Start a degree program at American Public University.
By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews, APUS
There are several basic eligibility criteria that you must meet to continually receive Federal Student Aid (FSA). Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a major criterion.
SAP tracks your academic progress as you work toward your degree or certificate. It uses qualitative and quantitative measurements (such as your grade point average and the number of credit you earn versus the number of credit you attempt) that you must meet after each semester, and there are various ways to maintain your SAP.
Have Your Financial Aid Advisor Tell You about Satisfactory Academic Progress Policies
Speak with a financial aid advisor and ask him or her to clearly detail the school’s SAP policies. Schools can set their own SAP policies, and some schools’ policies may be a little stricter than others. Make sure you fully understand what is expected of you as an FSA recipient.
Watch Your Course Load
Do not overload on too many credits, especially in your first semester. College life can come as a culture shock and is more demanding than high school.
The required work will be unlike anything you have ever experienced. Make sure you have a manageable course load each semester so that you are not overwhelmed by classwork.
Try Not to Withdraw from Classes
Avoid class withdrawals if that’s possible. Frequent withdrawals have a negative impact on SAP. You can fail SAP without actually failing any classes because part of the SAP formula compares credits earned against credits attempted.
Remain in Touch with Your Academic Advisor
Stay in constant communication with your academic advisor. Let him or her know if you are experiencing problems in class. One bad semester can cost you your FSA.
However, the university has resources that available to students who are having a tough semester. These resources include tutors, personal one-on-one meetings with an academic advisor, and access to educational materials in the APUS library. Be sure to utilize those resources.
The Department of Education requires schools that administer FSA to have SAP policies in place to ensure that FSA students are working toward a degree or certificate. While SAP policies vary from school to school, they all require students to meet certain requirements to continue receiving FSA. But with hard work and seeking help when you need it, it will be easier to meet the SAP requirements.