Complete Satisfactory Progress Policy

Federal regulations (HEA Sec. 484(c)) require that Central Michigan University monitor the satisfactory academic progress of all students regardless if they have received financial aid in previous semesters. These financial aid requirements are separate from students’ academic requirements. To maintain eligibility for federal student aid, as well as most state and institutional student aid programs, there are three distinct criteria that must be monitored and met.

  1. Quantitative standard: Students must complete 67% of all CMU credits attempted each semester of enrollment which includes the summer semester. Attempted hours are based on the number of credits for which the student is registered at the conclusion of the Registrar’s posted “Deadline for Dropping a Class with a Full Cancellation of Tuition.”
  2. Qualitative standard: Students must maintain a 2.00 cumulative GPA as an undergraduate student and a 3.00 cumulative GPA as a graduate student.
  3. Maximum time frame standard: The number of attempted credits in which a student is expected to finish a program cannot exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program. Total credit hour limits apply whether or not the student has actually received financial aid for the entire time at CMU. Transfer credits from previous schools count toward credit hour limits. Undergraduate students cannot receive financial aid after attempting 186 credit hours. The 186-credit-hour limit for completion of a baccalaureate degree is intended to be long enough to allow for changes in a major, loss of credit due to transfer, withdrawn coursework, minors, double majors, etc.; therefore, no extensions of the maximum time frame will be granted for the above mentioned reasons.

Students in graduate programs may not receive financial aid if they have exceeded the published time limits as outlined in the CMU Graduate Bulletin for master, doctoral, or professional programs.  

Graduate students working on second baccalaureate degree or post-baccalaureate students working on teacher certification:

Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree or post-baccalaureate students working on teacher certification are limited to 93 credit hours of work between the receipt of the first degree and the completion of the second. Students may not receive financial aid beyond 6 semesters (or the part-time equivalent of 6 semesters) of enrollment in the second undergraduate degree program or teacher certification program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress review at the end of each semester (fall, spring, and summer):

Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured at the end of each semester to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility for the following semester.

Progress status:

If for any reason the OSFA fails to provide an intended notification, this does not relieve the student from the obligation of continuing to maintain satisfactory academic progress or from any other requirements of the financial aid program.

Consequences of unsatisfactory progress

Students who fail to complete 67 percent of their attempted courses in one semester, and/or have a cumulative GPA that falls below a 2.00 for undergrad students and 3.00 for graduate level students will be placed in a warning status.  Failure to bring their completion rate to 67 percent in the next semester of enrollment or to bring their cumulative GPA within the required range of a 2.00 for undergraduate students and 3.00 for graduate level students will result in financial aid suspension beginning with the next semester of enrollment. A student will remain on financial aid suspension and be denied federal and most state and institutional aid until he/she completes 67 percent of attempted courses within one semester at CMU, and maintains the required cumulative GPA for his/her grade level. Only credit hours completed are counted as credits earned. Grades of NC (no credit), I (Incomplete), W (withdrawal), X (audit), and Z (deferred) are not counted as earned credit. For example, a student who attended CMU in the fall and attempts 12 credits but withdraws from 6 credits fall semester will have completed 6 of 12 credits for a completion rate of 50 percent. This student will be warned, but still eligible to receive financial aid for his/her next semester of enrollment. A second semester of less than 67 percent completion and/or a cumulative GPA below the required standards will result in the student being denied further aid until he or she completes 67 percent of attempted courses, as well as maintaining the required cumulative GPA within a CMU semester.

Students who reach their time limit without completing their degree will be denied further federal and most state and institutional financial aid as a student at that level. As students near their credit limits they will be placed in a warning status. For example, if as an undergraduate you reach 150 attempted credits you will be placed in a warning status. Once you reach the 186-attempted-credit limit, you will be denied further aid until the degree is conferred. You then would regain eligibility for a second undergraduate or a graduate degree. If you are attempting a master's degree and reach the eligibility limit, you would be denied further aid until the master's degree is conferred, at which time you would regain eligibility for a second master's, doctoral, or professional degree.

Appeal process

Students who have faced extraordinary circumstances may appeal a financial aid suspension but, students are cautioned that appeals are not routinely approved. Circumstances not considered to be mitigating are: work conflicts; lack of transportation; change in major or pursuit of a second major; or a minor illness of a student or family member.

All appeals must

  1. be submitted using the CMU Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form available on the CMU OSFA website
  2. include the required documentation.
  3. be submitted to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid
In most cases a decision will be made within 15 business days of receiving an appeal letter and the appropriate documentation. Students are notified of appeal decisions in writing or through their CMU e-mail account.

Continuing at CMU after aid is denied

Students denied financial aid generally may continue attending Central Michigan University using private aid sources such as alternative student loans ( Click Here for Alternative Loan Information), or by funding their education themselves.  Please note that some alternative loans are NOT available to students while on Financial Aid Suspension. ​​​​

Summer Semester Processing of Satisfactory Progress

  • If students are currently on financial aid warning, probation or denial and they request summer aid, their file is on HOLD until spring grades are posted and OSFA can confirm if the student has met requirements to be cleared. If the student has not met the requirements they will go on denial (or remain on denial if already there), and not be eligible for summer federal aid.

  • Due to the timing of final grade posting for spring semester, students currently on warning, probation or denial will not have their summer aid processed and paid out in time for the FIRST summer disbursement. For those students who have filed their summer aid application by the April 1 priority processing deadline, aid will be processed as soon as possible following the completion of the SAP review.

  • Please note: students who successfully complete Summer I term while on denial, are NOT eligible for federal aid for Summer II term – they are on denial for the entire Summer semester.

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Phone: 989-774-4000

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