Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for federal and institutional financial aid

According to Title IV financial aid regulations, students must make satisfactory progress toward a degree in order to remain eligible to receive financial aid.  Satisfactory academic progress includes both a qualitative (grade-point average) and quantitative (number of credit hours completed) measure of the student's progress.  For a four-year (eight-semester) bachelor’s degree program, there is a 12-semester maximum for the receipt of federal aid. (150% rule)

Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress will be subject to the following:

Financial aid warning

The first time that a student fails to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements, he or she will be sent a financial aid warning letter which will indicate that the student is in danger of losing aid eligibility unless he or she improves his or her academic record. A student on financial aid warning may continue to receive financial aid for the next payment period.

Financial aid probation

The second time that a student fails to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements; he or she will lose eligibility for financial aid. However, the student may petition the Committee on Satisfactory Academic Progress to request a one-time waiver of the necessary academic requirements. Petitions will be considered when accompanied by written evidence of injury or illness, significant personal difficulty, family trauma or other special circumstances. This appeal must also include an academic plan for successfully meeting the satisfactory academic progress requirements. If the student is approved for this one-time waiver, he or she will be considered to be on financial aid probation and will be eligible to receive financial aid for the next payment period. Students can appeal the 150% rule due to extenuating circumstances such as illness, full-time employment, significant personal difficulty, family trauma, or other special circumstances. This applies to all students (including Adult Ed) and the appeal process is the same as above.

Unsatisfactory academic progress

If a student’s appeal is denied by the Committee on Satisfactory Academic Progress or if the student fails to meet the requirements after being on financial aid probation, then the student is no longer eligible to receive federal and institutional financial aid. Aid eligibility may be reinstated in the future if the student successfully attains the necessary satisfactory academic progress requirements.

Transfer of credits from other schools

When a student (including Adult Ed) transfers courses to Houghton from another college, the transfer credit assessor or academic dean’s office will determine the number of credit hours acceptable toward a Houghton degree. The number of credit hours accepted will be counted as both hours attempted and hours completed. Grades from the other college will not be considered in the GPA calculation.

Change of Program

In the event of a change of major, the hours and grades earned in the first major are considered in making satisfactory academic progress determinations.

Repeating of courses

Students have the option of repeating courses in which they earned D+ or lower. In such cases, the higher grade will count in GPA calculations, but the course credit hours earned will count only once. Both courses and both grades remain on the transcript with an indication of which course is counted. A student may only repeat a previously passed course once. Failed courses may be repeated until successfully passed. Students needing to repeat a course more than twice should consult with the Student Financial Services Office. Repeating a course may influence a student’s financial aid or athletic or other co-curricular eligibility.

Withdrawals and incomplete courses

Courses from which a student withdraws may have an impact on GPA, depending on the date of withdrawal. The credit hours of the course count toward hours attempted for satisfactory academic progress purposes (even if they do not count in GPA calculations). Any incomplete courses are counted in hours attempted. When the "I" is changed to an actual grade, the course will be considered complete and the GPA reviewed for satisfactory academic progress purposes.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Chart for Federal and Houghton College Financial Aid

SemestersMin. credit hrs. enrolledCredit hrs. that must be completedMin. accrued credit hrs.Cum grade point average
1 12 6 6 1.1
2 12 6 15 1.5
3 12 9 27 1.75
4 12 9 39 2.0
5 12 12 51 2.0
6 12 12 63 2.0
7 12 12 78 2.0
8 12 12 93 2.0
9 12 12 108 2.0
10 12 12 125 2.0

Students must successfully complete the following percentages of all cumulative credits attempted.

First year 55%
Second year 60%
Third year 65%
Fourth year 70%
Fifth year 70%
Sixth year 80%

Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

New York State uses a different satisfactory academic progress standard than the federal Title IV requirements. All satisfactory academic progress policies mentioned above apply to state aid except for the differences described below:

Transfers: Transfer students and students who return after an absence of at least one year are considered to be making satisfactory academic progress by their admission acceptance. The assessment and information concerning the number of semesters the student previously received aid will be used to place the student at the appropriate point on the academic progress chart. Placement may be either in accord with the number of payments received or the number of credit hours earned whichever is more beneficial to the student.

Waiver: Students who are not meeting the New York State satisfactory academic progress requirements may apply for a one-time waiver as described in the financial aid probation section listed above. If a waiver is granted, the student will be given the next term before advancing to the next level on the chart.

New York State Satisfactory Academic Progress Chart

For TAP and other state awards, students must meet the following requirements:

SemestersMin. credit hrs. enrolledCredit hrs. that must be completedMin. accrued credit hrs.Cum. Grade-point average
1 12 6 6 1.5
2 12 6 15 1.8
3 12 9 27 1.8
4 12 9 39 2.0
5 12 12 51 2.0
6 12 12 66 2.0
7 12 12 81 2.0
8 12 12 96 2.0
9 12 12 111 2.0
Government Assistance and Loans
Houghton College Scholarships and Grants

All inquiries concerning tuition, fees, scholarships, grants, or loans should be directed to: Student Financial Services Office, Houghton College, One Willard Avenue, Houghton, NY 14744 (phone: 585.567.9328|email: | web:

The procedures and policies listed above supersede those published previously and are subject to change at any time.