Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Student Aid

Penn State must adhere to federal regulations regarding student progression toward completion of degree and certificate programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree levels.

  • Students must complete at least 67 percent of the cumulative credits attempted. Cumulative credits are the total of transfer credits and all attempted credits since arriving at Penn State. Each semester, the recorded attempted credits are the maximum number of credits for which the student has registered at any one time between the first and last day of classes. A course is completed if a minimum grade of D is earned. That means that regular drops, late drops, withdrawals and Fs all contribute to non-completion. Undergraduate students who fall below the 67 percent will get one warning semester. Graduate/professional students do not get a warning semester. Students should be advised to avoid scheduling more credits than they intend to take and if they add a class during the regular drop/add period, to drop a class at the same time.
  • Students must complete their degree within 150 percent of the number of credits required to complete the degree. If there are extenuating circumstances, such as academic renewal, re-enrollment for a second degree, etc., the Office of Student Aid will consider appeals to the total credit requirement for eligibility for federal aid.

If a student does not maintain satisfactory academic progress, she/he will lose aid from federal sources, including (but not limited to) Pell Grants, Federal PLUS and Graduate PLUS loans, TEACH grants. Advisers should not attempt to determine eligibility or loss of eligibility but rather refer students to the Office of Student Aid. Advisers should just warn students to avoid registering for extra courses with the intention of dropping one or more after testing them out or to reserve a spot for a friend. If students want to compare a couple of courses, the best strategy would be to register for the one they think is more likely and then just sit in the other one to learn more about it.