Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations require Bluefield University to establish and apply reasonable standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for eligible students to receive financial assistance under the programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act.

SAP is a federal student aid (FSA) eligibility requirement and is administered by the University in addition to the academic standards of performance required under Bluefield University’s academic progress policy. The SAP policy is reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid. Students are evaluated at the end of every academic term (16-week semester). All students are evaluated on three standards: (1) grade point average (qualitative measure), (2) credit hour completion ratio (quantitative measure), and (3) maximum time frame. To maintain eligibility under SAP, students must meet all three standards.

Grade Point Average

Students must maintain a minimum qualitative measure of progress defined as the cumulative grade point average (GPA). The requirements are listed below.

Career Hours Attempted Minimum Career Hours GPA
0-57 1.75
58+ 2.0

Graduate Degree

Students in graduate programs must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better.

Credit Hour Completion Ratio

Students (either full-time or part-time) must maintain a minimum incremental progress (pace) by completing (earning) a percentage of all credit hours attempted. Progress is evaluated at the end of each term (16-week semester). All courses are used in the credit hour completion ratio including repeated, transferred, withdrawals and incompletes. All students must successfully complete (earn) 67 percent of all cumulative credit hours attempted.

Maximum Time Frame

Students must complete their degree program within 150 percent of the credit hour requirements for the degree. Students who are unable to complete their degree program within the time frame limitation will be ineligible for federal student aid, unless their academic plan provides for an additional semester. For students who change majors and have not completed the new program requirements but have reached the maximum time frame limit may submit a request to be re-evaluated on a case by case basis.

Calculation and Rounding

Bluefield University rounds GPA, credit hour completion ratio, and maximum time frame per normal rounding rules. Any value that is .49 or below will be rounded down and any value that is .50 or higher will be rounded up for the purpose of calculating satisfactory academic policy for financial aid.

Additional Degrees

Students pursuing additional undergraduate degrees are required to maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete (earn) 67 percent of the remaining courses for the additional degree. The maximum time frame will be calculated based on 150 percent of the remaining requirements to complete the additional degree.

SAP Notification

Students are notified of the SAP policy via the Bluefield University academic catalog and website. All periods of enrollment at Bluefield University are calculated in SAP, including periods of enrollment during which a student did not receive federal student aid. Cumulative GPAs are calculated in accordance with Bluefield University’s academic policies. Students receiving federal student aid who do not meet minimum SAP requirements will be notified by mail and/or email by the Office of Financial Aid.

Transfer Credits

Transfer credits accepted toward the student’s degree program will be included when calculating the SAP credit hour completion ratio (in both completed [earned] and attempted hours) and the 150% maximum time frame.

Remedial Courses

Students may receive federal student aid for up to 30 credit hours of remedial coursework. If more remedial courses are required, credit hours taken will not be considered for determining the amount of federal student aid eligibility. Please note, however, that Bluefield University only offers two remedial courses currently.

Pass/Fail Courses

The cumulative financial aid grade point average includes both pass and fail courses. For financial aid satisfactory academic progress, these classes are also included in the credit hour completion ratio calculation (in attempted hours) and the 150% maximum time frame requirements for SAP.

Repeated Courses

Students receiving federal student aid may repeat a course, as allowed under Bluefield University’s academic policy. Repeated courses will be included in the credit hour completion ratio calculation (in attempted hours) and the 150% maximum time frame requirements for SAP.

Incomplete Grades

Students receiving federal student aid may receive incomplete grades, as allowed under Bluefield University’s academic policy. Incomplete grades will be included in the credit hour completion ratio calculation (in attempted hours) and the 150% maximum time frame requirements for SAP. Zero quality points will be assigned, as stated in the academic catalog, for financial aid SAP determination until an earned grade is posted. If the student has an incomplete grade and is not meeting SAP, he/she may request another SAP review after posting of the earned grade.


Students receiving federal student aid may withdraw from a course, as allowed under Bluefield University’s academic policy. Courses from which a student has withdrawn will be included in the credit hour completion ratio calculation (in attempted hours) and the 150% maximum time frame requirements for SAP.

Preparatory Coursework

Bluefield University does not have any programs that require students to take preparatory coursework to be admitted into the program and therefore, does not have a policy on preparatory coursework.

Financial Aid Warning

Students who do not maintain SAP under this policy will initially be placed on financial aid warning and will be notified by mail and/or email of their status. While on financial aid warning, the student will be eligible to receive federal student aid for the next period of enrollment; an appeal is not required. Students on financial aid warning will be reviewed at the end of the next period of enrollment. If the student does not meet all conditions of SAP they will be ineligible for federal student aid.

Federal Student Aid Ineligibility

By statute, students who do not maintain SAP and students on financial aid warning who do not meet SAP requirements after the warning period are ineligible for federal student aid and institutional program funding. Private loan eligibility is up to the alternative loan lender. See section 11 of the Financial Aid handbook. Students not eligible for federal aid will be notified by mail and/or email.

SAP Appeal Petition

Students ineligible for federal student aid program funding may appeal by completing the SAP appeal petition and working with ACE to develop an academic plan that provides a calculated academic method for the student to meet the standards and graduate within an adequate time frame. Requests for reinstatement of eligibility must be submitted to the appropriate Bluefield University Office. Students may appeal their ineligibility under SAP if they were unable to maintain SAP as a direct result of hardship, injury, or illness of the student, death of a relative, or other special circumstance. The financial aid office recommends and requests that students submit supporting documentation to accompany each appeal. Per federal regulations, the student must include in the appeal why he/she failed to make SAP and what has changed that will allow the student to meet SAP at the next evaluation. In addition, the student must supply an individualized academic plan that provides a direction to meet the established guidelines and graduate.

Completed SAP appeal petitions will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. Appeals should be directed to:

Bluefield Central

Financial Aid Appeals Committee
The Director of Financial Aid
Bluefield University
3000 College Avenue
Bluefield, VA  24605

The financial aid office will establish a deadline at the end of each semester for when students should submit their appeal. If students do not submit their appeal before or by this specified deadline, the University reserves the right to automatically decline and/or not review the appeal for the current semester. If a student is notified of an SAP appeal after classes have started, the student would be permitted to withdrawal with little to no financial harm if payment cannot be made. This is case by case for each student based on the financial obligation incurred. This determination would be made through the student accounts department.

The Committee’s decision is the final determination. Students are notified of the committee’s decision in writing by the Office of Financial Aid.

If the appeal is approved, the student will have a probationary period of one semester during which he/she will receive federal student aid. If the appeal is not approved the student is responsible for paying University charges or can withdraw from classes. 

Continued Financial Aid Probation

Students granted an approved appeal, may be given an academic plan. If at the end of the probationary period the student is not meeting the conditions of SAP but did meet the academic plan requirements, the student is allowed to continue on Probation. At the end of the probationary period, if the student did not meet all conditions of SAP or requirements of the academic plan, the student is ineligible for federal student aid.

Up to three appeals may be submitted for one student once the student has lost eligibility unless the financial aid committee has a reason and documentation of an additional extenuating circumstance that would merit additional probationary periods.

Reinstatement of Federal Student Aid

A student may be reinstated for federal student aid once they have successfully met all of the conditions of the financial aid SAP policy. Students on warning or probation have reinstatement of their federal student aid for one semester only. Sitting out a semester is not sufficient to re-establish eligibility for federal student aid.

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

Where can I find a course description?

Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231


Meet our core Counseling faculty

Dr. Challen Mabry

Assistant Professor of Counseling

Dr. Kristen Moran

Associate Professor of Counseling

Brandy Smith

Assistant Professor of Education & Counseling,
Director of the Master of Arts in Counseling Program,
Title IX Confidential Counselor

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