Financial aid eligibility

Time frame for receiving aid

Earlham-funded aid is limited to eight semesters of attendance, including time spent at another college or university. A student can complete their degree requirements in eight semesters by earning 30-32 credits annually or averaging 15 credits each semester. For students needing to take a ninth semester to complete the requirements for one major due to medical reasons or a major life event, there is an appeals process to request a ninth semester of Earlham aid. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for details. Please note that a ninth semester of Earlham aid will not be granted so that a student can complete a second major, minor or additional coursework not required for graduation.

Federal Title IV student aid has a maximum time limit, which is the lesser of the following:

  • The completion of all graduation requirements
  • The completion of 12 semesters of full-time academic work, including time spent at other colleges and universities. Federal regulations dictate that a student must complete their degree within 150% of the published length of the program. There is no appeal to exceed this time frame. Double majors/minors will be funded with the same maximum of 150% of one major program or a maximum of 12 semesters.
  • The completion of 150 credit hours, including those completed at other colleges or universities

Credits counted in the maximum time are all attempted credits, even if the student was not receiving federal aid for a semester. Attempted credits include:

  • Passed credits
  • Failed credits
  • Withdrawals (after the first 5 days of classes)
  • Incompletes
  • Repeated classes (both times)
  • Transfer credits

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

To receive Federal Title IV Student Aid, Earlham College must review the academic progress of students receiving financial aid in three areas: number of credit hours completed, percentage of credit hours completed and GPA (grade point average) to ensure that the student is making reasonable progress toward graduation requirements. Students who fail to meet the requirements run the risk of losing financial aid. We review progress after the first semester of attendance and then at the end of each academic year to ensure that the student is making SAP. Students not meeting SAP will be notified by the Office of the Registrar after grades are posted and the Academic Advisory Committee has met. In addition, the Office of Financial Aid will send an email to the student advising them that they are not meeting SAP and what they need to do to appeal the determination.


To meet the SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) requirements for both Federal Title IV Student Aid and Earlham-funded aid, a student must achieve:

  • A minimum number of cumulative credit hours or a minimum percentage of classes with a passing grade; and
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average.

Note: To determine the percent of credits a student completes with a passing grade, the number of credits a student completes with a passing grade at the end of a semester is divided by the number of credits for which a student was registered at the close of registration for the semester (after the fifth day of classes). An incomplete grade will be counted as an attempted class that has not been completed. Once the Incomplete has been converted to a grade, the student may request a reevaluation of their SAP eligibility.

Semesters in which a student is not receiving Title IV Federal Financial Aid Funds still count in the number of semesters attending. Students receiving merit aid from Earlham College must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA to have their scholarship renewed annually.

Progress chart

Credit Hours
Percentage of
Classes with
Passing Grade
End of 1st Semester320%1.35
End of 2nd Semester1859%1.45
End of 3rd Semester3167%1.55
End of 4th Semester4574%1.65
End of 5th Semester6078%1.75
End of 6th Semester7582%2.0
End of 7th Semester9084%2.0
End of 8th Semester*10586%2.0
End of 9th Semester11186%2.0
End of 10th Semester11786%2.0
End of 11th Semester11786%2.0
End of 12th Semester12086%2.0

* Maximum timeframe for Earlham-funded aid

Incomplete grades

Incomplete grades for classes that were attempted but not yet completed will be counted in the number of credits a student attempted but did not successfully complete. This number is important in determining eligibility for SAP. Please see the chart above.

Impact of May term classes

May Term classes are considered part of the previous spring semester, and will be counted in number of credits attempted and completed for the spring semester.

Impact of J-Term classes

J-Term classes are considered part of the upcoming spring semester and will be counted in number of credits attempted and completed for the spring semester.

Loss of financial aid eligibility

If a student is not meeting SAP, the student will be placed on financial aid probation. If the student does not successfully meet the terms of financial aid probation, they are no longer eligible for financial aid.

Appeal process

A student not meeting SAP may petition to receive Federal Title IV Student Aid and Earlham-funded aid on a probationary basis by completing the SAP form and submitting it to the Office of Financial Aid at least two weeks before the semester for which the student is requesting an appeal. The appeal must explain the circumstances leading to the lack of satisfactory academic progress, and how those circumstances have been resolved so that the student will be able to succeed going forward.

Appeal decision

Each appeal will be reviewed by a committee. If the appeal is granted, the student will be placed on financial aid probation and will receive clear conditions on the requirements needed to be met at the end of that semester to be eligible for future semesters of financial aid. If the student does not meet the conditions set by the Appeals Committee after the semester is completed, the student will no longer be eligible for financial aid.

If the appeal is denied, the student will no longer be eligible for financial aid.

More information and resources

Earlham is a community like no other. Our students and faculty are partners in learning, seeking truth wherever truth may lead. Learn more about Earlham at the links below.

Next steps