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Health Sciences

Financial aid: Satisfactory academic progress



Federal law and regulations require that all students receiving financial assistance maintain satisfactory academic progress. 

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is the successful completion of degree requirements according to established increments that lead to the successful awarding of the degree within published time limits. This policy outlines the standards for SAP for the associate degree in nursing (ADN) program at Geisinger School of Nursing (GSON) and applies to all matriculated students, whether or not they are recipients of financial aid.


Persons affected 

Students in the nursing degree program of Geisinger School of Nursing.


Qualitative measures of SAP

To be considered making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid eligibility, a student in the School of Nursing is required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater at the end of each semester.

Quantitative (Pace) Measures of SAP

Students must complete the appropriate percent of all courses attempted. The completion percentage is calculated by dividing total hours earned by total hours attempted. A student enrolled in an undergraduate program must successfully complete 67 percent of the credits attempted each semester to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid eligibility. This is in addition to the cumulative grade point average requirement of 2.0.

Review and notification of lack of SAP

The GSON-CAPS reviews the academic performance of every student enrolled in the ADN program each semester as well.  Students not meeting either the qualitative or quantitative measure of SAP will be placed on financial aid warning. Financial aid warning lasts for one payment period only, during which the student remains eligible for financial aid. SAP will be reviewed at the end of the warning period and the student must meet SAP requirements in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

Effective July 1, 2016, repeating coursework for all full-time undergraduate students will be restricted by federal regulations to repeating coursework previously taken to no more than one repetition of a previously passed course for the receipt of Title IV aid.

In the event the student is not meeting SAP requirements, the student will be notified by the Financial Aid Office of the action and the requirements for reinstatement and procedures for appeal.

Maximum time frame

The normal time frame for completion of required course work for the ADN is five semesters over two academic years. Due to academic or personal difficulties or scholarly activities, a student may require additional time. In such situations, an academic plan may be established for the student that departs from the norm and that may require the repetition of all or part of a year of study. Requests for exceptions to the time frame for completion of required course work are submitted for review to the Director of Nursing or designee. The maximum timeframe is defined as the required length of time it will take a student to complete their degree. A student will remain eligible for federal financial aid up to 150% of total attempted credits. Students will be notified both via email and hard copy if they are close to exceeding or have exceeded the maximum time frame allowed. Students will be allowed to submit a letter of appeal to the Director of Financial Aid. If the appeal is approved, the student must have an academic plan approved before federal assistance is granted.


Eligibility for continued financial aid will only be re-established if the student subsequently meets SAP requirements, or if the student successfully appeals the decision to the Director of Nursing or designee. The appeal form must state the reasons for failing to meet SAP requirements, including, if applicable, special circumstances that contributed to the student’s failure to meet SAP requirements (e.g. the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances), and what may have changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation.  All appeals must be submitted to the Director of Nursing and reviewed by the Financial Aid Office within 30 days of the date of the denial.  

If the director of Nursing or designee determines that the student’s appeal should be approved, the student’s aid will be reinstated, and the student will be placed on financial aid probation. The Financial Aid Office will notify the student in writing and via email regarding the terms of their appeal. If the terms are not met, the student will not be eligible for an additional appeal within the academic award year.

Financial aid warning

Geisinger School of Nursing evaluates academic progress at the end of each semester. Students on a financial aid warning status may continue to receive Title IV aid for one semester despite a determination that the student is not meeting SAP standards. A warning status is granted automatically and may be assigned without an appeal or other action by the student.  

Financial aid probation

Once an appeal has been approved, a student is placed on financial aid probation and is eligible for financial aid. The Director of Nursing or designee will develop an academic plan for the student that will ensure, if followed, that the student is able to meet SAP standards by a specific point in time. Ordinarily, this time frame is one payment period. 

A student who has lost eligibility for financial aid due to deficiencies in satisfactory academic progress cannot automatically regain eligibility by paying tuition for a semester or by sitting out a semester. Eligibility may be regained only by eliminating all SAP deficiencies.

Note: State grant eligibility is based on standards set by the PA state grant and special programs. Institutional appeals do not cover state grants and therefore loss of state grant eligibility may be appealed directly to state grant in cases of illness or death in the family. Visit for state grant guidelines pertaining to Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Pennsylvania State Grant

State grant recipients who receive assistance as full-time students must complete a minimum of twenty-four (24) credits for every two (2) semesters of state grant assistance. Part-time students must complete a minimum of twelve (12) credits for every two (2) semesters of state grant assistance. This requirement must be met even if the state grant was received for attendance at another institution.  

Attempted credits: Attempted credits include all credits for a course in which the student enrolled but subsequently withdrew or failed, earned an incomplete grade, or repeated the course.

Earned credits: Earned credits include all credits completed with a grade of D or better, satisfactory and pass grades, and repeated courses.

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