Graduate Academic Progress Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations require Framingham State University (FSU) to develop and apply a consistent and reasonable standard of academic progress. Schools are required to measure academic progress by evaluating grade point average (GPA), pace of completion, and maximum timeframe.  The following standards apply to any graduate student receiving federal or state financial aid.

GPA Standards

Students must meet FSU Graduate School academic standards by earning a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.

Pace of Completion and Maximum Timeframe

The maximum time frame for completing an undergraduate degree is 150% of the published length of the program, as measured by credits (including transfer credits). To ensure that students meet this requirement, schools must measure how many courses students complete against how many they attempt.  To be making satisfactory academic progress at FSU, students must successfully complete 67% of the courses attempted.  This is a cumulative measurement, and the number of courses attempted and earned will be reviewed at the end of each year at the conclusion of the spring semester. Rounding will be used in calculating the pace of completion.

Students who have attempted 150% of the required course credits for a graduate program and have not yet earned the graduate degree will become ineligible for financial aid.  The number of courses required per program varies.

Courses transferred to FSU are counted towards the number of course credits/semester hours attempted and completed but are not included in the calculation of the GPA.


A student has taken a total of 6 course credits (24 semester hours) and passed 3 course credits (12 semester hours). The student is not making satisfactory progress because the student is passing at the rate of 50% (3 divided by 6).

A student has attempted 16 course credits (64 semester hours) at FSU in a 10 course (40 semester hour) Master’s Degree program, but has not yet earned a degree.  The student is not eligible for financial aid because the student has attempted more than 150% of the allowable amount for the program.

Additional Elements  

Course Withdrawals:  If a student withdraws from one or more courses before the end of the Add/Drop period, the course(s) will not be counted as a course attempt.  Any courses dropped after the Add/Drop period will be counted as credits attempted for determining academic progress.

Incompletes:   A grade of incomplete will count as an attempted course.  Once the course work is completed and a grade is determined, the completion rate and GPA may change based on the grade that is earned.  The time frame to remedy an incomplete grade for satisfactory progress is the same as that for all students (see the university graduate catalog).

Repeated courses:  Courses taken more than once will count as attempted courses for each attempt, but will count only once as earned course credit toward degree completion.  Please note that additional federal regulations restrict the number of courses that students can repeat while receiving financial aid.  Please contact the Financial Aid Office if you plan to repeat courses.

Standards are Cumulative

Satisfactory academic progress standards are cumulative and include all periods of the student's enrollment, including those for which the student did not receive financial aid.

Appeal Process

Students who are not making Satisfactory Academic Progress may appeal in writing to the Financial Aid Office.  The appeal should include a detailed account of why the student did not meet the required academic standards and should include any information on special circumstances that may have affected the student’s academic performance.  Examples of special circumstances include but are not limited to: an injury to a student, an illness of the student, or the death of a close relative of the student.  The appeal should also include information on what has changed to allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress in the future.

If a student’s appeal is approved, they will receive a semester of financial aid probation, and may also be placed on an academic plan.  Academic progress will be checked again at the end of the probationary semester.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid

If financial aid is lost because satisfactory progress has not been achieved, some ways that the student can repair his or her record over time include:

  • Raising the cumulative GPA to the required level
  • Raising the completion rate to the required level by earning passing grades in all attempted courses
  • Successfully appealing and improving academic performance while on Financial Aid Probation or adhering to the requirements of the assigned academic plan.

Although satisfactory progress is monitored once per year at the conclusion of the spring semester, eligibility may be restored at any time throughout the year.  If a student’s GPA or completion rate changes due to grade changes, repeated courses, or courses transferred in from other schools, the student should notify the Financial Aid Office.