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Financial Aid Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progess (SAP)

A student is in good academic standing as long as she is matriculated at Smith and is considered by the Administrative Board to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree. The academic standing of all students is reviewed at the end of each semester.

The concept of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) mandates the monitoring of both grade point average (GPA)—qualitative progress—and the number of credits completed—quantitative progress.

Qualitative Standard

For both traditional-aged students and Ada Comstock Scholars, a student whose academic GPA is below 2.0 either cumulatively or in a given semester is considered to not be making satisfactory progress toward her degree. Such students will be placed on academic probation for the subsequent semester.

Quantitative Standard

Traditional Students

Traditional students must satisfactorily complete 128 credits to graduate and must complete these credits within eight semesters. Students are granted institutional financial aid for only a total of eight semesters. A student who fails to meet the degree requirement of a 2.0 GPA in the senior year may be granted a ninth semester by the Administrative Board. However, she will receive no institutional aid. Any federal financial aid for which the student is eligible will be granted in the ninth semester providing she has not reached the cumulative maximum amounts in the federal programs.

Ada Comstock Students

Ada Comstock Scholars are able to move toward their degree on a part-time basis. For this reason Smith will aid each eligible student for the total number of semesters required to reach 128 credits, not to exceed a total of 12 semesters. However, no Ada Comstock Scholar will be eligible for any institutional aid in any semester in which she is enrolled in fewer than 8 credits. Federal aid will be processed for Ada Comstock Scholars taking fewer than 8 credits, per all applicable federal regulations. Ada Comstock Scholars are allowed 132 credits, including those credits transferred to Smith, in which to earn their degree.

A student with federal aid is expected to successfully complete 75 percent of all coursework for which she was enrolled on the 15th day of the semester. Drops (either "free drops" or drops after the fifteenth day of the semester but before the end of the fifth week of classes), withdrawals (either medical or by permission of the Administrative Board), or failures are included in this calculation.

Probationary Status

The first semester that a student is placed on academic probation, she is also placed on financial aid "warning." Students on financial aid warning are still able to receive both federal and institutional financial aid. If the student continues to be on academic probation for a second consecutive semester following the warning, the student must appeal in writing to Student Financial Services in order to continue to receive federal and institutional financial aid. A student is not making satisfactory progress toward the degree if she remains on academic probation for more than two consecutive semesters. The warning and probationary periods are meant to inform the student of potential academic problems and give her time for corrective action. Exceptions to the two semester probationary limit can be made only by the Administrative Board and are only granted in cases of extenuating circumstances with evidence that the student is or is likely to improve her academic standing. In these exceptional cases, the student is required to follow an academic plan developed in conjunction with the Administrative Board. If, after the probationary period ends, a student is still not making satisfactory progress, she will be withdrawn from the college by vote of the Administrative Board and therefore she will no longer be eligible to receive either institutional or federal financial aid.

Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility

If a student has been withdrawn and wishes to return to Smith with financial aid, she must submit an application for readmission. Her application must provide documentation of her successful completion of any requirements for readmission voted by the Board at the time of her withdrawal, such as earning the credits appropriate for her class standing. If the Administrative Board readmits the student, she is notified in writing of her readmission and of the GPA she must attain to regain good academic standing as she completes work toward her degree. Typically, the student is given one semester in which to bring her GPA up to 2.0, unless that would be mathematically impossible, in which case she is given 2 semesters in which to regain her SAP. During this period, the student will be eligible for both institutional and federal financial aid. SFS is notified by the Registrar of the the student's readmission and she becomes eligible at that time for both federal and institutional financial aid.

Graduate Students

For all graduate degree programs (other than the School for Social Work), all work to be counted toward the degree, including the thesis, must receive a grade of at least B-. The degree will not be awarded to a student who has no grade above this minimum. Students receiving a grade of "C" may appeal to remain in the degree program. All appeals of this nature are heard by the student's academic advisor and if approved, the credit will either be counted toward the degree or the student is required to take additional classes to make up for the credits that will not count toward the degree requirement. All graduate work must be completed within a period of four years. All exceptions to this four-year policy will be considered by the Administrative Board and the student will be notified by the board. Should a student fall below the minimum grade requirement, she will be withdrawn from her graduate program and therefore, ineligible to receive further financial aid.