Students Must Make Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Aid

September 20, 2011 | posted by College Money Insider.

Effective for the start of the 2011-12 school year, the Department of Education has issued a mandate to colleges and universities requiring closer oversight over the academic progress of students who receive Federal grants or loans. By requiring that students meet certain academic standards to continue receiving Federal Student Aid, the Department is hoping to limit student debt and encourage students to graduate on time.

If a full-time student fails or drops two-thirds of his courses in a semester, his school can move to yank his Pell grant, Stafford loan or other form of government funding detailed in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Schools also have taken the additional step of tying the federal pass-fail mandate to state grants and scholarships the students may be receiving on their own.

While regulations for students to meet “satisfactory academic progress” benchmarks have been in place for years, the Department is now requiring schools to be stricter in enforcing the guidelines. The new emphasis comes in the wake of rising default rates for Federal Student Loans, including Stafford and PLUS loans.

Students can receive thousands of dollars in aid from Federal programs by completing the FAFSA. To learn more about the different types of government aid and how to apply for it, check out our online guide to Federal Student Aid.