Federal regulations require Macalester College to monitor the academic progress of students receiving Federal Student Aid. This policy applies to eligibility for Federal Student Aid, financial aid from the State of Minnesota, and other non-Macalester entities that may require recipients to maintain satisfactory academic progress. This policy does not apply to financial aid from Macalester. Please see the section on satisfactory academic progress for Macalester financial aid for the policy that governs eligibility for Macalester financial aid.

We will evaluate progress at the end of each semester. Students must make quantitative (time it takes to earn a degree) as well as qualitative (measured by grade point average) progress toward degree completion as defined by the following:


All courses, regardless of whether they are successfully completed, count in calculating a student’s academic progress, including any courses for which the student did not receive financial aid. This includes courses for which for which the student receives a W or are officially enrolled in after the last day to drop courses (Incompletes). If a student repeats a course, both the original course and the repeated course will count as attempted credits for the purpose of determining satisfactory academic progress (SAP).

Transfer credits (credits earned at another institution and counted in determining progress toward graduation requirements at Macalester) are not included in the calculation of GPA for the purposes of determining satisfactory academic progress.

Students must complete at least 67% of credits attempted, not attempting more than 192 credits to graduate. For full-time students, pace will be measured as follows:

At the conclusion of full-time semester number Minimum number of credits earned
1 11
2 22
3 33
4 43
5 54
6 65
7 75
8 86
9 97
10 108
11 118
12 128


Students must have at least a 2.0 grade point average. The Financial Aid Office will review GPA at the end of each semester. The Academic Standing committee will review progress as outlined in the catalog: http://catalog.macalester.edu/content.php?catoid=16&navoid=1301.

Financial Aid Warning

Progress is monitored at the end of each semester. Students who do not meet the standards explained above will be placed on Federal Student Aid Warning. The student will remain eligible for Federal Student Aid during Financial Aid Warning. If, at the end of a semester on warning, the student is still not meeting SAP requirements, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation.

Students who are re-admitted to Macalester and who are placed in strict academic probation, academic probation, or warning status by the academic standing committee will be placed in Financial Aid Warning status.

Financial Aid Probation

Students in Financial Aid Probation status are not eligible to receive Federal Student Aid until satisfactory academic progress, as defined above, has been achieved.


Students who are placed on Financial Aid Probation may appeal in order to receive Federal Student Aid. To appeal, the student must submit a written request to the Financial Aid Office. The appeal should explain extenuating circumstances that affected the student’s academic performance (medical, personal/family problems, etc.). It should not be based on inability to pay or lack of knowledge of the SAP Policy. An appeal should also explain what has changed that will allow satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation. If it is mathematically impossible to achieve SAP in the next evaluation, the appeal should include a plan which outlines how the student will restore GPA to at least 2.0 and graduate in the allotted time frame.

If the appeal is approved, the student may continue to receive Federal Student Aid, but will be placed in Financial Aid Warning status until SAP is achieved. A student who successfully appeals Financial Aid Probation status and is placed in Financial Aid Warning status must register for and complete twelve or more credit hours with at least a 2.00 term grade point average during the next full-time semester of enrollment with no incomplete grades. Students who fulfill these requirements will continue to be eligible for Federal Student Aid and will remain in Financial Aid Warning status until satisfactory academic progress, as defined above, has been achieved.

If the student fails to earn twelve credits with no incompletes and at least a 2.00 term grade point average, Federal Student Aid eligibility will end until the student achieves satisfactory academic progress as defined above. The student may apply for Macalester financial aid, but Macalester’s financial aid will not be increased to replace lost Federal Student Aid or other aid lost based on failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Macalester Financial Aid

Any degree-seeking student is eligible to apply for Macalester financial aid. Eligibility for Macalester financial aid is limited to eight full-time semesters. A semester in which the student enrolls for eight credits or fewer and receives financial aid counts as one-half of one semester. A semester in which the student enrolls for nine to eleven credits and receives financial aid counts as three-quarters of one semester.

Macalester financial aid eligibility will be prorated for students who are admitted as transfer students. For example, a student who transfers to Macalester as a first-semester sophomore is eligible to apply for six semesters of Macalester financial aid. Only credits accepted by Macalester for credit toward a Macalester degree are used to determine the student’s class standing at the time of transfer.

Students who desire Macalester financial aid for a semester beyond their eighth must request an exception to this policy in writing. Such requests should be sent to the Financial Aid Office as early as possible and no later than the end of the eighth semester of enrollment. Exceptions to the eight semester limit will be made rarely, and only in situations where circumstances beyond the student’s control prevented degree completion in eight semesters.