Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

2019 – 2020 Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Federal student aid regulations require all educational institutions administering funds to ensure that financial aid recipients are making satisfactory academic progress toward their educational objectives. The regulations and this policy apply to all students receiving Federal, State, and Institutional financial aid funds. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to a staff member in the Office of Financial Aid. Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid has been defined as follow.

Satisfactory Progress Requirements 

Longwood Cumulative GPA

Maintenance of a minimum Longwood University cumulative grade point average. Only grades earned at Longwood are used in the cumulative GPA calculation; transfer grades are not included.

Undergraduate Students

  • Freshman (1 - 24 credits)       1.6
  • Sophomore (25 - 55 credits)   1.7
  • Junior (56 – 88 credits)           1.9
  • Senior (89 + credits)               2.0

Graduate Students

  • At least a 3.0 cumulative Longwood GPA 


Defined as the attainment of at least a 67% completion rate of courses taken for undergraduate students and 75% for graduate students. 

  • A completion rate is calculated by dividing hours earned by hours attempted
  • Grades of F, W, I, and repeated courses count as hours attempted but not earned
  • Transfer hours ARE included in this calculation and count both as attempted and earned

Normal Completion Time

Undergraduate students will be eligible for financial aid for a maximum of 180 attempted credit hours, or 150% of program requirements. Transfer hours are included in the total number of credit hours attempted and earned.

Graduate students will be eligible for financial aid for a maximum of 150% of program requirements. Transfer hours are included in the total number of hours attempted and earned.

Satisfactory Progress Evaluation

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Evaluated annually at the conclusion of each academic year (May). At this time, students who have a current FAFSA and/or a completed FAFSA for the next academic year will receive written notification of their current SAP standing.

To be making satisfactory academic progress a student must:

  • Maintain the required cumulative grade point average
  • Attain at least a 67% completion rate
  • Not exceed 150% of their program requirements

Financial Aid Suspension

Students failing to maintain satisfactory academic progress at the end of the spring semester will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension beginning with the following semester. Such status will make students ineligible for financial aid until such time as the satisfactory academic progress requirements are met or the student is granted an appeal.

Since SAP is evaluated at the end of spring semester, a student who has been awarded summer financial aid but is found to be failing SAP standards after the evaluation is complete will no longer be eligible for summer aid. 

Attendance During Financial Aid Suspension                  

During the period of Financial Aid Suspension, students may (unless placed on Academic Suspension) attend Longwood University without financial aid. It will be the student’s responsibility to secure other financial resources during this period.

Satisfactory Progress Appeal Process 

A student who is placed on Financial Aid Suspension may appeal the denial of financial aid. Only one appeal per semester will be accepted.

The appeal must include:

Each appeal must address the following:

  • The circumstances that led to the SAP violation
  • Why/how those circumstances are no longer affecting the student’s academic performance
  • What the student has done to address the problems that have prevented him/her from maintaining SAP


Submission must be made to the Office of Financial Aid no later than one week prior to the first day of classes.

Appeal Decisions

The appeal will be directed to the Appeals Committee whose decision will be final.

The decision will be based on demonstration of situations such as:

  • Serious illness or injury, mental health issues, or illness of a loved one.
  • Death of a loved one
  • Significant trauma that impacted the student’s emotional and/or physical health
  • Other unexpected circumstances

Successful Appeals

If the appeal is granted, the student will be placed on financial aid probation during which time the student may receive financial aid for one semester. Each student who is granted an appeal will be given academic conditions. At the end of one semester, the student must either meet SAP standards or meet the academic conditions of their appeal in order to continue to receive financial aid.

The student will be advised in writing of the action on the appeal. If accepted, appeal conditions will be outlined in this letter.

Withdrawal from the University

It is the responsibility of any student wishing to withdraw from Longwood to initiate the official withdrawal process with the University. Students wishing to withdraw from Longwood should contact the Registrar's Office to initiate this process. The complete Withdrawal Policy may be found in the Longwood University Catalog.

Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws

The law specifies how Longwood must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that students earn if they withdraw from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, Iraq Afghanistan Service Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, National SMART grants, TEACH Grants, Direct Stafford Loans, Direct PLUS loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity  Grants (FSEOGs), and Federal Perkins Loans. Longwood University uses the same return policy for state and institutional grants as is required for federal funds. Whether or not outside scholarships are returned after a student withdraws depends upon the policies and/or wishes of the scholarship donor.

When a student withdraws during a semester the amount of Title IV program assistance that he/she has earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If a student received (or Longwood or a parent received on a student's behalf) less assistance then the amount he/she earned, the student may be able to receive those additional funds. If a student received more assistance than he/she earned, the excess funds must be returned by Longwood and/or the student (this is usually the case).

The amount of assistance a student earned is determined on a prorata basis. For example, if a student completes 30% of a semester, he/she earns 30% of the assistance he/she was originally scheduled to receive. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the semester, he/she earns all the assistance that he/she was scheduled to receive for that semester.

If a student does not receive all of the funds that he/she earned, the student may be due a Post-Withdrawal disbursement. If a Post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Longwood must get permission from the student (and/or parent for parent PLUS loans) before we can disburse them. The student may choose to decline some or all of the loans funds so that he/she doesn't incur additional debt. Longwood will automatically use all or a portion of a student's Post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges.  Longwood needs a student's permission to use the Post-withdrawal disbursement for all other school charges. If a student does not give his/her permission, the student will be offered the funds. However, it may be in the student's best interest to allow Longwood to keep the funds to reduce his/her debt to Longwood.

There are some Title IV funds that students were scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed after withdrawal because of other eligibility requirements.

If a student (or Longwood or a parent received on a student's behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, Longwood must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:

  1. Longwood's charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of the student's funds, or
  2. The entire amount of excess funds.

Longwood must return this amount even if it didn't keep this amount of a student's Title IV program funds.

If Longwood is not required to return all of the excess funds, the student must return the remaining amount.  Any loan funds that a student must return, the student (or parent for a PLUS Loan) repays in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, the borrower makes scheduled payments to the loan holder over a period of time.

The requirements for Title IV program funds when students withdraw are separate from the Office of Student Accounts refund policy. Therefore, students may still owe funds to Longwood to cover unpaid institutional charges. Longwood may also charge you for any Title IV program funds that Longwood was required to return. Longwood's refund policy is available in the Expenses and Financial Policy.

For questions about Title IV program funds, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-730-8913) or The Office of Financial Aid at Longwood University at 1-434-395-2077 or 1-800-281-4677. More information is available throughout our financial aid section, or at the Federal Student Aid Office

Withdrawal from Classes

Students considering withdrawal from the University or from even one class should consult the Office of Financial Aid prior to initiating the withdrawal process. Withdrawal can have a significant impact on institutional charges, a current financial aid award, as well as future financial aid eligibility (see the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy).

When a Student Fails to Earn a Passing Grade in Any of Their Classes

Students receiving all "F's" at the end of an enrollment period will be assumed to have unofficially withdrawn from the University unless Longwood can document that the student completed the semester. Students who are found not to have completed the semester will have their aid packages reduced by 50%. The student will be obligated to pay any resulting unpaid charges.