Skip to Content

Progress and Probation

View PDF

Academic Progress

Each college has an academic standards committee that is responsible for monitoring the academic progress of all undergraduate students in that college, based on policies and minimum requirements set by the Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Standards and Admissions and ratified by the Faculty Senate.

Individual college faculties may, with the approval of the Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Standards and Admissions, set additional program admission and curriculum requirements that are more stringent than those established for the university. These additional requirements must be reviewed at least every third catalog by the college academic standards committee to determine if the requirements should be continued. Requirements approved by the college academic standards committees will then be forwarded to the Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Standards and Admissions for final approval.

The college committees are responsible for actions involving individual students with respect to placing students on academic probation, dismissing students from the university for unsatisfactory academic progress, and reinstating students who have been dismissed.

For questions concerning interpretation and application of the rules governing academic progress, students should contact the chair or secretary of their college academic standards committee in their college office.

The university's academic standards rules are presented below. In addition to taking action based on these rules, a college academic standards committee may also place a student on academic probation or dismiss a student from enrollment in the university when, in the college committee's judgment, the student's academic performance or progress toward a degree is exceptionally deficient. Likewise, a college committee may, under exceptional circumstances, exempt individual students from the application of these rules. Students who participate in the Regent Universities Student Exchange Program, or in a similar program where the credit taken at the other school will be considered as resident credit and the grades included in the student's ISU cumulative grade point average, are subject to Iowa State University's academic standards.

Additional Academic Standards Regulations

Changing colleges: A student on academic probation (P) may transfer to another college within the university only with the permission of the department chair of the new department and the dean of the new college. For students on academic probation (P), transfer during period 3 (i.e., after the last day to drop a course) may be approved by the department chair of the new department and the dean of the new college only under exceptional circumstances.

A student who has transferred from a college while on academic probation (P) cannot transfer back unless permission is granted by the academic standards committee of the original college.

A student who is in dismissal status at the end of spring and chooses to exercise the Summer Option may not change colleges during the summer.

Withdrawal: A student on academic probation (P) who withdraws during period 3 will be academically dismissed at the end of term the student withdraws, except under extenuating circumstances as judged by the college academic standards committee.

Reinstated students: Reinstated students should also see the section on Reinstatement.

Veterinary Medicine: Additional rules for minimum satisfactory progress are in effect.

Special (nondegree) students: Students matriculated in this classification category are governed by the regular academic progress regulations. Furthermore, by special action of their college academic standards committee, additional standards may be required.

 

Academic Probation Policy

Students are placed on academic probation status as a warning that their academic progress is not satisfactory and that they should take steps to improve their academic performance to avoid dismissal from the university.

Students who are placed on academic probation should immediately seek assistance in academic improvement from such sources as academic advisers, instructors, the Student Counseling Service, and the Academic Success Center. Additionally, students on academic probation and warning are required to meet with their advisor and to complete the Academic Intervention Self Assessment form, which can be accessed here: http://www.dso.iastate.edu/asc/ai/students/

Academic Warning, Probation, and Dismissal

Continued enrollment at Iowa State University depends upon an undergraduate student maintaining satisfactory academic progress toward attaining a degree. To assist students in maintaining satisfactory progress, Iowa State University has adopted academic standards designed to provide early identification of students who are experiencing academic difficulty, and to provide timely intervention through academic advising and academic support programs.

Academic standing at Iowa State University is dependent upon the total number of credits a student has attempted or earned, the student's semester grade point average (GPA), the student's cumulative ISU GPA, and the student's transfer GPA (if below 2.00.)

Academic Warning

While a warning (W) is the least severe of the negative academic actions, it serves as a reminder that future academic performance below 2.00 could result in more serious consequences. In fact, a student on warning whose subsequent term GPA is below a 2.00 will be placed on probation (P) the following term.

Students who receive an academic warning are required to develop a plan for academic improvement in consultation with their academic adviser or the Academic Success Center. A student who is subject to both academic warning and academic probation will be placed on academic probation. The academic warning is not a part of the student's permanent academic record.

Students will receive an academic warning (W) at the end of any fall or spring semester when they earn a GPA of 1.00 – 1.99 for that semester. At the end of the next fall or spring semester of enrollment, one of the following actions will be taken for students on academic warning status:

  • Students will be placed on academic probation if they earn less than a 2.00 GPA for the next fall or spring semester, or
  • They will be removed from warning status if they earn at least a 2.00 semester GPA for the next fall or spring semester and they are not subject to academic probation based on cumulative GPA (over 75 credits).

See Summer Academic Standards Regulations section for how summer grades affect warning, probation, or dismissal status.

Academic Probation

Academic probation is an indication of very serious academic difficulty which may result in dismissal from the university. Students may be placed on academic probation as a result of either semester GPA, cumulative GPA, or both.

Students who are placed on academic probation are required to develop a plan for academic improvement in consultation with their academic adviser which may include referral to the Academic Success Center. Academic probation status is not a part of the student's permanent academic record.

Students will be placed on academic probation (P) at the end of a semester/term for either of the following two reasons:

  1. Semester GPA: Students who earn less than a 1.00 at the end of any fall or spring semester, or less than a 2.00 two consecutive semesters, will be placed on academic probation. Students will not be placed on academic probation at the end of the summer term due to summer term GPA only.
  2. Cumulative GPA: Students with 75 or more credits attempted or earned, whichever is greater, will be placed on academic probation at the end of any fall or spring semester or summer term when their cumulative GPA is less than 2.00. Students with 75 or more credits attempted or earned who have a transfer GPA < 2.00 will be placed on academic probation at the end of any fall or spring semester or summer term when their combined transfer/ISU cumulative GPA is less than 2.00.

At the end of the next fall or spring semester of enrollment, one of the following actions will be taken for students on academic probation status:

  • Students will be academically dismissed if they fail to earn at least a 2.00 semester GPA. At the end of any spring semester, students in dismissal status may enroll for summer term. (See Summer Option for Students in Dismissal Status in the Summer Academic Standards Regulations section.)
  • Students will continue on academic probation if they earn at least a 2.00 semester GPA but are subject to continued academic probation based on their cumulative GPA (over 75 credits).
  • Students will be removed from probation if they earn at least a 2.00 semester GPA and are not subject to continued academic probation based on their cumulative GPA (over 75 credits).

See Summer Academic Standards Regulations section for how summer grades affect warning, probation, or dismissal status.

Academic Dismissal

Students who do not meet the requirements of their academic probation are academically dismissed from the university. Each College Academic Standards Committee is responsible for final decisions regarding the academic status of students in that college, and any appeals to academic dismissal actions are considered by the college committee. Once dismissed, students are not allowed to reenroll at Iowa State University until they have been academically reinstated. (See section on reinstatement.) Academic dismissal is placed on the student's academic record as a permanent notation. The official transcript of a student who has been dismissed includes a "not in good standing" notation.

Summer Academic Standards Regulations

Students who are newly placed or continued on academic probation (P) at the end of the previous semester may enroll for the summer term without being in jeopardy of academic dismissal from the university at the end of that summer term.

Summer Combined Term GPA:

All students who attend summer session will have their academic status reassessed at the end of the summer based on the combined (not averaged) grade summaries of their previous term of attendance and summer term. Academic status (warning or probation) after summer session will be based on the resulting combined term GPA. The academic status resulting from the summer combined term GPA supersedes the academic status at the end of the previous term.

For students who have remaining designated repeat credits, courses taken in the previous semester and repeated in summer will be calculated as designated repeats in the combined term GPA.

The combined term GPA (summer plus preceding term) will not appear on the student's grade report or permanent record.

Summer term GPA alone cannot determine academic status. Students who initiate enrollment at Iowa State during the summer will not be placed on warning or probation regardless of their academic performance.

Summer Cumulative GPA:

A student who was on academic probation (P) at the beginning of summer term based only on cumulative GPA, who raises his or her cumulative GPA to over a 2.0 at the end of the summer term shall be removed from probation status at the end of the summer term.

A student with 75 or more credits attempted or earned, whichever is greater, will be placed on academic probation (P) at the end of the summer term if his or her cumulative GPA is less than 2.00.

A student with 75 or more credits attempted or earned who has a transfer GPA < 2.00 will be placed on academic probation (P) at the end of any summer term if his or her combined transfer/ISU cumulative GPA is less than 2.00.

Summer Option for Students in Dismissal Status:

A student considered for academic dismissal at the end of spring semester will be permitted to enroll for the summer term. The combined spring/summer GPA will be used to determine whether the student should be permitted to continue his/her enrollment after the summer term. If the resulting combined term GPA is not 2.00 or greater, the student will be academically dismissed.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients

Federal regulations require the Office of Student Financial Aid to monitor the satisfactory academic progress of students (SAP). SAP is strictly a financial aid policy. Your academic adviser and/or college are monitoring your academic progress under the University's Academic Probation Policy.

SAP standards apply to undergraduate and graduate students who wish to establish or maintain financial aid eligibility. These standards apply to a student's entire academic record at Iowa State University, whether or not financial aid was received for prior terms of enrollment.

College of Veterinary Medicine: Academic progress is monitored by the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Undergraduate Students

The Registrar's records are reviewed at the completion of every semester of enrollment to determine compliance with the SAP policy. There are three components to the SAP policy:

Minimum GPA

Students must maintain a cumulative gpa of a 2.0 or higher to remain eligible for financial aid. Academic records are reviewed at the completion of every term of enrollment (Fall, Spring, Summer) to determine SAP.

Minimum Pace of Progression

Students must complete coursework at a cumulative rate of 67%. Completed coursework is defined as any course for which the student receives a passing grade. Attempted coursework is defined as any course in which the student receives a passing grade, and all credit hours with a non-passing grade on a student's academic record, according to the Office of the Registrar. Academic records are reviewed at the completion of every term of enrollment (Fall, Spring, Summer) to determine pace of progression. Use the formula below to determine your pace. The minimum pace requirement is 67%.

Completed Semester Hours (all passing grades)
divided by
Attempted Semester Hours

(completed hours, hours enrolled in as of the 11th day of the semester, and hours with non-passing grades or incompletes)

Example 1:

Progress Fall Semester Spring Semester (Cumulative Total)
Hours Completed610 (16)
Hours Attempted1212 (24)
Pace of Progression50%83% (16/24 = 67% rounded)
Financial aid status after semesterWarningMet SAP and remains eligible for aid


Example 2:

Progress Fall Semester Spring Semester (Cumulative Total)
Hours Completed68 (6 + 8 = 14)
Hours Attempted1212 (12 + 12 = 24)
Pace of Progression50%67% (14/24 = 58% rounded)
Financial aid status after semesterWarningSuspension. Did not meet SAP. Not eligible for aid.

 

Maximum Time Frame (Duration of Eligibility)

Federal regulations limit financial aid eligibility to 150% of the published length of the education program, as measured in credit hours. Transfer credit hours are counted in the calculation of duration of eligibility. When the student has completed 125% of their education program a letter is mailed to the student and a targeted message is posted to the student's AccessPlus account as notification that they are approaching the maximum time frame.

The following are counted towards pace of progression and maximum time frame:

Transfer, Remedial, English as Second Language, IEOP, and Early credit hours (taken in high school): All of these credit hours accepted by Iowa State University are counted as both attempted and completed hours in determining Minimum Pace-of-Progression and Maximum Time Frame requirements.

Repeating a course: The credit hours from a repeated course are counted as attempted hours every time the course is repeated. Once the course is passed, then the credit hours are counted as both attempted and completed credit hours.

Incompletes: Counted the same as non-passing grades.

Academic Renewals: All academic renewal credit hours are counted in the Minimum Pace-of-Progression and Maximum Time Frame requirements.

Receive a non-passing grade in ALL semester credit hours: Placed on Financial Aid Warning for the following semester. Also see policy on Unofficial Withdrawal from Classes/Last Date of Attendance.

Withdrawal from all semester courses: Placed on Financial Aid Warning for the following semester. Also see policy on Withdrawal from Classes.

Financial Aid Warning

Students are placed on Financial Aid Warning for one semester if they do not meet the Minimum GPA and/or Minimum credit hours. A letter is mailed to the student and a targeted message is posted to the student's AccessPlus account as notification of being placed on Financial Aid Warning.

Financial Aid Suspension

Students are placed on Financial Aid Suspension for one of the following reasons:

  1. Do not meet the SAP requirements after one semester on Financial Aid Warning.
  2. Do not meet the requirements of their Academic Plan.
  3. Meet or exceed the Maximum Time Frame requirement to obtain a degree.
  4. Withdrawal from ALL semester credit hours or receive a non-passing grade or incomplete in ALL semester credit hours in back-to-back semesters.

Students are not eligible for financial aid while on Financial Aid Suspension. A letter is mailed to the student and a targeted message is posted to the student's AccessPlus account as notification of being placed on Financial Aid Suspension. To regain financial aid eligibility students may: 1) Meet minimum SAP requirements while not receiving financial aid, or 2) Submit the Academic Intervention Self-Assessment to appeal for reinstatement of financial aid and receive appeal approval from the Office of Student Financial Aid. (See Appealing Financial Aid Suspension).

Academic Plan

Students are placed on an Academic Plan upon SAP appeal approval. The maximum length of an Academic Plan cannot exceed one calendar year (e.g., Fall/Spring/Summer, Spring/Summer/Fall, Summer/Fall/Spring) to meet the Minimum Cumulative GPA and/or the Minimum Pace-of-Progression requirements.

While on an Academic Plan, the student must maintain at least a 2.0 semester GPA, 67% semester pace of progression, not withdraw, or receive all incomplete and/or non-passing grades. If any of those requirements are not met, the student will go back on financial aid suspension.

Graduate Students (Maximum Time Frame)

The Registrar's records are reviewed at the completion of every semester of enrollment to determine compliance with the SAP policy.

Graduate students must review the Graduate College Handbook regarding minimum grade point average requirements. Federal financial aid eligibility for graduate students ends when the total semesters enrolled equal the limits outlined below (Graduate College Handbook, Chapter 4).

Master's: 10 semesters

Ph.D. (Ph.D. started at ISU with Master's earned): 10 semesters

Ph.D. (Ph.D. started at ISU without Master's earned): 14 semesters

Approaching the Maximum Time Frame

Graduate students approaching the maximum time frame of their degree will be notified by the Office of Student Financial Aid and will remain eligible for financial aid until the limit outlined above is met.

Financial Aid Suspension

Graduate students are placed on Financial Aid Suspension when they meet or exceed the Maximum Time Frame requirement to obtain a degree.

Students are not eligible for financial aid while on Financial Aid Suspension. A targeted message is posted to the student's AccessPlus account as notification of being placed on Financial Aid Suspension. The SAP Appeal for Graduate Students can be accessed at financialaid.iastate.edu/forms/other/sap_grad.pdf

Appealing Financial Aid Suspension

Students on Financial Aid Suspension may submit an appeal to the Office of Student Financial Aid if extenuating circumstances prevented them from meeting the SAP requirements.

Basis for SAP Appeal: The death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances. Attach documentation to support the basis of appeal.

SAP Appeal process: Completed SAP appeals will be reviewed within 5 business days. Students will be notified by ISU e-mail if the appeal is approved or denied. The deadline to submit an appeal for consideration of reinstatement of aid eligibility for a semester is the midterm of that semester. SAP Appeal Form.

Please note: Per Federal financial aid regulations, appeals are not automatically approved and may be denied based on failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements set forth at Iowa State University.