Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Starr King School of the Ministry (SKSM) students are expected to make Satisfactory Academic         Progress every semester they register in the SKSM certificate and degree programs.  Satisfactory Academic Progress is required by the Higher Education Act (HEA) and California state government in order to receive Title IV aid (federal financial aid).  SKSM students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress toward degree and certificate completion in order to be eligible to receive institutional and Title IV Aid (federal financial aid).  The standards of the HEA apply to all students.   Federal standards require that SKSM measures be quantitative as well as qualitative and include certification of completion of work within expected time frames. Academic Standing: Satisfactory Academic Progress brings to light problems with the quality of a students’ work and/or their pace in the program. Slow progress, numerous extensions, failed grades, and/or unethical professional and personal practices, failure to meet with one’s advisor and attend to one’s spiritual growth as suggested by faculty are examples of unsatisfactory progress, all affecting students’ standing in their program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress: General Policies

Satisfactory Academic Progress is based on the following criteria and time line:

    • Full time students are expected to complete nine (9.0) or more credit hours each semester. A full time student will be allowed a maximum number of years to complete a program as illustrated in the chart below.
    • Part time students are expected to complete six (6.0) credit hours each semester.  A part time student will be allowed a maximum number of years to complete a program as illustrated in the chart below.
    • A majority of P (passed courses) and positive narrative evaluations for all courses taken in a semester.
    • Any Incomplete coursework must be completed by the deadline stipulated by the faculty for the course.
    • A satisfactory academic progress review will include the advisor’s assessment of the students’ work in classes and advising sessions.  Upon completion of the review, the advisor will notify the Dean of Students, Dean of Faculty, and the Registrar.  The Registrar will notify the GTU Consortial Financial Aid Office.
    • The maximum timeframe calculations do not include semesters/years a student is on leave or is not an active student.
Units required to
be full-time/semester
MDiv9.0 Units3 Years (6 Semesters)6 Years (12 semesters)
MASC9.0 Units2 Year (4 Semesters)4 Years (8 Semesters)
MDiv/MASC9.0 Units4 Years (8 Semesters)7 Years (14 Semesters)
Common MA12.0 Units2 Years (4 Semesters)4 Years (12 Semesters)

Satisfactory Academic Progress Procedures

A review will be made at the end of each semester to determine if the student meets all satisfactory academic progress criteria.

  • The Registrar will complete an independent assessment of students’ SAP status and then confer with the advisors of students that do not meet SAP standards.
  • Advisors will review their students’ work and confirm with the Registrar and Dean of Students that the student has made satisfactory academic progress.
  • Students who do not fulfill the conditions for satisfactory academic progress are automatically placed on academic and financial aid warning for the following semester.
  • If a student fails to meet satisfactory academic progress at the end of the warning period, he/she will be placed on academic probation and will not be eligible for financial aid.
  • Students can appeal the financial aid probation decision by successfully completing the requirements outlined in a written agreement prepared in collaboration with their Advisor and the Dean of Students.  If the student’s appeal is approved by faculty vote, they may receive aid while on probation.
  • If the student does not make satisfactory academic progress for two consecutive terms (during the warning and probationary periods) the student is ineligible for financial aid during the subsequent semester or year.
  • A student may be terminated from the program, by vote of the core faculty, if they do not make Satisfactory Academic Progress for two consecutive terms.  The student may regain eligibility by successfully completing the requirements outlined in the written agreement prepared by the Advisor and Dean of Students.  The Advisor who has brought forward a vote on the probation should bring forward vote to take the student off probation when appropriate.
  • A student on leave of absence during some or all of the academic year, upon their return, will be held to the expectations in place at the time they took their leave (e.g. finishing incomplete coursework).

Flexibility with Expected Time Frames: Appeal Process for an Adverse SAP Decision

If because of mitigating circumstances a student fails to make satisfactory academic progress and receives an adverse SAP determination, they may appeal that result. The student may not request that SKSM disregard the student’s performance or eliminate a particular program requirement. The student may request that because of extenuating personal circumstances SKSM suspend an expected time frame for SAP and approve the student’s request for a deadline extension and/or revised time frame.

A student choosing to appeal an SAP determination should submit a written petition to the Dean of Students by electronic mail within one month of the date of the final SAP review letter. A copy of the appeal letter and decision must be submitted to the GTU Consortial Financial Aid Office.

The email should explain the mitigating circumstances influencing progress in the program and        outline plans to make SAP within the subsequent semester. Extenuating circumstances that warrant an appeal of the SAP determination are injury or illness, the illness, injury and death of a relative, or other special circumstances.  The appeal must explain why the students failed to make SAP and what has changed or will change in their situation that will allow them to make SAP at the next evaluation.  The plan should outline how the student plans to meet the requirement(s) due the previous term and the one(s) due for the upcoming term. The email should also verify support of the plan by the student’s advisor.

Though not required, students can ask their advisor to write a memo of support for the revised plan. The Dean of Students will consult with the core faculty and render a decision about the appeal in writing by email within one month of the date of the appeal.