Academic Standards

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

The Office of Financial Aid is required by federal regulations to determine whether a student is enrolled in a degree-seeking program and is meeting satisfactory academic progress requirements. The student’s official academic record maintained by the Office of the Registrar is reviewed to determine student compliance with this policy. SAP is reviewed annually, at the end of the spring semester. Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured by three standards:

1. Qualitative Standard: Grade Point Average (GPA)

Students must maintain the following minimum cumulative grade point average on all attempted hours:

Hours Attempted Minimum GPA Required
1–29 1.80
30–59 1.90
60–89 2.0
90 and above 2.0

2. Quantitative Standard: PACE

To remain in good academic standing and retain eligibility for financial aid, students must also be making satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a degree. Students must successfully complete 67% of the total credit hours attempted.

To earn credit hours at Lees-McRae, students must receive a grade of A, B, C, D, or M. All other grades, including F, XF, I, W, or N, do not earn credit. These grades are included in the total hours attempted calculation.

Accepted transfer credits count as both attempted and earned hours.

All repeated courses affect financial aid satisfactory academic progress calculations. A repeated course along with the original attempt must be counted as attempted hours.


3. Maximum Time Frame

Students must complete their program of study in a time frame not to exceed 150% of the published length of the program. The length of an undergraduate program at Lees-McRae is 120 credit hours; therefore students are allowed 180 attempted hours to be considered for federal financial aid. All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received or the course work was successfully completed.

Students seeking a second degree that causes their attendance to exceed the time frame according to their enrollment may request a time extension.

Students will be allowed to receive institutional financial aid for a maximum of five years.

Academic Progress Evaluation Procedures

Satisfactory academic progress is reviewed annually, at the end of each spring semester. Students not making Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid will receive a letter from the Office of Financial Aid stating that they are no longer eligible to receive aid from any federal, state, or institutional program. At this point, students have the following three options:

  1. Attend Lees-McRae with no financial aid at their own expense until they have met the minimum SAP requirements.
  2. A student who makes unsatisfactory academic progress has the opportunity to earn credit hours and meet the minimum requirement during the summer term(s). Students who are deficient in hours may take transferable courses at other institutions with prior approval from the Office of Academic Affairs and by notifying the Office of Financial Aid in writing. A student who makes unsatisfactory academic progress is not eligible for financial aid for summer term(s).
  3. Submit a Lees-McRae College Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal form and all required supporting documentation. Additional information on the appeal process is provided below.

Appeal Process

Students may appeal for one additional semester of financial assistance if they feel there are special circumstances that prevented them from meeting the minimum standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students must complete and submit the Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal form along with a typed statement describing the reasons and circumstances that caused them to fail to meet the minimum required standards. Students must also provide a statement outlining the specific steps that they intend to take in the next semester to improve their academic performance. 

The completed form, two written statements, along with any supporting documentation must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid and will be reviewed by the Scholarship and Financial Aid Committee. Circumstances may include, but are not limited to, serious illness or injury, death of a family member, or an emotional or mental health issue (for student) that required professional care. SAP appeals must be submitted by August 1.

Submitted appeals will be reviewed by the committee within two weeks of receipt of the appeal. Students will be notified in writing of the committee’s decision. If the appeal is approved, the decision notification will outline the conditions of your financial aid reinstatement. Students who have an academic progress appeal approved will be placed on financial aid probation status for the subsequent semester. Academic progress will be reviewed at the end of the enrollment period specified. If the appeal is denied, the notification will specify the conditions and recommendations for future consideration for financial aid eligibility. The decision of the Scholarship and Financial Aid Committee is final and cannot be appealed.

The above Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress are not designed to replace the standards that the college uses for academic dismissal/probation. It is possible for a student to lose financial aid eligibility without losing status as a degree candidate. However, once a student loses status as a degree candidate, he or she will also lose eligibility for financial aid.

Code of Conduct

Lees-McRae is a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). The Office of Financial Aid abides by NASFAA's Code of Conduct for financial aid professionals.

An institutional financial aid professional is expected to always maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct in all aspects of carrying out his or her responsibilities, specifically including all dealings with any entities involved in any manner in student financial aid, regardless of whether such entities are involved in a government sponsored, subsidized, or regulated activity. In doing so, a financial aid professional should:

  • Refrain from taking any action for his or her personal benefit.
  • Refrain from taking any action he or she believes is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interests of the students and parents he or she serves.
  • Ensure that the information he or she provides is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.
  • Be objective in making decisions and advising his or her institution regarding relationships with any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
  • Refrain from soliciting or accepting anything of other than nominal value from any entity (other than an institution of higher education or a governmental entity such as the U.S. Department of Education) involved in the making, holding, consolidating or processing of any student loans, including anything of value (including reimbursement of expenses) for serving on an advisory body or as part of a training activity of or sponsored by any such entity.
  • Disclose to his or her institution, in such manner as his or her institution may prescribe, any involvement with or interest in any entity involved is any aspect of student financial aid.