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

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 Semester 3 20% 1.35
End of 2nd Semester 18 59% 1.45
End of 3rd Semester 31 67% 1.55
End of 4th Semester 45 74% 1.65
End of 5th Semester 60 78% 1.75
End of 6th Semester 75 82% 2.0
End of 7th Semester 90 84% 2.0
End of 8th Semester* 105 86% 2.0
End of 9th Semester 111 86% 2.0
End of 10th Semester 117 86% 2.0
End of 11th Semester 117 86% 2.0
End of 12th Semester 120 86% 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.

Transfer hours

All periods of enrollment count when assessing progress, even periods in which the students did not receive Title IV aid.  However, only transfer credits that count toward the student’s current program will be counted.

Repeat courses

Students may choose to retake a course by completing a petition with the Office of the Registrar.  Petitions are available in the Registrar’s Office and should be completed in a timely manner. A course may be retaken only one time to improve a grade. The course will be recorded on the student’s transcript each time it is taken and a grade is received. The highest grade will be computed into the student’s grade point average – the previous course will appear on the student’s transcript as 0 credit with a grade of RT (retake).

Remedial courses

Remedial coursework is included in the both the number of credits passed as well as in the GPA calculations to determine SAP.


Withdrawal (W) is assigned when a student withdrew from a course by the end of the course withdrawal period (Friday of the tenth week of classes for the Fall and Spring terms and end of the first week of classes for May terms). No credit is given and the student’s GPA is not impacted, but the course will still be recognized as having been attempted when calculating the percent of classes completed for the semester.

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 for another semester 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 student may appeal that result on the basis of injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstances. The appeal must explain why they failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in their situation that will allow them to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. 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. In other words, why was SAP failed, and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow them to meet SAP.

Appeal decision

Each appeal will be reviewed by a committee. If the committee determines that the student should be able to meet SAP standards by the end of the subsequent pay period, then the appeal can be granted.  If the committee determines, based on the appeal, that the student will require more than one payment period to meet SAP, the student will be placed on probation and the institution will develop an academic plan.  The student will be evaluated at the end of one payment period to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan.  The student is eligible to receive Title IV aid as long as the student continues to meet the conditions of the academic plan.  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.

Review and Approval

This policy is reviewed periodically by the Offices of Financial Aid and the Registrar for compliance with Title IV Federal Student Aid program.

Policy specifications

Last revision: 08/08/2023
Responsible office: Financial Aid
Effective date: 08/08/2023
Associated division(s):
Associated audience(s):
Associated container(s):
Policy home: https://earlham.edu/policy/financial-aid-eligibility-and-satisfactory-academic-progress