Financial Aid Policies
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy
[Policy Effective 02/2015; last revision (7/6/2017)]
In compliance with U.S. Department of Education regulations, as it pertains to Title IV recipients, New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) has set forth the following Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy required for all students receiving federal financial aid assistance. This document describes the qualitative and quantitative standards that make this policy, how the standards are measured, and how financial aid is reinstated if eligibility is lost during enrollment.
The Office of Finance and Administration is required, in accordance with federal Title IV regulations, to monitor satisfactory academic progress for students who receive financial aid. All students who receive financial aid while enrolled at NBTS must meet both the qualitative & quantitative standards defined below. This SAP policy is written in accordance with the seminary’s grade point average requirement policy which determines a student’s academic standing. NBTS’ academic year consists of two regular semesters (Fall & Spring) and a winter & summer intensive.
A student must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA), as designated by their program in the chart below, to be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress. The GPA from transfer coursework from a previous college or university will not affect a student’s NBTS grade point average. Only courses taken at NBTS on a graded scale of A-F are used in calculating the CGPA. Grades of “W or I” from classes taken at NBTS do not count towards the calculation of the GPA.
NBTS will only allow a student to take a repeated course that was not successfully passed on the first attempt and will count the coursework in the student’s enrollment status for financial aid consideration. In accordance with NBTS registrar policy, both the original and repeated course are used in the calculation of the student’s GPA.
|If Cumulative Credits Completed Equals||Cumulative GPA Requirement
|Master of Divinity|
|64 + credits||2.0|
|Master of Arts- Pastoral Care & Counseling|
|32 + credits||3.0|
|Master of Arts- Ministry and Community Leadership|
|32 + credits||2.5|
|Doctor of Ministry|
|Year one: 1-18 credits||3.0|
|Year two: 19-36 credits||3.5|
|Year three: 37-48 credits||3.75|
QUANTITATIVE STANDARD (RATE OF PROGRESS)
A student must pass a minimum number of credit hours during the academic year as designated by their program and defined in the chart below. Students must maintain a satisfactory ratio of completed credits to attempted credits. Credits are considered successfully completed when a grade of A-D is earned. Grades of “F, W, or I” are not considered successfully completed courses but do count towards the number of attempted credits. For a student to graduate within the maximum time-frame, s/he must successfully complete at least the percentage rate of the credits s/he attempts cumulatively as well as the CGPA. Transfer credits are included in total credits towards completed and attempted.
Rate of Progress = Cumulative number of credits successfully completed ÷ Cumulative number of credits attempted
RATE OF PROGRESS MASTER DEGREE PROGRAMS
|If Cumulative Credits Completed Equals||Percentage Rate of Completed Equals
Cumulative Attempted Credits Completed Must Be (Completed/Attempted)
|Master of Divinity
|Master of Divinity
|Master of Divinity
64 and over credits
|Master of Arts
|Master of Arts
|Master of Arts
32 and over credits
RATE OF PROGRESS FOR DOCTOR OF MINISTRY
|If Cumulative Credits Completed Equals||Percentage Rate of Cumulative Attempted Credits Completed Must Be|
|Doctor of Ministry
Year one: 1-18 credits
|Doctor of Ministry
Year two: 19-36
|Doctor of Ministry
Year three: 37-48
MAXIMUM TIME FRAME (PACE)
NBTS is required to establish a maximum time-frame in which students must complete their program of study to maintain eligibility for federal financial aid funds. This maximum time-frame is defined as 150% of the published length of the program. Once a student reaches the maximum amount of credits attempted and/or the maximum program length, as specified by their program below, the student will become ineligible for further federal title IV aid.
Maximum Time Frame Chart
|Program||Published Credits*||150% of the required
|Published Program Length (Full Time)||150% of the published program length|
|Master of Divinity||84||126||3 years||4.5 years|
|Master of Arts: Pastoral care & Counseling||48||72||2 years||3 years|
|Master of Arts: Ministry & Community Leadership||39||52||2 years||3 years|
|Doctor of Ministry||48||72||3 years||4.5 years|
MEASURING ACADEMIC PROGRESS
Academic progress is measured by the Financial Aid Coordinator (FAC) at the end of each semester after grades are entered. The determination of satisfactory academic progress, includes a student’s entire academic record, including transfer credits. All financial assistance students are subject to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards regardless of whether or not they received financial assistance previously.
FINANCIAL AID WARNING
A student who fails to meet the satisfactory academic progress qualitative and/or quantitative standards after the semester review will be placed on financial aid warning. Students placed on financial aid warning will have the next semester of enrollment to achieve satisfactory academic progress. During the warning semester, a student will continue to receive financial aid. If at the end of the warning semester it is determined that the student did not achieve satisfactory progress than they will be placed on financial aid termination. The Financial Aid Coordinator will send a financial aid probation letter & email to any student who is on probation for academic progress purposes.
FINANCIAL AID LOSS OF ELIGIBILY
After the semester review, if it is determined that a student on probation has not achieved the required academic progress requirement, the student will be placed on financial aid termination until the requirements are met. During this termination, a student is denied federal financial aid assistance. This means a loss of eligibility for any upcoming enrollment periods until the deficient number of credits is met and/or the CPGA is raised above the required threshold. The Financial Aid Coordinator will send a financial aid termination letter & email to any student who is no longer eligible for financial aid. The email will be sent to the student’s campus email address with instructions on how to appeal.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
Students who fail to meet the federal Satisfactory Academic Progress after a period of warning can submit a SAP appeal to the Financial Aid Coordinator. The appeal must be address and specify the extenuating circumstances which prevented the student from achieving the academic progress standards. The following types of mitigating circumstances may be considered in a student’s appeal, and are listed, as follows: injury or extended illness of the student, death in the family, or a change in circumstances resulting in undue hardship to the student. Mitigating circumstances do not include the withdrawal from classes to avoid failing grades, pursuing a second major or a second degree. The student must explain what has changed that will allow him/her to make satisfactory academic progress by the end of the semester and documentation must be provided. The Financial Aid Coordinator may request additional documentation and/or require a personal interview with the student.
Letters of appeal must be submitted to the Financial Aid Coordinator (FAC) within fifteen (15) calendar days of the financial aid termination notice. Appeals will not be accepted after the fifteen-day period has passed and the student will be responsible for all charges on their student account. The financial aid coordinator will convene a committee to review SAP appeals. The student will receive a reply from the Financial Aid Coordinator within two weeks of receipt of their appeal. For approved appeals, financial aid will not be provided retroactively while a student is not meeting SAP requirements. A student who is denied assistance based on qualitative or quantitative standards will be considered for assistance when standards have been achieved. Decisions of the appeals committee are final.
FINANCIAL AID PROBATION
New Brunswick Theological Seminary will assign a probation status to students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements and who have successfully appealed and had aid eligibility reinstated. As part of the probationary requirements for SAP appeals, the student is required to create an academic plan developed in conjunction with the student’s faculty advisor, academic dean or his/her representative including a strategy to improve progress and reach the students educational goals.
At the end of the probationary semester, the financial aid coordinator will determine if academic progress requirements have been met or if the student continues the path of the designated academic plan. If requirements have been met, the probationary status will be removed and the student will return to good standing. If academic requirements have not been met, and/or the student has deviated from the academic plan, the student may not receive federal aid for the following semester or future enrollments until academic progress requirements are fully met.
A student may only be granted one Financial Aid SAP Appeal during their academic career.
Once financial aid has been terminated, it will be reinstated provided:
1). The student has successfully achieved the required number of completed credits and cumulative grade point average; and,
2). The student has requested financial aid reinstatement in writing.
Reinstatement is not automatic. The student is responsible for making certain that the grades and credits completed have been properly posted with the Office of the Registrar prior to requesting reinstatement of financial assistance. The student may regain financial aid eligibility by notifying Student Financial Aid of any grade changes, including grades posted for incomplete courses, which may have impacted their academic progress.
STUDENTS RETURNING AFTER A YEAR OR MORE
If a student previously left the seminary after failing to make satisfactory academic progress and returns to the seminary, the student is required to appeal his/her status. The student must submit an academic plan. If the appeal is granted, the student is placed on financial aid probation for one semester. The student’s academic status will be reviewed after the semester to determine if the student successfully made satisfactory academic progress.
Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) and Withdrawal and Transfer Credits Policies
Note: If you received financial aid an official or unofficial withdrawal will affect your current financial aid, your future financial aid eligibility, and your personal finances.
Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy
In accordance with federal regulations, when a federal financial aid recipient withdraws from all classes during a semester, it is NBTS’s responsibility to determine the withdrawal date and amount of loan assistance that the student earned. If a student received less assistance than what was earned, s/he may be able to receive those funds. On the other hand, if the student received more assistance than earned, the unearned funds must be returned by the seminary and/or aid recipient to the appropriate aid program. Students who withdraw, drop, or do not otherwise complete all of the courses that they are scheduled to attend in the semester may have disbursed funds returned to the federal government. This includes students who received all failing grades, stop engaging in academically related activities in any or all courses during the semester. The Financial Aid Coordinator will determine the percentage of federal financial aid a student has earned up through the last date of an academically related activity in any or all courses during the semester/term. Students withdrawing from all courses in the semester prior to the completion of 60% of the semester/term may find that funds are owed to the seminary as a result of the R2T4.
Note: The Return of Title IV funds calculation is different from NBTS’s tuition refund calculation.
A student needing to withdraw from a course after the third meeting of the class must write a letter addressed to the Registrar who will present it to the Academic Affairs Committee. The letter must contain the reason for dropping the course and be accompanied by supporting documentation. The Academic Affairs Committee, in consultation with the instructor of the course, will determine if the student will be allowed to drop the course without academic penalty by receiving a “WP,” (withdraw passing). If the student is failing the course at the time of withdrawal, the Academic Affairs Committee may issue a “WF” (withdraw failing) depending on the circumstances. The chairperson of the Academic Affairs Committee will notify the student in writing of the committee’s decision. Failure to submit a letter to the Registrar in a timely manner will result in the student being issued an “F” for a course. If the request to withdraw is approved, the transcript will reflect the withdrawal as a either a “WP” or “WF”. Please see the grading system for details. Students who do not withdraw officially, but simply absent themselves from class will consequently be assigned a grade of “Fail” (F).” (source: Student Handbook)
Unofficial Withdrawal Policy
Federal financial aid regulations require that the Financial Aid Coordinator (FAC) confirm that students receiving Title IV funding are in attendance in all courses. Instructors receive a class roster at the beginning of each semester. Instructors are required to report to the Registrar, any student that is on the roster but is not attending class (procedure). A student who does not attend two classes in any single term course or four classes in a full semester course may be dismissed from the class (attendance policy, student handbook). The Registrar will report this information to the FAC.It is the student’s responsibility to attend all registered class periods. A student who exceeds the allowable number of absences due to circumstances beyond his/her control, such as illness, may petition the Academic Affairs Committee requesting permission to withdraw from the course(s) without academic prejudice. Students who simply absent themselves from class, after the drop add period or receive all failing grades at the end of the semester will be considered an unofficial withdrawal. In this case, the FAC will work with the Registrar and the instructors to identify the student’s last day of attendance to determine if “Return to Title IV’ (R2T4) is applicable. Instructors may reference to attendance records, exams, or assignments to determine last day of attendance. If no date is determined, the withdrawal date can be the midpoint of the term and the FAC will perform R2T4.