Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
The Federal Government mandates that students must maintain satisfactory academic progress toward completion of their degrees within a reasonable period of time in order to be eligible for Title IV financial aid programs (includes grants, work-study, Direct Student Loans, PLUS, and Perkins loans).
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is defined as:
- passing a required number of hours (67% of all hours attempted) and
- achieving a required grade point average (2.0 cumulative for undergraduate students and 3.0 cumulative for graduate students) and
- not being over attempted hours (150% of the published length of the students’ degree program).
All students academic progress will be reviewed at the end of each semester. Students whose status has changed to Warning or Failed will be emailed to their NSU official email address.
At the end of each semester students will fall into one of the following categories:
- Good Standing: Student has met progress standards and is eligible for aid for the following semester.
- Warning: Student has not met progress standards. However the student is still eligible for financial aid but must have made progress by the end of the warning semester.
- Failed Standards: Student has not made progress after warning period. Student is no longer eligible for Financial Aid. Please see re-establishing eligibility below.
- Probation: Student has not met progress standards, but has an approved appeal and is eligible for financial aid for one semester.
Transfer students are required to meet the minimum academic standards set by NSU in order to receive Federal Financial Aid at Northwestern State University. A transfer student must supply the NSU Admissions Office with a transcript from all previous institutions of attendance.
Second Degree Students:
Students are allowed additional attempted hours to complete additional degree programs:
- 2nd BS-90 additional hours
- 2nd Associates-45 additional hours
- 2nd Masters-15 additional hours
- Certification beyond BS or Masters-45 additional hours
- Associate beyond bachelors-45 additional hours
- Specialist beyond Masters-45 additional hours
If a student’s attempts to earn 3 degrees of the same, the additional hours are not increased twice – Example: A student receives 1st bachelors at 185 hours. Student is given 90 more hours to pursue additional bachelor’s degrees for a total of 275 hours. Once student attempts 275 hours, they are no longer eligible for federal aid, regardless of pursuing 2nd or 3rd bachelors.
Re-establishing Financial Aid Eligibility
Students who do not meet SAP Standards have two options to receive Financial Aid in future semesters: attend and regain without the benefit of financial aid or appeal.
You must enroll and be attending to re-establish your financial aid eligibility. Should you choose to “sit out” a semester, you are still subject to meeting the conditions listed below for the semester in which you re-enroll.
Attend and regain without the benefit of Financial Aid
Students may attend at their own expense without the benefit of financial aid, attempt and earn a cumulative 67% of hours attempted and a 2.0 cumulative grade point average for undergraduates or 3.0 for graduates.
Note: students who are over their attempted hours cannot regain their eligibility on their own.
Students may appeal to the Student Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The student must be able to meet the progress requirements by the end of that semester in which the student is appealing. Satisfactory Academic Requirements are earning a 2.0 cumulative GPA for undergraduates, 3.0 cumulative GPA for graduates, pass 67% percent of cumulative course attempted, and not exceed 150% of degree program.
Use the calculator below to determine if you are eligible to appeal.
Student Financial Aid Appeal
Students who do not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards may have the right to appeal to the Student Financial Aid Appeals Committee. These appeals are generally based on extenuating circumstances.
Examples of extenuating circumstances may be defined as, prolonged illness, accidents that require hospitalization to the student or a close family member, death of an immediate family member, or other types of accidents or incidents.
All appeals should have documentation that corresponds with the type of appeal the student is filing.
Appeals that are remitted after the priority deadline will not receive priority consideration, and the student should also make payment arrangements with the Cashier’s Office for payment of fees incurred from the registration process.
Students may appeal to the Student Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The student must be able to meet the progress requirements (2.0 cumulative GPA for undergraduates, 3.0 cumulative GPA for graduates, pass 67% percent of cumulative course attempted, and not exceed 150% of degree program) by the end of that semester in which the student is appealing and students must complete a financial aid appeal form that includes all of the following:
- Why did the student fail to make satisfactory academic progress
- What types of extenuating circumstances existed and documentation of the situation
- What has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to demonstrate progress at the next evaluation
If the appeal is approved, the student would be eligible for aid during the next semester. The student’s academic progress will be checked again at the end of the semester.
There is no limit to the number of appeals a student submits during their academic career. NOTE: If an appeal for a given semester is denied, the student can appeal one additional time for that semester – only if the student can submit new and updated information/documentation to go along with the appeal.
|Fall Appeals||Spring Appeals||Summer Appeals|
|Priority deadline: July 15
Final deadline: September 30
|Priority deadline: January 2
Final deadline: February 28
|Priority deadline: June 6
Final deadline: July 15
If an appeal for Financial Aid is approved by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee, the student regains eligibility for Financial Aid for that semester. The student must maintain academic progress that semester to continue their financial aid eligibility. If an appeal is denied by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee, the student must enroll, attempt and earn a cumulative 67% of hours attempted and a 2.0 cumulative grade point average for undergraduates or 3.0 for graduates at the student’s own expense.
Financial aid appeals do not apply to academic appeals and are in no way related.
The committee will review the following when making a decision:
- Why the student did not make progress (grades or hours)
- Supporting documentation the student has attached to the appeal. They also look at the relevance of the documentation.
- Number of times a student has appealed
- Attempted hours, earned hours, and GPA for the past 3 semesters
- Copies of transcripts from other universities if a transfer student
- Student’s statement should explain why the student did not make progress
- Student’s statement should also include what changes have been made and why the student will be able to currently make progress
Beginning Fall 2015
Due to the opening of the Academic Success Center (ASC) Academic Plans are now potentially available to any student who is not making academic progress and cannot regain eligibility within one semester. These students will complete a Financial Aid appeal form and supply all required documentation. The OSFA will determine if the appeal needs to be reviewed through the FA appeal process or submitted to ASC for an Academic Plan. If approved by ASC these Academic Plans will be tailored to each individual student’s needs (GPA, hours attempted, hours earned, length of plan) so that the student can make progress within a determined time frame, while still receiving federal financial aid. Once the plan is created ASC will go over the plan and it’s requirements with the individual student at which point the student is then required to sign a contract as evidence of understanding and agreeing to the requirements. ACS will monitor all progress for these students. At the end of each semester students will be notified if they did not meet the requirements set forth in their plan. If a students does not meet the requirements they are no longer eligible for Title IV aid until they have regained eligibility on their own. Only extenuating circumstances beyond the students control will be allowed for review of a second attempt (or changes to existing plan or new plan after failing) at a failed academic plan such as illness, death, military, etc.
You may include any repetition of the program in a student’s enrollment status for a term as long as the student has never passed the course. If the student passes the course, you may include one repetition after passing the course. Any second or subsequent repetition of the passed course may not be included in the student’s enrollment status for purposes of the title IV, HEA, programs.
Spring 2021 book vouchers are available starting January 5th, 2021 and will continue through January 20th, 2021. Please make sure all books are purchased, or ordered, by the end of the day on January 20th, 2021. Book Vouchers cannot be extended. Please see information below regarding book vouchers.
Students who are eligible for a book voucher can purchase books at any of the two bookstores listed below by using their NSU One Card (student ID). Please read the FAQ below to determine if you are eligible and how to use the book voucher.
Book Voucher FAQ
Who is eligible for a book voucher?
Students who are receiving financial aid in excess of their account balance are eligible. To determine if you have a credit balance, please follow the directions below:
- Go to myNSU; then
- Enter your Login ID and Password
- Select Financial Aid; then
- Select “How much is my Book Voucher”; then
- Select “Term”
How do I determine how much of a book voucher I am eligible for?
The voucher will be up to $1000 for all eligible students; the amount depends upon your credit balance. Remember that you will only be charged for the amounts you actually purchase. NOTE: Student athletes whose athletic scholarship covers books should contact the Compliance Office.
How do I use my book voucher?
Simply go to the bookstore with your NSU One Card and use that to purchase your books. If you would like to order books, simply go online to one of two bookstore websites, and submit the necessary information to charge the books to your account.
What if my book is not in stock?
You can use the book voucher to pre-pay for books not in stock.
What if my book voucher has expired and I need to purchase another book?
Once your book voucher expires, you will need to make your purchases using your own financial resources.
Can I buy my books from more than one book store?
You can purchase books from any of the participating bookstores.
What happens after I use the book voucher?
After your books are purchased, the charges will appear on your student account. Any funds received by NSU will pay towards your current semester charges, which will include any book charges.
What if I have a question about my book charges?
If you have any questions regarding your book charges, contact the bookstore where you made your purchases.
Unusual Enrollment History
Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) flags:
Beginning in 2013-2014, some Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs) will be flagged for “unusual enrollment history” by the U. S. Department of Education as a result of the student having received federal Pell Grant funds and/or Federal Direct Loans (not including a Direct Consolidation Loan or Parent PLUS Loan) at multiple institutions in recent years. Flags “2” and “3” require that the current institution review the student’s enrollment history and determine whether or not the student is enrolling only long enough to receive cash refunds of federal student aid.
NOTE: The NSU Financial Aid Office, in the process of reviewing a student’s UEH flag, will check the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) for complete enrollment history (i.e., name of each school attending during the last 4 academic years and dates of attendance.)
How to resolve: All students with UEH flag 3 and some students with UEH flag 2 will be required to provide to NSU their academic transcripts or grade reports from all colleges and universities attended during the review period. If Pell Grants and/or Direct Loans were received and credit hours (passing grades: A – D) were not earned at each institution attended during these award years, the student may be determined ineligible for further federal financial aid. The Financial Aid Office has the authority to require an official academic transcript from any/all colleges attended during the review period if the documents you submit are unclear.
Appealing the ineligibility determination: if a student has been determined by NSU to be ineligible for federal student aid on the basis of (or lack of) documentation, he/she may appeal the determination by contacting the Financial Aid Office.
Regaining federal student aid eligibility: Students whose aid eligibility is denied as a result of their UEH can be re-considered for federal student aid after enrolling for Two academic terms, not dropping or withdrawing from (officially or unofficially) any courses after the term begins, and meeting the College’s standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
All student aid funds (except Federal Work-Study and Student Employment Scholarship) that are disbursed into the student’s account will first be applied to the amount owed to NSU by the student. If the disbursed student aid funds exceed the amount owed to NSU, then a disbursement check or direct deposit will be issued to the student.
- Grants, Institutional scholarships, and Loans are applied to student accounts as funds arrive at the institution, after the add/drop period of each semester is over. Federal regulations state 1) if a student is in the first year of undergraduate studies and is a first time Stafford loan borrower, the school may not disburse the first installment of the loan until 30 calendar days after class begins. 2) A single semester loan must be disbursed in two installments, the first half at the beginning of the semester and the second half may not be disbursed until midpoint of the semester.
- TOPS and Go Grant are applied when payment is received and disbursed about 45 days after school starts
- Third party scholarships are applied to student accounts after payment is received from billed invoice
Student Loan Code of Conduct
This code is established to standardize the best practices at Northwestern State University in providing optimum educational loans and loan consolidations to our students and their parents.
- University employees will not accept anything from lenders/guarantors/servicers doing business with or anticipating doing business with the university other than promotional items of nominal value or food and beverages consumed in the presence of a lender/guarantor/servicer.
- University employees are prohibited from receiving anything of value, including trips, for serving on the advisory board of a loan institution.
- Students and parents will be clearly told that they may select the lender of their choice regardless of the list. An option will be provided for the student to indicate their lender of preference.
- All lenders are encouraged to provide educational brochures for our students to browse in the Financial Aid Office. This will provide the students with the opportunity to learn about each lender.
- NSU will not receive any financial benefits in exchange for giving lenders, guarantors or servicers a competitive advantage or preferential treatment. NSU will not accept financial benefits from a lender, guarantor or servicer in return for being placed on a school’s lender list.
- All financial aid personnel will comply with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals as stated at http://www.nasfaa.org.
Federal and/or State Financial Aid recipients may not receive funds in excess of Financial Need and/or the Cost of Attendance. This may occur when students receive funds from other sources or agencies. When an overaward occurs, the Department of Student Financial Aid is required to adjust the student’s financial aid. A student may be required to repay funds due to the loss of eligibility. To prevent an overaward, notify the Department of Student Financial Aid of any assistance you receive that is not listed on your award letter. Examples of other aid include scholarships, military benefits, and Vocational Rehabilitation benefits.
Return of Title IV (Federal) Funds
When a federal student aid recipient withdraws, officially or unofficially, even after attending the first day of class, the University will return any funds the student was not eligible to receive, and the student aid recipient will be required to repay, a prorated portion of funds received based upon a federally required calculation. Adjustments to financial aid will be made based on the percentage of the period of enrollment as of the resignation date. The earned percentage is applied to the total amount of Title IV grants and loan assistance that was disbursed (and that could have been disbursed) to the student, or on the student’s behalf. This process can take up to 45 days.
Return of Title IV (Federal) Funds when a student withdraws
Students who choose to withdraw from the University prior to the end of an enrollment period (semester) should follow the University’s guidelines for withdrawing from school. An Official Withdrawal Form must be completed and submitted to the proper office before a student can be considered officially withdrawn. Information concerning the details of withdrawal procedures can be found in the University Catalog or by contacting the University Registrar’s Office.
Under the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, the amount of aid a student has earned for the enrollment period, is based on the length of time the student remains enrolled for that period. Therefore, the percentage of the enrollment period completed is also the percentage of aid the student has earned.
- If a student withdraws on or before the 60% point of the enrollment period, the percentage of aid earned is equal to the percentage of time completed. (Conversely, the percentage of aid unearned, is equal to the percentage of time not completed, up to the 60% point.)
- A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60% point of the enrollment period, has earned 100% of the aid for that period. (There would be no unearned aid)
The Unearned Amount of Title IV aid must be returned to the applicable Title IV aid programs in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Direct Loan
- Subsidized Direct Loan
- Perkins Loan
- Plus Loan(Graduate Student)
- Plus Loan(Parent)
- Pell Grant
- SEOG Grant
- TEACH Grant
- Other Title IV aid
Return of Title IV (Federal) Funds when a student does not withdraw
If University records show a federal student aid recipient never attended a class and/or never performed an academically related activity for a semester or term, then the recipient never established eligibility for any aid funds that may have been disbursed for that semester or term. In addition, any student aid recipient who drops all classes or voids his/her schedule with an effective date prior to the first day of class for a semester or term did not establish eligibility for any aid funds that may have been disbursed for that semester or term. In either case, the student aid recipient must repay the entire amount of aid disbursed for that semester or term. Federal student aid recipients who begin attending classes during a semester and who cease attending or performing academic activities prior to the end of the semester, and never complete an Official Withdrawal Form are considered by the federal government to have Unofficially Withdrawn. If University records indicate that a student did begin attending classes but subsequently unofficially withdrew, the University will consider the Unofficial Withdrawal date to be the midpoint of the semester (unless documentation exists of an earlier or later date of attendance/academic activity by the student). If no attendance or academic activity can be documented, the Unofficial Withdrawal student must repay the entire amount of aid disbursed for that semester or term.
Resignation and Withdrawal Counseling Tips:
- Understand that if you resign before completing 60% of the semester/summer term the Financial Aid Office will perform a calculation to determine the amount of federal aid that you did not earn.
- Understand that you may be responsible for reimbursing the University for any funds that are returned by NSU on your behalf. You will receive a bill in the mail notifying you of any payment due to the University.
- Understand that if you resign within the University’s Refund of Charges Policy, you may receive a reduction of your tuition and fees. However, this policy does not exempt you from reimbursing the University of any unearned funds returned to the financial aid programs. After your fees are reduced, you will receive a bill in the mail notifying you of any payment due to the University.
- Understand that until your debt is paid, you may not be able to register for classes in future semesters.
- Understand when you stop attending classes without officially resigning that you are subject to the financial aid resignation policy and you are responsible for reimbursing any unearned funds returned by NSU. Your Instructor will report dates of attendance to the Registrar’s office to be used in calculating unearned funds.
- Understand that you must complete an Exit Interview form, which outlines your rights and responsibilities in repaying your student loan. You must complete this form if you did receive financial aid for the current semester/summer term or if you had received financial aid during a previous year.
- Understand that the University will report your resignation (official or unofficial) to NSLDS. You will need to contact your lender/guaranty agency for further information regarding the payment terms of the promissory note, and payment of additional unearned amounts due to the lender.
- Understand that your resignation (official or unofficial) may disqualify you for federal aid due to Satisfactory Academic Progress, and you must either appeal or attend at your own expense to re-qualify for the next academic year.
- Understand that appealing to the Registration, Credits, & Graduate Council to request a partial refund or cancellation of your resignation may adversely affect your reimbursement to NSU. Such an appeal may require you to repay all the financial aid that you received this semester/summer term.
Typically, financial aid is awarded for the academic year, which includes fall and spring semesters. Summer financial aid is based on remaining eligibility, if any, from the academic year. In other words, if you use all your available grants and/or student loans during the academic year, you may not have eligibility for the summer term. A summer aid application must be completed if you are applying for federal student aid. Summer aid applications are available beginning in April.
Deadline for Summer ’20 Aid Application is July 24, 2020.
Summer Aid FAQ
How do I get aid for summer?
First you need to enroll in classes and then you may complete the summer aid application. The Financial Aid Office will review your application and you will be notified by NSU email whether or not you qualify for aid.
How do I purchase my books for summer?
If you have Financial Aid for the summer and need to purchase books, you may do so by visiting and/or calling one of the bookstores.
The Financial Aid Office will no longer require you to come by the office in order to receive a paper book voucher, instead you will use your NSU One Card (Student ID). You only need to visit the bookstore, present your ID to the cashier and let them know you would like to use your Financial Aid to purchase these books. Please remember that you, the student, are responsible for knowing how much aid you have over what is owed on your account and you cannot charge over this amount. Any amounts charged over your refund amount will have to be paid out of pocket by you, the student.
What if a 3rd party source will pay for my books?
Once NSU has been notified by the 3rd party, the student will use their ID Card as any other student would, as long as the aid is more than the charges. Please be sure you are aware of expiration dates that will apply. Students should ensure they are aware of any special conditions that may apply to the type of 3rd party aid.
How do I get a parking permit?
If you have questions about parking permits, you can contact University Police at 318-357-5431 or in person Infirmary Building, Room 119.
How do I get a meal plan?
If you have questions about your meal plans or your housing, you can contact University Place at 160 Tarlton Drive or call (318) 214-5400.
How do I get a ONE Card?
If you have questions about your student ID, current semester sticker, direct deposit, and/or meal plans, you can contact the One Card Office at 318-357-5131 or in person.
How do I sign up for direct deposit?
If you have questions about your student ID, current semester sticker, direct deposit and/or meal plans, you can contact the One Card Office at 318-357-5131 or in person.
What if I do not have aid posted but I am eligible?
- Visit the financial aid website to get details on how to apply at http://www.nsula.edu/financialaid
- Call us at 1-800-823-3008 or 357-5961; or
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- Visit us in person at:
1. Natchitoches Campus – Room 212 Student Services Center
2. Shreveport Campus – Room 102 Administrative Building
What if I am not eligible?
If you are not eligible for aid, then you will have one of two options. They are listed below:
- You will need to contact Cashier’s/Student Accounting to work out payment arrangements, and their information is listed above under the “How do I pay my fees” section; or
- You can seek alternative funding through a private loan.
What if I am taking all Internet classes?
Internet students will follow the same steps listed above – you can easily get all of your business taken care of by emailing or calling the appropriate offices.
What if I become eligible after I pay fees?
Should you become eligible for aid after you have paid your fees, your aid will apply to your account and you will be refunded for any amount in excess of your charges.
When should I expect to find out about my summer aid?
We will begin to process summer aid applications mid-April. After this you will be notified whether you are eligible or not within approximately two weeks.
What if I have to appeal for summer?
Students who do not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards have the right to appeal to the Student Financial Aid Appeals Committee. These appeals are generally based on extenuating circumstances. Examples of extenuating circumstances may be defined as, prolonged illness, accidents that require hospitalization to the student or a close family member, death of an immediate family member, or other types of accidents or incidents.
All appeals should have documentation that corresponds with the type of appeal the student is filing. Appeals that are remitted after the priority deadline will not receive priority consideration, and the student should also make payment arrangements with the Cashier’s Office for payment of fees incurred from the registration process.
Summer Appeal priority deadline is June 6 and the final deadline is July 15.
Money Management 101
Do you find yourself asking questions like these:
- Should I take out a student loan?
- Should I get a credit card?
- How do I manage my personal finances?
- How do I manage to find the time to understand all of this?
- How do I protect myself from Identity Theft?
- What are my borrower benefits and responsibilities?
- How much will I make when I graduate?
The Office of Student Financial Aid has developed this webpage to bring you resources to help answer these questions. Deciding to borrow student loans and take out credit cards are decisions that could affect you for the rest of your life, so we want to make sure you are making informed decisions and choices. Please use these resources to help guide you through the ins and outs of your personal credit.