an academic plan is only available if it is not reasonable to expect the student to achieve successful academic progress during the typical one-evaluation period extension of probation. An academic plan may be a completency-competency plan for degree completion, a specification for number credit equivalencies for specific SAP evaluation periods, and/or requirements for the student to get academic support or to use other academic resources. A student must comply with all aspects of an academic plan in order to retain eligibility  for academic continuance and  financial aid.

Withdrawal From the Modality and Loss of Federal Financial Aid Eligibility

Students who do not come back into compliance with the minimum progress standards by the required time frames will be suspended from federal financial aid eligibility (as applicable) and withdrawn from the Tempo Learning modality. Students given the option to switch to the course-based modality will be subject to review by the financial aid appeals committee to determine if probation may be extended into the course-based modality. Students who enter the course-based modality without federal financial aid  must make alternative payment arrangements with the bursar by the appropriate tuition due date. Students may still be eligible for private educational loans if federal aid eligibility is lost.