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Financial Aid

Maintaining Financial Aid Eligibility

The State and Federal governments have mandated that each institution adopt a measure of satisfactory academic progress for students receiving aid under their programs. SUNY Niagara’s standards are in accordance with institutional academic rules. Students should be aware that they may lose eligibility for one or more financial aid programs governed by different standards. Reinstatement under one standard does not necessarily mean that eligibility is stored under all standards. Foremost, the student must maintain matriculated and be in good academic standing as set forth by SUNY Niagara to receive any type of financial aid.

Federal and State Academic Eligibility

Both federal and state governments require you to meet certain basic academic standards in order to remain eligible for financial assistance. This means you must be aware of two different sets of rules – one for federal aid (PELL, SEOG, Work Study, and Direct Loans) and one for state aid such as TAP and APTS. Failure to meet one or more of the established standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will make a student ineligible for financial aid.

Financial Aid SAP status includes all previous academic history, even if the student did not receive federal aid. Standards are reviewed at the end of each semester, including summer. It is the student’s responsibility to monitor academic progress and to understand the criteria needed to maintain both federal and state financial aid eligibility. All SUNY Niagara students receiving Federal and State financial aid are subject to SAP evaluation.

Federal Academic Requirements (Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Loans, SEOG and Federal Work Study)

In order to maintain eligibility for federal aid a student must meet three academic standards: academic progress, pace, and maximum time frame. Each is described below.

  1. Academic Progress (GPA)
    Academic Progress is measured by a student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA). A student must demonstrate academic achievement by meeting the College’s Standard of Academic Progress.
  2. Pace (completion of credits attempted)
    In addition to meeting the College’s standards of academic progress, students must also demonstrate progress by accumulating credits toward a degree or certificate according to the time frames noted in the charts below.
  3. Maximum Time Frame (Must complete degree within certain period of time)
    Federal financial aid regulations require that students complete their program of study within a maximum time frame of 150% of the length of the program.


In order to maintain your eligibility for Federal Financial Aid, you must:

  • Maintain matriculation status based on the College’s Academic Standards Policy outlined in the College catalog, and…
  • Successfully pass any required Academic Foundations coursework (this affects your matriculation), and . . .
  • Complete a reasonable ratio of your total courses registered (excessive non-progress grades of W, I, F, U, X) can affect your academic standing, and…
  • Achieve a required minimum grade point average (GPA) and complete 67% of attempted credits each semester (See charts below).

Federal Academic Progress is measured based on the chart below using credits attempted, credits earned, and grade point average:

Federal Academic Progress

Students determined ineligible for the first time may be granted a “ONE TIME” appeal for one semester and considered on PROBATION status.  If the student continues to not meet the federal academic progress standards, that student will lose eligibility for Title IV aid which includes the Pell Grant, SEOG, Stafford Loans, and the Work-Study Program.

Federal Academic Progress Allied Health students:

Federal Academic Progress Allied Health students:

How Federal Aid Requirements Treat Transfer Credits…

Credits transferred into a degree program from another institution are counted in the number of credits attempted and completed.

Failure to Meet Federal Standards

The first time a student fails to meet the standards of academic progress of a cumulative GPA and completion rate (PACE), he or she will immediately have their financial aid suspended. A student who is on financial aid suspension for the first time may be grated a “ONE TIME” appeal for one semester and will be considered to be on a probationary status for financial aid. If the student continues not to meet federal academic progress in ANY subsequent semester, the student will lose eligibility for Title IV aid (Pell grant, SEOG, Stafford Loans, Work-Study Program Eligibility) until the student meets all components of federal SAP (pace, cumulative GPA, time frame).

Reinstatement of Eligibility


Federal aid eligibility can be reinstated after a student meets the Standards of Academic Progress mentioned above (both cumulative GPA and credits completed).

Financial Aid Appeals Process

A student who wishes to appeal their SAP status may submit an Academic Eligibility Form for Student Financial Aid with attached documentation of mitigating circumstances (such as death of a relative, injury, illness or other special circumstances) that explain the reason for their academic and pace deficiencies. A committee will review the appeal and, if accepted, the student will receive a one-time financial aid waiver. All appeals will be reviewed within seven business days from the day of the student’s submission. During the appealed semester, a student regains eligibility to receive federal financial aid. Upon conclusion of the semester, a student must again meet the standards of academic progress. If not, a student will lose their eligibility for federal financial aid at SUNY Niagara.

New York State Good Academic Standing

Recipients of NYS Financial Aid, including the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and/or Aid for Part­Time Study (APTS) are subject to the following NYS SAP criteria charts. Click criteria to view charts. Please note there are two components to the standard: One based on semester progress and another based on over­all progress.

Student Outcome Tracking

Students cannot be awarded financial aid for classes that do not count toward their degree or certificate program requirements. If a student is enrolled in courses that do not count toward his or her degree, those courses cannot be used to determine aid eligibility. All registered courses must apply to the student’s program as a general education requirement, a major requirement or elective (whether restricted or free elective) or remedial.

Students who repeat courses they have taken previously either at SUNY Niagara or another institution and received a passing grade may impact both federal and state aid programs (To maintain full-time status for financial aid, a student’s coursework must be at least 12 credits without the repeated class). An exception may be made for state aid if the student did not meet the minimum grade requirement for that class for graduation.

Federal Aid, including student loans, will pay for a student to repeat a passed course only once. State aid (TAP) will only pay for a repeated course once, but only if it is required to have a higher grade for graduation in the student’s particular degree program.

If a student’s program does not require them to earn a higher grade for graduation, but the student is being advised to repeat coursework for academic reasons, it may be advisable for the student to be enrolled in at least 12 credits of new coursework (in addition any repeated courses) in order to maintain his/her full time status.

A general misconception is that a student must be full time in order to receive financial assistance. That is incorrect. Students may be eligible to receive financial aid based on the following credit hour requirements:

  • Federal Direct Loans (Student and Parent): 6 or more credits
  • Federal Pell grant: 1-12 or more credits
  • Federal SEOG: 1-12 or more credits
  • New York State Aid for Part Time Study: 1 -11 credits
  • New York State TAP: 12 or more credits


Financial Aid Office
Fax: 716-614-6820
Location: Enrollment Center (Notar Admin Bldg)
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am – 4:00pm*

*New and current financial aid advisors receive training from the follow professional financial aid organizations in an effort to train new financial aid advisors and keep updated on both federal and state financial aid regulations: