✖ close

Seminary

☰ In This Section

Process Overview and Responsibilities

The Code of Federal Regulations, title 34, sections 668.34 requires that an institution establish, publish, and apply reasonable standards for measuring whether a student is maintaining satisfactory progress in his or her course of study in order for the student to receive financial aid under a Title IV program of the Higher Education Act. Minnesota Statute 136A.101 Subd. 10 applies this federal Satisfactory Academic Progress regulation to Minnesota financial aid programs. Bethel University applies this federal Satisfactory Academic Progress regulation to institutionally-controlled financial aid programs.

All financial aid recipients must progress at a reasonable rate (“make satisfactory progress”) toward achieving a certificate or degree. This requirement applies to all terms, whether or not the student received financial aid.

Evaluating Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

Financial aid satisfactory academic progress evaluation begins six (6) days after the end of each term (fall, spring and summer) using three benchmarks: Qualitative Measure, Pace, and Maximum Timeframe.

Qualitative measure. Undergraduate and Bethel Seminary students must maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.00. Graduate School students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00. All undergraduate coursework is considered when calculating the cumulative GPA for undergraduate degrees. At the graduate level, cumulative GPA is calculated separately for Graduate School doctoral programs, Graduate School non-doctoral programs, Bethel Seminary doctoral programs, and Bethel Seminary non-doctoral programs. 

Pace of completion. Students must progress through their educational program at a pace that ensures they will complete the program within the maximum timeframe. The pace is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credit hours the student has successfully completed by the cumulative number of credit hours the student has attempted (beginning January 2017 results will be rounded to the nearest percent - for example, 66.49% is rounded to 66% and 66.50 is rounded to 67%). Students must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of their cumulative attempted credits (including any transfer credits, advanced placement or College Level Examination Program credit).

Maximum timeframe. Students are expected to complete their program within the normal time for completion (122 credits for a baccalaureate degree). However, there may be special circumstances, like a program change or an illness, that would prevent students from completing their programs of study within the normal time frame.

To accommodate these special circumstances, students may continue receiving aid until they either (a) complete graduation requirements for their program of study, or (b) attempt 150% of the number of credits (including transfer credits, advanced placement or CLEP credits) required for their program of study, or (c) reach the point where they cannot earn the number of credits necessary to complete their program of study within 150% of required credits for the degree, whichever comes first.

Students become ineligible for financial aid at the time that it is determined that they are unable to complete their degree within the maximum timeframe. Transfer students who will transfer more than 50% of the credits needed for their program of study should request that only the credits that apply to their program of study are accepted by Bethel to ensure that they do not exceed the maximum timeframe prior to completing their program of study, and therefore become ineligible for financial aid. 

Program of Study Maximum Timeframe
Undergraduate Certificate 45 semester credits
Associate’s Degree - CAS 61 x 1.5 = 92 semester credits
Associate’s Degree - CAPS 60 x 1.5 = 90 semester credits
Baccalaureate degree 122 x 1.5 = 183 semester credits
Graduate Certificates Varies (150% x ____ credits in certificate)
Master of Arts - Seminary (Ministry, Ministry Practice, Transformational Leadership, Theological Studies) 51 x 1.5 = 76.5 semester credits
Master of Arts - Seminary (Children & Family Ministry, Christian Thought) 42 x 1.5 = 63 semester credits
Master of Arts - Seminary (Marriage & Family Therapy, St. Paul) 60 x 1.5 = 90 semester credits
Master of Arts - Seminary (Marital & Family Therapy, San Diego) 65 x 1.5 = 97.5 semester credits
Master of Arts - Seminary (Mental Health Counseling, San Diego) 67 x 1.5 = 100.5 semester credits
Master of Arts – Graduate School Varies (150% x ____ credits in degree)
Master of Business Administration 42 x 1.5 = 63 semester credits
Master of Science - Nurse Educator 41 x 1.5 = 61.5 semester credits
Master of Science - Nurse Midwifery 57 x 1.5 = 85.5 semester credits
Master of Science - Physician Assistant 112 x 1.5 = 168 semester credits
Master of Divinity 78 x 1.5 = 117 semester credits
D.Min 48 x 1.5 = 72 semester credits
E.Ed. 61 x 1.5 = 92 semester credits

Treatment of Special Academic Course Situations

Term. The financial aid office evaluates Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at the end of each regular semester.  All terms of enrollment are counted for SAP, including terms in which a student did not receive financial aid. Courses taken during Interim are evaluated as part of spring semester.

Remedial courses. Remedial courses are treated the same as non-remedial courses in evaluation of quality, pace and maximum timeframe. Foundations for Academic Readiness courses are considered remedial courses. 

Pass/Fail courses. Some of Bethel’s courses receive a grade of “Satisfactory (S)” or “Unsatisfactory (U).” These courses are not included in the calculation of GPA; they are counted as “attempted” credits. Courses with an “S” grade are considered “earned” credits. Courses with a “U” grade are not “earned” credits.

English as a Second Language courses.  Bethel does not offer any ESL courses.

Consortium courses. Consortium courses involve a “home” and a “host” school. The “home” school provides the academic credit, monitors Satisfactory Academic Progress, and provides financial aid. The “host” school provides the instruction for the designated course(s).

  • When Bethel is the “Home” school, the credits are counted as “attempted” and “earned,” as appropriate (depending on the student’s grade in each course). All attempted credits count towards “maximum timeframe.”  The Office of the Registrar maintains a list identifying whether or not the courses are included in the GPA calculation. 
  • When Bethel is the “Host” school, the credits are not counted as either “attempted” or “earned” at Bethel. Rather, the student’s “Home” school is responsible to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for courses taken at Bethel under this type of consortium agreement.

Repeated courses. Repeated courses are included when determining the student's enrollment status for Title IV purposes, provided the course is not a result of (a) more than one repetition of a previously passed course, or (b) any repetition of a previously passed course due to the student failing other coursework.  

Repeated courses are always included in the cumulative credits attempted and maximum timeframe calculation. They are included in the GPA and cumulative credits earned calculations provided the grade for the repeated courses, and the original course, are both included in the GPA calculation.

Audited and enrichment courses. Courses that are audited, or not eligible for academic credit, are excluded from Satisfactory Academic Progress calculations since they are ineligible for federal, state, or institutional financial aid programs.

Earned credits. For purposes of this policy, credits in which the student earns a grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, or S are consider “earned” credits, and are counted as both “attempted” and “earned” in the Pace calculation.

Transfer credits. College level courses taken outside of Bethel before students received their high school diploma or G.E.D. (e.g., CLEP, PSEO, AP) are treated as transfer credits. (Postsecondary Education Options credits attempted at Bethel are treated the same as other courses taken at Bethel after receiving a high school diploma.) Transfer credits are included as both “attempted” and “completed” credits when measuring Pace, and are included in the maximum timeframe calculation. All transfer credits accepted by Bethel will be used in determining when the “maximum time frame” requirement has been reached. The student may, however, appeal to have only the credits accepted toward his or her Bethel program of study included in the maximum time frame calculation.

Change of majors. If you change majors, the credits you earn under all majors will be included in the calculation of attempted, earned, and maximum timeframe credits, as well as your GPA calculation.

Dropping a course. Courses that the student drops after the 100 percent refund period are included in the cumulative credits attempted and in the maximum timeframe.  (If a student fails all courses attempted during the term, the financial aid staff determines if the student was enrolled for the entire period or unofficially withdrew from school.)

Incompletes. Courses assigned an incomplete grade are included in the cumulative credits attempted and in the maximum timeframe. These credits cannot be counted as earned credits until a satisfactory grade is assigned.

Second degree. Students may attempt up to 150% of the credits required for a subsequent program of study (183 credits for a baccalaureate degree, plus an additional 183 credits for a second baccalaureate degree).  Students who already have a first baccalaureate degree are eligible for loans (not grants) if they are pursuing teacher licensure or a second degree (e.g., a student has a B.A. and is now seeking a B.S.).

Multiple majors and/or dual degree students. Students who choose to earn more than one major, or more than one degree, at the same time are subject to the maximum time limits of one degree (e.g., 183 credits for a baccalaureate degree).

Concurrent enrollment in Bethel’s schools. Students who are concurrently enrolled in more than one of Bethel’s schools may receive more than one Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress review each term. Students must be demonstrating satisfactory academic progress in every school they are attending. Failure to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress in any school will impact financial aid eligibility in all schools. For example, if as a result of not demonstrating financial aid satisfactory academic progress in the Graduate School a student’s financial aid eligibility is terminated, the student’s financial aid eligibility is also terminated at Bethel Seminary, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the College of Adult & Professional Studies.

Programs exempt from Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress review. Some private educational loans and employer educational benefits are available to students who are not demonstrating satisfactory academic progress. Students should check with their employer, or private educational loan provider, to see if they must be demonstrating satisfactory academic progress as a condition of receiving these funds.

Students enrolled solely in academic programs that are excluded from eligibility for federal, state and Bethel-funded financial aid are not subject to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. For example, since no federal, state, or unfunded institutional funds are offered to Postsecondary Education Option students, they are exempt from the financial aid satisfactory academic progress review. Prior to the summer 2013 term Seminary students in the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program were exempt from financial aid satisfactory academic progress review because no federal or state funds were offered to D.Min. students. Beginning with the summer of 2013 D.Min. students are eligible for Title IV loans and must, therefore, meet minimum financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards.

Failure to Meet Minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Financial aid warning.  Financial aid warning is a status assigned to a student who fails to make financial aid satisfactory academic progress at an institution that evaluates academic progress at the end of each term. The financial aid warning status lasts for one term. If after the financial aid warning term the student is not demonstrating financial aid satisfactory academic progress, the student becomes ineligible for financial aid (financial aid terminated).

Financial aid terminated. Financial Aid Terminated is a status assigned to students who have lost their financial aid eligibility due to failure to demonstrate financial aid satisfactory academic progress. Students whose financial aid eligibility has been terminated may appeal.

Appeal of Financial Aid Termination

Students who fail to meet Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards and lose financial aid eligibility can appeal this decision. The appeal must be made in writing and should be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation.

Appeals must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid within 7 calendar days of the date on the notification letter or email. Appeals will be evaluated by a cross-departmental committee. Appeals must explain why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress, and what has changed to resolve the issue(s) that prevented the student from demonstrating satisfactory academic progress. Acceptable reasons for appeal may include injury or illness of the student, illness or death of an immediate relative of the student, or other extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control. Students who cannot demonstrate Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress within one term will be required to submit an Academic Plan as a part of their appeal.

Financial aid academic plan probation. If it is impossible for the student to meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards after one term, then the institution and the student may agree upon an Academic Plan to monitor the student’s academic progress for more than one term. The institution will use the Academic Plan as the benchmark for Satisfactory Academic Progress for the length of time specified in the Academic Plan.  Students who fail to fulfill the requirements of the Academic Plan become ineligible for financial aid.

  • College of Arts & Sciences students will work with staff in the Academic Enrichment & Support Center (AESC) to develop Academic Plans.
  • College of Adult & Professional Studies students will work with the staff on the Student Success Team to develop Academic Plans.
  • Graduate School students will work with the staff on the Student Success Team to develop Academic Plans.
  • Seminary students in St. Paul will work with the Student Development Office to develop Academic Plans.
  • Seminary students in San Diego will work with the Office of the Associate Registrar and Academic Support Services to develop Academic Plans.

Student Notification

Students who are not meeting the minimum Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards will be notified by the financial aid office of their Warning or Termination status. Students who submit an appeal will be notified by the financial aid office of their Financial Aid Probation, Financial Aid Academic Plan Probation, or Financial Aid Termination status. Students whose financial aid status had been at a Warning, Probation, Academic Plan Probation, or Terminated status, but are meeting minimum SAP standards when reviewed, will be notified of the change in their status. 

Students who graduated during the term that is being reviewed for Satisfactory Academic Progress, and are not registered for the subsequent term, will not be notified of changes in Satisfactory Academic Progress status.  

Regaining Eligibility

Students whose financial aid was terminated due to lack of satisfactory academic progress may choose to enroll without benefit of financial aid. If the standards are met, financial aid eligibility is restored for subsequent terms of enrollment. Students should consult with a financial aid counselor in the Office of Financial Aid if they have any questions about this policy, the appeal process, or reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.

Interpretation and Enforcement

The Director of Financial Aid will have primary responsibility for the interpretation and enforcement of this policy.

BUILD Program Satisfactory Academic Progress Addendum

Context. The first cohort of students in the Bethel University Inclusive Learning and Development (BUILD) program enrolled for the 2015-2016 academic year, BUILD is a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)1 for students with intellectual disabilities. The BUILD certificate program is cohort based and requires two-years of full-time studies. Courses are graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory; all course requirements must be met to earn a satisfactory grade.

BUILD students are subject to the following Satisfactory Academic Progress policies.2

Customized program plans. Prior to the start of classes, BUILD students meet with their academic advisor, parent(s) and service providers to develop a customized BUILD program plan. Students provide input on program focus, internship experiences and preferred elective courses. The customized program plan includes resources and supports needed for students to be successful in their internships and electives. Through the academic year students meet monthly with their advisors to discuss their progress in meeting program plan objectives. Parents and service providers are notified of students' progress each month as appropriate.

Progress reviewed every semester. Financial aid satisfactory academic progress evaluation begins six (6) days after the end of each semester (fall, spring and summer). BUILD cohorts do not typically take courses in the summer, which means in most cases progress is reviewed after fall and spring semesters.

Satisfactory academic progress. Students are expected to pass all their courses. Students who fail one course in a semester are eligible for financial aid the following semester. However, students who fail a course in the same content area in consecutive terms are not demonstrating academic progress.

Failure to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress results in loss of financial aid eligibility. Students who (a) fail two or more courses per semester, or (b) fail the same content area two semesters in a row, or (c) do not complete the BUILD certificate program within four full-time semesters, lose their eligiblity for financial aid in subsequent terms.3 These students, and their academic advisors, will be notified verbally and in writing of the loss of financial aid and the appeal process. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor and paretns/guardians prior to submitting an appeal.

1Bethel is applying with the U.S. Department of Education to be recognized as a CTP program.  As of February 9, 2016 the DOE has not made a ruling on Bethel’s CTP application.

2Susan Bowder, presenter for the U.S. Department of Education’s June 8, 2011, Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs and Title IV Eligibility presentation training video, said: “we don't specifically require that it [CTP SAP policy] have qualitative and quantitative measurements like we do with your other [SAP] policies.  However, what we're looking for is that it should be useful to students. That is, the student should be able to read it and understand what is expected of them, how and when their progress will be reviewed, what happens if they don't make progress, how they will be notified, and what recourse they would have if they lose eligibility.” (Susan Bowder, PSC-ED-FSA-TISD transcript, June 8, 2011, page 15 of 21; https://ifap.ed.gov.edgekey.net/media/podcasts/CTPnTitleIVFSAEligibility060811Transcript.doc)

3BUILD students do not have a Warning status because they already meet monthly with their advisor to discuss academic progress.  They are, in effect, operating under a SAP academic plan throughout their program.

Appeal Loss of Financial Aid

Students who fail to meet Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards and lose financial aid eligibility can appeal this decision. The appeal must be made in writing and should be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation.

Appeals must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid within 7 calendar days of the date on the notification letter or email. Appeals will be evaluated by a cross-departmental committee (e.g. BUILD, financial aid and academics). The written appeal must explain why the student failed or withdrew from too many courses, and what has changed to resolve the issue(s). Acceptable reasons for appeal may include injury or illness of the student, illness or death of an immediate relative of the student, or other extenuating circumstances beyond the student's control. Students and their parents/guardians will be notified of the committee's decision verbally, and in writing, no more than a week after the committee's action.

Regaining Eligibility for Financial Aid

Students whose financial aid was terminated due to lack of satisfactory academic progress may choose to enroll without benefit of financial aid. If the standards are met, financial aid eligibility is restored for subsequent terms of enrollment. Students should consult with a financial aid counselor in the Office of Financial Aid if they have any questions about this policy, the appeal process, or reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.

Interpretation and Enforcement

The Director of Financial Aid will have primary responsibility for the interpretation and enforcement of this policy.