Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): Students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress in order to continue receiving financial aid, including student loans.

In order to be considered as making SAP, students must

  • Complete 75 percent of all courses attempted.
  • Demonstrate a minimum cumulative GPA of 1.00 at the conclusion of one academic semesters OR
  • Demonstrate a minimum cumulative GPA of 1.61 at the conclusion of two academic semesters OR
  • Demonstrate a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 at the conclusion of four academic semesters and from that point forward.
  • Attempt no more than 180 credits, including transfer credits.

In determining SAP, the following information is used:

  • Academic Year: Full-time enrollment for two semesters equals one academic year. The academic year is prorated for less than full-time students. Important Note: The number of hours a student is enrolled in at the end of the first week of classes will be used to determine full-time or part-time enrollment status for evaluating academic progress.
  • Academic Work Evaluated: The above table applies to all academic work taken, not just the terms for which financial aid was received.
  • Transfer Students: The amount of time given a transfer student to complete his or her degree program is prorated based on the number of credit hours that are transferred to CNU.
  • Academic Good Standing: Students on academic probation for a second term are not eligible to receive financial aid. Students who lost their eligibility due to a lack of academic good standing may regain their eligibility by raising their GPA to the level where they are no longer on academic probation.
  • Appeals: Students with extenuating circumstances may appeal their case to the Director of Financial Aid. A successful appeal requires the identification of a specific problem that prevented the satisfactory academic progress or academic good standing and evidence that the problem has been eliminated.
  • Complete Policy: This is a synopsis of the complete policy that is on file in the Office of Financial Aid.

When the Higher Education Act was preauthorized in 1998, Congress provided for a new provision commonly referred to as the Return of Title IV Funds. Under this provision, students who completely withdraw from the University for any reason, including medical withdrawals, may be required to return all or some of their Title IV funding to the Department of Education. Funds which fall into this category are:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized or Unsubsidized)
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal Parent Loans (PLUS)

The return of funds mandate is based upon the concept that students earn their financial aid in proportion to the amount of time in which they are enrolled. Under this reasoning, a student who withdraws in the second week of classes has earned less of his or her financial aid than a student who withdraws in the seventh week. Once 60% of the semester is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of his or her financial aid and will not be required to return any of the funds.

Please note that this policy does not apply to students who withdraw from the University prior to the first day of classes. In such a situation, the refund policy of the school is used.

What Will be Returned?

When a student has withdrawn from the University, we go through a series of calculations to determine what responsibilities the school and the student have for returning financial aid. 

1. We determine the percentage of the enrollment period the student completed. This is calculated by dividing the number of days attended by the number of days in the semester. To find this, we are required to determine when you stopped attending-- not when your classes were dropped.

2. Multiply the amount of financial aid disbursed by the percentage of the semester completed. This is the amount of financial aid earned.

3. The amounts earned and disbursed are compared. If more aid was disbursed than was earned, the difference will be returned to the Title IV programs. 

The responsibility for returning unearned aid is allocated to the school and to the student. To determine the portion each may be required to return, CNU must determine what portion of disbursed aid could have been used to cover University charges and what portion would have been returned to the student. 

If the school is required to return funds to a Title IV program, the school will do so as specified by law. Once this happens, the student may owe CNU. 

Once a student withdraws, we determine, using the steps above, what responsibilities CNU and the student have. We will mail the student a letter indicating what CNU returned, what the student owes to CNU, and what the student owes to a Title IV program.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a Federal law that provides students with access to inspect and review their educational records and protects students' right to privacy by limiting access to that educational record. 

The Financial Aid Office will not release student information to parents unless there is a signed copy of the release of information form on file with Financial Aid.

Please note that each office has a different responsibility under FERPA, and each office has a different release form.

We work closely with students to ensure that they receive the best financial aid advice available. If you, the student, have an understanding of your rights and responsibilities in the financial aid process, we can give you our assistance much more effectively.

Student Rights
Students have the right to know that financial aid programs are available at Christopher Newport University, the deadlines for submitting applications, and the manner in which student aid is distributed.  Students also have the right to request additional information on the programs available or included in a financial aid award and the requirements for any program. However, students need to be aware that it is the University's responsibility for maintaining confidentiality in providing information to students or family members.

Student Responsibilities
Student are responsible for reading, understanding or questioning, and maintaining a copy of all forms or agreements they sign. They also should complete these forms as accurately as possible. Reporting incorrect information is a violation of law and may be considered a criminal offense if incorrect information is knowingly reported.

Students should return all information requests as quickly and completely as possible. 

Students must perform the work that is agreed upon when accepting a Federal Work Study award. Students must also notify the Office of Financial Aid if there is any change to their enrollment hours, name, or contact information, marital status, financial status, or withdrawal from the University. Students must also inform the Office of Financial Aid if they receive outside resources, such as Veterans Benefits, or if these resources change. Reporting this information in a timely manner helps this office to accurately process financial aid.

Students should familiarize themselves with the refund policies contained in the University Catalog. This information is available from the Office of Student Accounts.

Students who receive a loan need to complete the Master Promissory Note, which will be mailed to you by your guaranty agency. This note is necessary in order for the University to receive any loan funds.  Also, student must complete entrance and exit counseling before entering and leaving the University.

Above all, students must affirm that the financial aid funds they receive are used to expenses related to attendance at CNU.