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Satisfactory Academic Progress Q and A

Questions and Answers

The following questions and answers have been designed to provide more detail about satisfactory academic progress situations. If, after reviewing them, you still have questions about your situation, be sure to contact our office.


  1. What credits count toward the annual minimum?

    All residence credits earned with passing grades at the University of Washington. This includes courses taken for credit which apply to your program and other residence credits, such as remedial coursework (e.g., ESL or MATH 98), repeated classes, ROTC classes, first-year language classes (even if you received high school credit), and lower division coursework taken by graduate students. Residence credit is academic credit for courses offered through the UW Quarterly Time Schedule and certain other approved courses which are listed individually on your UW academic transcript.

  2. What grades are considered passing grades?

    Numerical grades of 0.7 and higher (1.7 for graduate students); N (no grade for hyphenated courses lasting longer than one quarter); S (satisfactory), or CR (credit).

  3. What credits are not considered passing credits?

    Grades below 0.7 for undergraduates (fail) or below (1.7 for graduate students; I (incomplete); X (no grade submitted); NC (no credit); NS (not satisfactory; E (fail); W (withdrawal); HW (hardship withdrawal); and Audit are not passing credits.

  4. I just made up my "Incomplete," and now have a passing grade in the class. How will this affect my status?

    These credits apply to the quarter in which you registered for the class. If you became ineligible for aid because you had not completed sufficient credits during that quarter and now have passed at least half-time credits, let the Financial Aid Office know that the quarter credit count has been changed.

  5. Are there any special requirements for taking ESL (English as a Second Language) or MATH 98 classes?

    Check with our office before the quarter starts; your aid may need to be specially authorized. Also, since MATH 98 grades are recorded at the community college, bring in your grade report at the end of the quarter.

  6. Do credits earned at other schools count?

    No. However, students whose eligibility has been canceled for not meeting the quarterly or annual credit requirement may complete the quarter on their own resources at another school (see Appeal Section).

  7. Do UWEO (Extension, Distance Learning) credits count?

    No, unless the class offers regular UW credits which are recorded as regular residence credits on your UW academic record. Holds on registration prevent registration and recording of Extension credits. Students considering on-line Distance Learning courses through UWEO should be aware that such courses may not count as part of their full-time credit requirement for financial aid. Some distance Distance Learning degree programs are approved for financial aid-check with your program. Contact our office for more information on the eligibility of individual courses. These courses also often involve additional tuition charges.

  8. Do correspondence (distance learning), credit by examination, or audit course credits count?


Dropping Classes/Withdrawing From School

  1. What happens if I drop below full-time attendance?

    You may not be able to pick up any further aid based on enrollment requirements to receive aid, and your future aid eligibility may be affected due to Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. In addition, if you pass fewer than full-time but at least half-time credits at the end of the quarter for which you receive aid, you will be put on financial aid probation and you may lose your eligibility at the end of the year if you are short of the annual credit requirement. If you drop below half-time, you will lose your eligibility for aid at the end of the quarter (unless you received "less than half-time aid" for the specific number of credits that you passed); and if you have student loans, you will begin your grace period.

    Remember the basic rules: You must complete a minimum half-time credit load each quarter you receive aid (6 credits for undergraduate, professional and teacher certification students; 5 credits for graduate students), and you must complete your total annual credit requirement by the end of spring quarter.

  2. What happens if I withdraw from all my classes?

    Four things:

    • Your eligibility for further aid is canceled;

    • You may have to repay aid you received for the quarter, depending on when you withdraw (see below);

    • Your tuition payment may be forfeited, depending on when you withdraw (see below);

    • You begin your grace period and/or repayment, if you've borrowed any student loans (contact your lenders for more information).

Refund and Aid Repayment for Students Who Receive Aid

  1. What if I withdraw in a quarter I don't get any aid? Is my aid eligibility affected if I return to the UW later?

    Yes, unless you withdraw in the first 10 days of classes (so that your transcript shows no classes for that quarter). By law, the satisfactory academic progress standards apply to all periods of enrollment, whether aid is received or not. If you withdraw after the 10th day of classes, the quarter is counted for both your maximum time frame and your annual credit requirement. You may petition for reinstatement of aid eligibility through the appeals process (see below).

  2. What happens if I stop attending classes, but never withdraw officially?

    We are required to assume you withdrew unofficially and did not attend classes and bill you for all UW aid you received that quarter. Any federal direct loan you received must be repaid in full, or your loan will be considered to be in default. We may be able to reduce the repayment obligation if you provide us with documentation of attendance and the last day you attended classes. You will receive no tuition refund if you do not officially withdraw, and you will be responsible for payment of tuition and fees if aid that paid fees is refunded to the aid programs.

Calculating Your Annual Credit Requirement

If you enroll full-time or receive aid based on full-time enrollment for the regular academic year (fall, winter, and spring quarters), the basic minimum credit requirement applies to you--36 credits undergraduate and professional students, 30 credits for graduate students. You must complete these credits by the end of spring quarter or your eligibility for financial aid is canceled. This requirement applies to all students, whether they receive aid or not.

Aid recipients must satisfy additional requirements to remain eligible. If you receive financial aid for a quarter, your credit requirement includes that quarter, whether you enroll or not. If the loan period for your Stafford Loan includes a particular quarter, your credit requirement also includes that quarter (e.g., even if you receive your aid in winter quarter, if the aid was for fall and winter, you are expected to do the credit requirement for both quarters). If you receive financial aid for summer quarter as well as for the academic year, your credit requirement is increased.

  1. What if I attend only one or two quarters?

    If you enroll full-time for only one quarter of a year, you must pass at least 12 credits that quarter (10 credits for graduate students) to retain your aid eligibility. If you enroll two quarters, you must pass at least 24 credits (20 for graduate students).

  2. What if I attend part-time?

    If you enroll half-time (6-11 credits for undergraduate and professional students, 5-9 credits for graduate students), you must pass the minimum half-time credit load for that quarter (6 for undergraduates/professionals, 5 for graduates). If, however, you enroll and receive Federal Pell or State Need Grant as a three-quarter time student, you must pass 9 credits for the quarter. If you enroll for less than half-time (1-5 credits for undergraduate and professional students, 1-4 for graduate students), you must pass all the credits attempted for that quarter.

  3. What happens to the credits I earn summer quarter?

    If you receive financial aid for summer quarter, your annual credit requirement includes summer quarter. Thus, if you enroll full time for the rest of the academic year, you must pass 48 credits by the end of the following spring quarter (40 for graduate students).

    If you receive no financial aid for summer quarter and enroll full time for the full regular academic year, the credits you earn summer may contribute to the following academic year's annual credit requirement. Thus, if you complete 5 credits summer, those 5 credits may be included in the upcoming year's 36 credit requirement (30 for graduate students). However, if you do not enroll full-time in the academic year, summer is treated as any other quarter of enrollment in the calculation of the annual credit requirement.

  4. Can I "make up" credits in summer quarter for the previous academic year's annual credit requirement?


Maximum Time Frame

  1. I am a transfer student. How do the credits I earned at other schools affect the maximum time frame for completing my degree?

    The credits which transfer will be counted. Each 45 undergraduate credits transferred equals one year toward a maximum time frame, etc.

  2. I am a part-time student. How is my maximum time frame calculated?

    If you register for fewer than full-time credits in any quarter, that quarter is counted as one-half of one quarter in calculating maximum time frame. Thus, if you are an undergraduate and you always register for 6-11 credits, your maximum time frame can extend to 10 years (twice the full-time maximum time frame for a bachelor's degree).

    If you register for full-time credits but complete fewer than full-time credits by the end of the quarter, that quarter is counted as a full-time quarter in calculating the maximum time frame. The calculation is based on credits attempted, not credits completed.

  3. If I withdraw from all my classes one quarter, will that quarter count in my maximum time frame?

    Yes, if you withdraw after the first 10 days of classes and the classes are listed on your transcript. If you withdraw within the first two weeks and no classes are listed on your transcript as having been attempted, the quarter will not count. If you received aid, you may owe a repayment.

  4. If my application is denied because I have exceeded the maximum time frame for completing my degree, can I appeal?

    Yes, if you have unusual circumstances which have prevented you from finishing your degree in the normal time frame. You should be aware, however, that the maximum time frame accommodates changes in curriculum or major, additional majors, course scheduling sequences and additional education requirements, such as remedial coursework or other work which may not receive credit toward the degree objective, and programs which require more than 180 credits. Appeals of the maximum time frame will be considered only for students who have been making satisfactory academic progress, but whose individual circumstances represent conditions not reasonably accommodated in the maximum time frame. Your appeal must explain in what ways your situation is unusual and you must provide an outline of exactly which classes and how many quarters you need to finish your current program from your academic adviser.

Appeals and Reinstatements

  1. If my appeal is approved, will I get my old financial aid award back?

    Not necessarily. If you did not meet the academic progress criteria, you have lost your financial aid eligibility. This includes all of the aid that was offered to you for the rest of the academic year. If your eligibility is reinstated, we will award you with the funds we currently have available.

  2. After I finish a quarter on my own resources, is my aid reinstated automatically?

    No. After you have received your grades for the quarter you must alert us by reporting to us in writing or in person that you have completed the quarter. We will then check the Registrar's records and follow-up. Remember that "Incompletes" that have now been completed count for the quarter they were originally registered for and cannot be considered current-quarter credit when doing a quarter on your own resources.

  3. Who decides on appeals?

    A committee of financial aid counselors and managers reviews the appeal and makes a decision. They take into account the student's past record as well as the particular circumstances described on the appeal to determine if the student can be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid eligibility.

  4. How long does a decision take?

    It depends on the time of the quarter. Average turnaround time for a complete appeal is from two to four weeks.

  5. What do I do about my tuition while I'm waiting to hear about an appeal?

    Pay your own tuition. Don't count on your appeal being approved. If necessary, apply for a short-term loan (information and applications available in 172 Schmitz).