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Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process for Graduate Students

All graduate students who file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are subject to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will evaluate your SAP status every year you apply for financial aid. If you were unable to meet the pace requirement, the financial aid office will send you an email message regarding this matter. In addition, a reminder will appear on your “To Do List” in MyMadison.  No information will appear in MyMadison regarding SAP if you have not filed your FAFSA and received an email explaining that you are not eligible for financial aid.

Your department and The Graduate School will monitor your compliance with GPA and maximum time requirements.

If you were unable to meet the grade point average, pace, or maximum time requirements during your previous enrollment, you cannot receive financial aid. However, if extenuating circumstances contributed to your inability to earn at least 80 percent of your attempted hours, the pace standard, you may request reconsideration through the financial aid office by submitting an appeal form with appropriate supporting documentation. See the graduate catalog for information about GPA requirements, time limitations, and exceptions to regulations.

Students who wish to appeal must do so by a prescribed deadline.

2015-16 Appeal Deadlines
•  Summer 2015 – Monday, June 29, 2015
•  Fall 2015 – Monday, September 14, 2015
•  Spring 2016 – Monday, January 25, 2016

Students may reestablish eligibility for financial aid by resolving their academic deficiency. If you believe you meet the pace requirement after a period of noncompliance, send an email to the SAP mailbox at finaid_sap@jmu.edu to notify us of the possible change in your status. We will reevaluate your transcript to confirm your compliance with SAP requirements. Remember that your JMU transcript must reflect this change.

Extenuating or Mitigating Circumstances

If extenuating circumstances contributed to your inability to meet SAP requirements and you need financial assistance to attend school, you should submit an appeal. Mitigating or extenuating circumstances may include:
•  Illness
•  Death in the family
•  Family problems

This is not a comprehensive list. Any documentable event(s), outside your control, that prevented you from meeting SAP standards may qualify.

Appeal Form

The appeal form gives you the opportunity to tell us about the event(s) that contributed to your unsatisfactory progress.

To prepare your appeal, click on Appeal Form now.

In your appeal form, you must:
•  Describe the extenuating circumstance(s) that led to your noncompliance.
•  Explain what has changed that will allow you to meet SAP requirements in the future.
•  Describe the timeframe of your extenuating circumstance(s) for the period that you failed SAP.

We realize that sharing personal information can be difficult. Be assured that your statement will remain confidential. Only financial aid personnel will review your appeal.

Supporting Documentation

To confirm your extenuating circumstance(s), you must attach documentation from an objective third party (e.g., physician, counselor, lawyer, social worker, teacher, religious leader, academic adviser, JMU Office of Disability Services, and JMU Health Center).

Your third party documentation must:
•  Be submitted on official stationary or by email from a valid JMU email account.  (This means when you use JMU email,
   the message must come directly from your third party’s official JMU email account to the SAP mailbox at
•  Verify that the extenuating circumstance(s) will no longer influence your future academic performance.
•  Confirm the timeframe referenced in your appeal.

After reviewing your appeal form and supporting information, we may request additional documentation for clarification purposes.

Appeal Decision

We will review your appeal within 30 days of receipt and notify you by email of its status. You will receive either our decision to grant your appeal, deny your appeal, or a request for additional documentation. If we grant your appeal, we will place you on financial aid probation for one semester and give you an academic plan. Your academic plan will specify the conditions you must meet to continue receiving financial aid for a specified period. An award notice will follow once we complete the review of your FAFSA.

If you fail to meet the terms of your academic plan, you will not qualify to receive financial aid for the subsequent semester. Any future appeal(s) will require new extenuating circumstances and a new (and different) academic plan. Of course, students may reestablish eligibility for financial aid at any time by resolving their academic deficiency.

Students whose appeals are denied, may choose to apply for an alternative loan. Review loan options at: http://www.jmu.edu/finaid/altloans.shtml