ACADEMIC SYSTEM

Semester Units System

Grace Mission University operates on the semester system (15 weeks of class work plus a week for examinations). Units for work completed are expressed in semester hours. One unit hour requires 15 class contact hours per semester.

 

Academic Load

For undergraduate students, a normal academic load is 12 to 18 unit hours per semester. Students taking less than 12 unit hours in a semester are considered part-time. Students employed for more than three hours of work daily will find 12 unit hours a sufficient load. It is assumed that the student will spend one-two hour in course preparation per week for each hour in class.

 

For graduate students, a normal academic load is 9 to 16 unit hours per semester. Students taking less than 9 unit hours in a semester are considered part-time. Students employed for more than three hours of work daily will find 9 unit hours a sufficient load. It is assumed that the student will spend one-two hour in course preparation per week for each hour in class.

 

Grading

GMU uses a 4.0 grade point system (GPA). Grades are normally available within three weeks following the conclusion of each semester.

 

Grade Point System

 

Grade Scores Grade Point      
A 96+ 4.00 P Passing
A- 90-95 3.70 W/F Withdrawal/Fail
B+ 87-89 3.30 W/P Withdrawal/Passing
B 83-86 3.00 I Incomplete
B- 80-82 2.70
C+ 77-79 2.30
C 73-76 2.00
C- 70-72 1.70
D+ 67-69 1.30
D 63-66 1.00
D- 60-62 .70
F 59 or less 0.00

 

 

A grade of “I” may be given temporarily when all the course requirements have not been completed and arrangements have been made to complete the work. This grade may not be given by an instructor to avoid giving an “F”. A student who receives an “I” will have until the end of the next grading period to complete the outstanding course work. If the work is not completed by this time, the “I” will automatically be converted to an “F” grade.

 

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS POLICY (SAP)

 

Grace Mission University has developed standards of satisfactory academic progress policy to monitor student’s academic progress. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is comprised of two Standards: (1) Qualitative Standard; and (2) Quantitative Standard. The Quantitative Standard has two components (a) acceptable passing rate and (b) Unit and a time limit for student’s to complete an educational program.

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards:

  1. Qualitative Standard

Students must be in good academic standing, as defined by the current University Catalog. Undergraduate students must maintain a C (2.0) average in all courses attempted at Grace Mission University and a C (2.0) cumulative. Graduate students must maintain a B (3.0) average in all courses attempted at Grace Mission University and a B (3.0) cumulative.

 

  1. Quantitative Standards
  2. Acceptable Passing Rate: To monitor the Acceptable Passing Rate an overall ratio of Grace Mission University units earned to Grace Mission University Units attempted is calculated. Students must complete 70% of units attempted. Transfer units are not included in this calculation. Grades of: F, I, IN, Cr, NC, W, WU count as units attempted with Zero units earned.
  3. Unit and Time Limit: Attempt no more than 150% of the number of units required to complete an educational program. For determining satisfactory academic progress, ALL attempted units at Grace Mission University are counted whether or not financial aid was received. For Transfer students only those attempted transferred units that apply to their degree program are counted.

 

Students who change their majors may receive aid until they attempt 150% of the additional number of units required for the new degree.

 

Students pursuing a double major may attempt 150% of the number of units required to complete ONLY one degree.

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards: Baccalaureate Students

  1. Qualitative Standard

Students must be in good academic standing, as defined by the current University Catalog. Undergraduate students must maintain a C (2.0) average in all courses attempted at Grace Mission University and a C (2.0) cumulative.

 

  1. Quantitative Standards
  2. Acceptable Passing Rate: To monitor the Acceptable Passing Rate an overall ratio of Grace Mission University units earned to Grace Mission University Units attempted is calculated. Students must complete 70% of units attempted. Transfer units are not included in this calculation. Grades of: F, I, IN, Cr, NC, U, W, WU count as units attempted with Zero units earned.
  3. Unit and Time Limit: Attempt no more than 150% of the number of units required to complete an educational program. For determining satisfactory academic progress, ALL attempted units at Grace Mission University are counted whether or not financial aid was received. For transfer students only those attempted transferred units that apply to their degree program are counted.

 

Earned units include: A, A- ,B, B+, B-,C, C+, C-, D, D+, D-, CR, P, and all transfer units.

Attempted units include: A, A-, B, B+, B- C, C+, C-, D, D+, D-, F, I, IN, CR, NC, RD, W, WU, repeat, and all transfer units.

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards: Graduate Students

 

Students pursuing a graduate degree may receive financial aid until they complete their academic program, or their total number of units attempted (including a reasonable number of prerequisites) reaches or exceeds 150% of the number of units required for the program, whichever comes first.

 

  1. Qualitative Standard

Students must be in good academic standing, as defined by the current University Catalog. Graduate students must maintain a B (3.0) average in all courses attempted at Grace Mission University and a B (3.0) cumulative.

 

  1. Quantitative Standards
  2. Acceptable Passing Rate: To monitor the Acceptable Passing Rate an overall ratio of Grace Mission University units earned to Grace Mission University Units attempted is calculated. Students must complete 70% of units attempted. Transfer units are not included in this calculation. Grades of: F, IC, IN, Cr, NC, W, WU count as units attempted with Zero units earned.
  3. Unit and Time Limit: Attempt no more than 150% of the number of units required to complete an educational program. For determining satisfactory academic progress, ALL attempted units at Grace Mission University are counted whether or not financial aid was received. For transfer students only those attempted transferred units that apply to their degree program are counted.

 

Earned units include: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, CR, RP*, and all transfer units required for the completion of degree.

 

Attempted units include: A, A- ,B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F, IC, IN, CR, NC, RD, W, WU, repeat, and all transfer units required for the completion of degree.

 

Quantitative standard examples

 

Four -year program: Students in a bachelor’s degree program at GMU are required to complete 128 units and to enroll in 16 units each semester. The maximum time frame is six years (150% of the published length of four years), and GMU reviews a student’s academic progress after increments of one year. Students must successfully complete at least 21 units each year. There is a one-year probationary period.

 

Lydia fails all her courses in her first semester at GMU. Though she successfully completes all her courses in the second semester, she isn’t making satisfactory progress by the end of the first increment because she completed only 15 units, not 21. She is put on probation for her second year and successfully completes all but one of her courses (27 out of 30 units), so she is then meeting the SAP standard of 43 units completed by the end of the second year.

 

One-year program: GMU will have a 24-semester hour program that a full-time student can complete in one year. Because many students attend part time, GMU bases the maximum time frame on the number of semester hours attempted. Its policy is that students must complete the program by the time they have attempted 36 (150% of 24) hours. Increments are 12 semester hours, so to successfully complete the program on time, students must complete eight semester hours by the end of each increment.

Allen enrolls in this program one class at a time, and each class is four semester hours. After he has enrolled in three classes (12 hours),

 

GMU checks to see if he has completed enough work in that increment to be making satisfactory progress. Allen completed the first and third course but failed the second. Because he completed eight hours (2 courses) in this increment, he’s making satisfactory progress.

 

Percentage completion: GMU requires students to complete 80% of the work attempted by the end of each increment (4 ÷ 5= 0.8 or 80%).

 

Andrew and Marie enroll in the B.A. program, in 15 units per semester for the first year. After one semester Andrew has earned 13 units and Marie 15 units. At the end of the second semester, Andrew has a total of 21 units and Marie a total of 30 units. To be making satisfactory progress, they must have completed 80% of the units attempted by the end of each increment. This is 13 units (80% x 15) per semester, so both students made satisfactory progress in the first semester. By the end of the second semester, they must have completed 24 units (80% x 30). Marie is still meeting SAP, but because Andrew only completed 21 units, he is not.

 

In the second year Marie again enrolls for 30 units, but Andrew only enrolls for 15. He successfully completes all of them, so he has earned 36 units of 45 attempted. Marie has earned 51 units of 60 attempted. By the end of the second year, Andrew must have completed 36 units (80% x 45); he is again making satisfactory progress. Marie must have completed 48 unit hours (80% x 60); she is still making satisfactory progress.

 

Change of major and transfer units

Generally all periods of the student’s enrollment count when judging SAP, even periods in which the student did not receive FSA funds. However, your policy may permit that for students who change majors, units attempted and grades earned that do not count toward the new major will not be included in the SAP determination. You may limit how many times a student can change majors and “reset” SAP.

 

Similarly, you must at least count those transfer units that apply toward the current program, though you may count all units from the previous school.

You must also establish rules for students who seek to earn additional degrees.

 

Repetitions, withdrawals, incompletes, remedial and ESL courses

Failed or under C- graded courses can be retaken only once. In the case only the highest or most recent grade can be counted for graduate units. While GMU can exclude grades for prior attempts (repeat/delete) when calculating a student’s GPA, GMU must include the units from all attempts when assessing if the student meets the quantitative SAP standard.

 

All incomplete grades, withdrawals, and remedial and ESL (not part of an ESL program) courses will effect on satisfactory progress. GMU does not exclude from the SAP review courses in which a student remained past the drop/add period and earned a grade of “W” (or its equivalent), nor can it routinely exclude certain hours attempted, such as those taken during a summer session.

 

Probation and appeals

GMU permits appeals and probation, all students who are in the process of their SAP check on probation can register immediate semester. During that time students may continue to receive Title IV aid, but at the end of the period the students must again be meeting SAP standard. Such students cannot, however, be allowed two such periods consecutively.

 

Re-establishing academic progress

A student who loses FSA eligibility because she/ he is not meeting GMU’s satisfactory academic progress standards will regain eligibility when GMU determine that she/ he is again meeting the standards or when GMU grant her/ him an appeal.

 

Other than when an appeal is granted for special circumstances, a student can regain eligibility only by taking action that brings her/ him into compliance with the qualitative and quantitative components of GMU’s academic progress standard.

 

A student can complete a number of units or enroll for a number of academic periods without receiving federal student aid, or that she/ he interrupt her/ his attendance for one or more academic periods. However, neither paying for one’s classes nor sitting out a semester affects a student’s SAP standing, so neither is sufficient to re-establish FSA eligibility.

 

 

SAP Probation

The first time that a student does not complete 70% of units attempted during an academic year, or after any semester when his or her GPA falls below requirements for satisfactory academic progress (i.e., at least 2.0 for bachelor’s and 3.0 for master’s programs) he or she may be place on a “One-year SAP probation. To be placed on probation, a student must complete at least 50% of attempted units during an academic year. A “One-year Sap probation” is granted only once. During a probation period, student will continue to receive financial aid.

 

Once students have been placed on probation, they must complete at least 70% of attempted units annually during their probation year, and any remaining time in pursuit of their degree, or they will be disqualified from receiving financial aid.

 

Students on probation have an initial appointment with either the student dean or academic dean to assess the cause. In some cases, further meetings will not be required (e.g., an illness or car accident could have caused a temporary inability to maintain quality work). In other cases, regular appointments with a dean or faculty member will be arranged.

 

Disqualification

Students who do not meet the standards of satisfactory progress are disqualified and become ineligible for financial aid.

 

Reestablishing Eligibility:

  1. Students may regain eligibility when there is a determination that the student is again meeting the qualitative and quantitative standards.
  2. Students who feel they were disqualified due to extraordinary circumstances may submit an appeal in writing to the Center for Financial Aid.

 

Examples of extraordinary circumstances:

Personal illness or injury

Death of a family member

Other unusual hardships causing the student lack of success.

 

Probations (Academic Suspension)

A student is subject to academic suspension from the University after one semester on academic probation, unless in the judgment of the Academic Dean significant academic improvement is made during the probationary semester. Academic suspension precludes further enrollment in the University.

 

Dismissal

The institution reserves the right to dismiss any student failing to make satisfactory academic progress towards his/her program, who violates academic honesty standards or the school’s lifestyle policy, and /or fails to meet his/her financial obligations.

 

Time Limits for Programs (Minimum & Maximum Units)

Time limits may be extended under special circumstances. Undergraduate students can take minimum 6 units and maximum 19 units in a semester. Graduate students can take minimum 6 units and maximum 19 units in a semester. However, the time limit for completion of a two-year degree program is three years, 4 and 1/2 years for three year degree program, and six years for four year degree programs. The time limits include any leaves of absences taken by a student.

 

Regular Student in an Eligible Program

A person must be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program in order to receive FSA funds (exceptions are discussed later in this chapter). A regular student is someone who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree or certificate offered by the school. The definition of an eligible program is discussed in detail in GMU Eligibility in this catalog.

 

▼ Conditional acceptance. GMU admits students under a conditional or provisional acceptance. For example, a student might be conditionally accepted until he provides further documentation, such as academic transcripts or test scores, or demonstrates an ability to succeed in the program (by receiving acceptable grades in program coursework). GMU limit the student’s enrollment no more than 20 units, until the student meets the necessary conditions.

Students admitted as conditional are regular students only if GMU officially accepts them into the eligible degree or certificate program. The Department does not define official acceptance or admission. If the student is merely allowed to take some courses before being officially admitted to the program, she is not considered a regular student and is not eligible until she is officially admitted.

 

▼ Continuing education. Regular students may receive aid for classes they take in a school’s continuing education department as long as the classes apply to their degree or certificate program.

 

Remedial coursework

Remedial coursework prepares a student for study at the postsecondary level (compare with preparatory coursework, which prepares a student for a given program), and a student enrolled solely in a remedial program is not considered to be in an eligible program. If acceptance into an eligible program is contingent on completing remedial work, a student cannot be considered enrolled in that program until she completes the remedial work.

 

However, if the student is admitted into an eligible program and takes remedial coursework within that program, he can be considered a regular student, even if he is taking all remedial courses before taking any regular courses. GMU may count up to one academic year’s worth of these courses in the students’ enrollment status for federal aid. For the purpose of this limit, that is 30 semester units.

 

A remedial course cannot be below the educational level needed for a student to successfully pursue her program after one year in that course. Also, remedial courses must be at least at the high school level, as determined by the state legal authority, GMU’s accrediting agency, or the state agency recognized for approving public postsecondary vocational education. If that agency determines that a remedial class is at the elementary level, the class cannot be included for Title IV aid. Nor can Title IV aid be used for a remedial course that uses direct assessment of student learning instead of units or clock hours.

GMU do not use nonunits remedial hours to determine a student’s enrollment status if the course is part of a program that leads to a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent. A student is never permitted to receive funds for GED training or for coursework prior to the completion of high school, even if the GED or high school training is offered at postsecondary schools or is required for the postsecondary program.

 

Similar to other remedial coursework, a student may receive FSA funds for ESL courses that are part of a larger eligible program. There are differences though: ESL courses don’t count against the one-year limitation on remedial coursework mentioned above, and they need not be at the secondary school level.

 

Preparatory coursework

A student not enrolled in a degree or certificate program is eligible for Stafford and PLUS loans for up to one year if she is taking coursework necessary for enrollment in an eligible program.

 

Students with intellectual disabilities

The HEOA permitted students with an intellectual disability to receive funds from the Pell Grant, FSEOG, and FWS programs. They must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a comprehensive transition and postsecondary program for students with intellectual disabilities and must maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by GMU for this program. They must meet the eligibility criteria in Section 484(a)(3–6) of the HEA. Except the statutes governing need analysis, the Secretary has the authority to waive any Pell, FSEOG, FWS, or institutional eligibility provisions necessary to ensure that programs enrolling these students are eligible for Title IV funds and that eligible students receive those funds.

 

Elementary or Secondary Enrollment

A student enrolled in elementary or secondary school is not eligible for aid from the FSA programs, even if she is simultaneously enrolled in an eligible college program. A student is considered to be enrolled in secondary school if she is pursuing a high school diploma or if she has completed the requirements for a diploma, has not yet received it, and either she is taking college coursework for which her high school gives units or her high school still considers her to be enrolled there.

 

An adult pursuing a GED (not a high school diploma) is not considered to be enrolled in secondary school. However, as stated earlier, a student can’t get aid for GED training, though he can receive aid for other college courses if he meets ability-to-benefit, homeschool, or high school equivalent requirements. An adult can take a course offered by a high school, such as a driver’s education course, without being considered enrolled there.

 

Academic qualifications

To receive FSA funds, a student must be qualified to study at the postsecondary level. A student qualifies if she:

  • has a high school diploma (this can be from a foreign school if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma);
  • has the recognized equivalent* of a high school diploma, such as a general education development or GED certificate;
  • has completed homeschooling at the secondary level;
  • has passed a Department-approved ability-to-benefit test*; or
  • has satisfactorily completed six units of college work that are applicable to a degree or certificate offered by the school.

 

A student may self-certify on the FAFSA that he has received a high school diploma or GED or that he has completed secondary school through homeschooling as defined by state law. If a student indicates that he has a diploma or GED, your school isn’t required to ask for a copy**, but if your school requires one for admission, then you must rely on that copy of the diploma or GED and not on the student’s certification alone.

 

Equivalents to a high school diploma

The Department recognizes several equivalents to a high school diploma:

  • A GED;
  • A certificate demonstrating that the student has passed a state-authorized examination that the state recognizes as the equivalent of a high school diploma;
  • An academic transcript of a student who has successfully completed at least a two-year program that is acceptable for full units toward a bachelor’s degree; or
  • For a student who enrolls before completing high school, a high school transcript indicating the student has excelled in high school. The student must no longer be enrolled in high school, must satisfy GMU’s written policy for admitting such students, and must be starting a program that leads at least to an associate’s degree or its equivalent.

 

Homeschooling

Though homeschooled students are not considered to have a high school diploma or equivalent, they are eligible to receive FSA funds if their secondary school education was in a homeschool that state law treats as a home or private school. Some states issue a secondary school completion credential to homeschoolers. If this is the case in the state where the student was homeschooled, she must obtain this credential in order to be eligible for FSA funds. She can include in her homeschooling self-certification (see above) that she received this state credential.

Some students finish homeschooling at an age younger than the age of compulsory school attendance for their state or your school’s state. Another part of the federal law defines an eligible institution as one that admits as regular students only persons who have a high school diploma or equivalent or are beyond the compulsory attendance age for the school’s state. The Department considers a homeschooled student to be beyond the age of compulsory attendance if your school’s state would not require the student to further attend secondary school or continue to be homeschooled.

 

Enrollment Status

A student must be enrolled at least half time to receive aid from the Stafford and PLUS loan programs and the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grant programs. The Pell, TEACH Grant, and Campus-based programs don’t require half-time enrollment,* but the student’s enrollment status does affect the amount of Pell a student receives (Volume 3 explains how enrollment status affects a Pell award.).

 

To be enrolled half time, a student must be taking at least half of the course load of a full-time student. The definitions of a full-time workload are different between undergraduate and graduate program.

 

Undergraduate Minimum standards for full-time enrollment.

GMU’s definition of workload includes any combination of courses, work, research, or special studies in GMU. For undergraduates, full-time status must be at least:

  • 12 semester hours in a semester;
  • 24 semester hours per academic year;

 

If a student is enrolled in courses that do not count toward degree, they cannot be used to determine enrollment status unless they are non-units or remedial courses. This means you cannot award the student aid for classes that do not count toward degree or certificate.

 

Graduate Minimum standards for full-time enrollment.

GMU’s definition of workload includes any combination of courses, work, research, or special studies in GMU. For graduates, full-time status must be at least:

  • 9 semester hours in a semester;
  • 18 semester hours per academic year;

 

If a student is enrolled in courses that do not count toward degree, they cannot be used to determine enrollment status unless they are non-units or remedial courses. This means you cannot award the student aid for classes that do not count toward degree or certificate.

 

Students convicted of possession or Sale of Drugs

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for FSA funds. The student self-certifies in applying for aid that the student is eligible; GMU is not required to confirm this unless GMU have conflicting information.

 

If the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period

 

The HEOA established the requirement for schools to provide each student who becomes ineligible for Title IV aid due to a drug conviction a clear and conspicuous written notice of his loss of eligibility and the methods whereby he can become eligible again.

A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when he successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program. Further drug convictions will make him ineligible again.

 

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it only after successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below or if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility. It is the student’s responsibility to certify to you that she has successfully completed the rehabilitation program; as with the conviction question on the FAFSA, you are not required to confirm the reported information unless you have conflicting information.

 

When a student regains eligibility during the award year, you may award Pell, ACG, National SMART, TEACH, and Campus-based aid for the current payment period and Direct and FFEL loans for the period of enrollment.

 

Standards for a qualified drug rehabilitation program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program.
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

If you are counseling a student who will need to enter such a program, be sure to advise the student of these requirements. If a student certifies that he has successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program, but you have reason to believe that the program does not meet the requirements, you must find out if it does before paying the student any FSA funds.

 

Incarcerated students

A student is considered to be incarcerated if she is serving a criminal sentence in a federal, state, or local penitentiary, prison, jail, reformatory, work farm, or similar correctional institution (whether it is operated by the government or a contractor). A student is not considered to be incarcerated if she is in a half-way house or home detention or is sentenced to serve only weekends.

 

Incarcerated students are not eligible for FSA loans but are eligible for FSEOGs and FWS. They are also eligible for Pell grants if not incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution. See Chapter 7 for more information on this and on sex offenders who were incarcerated but are now subject to an involuntary civil commitment.

You may accept the student’s written self-certification that he is no longer incarcerated.

 

Conflicting Information

In addition to reviewing data provided by the Department’s application system and NSLDS (as discussed in the rest of this volume), GMU has an internal system to share information relevant to the student’s eligibility, such as student’s academic standing. The FSA program regulations require a school to develop an adequate system to ensure the consistency of any data related to a student’s application or eligibility for federal student aid regardless of the source of that data. GMU is responsible for reconciling all inconsistencies that it receives with one exception: if the student dies during the award year, you aren’t required to resolve conflicting information.

 

Change in Status

The student’s eligibility status can change during the award year, which almost always affects whether the student can be paid. The special rules for changes in satisfactory academic progress status were discussed earlier in the SAP section.

 

PETITION FOR POLICY EXCEPTION

GMU has policy exception regulations. To request approval for a deviation from established school policies, students and staffs must hand in policy exception request form which is available in Policies and Procedures. Only one policy exception may be requested per petition. Incomplete petitions will not be processed.

  1. Complete form in its entirety. Petition must be typed or printed clearly with ballpoint pen.)
  2. You must provide a clear, complete statement and justification for the request as well as supportive documentation. Without this information and documentation, petition will be denied.
  3. Return Petition to the Registrar with the $35 processing fee.
  4. The date of the petition is recorded as the date the Registrar receives the petition.
  5. Normal processing time for a Petition is two weeks.