Federal and state regulations governing student financial aid programs require the Institute to ensure that each student who is receiving financial aid maintains Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward their degree.
The SAP check occurs after grades are posted at the end of each term. Failure to meet the standards of satisfactory academic progress may disqualify a student from additional federal, state and institutional financial aid. A student can appeal their unsatisfactory academic progress status and be placed on warning, probation or continued on probation for financial aid purposes.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements
Following the first two terms, which are taken on a pass-fail basis, first-year students will be ineligible to register if they failed to pass at least 27 units in the previous term. After the first two terms of study, all undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 27 units with a grade-point average of at least 1.9 in order to remain eligible to register for classes. In addition, students must earn an average of 36 units per term over the past three trailing terms (that is, a minimum of 108 units should be earned after three terms of enrollment each academic year). A student may be excused from the 27-unit eligibility requirement if the requisite petition has been approved, prior to Add Day, by the dean or associate dean of undergraduate students. Under exceptional circumstances the deans may waive the requirement that such a petition be approved prior to Add Day, but may do so only once during that student’s career at Caltech.
Following their first ineligibility, students are to meet with the dean or associate dean of undergraduate students. The dean may choose to reinstate them, in which case they will be on academic probation. Alternatively, the dean may direct them to petition the Undergraduate Academic Standards and Honors Committee (UASH) for reinstatement. UASH will either approve their petition for reinstatement and place them on academic probation, or require them to withdraw from the Institute for at least two terms. Students who fail a core course or who fail to successfully complete 36 units, even though they remain in good standing, are required to meet with one of the undergraduate deans before being allowed to register for classes in the subsequent term.
Financial Aid Warning
Students who are found not to be making satisfactory academic progress at the end of an academic term will be placed on financial aid warning. A student may continue to receive financial aid for one term while on financial aid warning status. Students should use this opportunity to re-establish SAP.
Financial Aid Probation
Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress after their term of financial aid warning will be ineligible to register and ineligible for financial aid. Students may appeal this status as outlined in the Caltech Catalog. Ineligible first-year students must petition the UASH Committee for reinstatement if they wish to continue as students and continue to receive financial aid. The dean of students or associate dean may act on a petition if it is the student’s first ineligibility.
Undergraduate students, except first- and second-term first-year students, may submit a petition to the UASH Committee for reinstatement, giving any reasons that may exist for their previous unsatisfactory work and stating any new conditions that may lead to better results. Each such petition will be considered on its merits. For the first such ineligibility, the petition may be acted on by the dean of undergraduate students, after consultation with the student and examination of the record. At the dean’s discretion, such cases may be referred to the UASH Committee for action. All subsequent reinstatements must be acted upon by the Committee.
Students who are reinstated as a result of their appeal/petition for reinstatement will be placed on financial aid probation and may receive financial aid for an additional academic term.
Continued on Financial Aid Probation
Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress after a term on financial aid probation will be ineligible to register and ineligible for federal and state financial aid. These students may appeal this status as outlined above and in the Caltech Catalog.
Students who are reinstated as a result of their appeal/petition for reinstatement will be continued on financial aid probation. These students will be ineligible for federal and state aid. They will continue to be eligible for up to three additional terms of institutional aid but their scholarship eligibility will be reduced in each term the student is continued on financial aid probation.
Financial Aid Suspension
Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress after being continued on financial aid probation for three additional terms will be ineligible for federal, state and institutional financial aid, even if they are subsequently reinstated by the UASH Committee, until such time as they make satisfactory academic progress.
Maximum Time Frame for Receiving Aid
A student has a limited time frame to complete all degree requirements and remain eligible for financial aid. As defined by federal regulations, the maximum time frame is 150 percent of the published program length for degree completion.
To qualify for a Bachelor of Science degree, students must complete a minimum of 486 units -> 486 x 150% = 729 maximum attempted units.
An “attempted” unit is defined as any unit that a student remains enrolled in AFTER the Add Period, including units the student withdraws from each term. Units that a student is retroactively enrolled in after the Add Period are considered attempted units.