Continued receipt of federal and state financial aid depends on meeting the following academic progress standards.  Some of Wheaton’s satisfactory academic progress standards are the same as the academic standing standards that the college applies to all students; others may be more stringent in order to comply with federal regulations governing student eligibility for funding.  The Office of Student Financial Services reviews student records for satisfactory academic progress at the end of each academic year.  Students must meet the qualitative and quantitative standards for progress to be met.

Satisfactory academic progress standards are cumulative and include all periods of the student’s enrollment, including those for which the student did not receive financial aid.

On this page

Quantitative Standard: Time to Completion

Wheaton does not have an explicit maximum time frame in which all students must complete their degree program.  The college does monitor earned credits, and reclassifies students who fall more than two courses behind their grade level to the next class year.  Students who fall more than two courses behind may also be subject to other institutional actions, such as suspension or dismissal.  Course deficiencies are reviewed by the Committee on Academic Standing after grades are posted each term.

The Office of Student Financial Services utilizes the federal maximum time frame of 150% of program length as the enrollment maximum for students to maintain eligibility for federal funding.  For the four-year bachelor’s degree, this is equal to six years of full-time enrollment.  The maximum time frame for part time students is also equivalent to 150% of the time to completion based on their enrollment level.  See the table below:

Time to Degree Completion
Enrollment Status Normal Completion Maximum Time to Completion
Full Time 4 Academic Years 6 Academic Years
Three-Quarter Time 5.5 Academic Years 8 Academic Years
Half- Time 8 Academic Years 12 Academic Years


Students must earn at least 67% of attempted credits to remain eligible for federal and state funds   A student who has not earned 67% of his/her attempted credits is ineligible for further federal financial aid until s/he has earned enough credits to meet the 67% requirement or has an approved appeal based on an academic plan that demonstrates how credit deficiencies will be made up.

The Financial Aid Office will use rounding when calculating completion rates.  As an example, a student with a 66.6% completion rate will be considered to have earned 67% of their attempted credits.

Please note that enrollment at less than full-time status requires the approval of the Committee on Academic Standing.

Qualitative Standard: Grade-Point Average Requirement

Wheaton’s satisfactory academic progress policy requires that students must meet the 2.0 cumulative GPA required for graduation by the completion of their second year.  Until that time, a minimum GPA of 1.67 must be maintained.    If the student’s GPA does not meet these standards, s/he will lose eligibility for federal financial aid funding until such time as the cumulative GPA meets the required standard or the student has an approved appeal based on an academic plan that demonstrates how the GPA deficiency will be successfully addressed. 

Unofficial Withdrawals

Although Wheaton’s official withdrawal policy requires a student to notify the Registrar’s office in writing of their intent to withdraw, the Office of Student Financial Services also reviews the records of all aided students who fail to complete any coursework in a given term.  Failure to complete coursework is defined as receiving grades of WD, NG, or F in all courses for which the student was registered.  In order to determine if such a student completed any single course, the student’s faculty members are contacted to determine a last date of attendance based upon faculty records of attendance (if taken), exams or papers completed, or other participation at an academically related activity.  If it cannot be demonstrated that the student remained enrolled in at least one course for the entire period of enrollment, the Office of Student Financial Services will use the last documented date of attendance as the student’s “unofficial withdrawal” date.  This date will be used in determining the Title IV refund due back to the programs.  If a last date cannot be documented, the college will use the 50% point of the term as the last date of enrollment.

Course Withdrawals

Students must petition the Committee on Admission and Academic Standing in order to withdraw from any course after the add/drop period.  If the committee approves the course withdrawal, the student’s record will be updated to show a “WD”, and the student’s earned credits will reflect that the course/credit was attempted, not earned.  Course withdrawals will impact whether a student is making sufficient progress toward the degree to meet the quantitative satisfactory academic progress standard.

Repeated Courses

A course for which a student earned credit and a grade of C- or below may be repeated once without prior approval. A course for which a grade of F is earned may be repeated until passed. The original course and grade remain on the transcript, but the higher grade will be used to calculate the grade point average, and will appear on the record. Credit for the course will only be granted once. Repeated courses must be taken for a standard letter grade, and may not be taken pass/fail. No more than one course for which a passing grade was previously earned may be repeated in a semester.

Students must meet with an academic advisor to discuss the reasons for repeating the course, and to ensure it is in their best academic interest to do so.

Course Incompletes

Course grades of Incomplete (I) will not be included in earned credits.  When evaluating students for progress, the Office of Student Financial Services will consider any course with an “I” grade to be a credit attempted, but not earned.  If this places the student on probation, or if the student is no longer making satisfactory progress based on the incomplete(s), s/he may regain eligibility once the coursework is completed and the GPA recalculated.  If the Incomplete is changed to a passing grade during the next academic year, the student will regain eligibility for the entire academic year for Federal loans and as of the term of completion for Federal Pell, SEOG and Federal Work-Study funding.

Remedial Coursework

Wheaton College does not offer any remedial coursework, nor does the college accept any remedial coursework for credit toward the degree.


Grade/Pass/Fail is intended to encourage students to enroll in courses they might not otherwise take with minimal risk to their academic standing. Students exercising this option can set their own minimum grade for a class. If they meet or exceed that grade, they receive the grade that they earned. If they fall below the set grade (but still pass the class), they receive a “P”. Instructors are not informed that students have selected this option and will submit normal letter grades, which are then converted to “P” by the Office of the Registrar as appropriate. This grade is not computed in the GPA.  Should the student fail the course, the “F” grade is recorded and calculated in the GPA.

Students may use the G/P/F option once per semester for as many semesters as they wish until they have accumulated a total of three “P” grades on their transcript. Students may select this option up to two weeks after final registration by properly informing the Office of the Registrar. Students should not expect to be able to use this option after that deadline in order to deal with academic difficulties in a course.

Transfer and Consortium Coursework

Consortium coursework is posted to the student’s academic record as attempted credits; grades are posted as earned and factored into the GPA.  Therefore, for satisfactory academic progress purposes, consortium courses count toward both the qualitative and quantitative standards.

Transfer courses are posted as earned and attempted credits, as they are recorded only upon approval by the Registrar’s office or Department Chair.  The grade earned is not reflected in the student’s Wheaton transcript and is not included in the GPA.  Transfer credits impact the quantitative SAP standard only.

Student Notification

At the end of the academic year, after spring grades are posted, the Office of Student Financial Services will perform a satisfactory academic progress review on all students and notify those who do not meet the standards of their probationary or ineligible status.    

Students may regain eligibility by raising their cumulative GPA to the minimum required or making up a credit deficiency.  No federal financial aid is available for the coursework taken to earn reinstatement.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals

Students may appeal their ineligible satisfactory academic progress status in writing to the Office of Student Financial Services.  The appeal must include an explanation of the student’s current standing, along with any special circumstances that might bear on continued eligibility. The appeal should also explain what has changed to allow the student to succeed academically in the future.  The Director of Financial Aid may consult with academic administrators and faculty at Wheaton if they are considered involved parties who may be able to knowledgeably remark on the student’s appeal grounds.

An academic plan must be submitted documenting how the student plans to improve the grade point average and/or catch up on credits.  The academic plan must have the signed support of a Student Success Advisor.  If it is determined that a sufficient plan is in place, the appeal may be approved to allow for a single term of additional federal student aid eligibility.  After the appeal term, a student must be meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards, or making progress as required by the academic plan in order to continue to receive funds.  If a student is not making satisfactory progress or meeting the terms of their academic plan after the probationary semester, it is possible for the student to submit another appeal and academic plan for consideration. All appeal decisions are made in writing and are considered final.