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Term Definition
Good Academic Standing

Good academic standing for financial aid purposes is defined in section 145-2.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. From 1981 onward, good academic standing consists of two elements, both of which must be met: satisfactory academic progress and program pursuit.

Satisfactory academic progress is an achievement requirement and is defined as accruing/earning a minimum number of credits toward a degree with a minimum cumulative grade point average in each term an award is received. Beginning in 1981, regulations required each institution that participated in State student financial aid programs to submit for Commissioner’s approval a proposed standard of satisfactory academic progress, in almost all cases in chart format. 

However, for first-time recipients in academic year 2006-2007 and thereafter, Education Law specifies the minimum credit accrual and cumulative grade point average requirements for two-year and four-year degree programs. These standards were increased for non-remedial students effective with the 2010-11 academic year and thereafter. For students who received their first award prior to academic year 2006-2007, institutions can choose to continue to follow the standards of progress approved by the Commissioner or can adopt the statutory standards for all students.

The second element of good academic standing is program pursuit. Program pursuit is defined in regulations as completing—getting a grade in--a percentage of the minimum full-time course load in each term an award is received. The percentage, as specified in regulations, begins at 50 percent of the minimum full-time course load in each term of the first year an award is received increases, to 75 percent in each term of the second year an award is received, and to 100 percent in each term of the third year an award is received and thereafter. 

Pursuit is an effort or completion requirement rather than an achievement requirement, so courses in which a student receives either passing or failing grades can be used to satisfy the pursuit requirement. Thus, grades of A through F and any other grade that indicates the student completed the course and all necessary assignments (P, S, U, R) are acceptable to meet the pursuit requirement. W grades or any grade which indicates the student failed to complete the course or assignments cannot be used to satisfy the pursuit requirement. Incomplete (I) grades can be used to meet the pursuit requirement providing college policy requires the grade to be resolved to a passing or failing grade no later than the end of the subsequent term.

While only credit-bearing courses can be used to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements (credit earned toward a degree), students can meet the pursuit requirement by completing remedial and/or credit-bearing courses.

Grade Changes

The student’s academic transcript is the primary record for grades and grade changes. Since grade changes can have an impact on whether a student maintains good academic standing and remains eligible for financial aid, it is important to document such changes.

Section 52.2(e)(6) of theRegulations of the Commissioner of Education states:

The institution shall maintain for each student a permanent, complete, accurate, and up-to-date transcript of student achievement at the institution. This document will be the official cumulative record of the student’s cumulative achievement. 

In accordance with the regulation, when a grade for a course is changed, the original grade as well as the new grade must be shown so that there is a permanent and complete record. Other documentation can include faculty and/or registrar approvals of grade changes.

When a student repeats a course to earn a better grade, both the first grade and the grade earned for the repeated course must be recorded on the academic transcript.

Grade Point Average

Students are required to remain in good academic standing to continue to be eligible for State student aid. One element of good academic standing—satisfactory academic progress—consists of a credit accrual and grade point average requirement. Students must meet specified minimum credit accrual and cumulative grade point average requirements in each term an award is received to remain eligible for a subsequent award payment.

The cumulative grade point average increases gradually until a student has received four semester payments (six quarter/trimester payments) at which point the student must maintain a cumulative 2.0 grade point average, as mandated by Education Law Section 661.

Grades Acceptable for Pursuit

Pursuit of program is one element of the good academic standing requirement and is a measure of the student’s effort to complete a specified percentage of the minimum full-time or part-time course load in an aid-supported semester. Grades acceptable for meeting the pursuit requirement include passing and failing grades of A through F and any other grade that signifies that the student completed all assignments and attended the entire term.

Incomplete (“I”) grades that school policy requires to be converted to a passing or failing letter grade no later than the end of the following term can also be used to satisfy pursuit.

Withdrawal grades such as “W”, “WF”, “WP” and any other grade that indicates a student did not complete the term are not acceptable for pursuit purposes.

Graduate Study

Some grant programs provide assistance for undergraduate study only (e.g., Aid for Part-Time Study) while others also provide awards for graduate study (e.g., Tuition Assistance Program, Veterans Tuition Awards).

Education Law provides up to eight years of TAP and Veterans Tuition Award (VTA) eligibility: four years at the undergraduate level and four years at the graduate level. If a student enrolls in an approved five-year undergraduate program, the student can receive five years of assistance but then can receive a maximum of three years of awards at the graduate level.(Effective 2010-11 and thereafter, TAP funding for graduate students is no longer available. Graduate funding for the VTA has not been affected)

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