Institutional financial aid retention policy
AID RETENTION/PROGRESS TOWARD A DEGREE
There are four key elements to the retention of eligibility for Institutional (WPI) financial aid as it relates to academics:
- All full time students are expected to register and enroll in twelve 1/3 unit classes per academic year. The more classes a student successfully completes (up to a maximum of 12 courses during terms A-D), the more the student’s grant/ scholarship eligibility is maintained for the next academic year.
Attempting but not successfully completing courses and project work will reduce financial aid. Please note that advanced placement, transfer credit, incompletes, or extensions cannot be counted in the determination of units completed. The student is responsible for resolution of incompletes with the faculty member assigning the grade.
Federal and/or State Financial Aid
For retention of federal and/or state financial aid funding, please refer to the Federal SAP section below.
WPI Financial Need based Scholarships/Grants
WPI scholarships and grants awarded to students will not increase in future academic years, regardless of changes in a student’s financial need. Conversely, students’ WPI need based scholarships and grants can decrease based on a lower financial need and/or poor academic performance in the prior academic year. In addition to maintaining financial need in future academic year, students must successfully complete at least eleven out of twelve academic courses* typically taken during each academic year. Please note, advanced placement, transfer credit, incompletes, or extensions cannot be counted in the determination of units completed towards this requirement.
All need-based scholarship awards administered by WPI are available as credits against charges incurred during the normal academic year (terms A through D): half for terms A and B and half for terms C and D. Scholarships may not be used as credit against charges during term E (summer session). In addition to conditions itemized above, scholarships are available for the shorter of two periods: sixteen terms within four years or until the end of the billing period in which your undergraduate degree is completed. No combination of WPI scholarship awards may exceed tuition.
*Academic courses are defined as classes worth one third of a WPI academic unit.
WPI Merit based Scholarships/Grants
WPI merit based scholarships will not increase or decrease based on changes to a student’s financial need. However, a student’s merit based scholarship will decrease or be eliminated if a student does not meet the renewal criteria to maintain these scholarships.
To maintain this award for ensuing years at WPI, you must successfully complete at least eleven out of twelve academic courses* typically taken during each academic year. Transfer credit will not count towards this requirement. All WPI merit-based scholarship awards administered by WPI are available as credits against charges incurred during the normal academic year (terms A through D): half for terms A and B and half for terms C and D. Scholarships may not be used as credit against charges during term E (summer session). In addition to conditions itemized above, scholarships are available for the shorter of two periods: sixteen terms within four years or until the end of the billing period in which your undergraduate degree is completed. No combination of WPI scholarship awards may exceed tuition.
*Academic courses are defined as classes worth one third of a WPI academic unit.
Students awarded WPI Merit based funds and then withdraw from WPI will NOT be eligible to receive the merit funds if they are readmitted to WPI at a later date.
Financial Aid Appeals
Students placed on Academic Probation or Federal Financial Aid Suspension may, in cases which involve unusual and extenuating circumstances such as documented medical problems, file a financial aid petition with the WPI Office of Student Aid & Financial Literacy. Financial Aid Appeals can be obtained in the WPI Office of Student Aid & Financial Literacy (2nd floor Bartlett Center) or online at https://www.wpi.edu/admissions/tuition-aid/forms. The petition will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeal Committee. Determination on financial aid appeals will be made on a case by case basis.
Regardless of academic progress status, eligibility for financial assistance (with the exception of the Federal Stafford Loan) is available for the shorter of the two following periods; 16 terms (4 years) of enrollment at WPI (NOT 16 terms of receiving financial aid), or completion of your Bachelor Degree requirements at WPI.
If students receive scholarships/grants, loans of all forms and/ or federal work study, they must be registered as a full-time. Students are charged tuition and fees based upon full-time status and that serves as the basis for annual financial aid eligibility determinations.
Students are responsible for knowing their enrollment and academic status and working with an academic advisor to register and enroll for the necessary units to maintain eligibility for financial aid.
PLEASE NOTE: With the exception of the Federal Direct Loan, the Global Scholar Stipend, and the Foisie Scholar Stipend programs, financial aid is not available for enrollment during term E (Summer School) at WPI. This includes all forms of assistance including WPI Merit Scholarships. If you enroll during term E and borrow a Federal Direct Loan, the amount you borrow will be reduced from your Federal Direct Loan eligibility for the next academic year (terms A-D).
The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress, mandates that institutions of higher education monitor the academic progress of students who receive federal financial aid. Recipients of both federal (Title IV) and state financial aid funds must maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward their degrees in order to remain eligible for financial aid assistance.
Federal Financial Aid SAP is defined both qualitatively and quantitatively. Federal regulations state that the SAP standards for students receiving Title IV aid must be the same as or more strict than the school’s standards for a student enrolled in the same educational program who is not receiving Title IV aid.
WPI’s Academic SAP standards differ from its Federal Financial Aid SAP standards. For more information on WPI’s Academic SAP policies, please visit the WPI Registrar's Office page.
WPI has established the following minimum standards to be eligible for and continue to receive federal and state financial aid. This policy reflects the changes to federal regulations that are effective as of July 1, 2011.
In order to assist the student, parents, and the academic advisor in determining whether a student is making federal financial aid satisfactory academic progress, WPI has adopted the following guidelines: Federal Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be reviewed at the end of the academic year (term D) and is based on the student meeting qualitative and quantitative criteria.
Students need to meet all three criteria listed below in order to maintain Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP):
1) Qualitative Requirement - # of classes to pass per academic year
- Full time, undergraduate students must receive a passing grade* in a minimum of eight (8) classes** at the end of each academic year
- *Passing grades are defined as A, B, C, or SP (projects only).
- NR grades are not considered a passing grade and are not allowed to be counted as a passed class as it applies to Federal Financial Aid SAP rules.
- ** Classes are defined as 1/3 unit each
2). Quantitative Requirement - # credits earned vs. # credits attempted
- Students must earn a cumulative minimum of 66.67% of the cumulative credits they attempt at the end of each academic year (term D).
3). Quantitative Requirement – 150% maximum timeframe
- Students must complete their degree program within a 150% of the published program length.
- For federal aid purposes, students who do not attain their WPI Bachelor Degree after 202.50 credits (150% x 135 credits) will no longer be eligible to apply for federal financial aid funding.
Treatment of course work
Withdrawals, NR grades, incomplete courses, and transfer course work are not counted towards the qualitative portion of the SAP review Quantitative A grade of A, B, C, and SP, transfer coursework, courses taken during the summer term, and repeated courses (only allowed once) are counted towards classes passed (earned).
Withdrawals, NR grades, incomplete courses, repeated courses, course taken during the WPI summer term, and transfer course work are counted towards attempted hours in the Federal Financial Aid SAP review
- Courses transferred to WPI are counted as both passed (credits earned) and attempted classes when measuring pace (quantitative measure). These classes are not counted as part of the qualitative SAP measure
- Counted in next evaluation period following receipt and review of transcript
- Admitted transfers are considered SAP eligible initially
- WPI does not accept remedial transfer credit hours and does not include remedial coursework in # classes passed.
- Incomplete grades will be considered as an NR grade when calculating the # classes passed for qualitative component of the SAP and as attempted classes when calculating the Pace component of Federal Financial Aid SAP.
- If/when incomplete grades are assigned a grade of A, B, C, or SP, the SAP measures will be adjusted for the term in which the class was taken.
- It is the student’s responsibility to notify the WPI Office of Financial Aid of any grade change after the review period.
Repeating Classes (does not apply to Graduate students)
- Students may repeat a passed course only one time to improve the grade. This repeated class will be included in the Federal Financial Aid SAP review.
- A passed course that has been taken more than once to improve the grade will not count in the enrollment status for federal financial aid purposes and will not be included in the Federal Financial Aid SAP review.
- After the add/drop period has ended for each term, any class in which a student no longer attends (and receives an NR grade) will be counted as attempted classes in determining Federal Financial Aid SAP.
Withdrawing From the University (officially and unofficially)
- Federal Financial Aid SAP regulations do not recognize any provision for academic amnesty. All academic course work must be included in determining Federal Financial Aid SAP taken anytime a student is enrolled at WPI.
- When a student officially or unofficially withdraws from WPI, all classes showing as attempted will be included in the Federal Financial Aid SAP review.
Failure to Meet the Standards of Federal Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Federal Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress
At the end of the academic year (end of term D), if Financial Aid SAP standards have been met, students will be eligible to apply for financial aid funds for the upcoming academic year.
Financial Aid Suspension
At the end of the academic year (end of term D), if Federal Financial Aid SAP standards have not been met, students will be sent notification by the WPI Office of Financial Aid informing them they have been placed on Federal Financial Aid Suspension due to not meeting Federal Financial Aid SAP standards.
The notification will include information concerning the loss of federal and state financial aid for the upcoming enrollment period (academic year) due to failure to meet the Federal Financial Aid SAP minimum standards as well as explain the financial aid appeal process.
If the student is placed on Federal Financial Aid Suspension, an appeal process is available for those students who had a personal injury or illness, death of a relative, or believe they had other mitigating circumstances that affected their ability to meet Federal Financial Aid SAP standards. Students can obtain the SAP Financial Aid Appeal Form by visiting the WPI Office of Financial Aid or downloading the form from the WPI Office of Financial Aid Forms page.
Federal Financial Aid Probation
Students who have their SAP Financial Aid Appeal approved are placed on Federal Financial Aid Probation and may apply for federal financial aid funding for the semester in which they are on Federal Financial Aid Probation. Continuation of federal financial aid while on Financial Aid Probation is contingent on the student successfully meeting Federal Financial Aid SAP standards and/or an academic plan of action provided with the approved appeal.
Step One: Students who choose to follow the appeal process must:
- Submit SAP Financial Aid Appeal Form to the WPI Financial Aid Appeal Committee (mail to WPI Office of Financial Aid) by the stated deadline date
- Student must state why he or she was placed on Federal Financial Aid Suspension (i.e. failed to meet Federal Financial Aid SAP requirements).
- Student must state what has changed so that he or she will improve his/her academic performance (i.e. meet Federal Financial Aid SAP at the next review).
Step Two: WPI Financial Aid Appeal Committee will:
- Review the SAP Financial Aid Appeal Form
- Send results of appeal decision to the student
- Approved appeals include:
- Approval and terms of reinstatement of federal financial aid eligibility
- Requirement to meet Federal Financial Aid SAP in next enrollment period (semester) or requirement to follow an academic plan over an extended period of time
- Consequences for not meeting terms of approval
- Approved appeals will result in federal financial aid being awarded for the enrollment period
- Denied appeals include:
- Reasons for denial
- What the student must do to meet Federal Financial Aid SAP
- Denied appeals will not be awarded federal financial aid until Federal Financial Aid SAP is met
Step Three: Students must continue to meet terms, as established, until Federal Financial Aid SAP is met in order to continue receiving federal financial aid on a probationary basis. Once Federal Financial Aid SAP is met, students are no longer considered to be on Federal Financial Aid Probation. Failure to maintain Federal Financial Aid SAP in a subsequent semester will result in the student being placed on Federal Financial Aid Suspension for the upcoming enrollment period (semester).
The U.S. Higher Education Act require universities participating in federally funded financial aid programs to make certain information about the institution is available to current and prospective students and other interested parties. This page aggregates links to a wide range of such information available online from a variety of sources on campus. This list is still a work in progress and links will be edited and updated as information becomes available.
Summary of the Requirements of 34 CFR 668.22
The law specifies how your school must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that you earn if you withdraw from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are Federal Pell Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, TEACH Grants, Direct Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs).
Though your aid is posted to your account at the start of each period, you earn the funds as you complete the period. If you withdraw during your payment period or period of enrollment (your school can define these for you and tell you which one applies to you), the amount of Title IV program assistance that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If you received (or your school or parent received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds. If you received more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be returned by the school and/or you.
The amount of assistance that you have earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if you completed 30% of your payment period or period of enrollment, you earn 30% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive. Once you have completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, you earn all the assistance that you were scheduled to receive for that period.
If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, your school must get your permission before it can disburse them. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don’t incur additional debt. Your school may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school). The school needs your permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other institutional charges. If you do not give your permission (some schools ask for this when you enroll), you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce your debt at the school.
There are some Title IV funds that you were scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if you are a first-time, first-year undergraduate student and you have not completed the first 30 days of your program before you withdraw, you will not receive any Direct Loan funds that you would have received had you remained enrolled past the 30th day. If you receive (or your school or parent receive on your behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, your school must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of 1) your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, or 2) the entire amount of excess funds. The school must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of your Title IV program funds. If your school is not required to return all of the excess funds, you must return the remaining amount.
For any loan funds that you must return, you (or your parent for a Direct PLUS Loan) repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, you make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.
Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the grant funds you received or were scheduled to receive. You do not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. You must make arrangements with your school or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.
The requirements for Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy that your school may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. Your school may also charge you for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. If you don’t already know your school’s refund policy, you should ask your school for a copy. Your school can also provide you with the requirements and procedures for officially withdrawing from school.
If you have questions about your Title IV program funds, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243). TTY users may call 1-800-730-8913. Information is also available on Student Aid on the Web at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/.
Per federal regulations set forth by the Higher Education Act of 1965 (amended in 2008), educational institutions are required to disclose specific consumer information about the school and the availability of student financial aid to prospective and continuing students. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (H.R. 4137), which was signed into law on August 14, 2008, mandates that visitors be provided with additional information in a variety of formats.
WPI's consumer information is available in the Consumer Information section of our Institutional Research Office's website.