You must familiarize yourself with specific details regarding this policy by clicking the links below or by contacting Student Financial Services for a copy of the brochure entitled “Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy”.

Every school participating in the Federal Student Financial Aid programs must monitor its financial aid recipients to ensure that they are meeting satisfactory progress standards. A school’s satisfactory progress policy for students receiving Federal Student Financial Aid funds must be at least as strict as the policy used for students who do not receive federal funding. 

Federal regulations mandate that the school’s satisfactory progress policy must include both a qualitative measure (such as the use of cumulative grade point average) and a quantitative measure (such as a maximum time frame for completion) of your progress. While the qualitative measure is determined and monitored by the academic standards of the institution, the quantitative measure administered by the financial aid office is used to determine the number of credit hours completed when compared to those attempted. 

To quantify academic progress the University of Southern Maine is required to set a maximum time frame in which you are expected to finish a program. For an undergraduate program, the maximum time frame may not exceed 150% of the published length of the program as measured in credits attempted. Hence in USM’s case, if you are enrolled in an undergraduate program and enrolled full time, you may not receive Federal Financial Aid for more than 180 credits. 

To ensure that you are making sufficient progress throughout the course of study, must divide the program into equal evaluation periods called increments. Once USM defines the length of each increment, USM must compare the number of hours you attempted with the number of hours you successfully completed. This calculation enables USM to determine whether you are progressing at a rate that will allow you to finish the program within the maximum time frame. 

As in the case in USM’s progress policy, a school is permitted to apply a more lenient completion standard in your first academic year and then gradually increases the completion standard for each subsequent academic semester. USM’s satisfactory policy explains as mandated how withdrawals, grades of incomplete, courses that are repeated, noncredit remedial course work, and other attempted course work which is not completed affect the satisfactory progress determination. Procedures have been established that enable you to appeal a determination that finds you not making satisfactory progress. 

The quantitative and qualitative standards used to judge satisfactory progress must be cumulative and include all periods of your enrollment. Even periods in which you did not receive financial aid funds must be counted. If you do not meet the school’s standards for satisfactory progress, you are not allowed to receive further funds from Federal Student Aid programs.