2018–2019 Walden University Student Handbook (September 2018) 
    
    Oct 19, 2019  
2018–2019 Walden University Student Handbook (September 2018) [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.

The requirements in this section also apply to Minnesota State Financial Aid Programs.

Satisfactory academic progress is reviewed for all students at the end of a payment period. All grades must be posted to the academic record before the SAP status will be determined. If the student is back in compliance with minimum standards after all grades are posted to the academic record for the payment period, federal aid eligibility will begin with the next payment period.

Students receive written notification to their Walden University e-mail account if they are placed on financial aid warning status. Upon receiving this status, a student has one payment period to return to the standards listed in the following section. If the student does not meet these standards, he or she may appeal for one additional period of financial aid probation. If the appeal is not granted, the student becomes 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), NC (no credit), 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 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 or changing from a non-degree to a degree seeking status.
  • The maximum time frame will not for be reset for students that have earned degrees or certificates “Along the Way” at Walden University.
  • The maximum timeframe 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 non-enrollment 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.

Financial Aid Disbursement Process and Requests for Excess Funds for Tempo Learning® Programs

Walden’s financial aid academic year for federal student aid in Tempo Learning Programs is defined as 52 weeks and 16.5 semester credit equivalencies for the master’s programs and 52 weeks and 15 credits for the certificate programs. The academic year is also the loan period. The academic year is divided into two equal payment periods. The first payment period ends when the student successfully completes half the credit hour equivalencies and half the weeks in the academic year. The second payment period ends when the student completes the remaining credit hour equivalencies and weeks in the financial aid academic year. The loan amount for the academic year is divided equally between the two payment periods. Each payment period is then broken into two disbursements to align with the student’s 3-month subscription periods; therefore, most financial aid is disbursed in four equal payments over the award year.

All disbursements require that the student has submitted an academic plan by day 14 of each 3-month subscription period confirming that they will attempt the full time credit equivalency for that period. All disbursements also require the student to meet all federal financial aid eligibility requirements such as Satisfactory Academic Progress. Disbursements at the start of the payment period (with the exception of the first disbursement of the program) require that the student has earned half the semester credit equivalencies and has completed half the weeks in their financial aid academic year. Disbursements at the midpoint of the payment period require that the student has completed half the weeks in the payment period.

This disbursement schedule is designed to align with the student’s subscription billing period but it’s important to note that a student’s pace or transfer from a prior school may result in payment periods and disbursement dates that do not fully align with the subscription billing periods. If a student transfers to Walden with an overlapping enrollment from a prior school or if the student’s remaining credit equivalencies at the start of an academic year are less than 16.5 credits, it’s possible for the academic year to be shorter than 52 weeks. If so, there may only be one payment period or one disbursement in the payment period. Likewise, the disbursement dates may not align with the subscription billing due dates.

Students in good standing may have any excess balance in their account returned to them to pay for indirect education expenses. Any time financial aid proceeds credited to a student’s account exceed direct charges; the bursar’s office will automatically forward the credit balance directly to the student, no later than 14 calendar days after the credit balance occurs.

Students may give permission to have their credit balance refund held on the Walden student account to pay for future subscription charges in the event that the next financial aid disbursement is scheduled well after the start of the next subscription or if the student’s pace requires Walden to delay the next disbursement. Credit balance refunds held on the student’s Walden account must be released to the student at the end of the loan period.

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 if after a period of financial aid warning the student successfully completes the warning term, or if the student reaches maximum time frame. 

In both instances, the student must be able to 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.

A pre-existing condition (a condition or illness that a student had before beginning any Walden University program) is not cause for appeal unless there was an unexpected change in that condition.

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.

SAP 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.

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.A pre-existing condition (a condition or illness that a student had before beginning any Walden University program) is not cause for appeal unless there was an unexpected change in that condition. 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.

SAP 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 Evaluation 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 specification of the number of 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.

Modality Switch: Students who move from Course Based to Tempo Learning® Programs or Tempo Learning® to Course Based Programs will have their SAP Status as of the new modality (Course Based or Tempo Learning®) start date forwarded until the end of their first SAP evaluation period. This may only happen once without appeal.

Loss of Federal Financial Aid Eligibility

Students who become ineligible to receive federal financial aid but remain in compliance with the academic progress standards for continuance in their program are not withdrawn from the program, but they must make alternative payment arrangements with the Office of the Bursar by the appropriate tuition due date. Students may still be eligible for private educational loans if federal aid eligibility is lost.

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.