During the period in which McGill has committed to offering remote instruction, the Scholarships and Student Aid Office is pleased to offer virtual services.

Maintaining eligibility

Red circle with signal antenna

 

Online education: On March 27, 2020, the CARES Act was signed into U.S. law. This law allows the Department of Education to waive the distance education prohibition for foreign institutions. Consequently, for Fall 2021 and/or Winter 2022, you are allowed to have your US federal loans even if you are required to take any McGill course(s) offered fully or partially online.

Course load

Students must be registered full-time (12-15 credits per semester) to maintain loan eligibility. A student may drop to a minimum half-time status (7.5 credits) and still maintain eligibility, however for immigration purposes, international students are expected to maintain full-time status.

If you will be registered less than full-time, contact International Student Services to ensure there will be no difficulties with your immigration status.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) -- recipients of US Direct Loan Funds

The US government regulations (Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility, Federal Regulation - 34 CFR 668.34) stipulate that students must maintain certain academic standards in order to remain eligible for all types of US Direct Loans.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP) applies to all students applying for US Direct Loans under Title IV of the US Higher Education Act. These types of loans include Direct Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), Direct Parent PLUS and Direct Grad PLUS loans.

All students will have their academic progress reviewed at the end of each academic year. Students who have not fulfilled the SAP requirements will not be eligible for US Direct Loan funds for the subsequent academic year(s). Once the academic results are available (generally early May or at the end of August if a student registers for courses in the Summer semester), a student’s academic records are verified to ensure s/he has met SAP.

  • If a student has not met SAP and was on US Direct Loans, s/he is notified, within 30 days of academic results being available.
  • If a student who has never been on US Direct Loans applies and has not met SAP in the previous year, the student is notified, via email, once the US Direct Loan application is submitted.

To maintain US Direct Loans eligibility, students must fulfill these 3 requirements:

  • Complete 67% of all credits attempted, and
  • Maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 2.0 or higher, and
  • Complete your degree within 150% of the published length of your degree completion time (in credits or in years, as applicable).

McGill University Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)

It is a student's responsibility to read and understand the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy!

Evaluation of US Direct Loans Eligibility

Satisfactory Academic Progress is evaluated once each year, at the end of the winter term. However, students taking summer classes will be re-evaluated at the end of the summer term.  SAP requirements are defined as follows:

  • Qualitative component: a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 2.0;
  • Quantitative component (or pace): completion of at least 67% of all credits attempted each academic year;
  • Timeframe component: students must finish their degree within 150% of the published length of degree completion time (in credits or in years, as applicable).

Incompletes, Withdrawals, Repeated Courses, Transfer of Credits (including Inter-University transfers) for the purpose of US Direct Loans

Incomplete and deferred grades:

  • are considered attempted but not included in the CGPA calculation until being replaced by a final grade.
  • are counted in the pace calculation. Withdrawals are not counted towards the attempted credits.

Repeated courses grades are included in the CGPA as per faculty regulations and included in the pace calculation.

Credits transferred from other programs or degrees are included in the SAP evaluation as per faculty regulations.

Maximum Time frame Eligibility

A student is considered to not have made SAP for maximum timeframe once the school has become aware that the student will not complete within the maximum timeframe and therefore, become ineligible for US Direct Loans at McGill University for that degree.

For undergraduate programs, must be no longer than 150% of the published length of educational program as measured in credit-hours.

For graduate programs, school defines the maximum time frame based upon the length of the program as measured in credit-hours or years, as applicable.

For undergraduate students and graduate students (non-thesis based):

For example:

  • Degree program requires 120 credits for completion:
    • 120 x 150% = 180 attempted credits is maximum time frame.

For graduate students (thesis-based):

Published length of degree

Maximum years to complete program while receiving US Direct Loans

1 year

1.5 years

2 years

3 years

4 years

6 years

4.5 years

7 years

5 years

7.5 years

6 years

9 years

 

Examples of 67% Completion Rate Chart for Successful Progression toward a Degree

Credits attempted

Earned credits needed (passed with CGPA of 2.0 or greater)

19

13

18

13

17

12

16

11

15

11

14

10

13

9

12

8

11

8

10

7

9

7

8

6

7

5

6

5

5

4

4

3

3

3

2

2

1

1

 

Completion Rate Calculation Formula

Completed Rate = Total credits completed in an academic year / Total credits attempted in an academic year

Students who are not meeting SAP requirements:

What happens

Student financial aid status

What student needs to do

If your CGPA drops below 2.0

All types of US Direct Loan denied

Raise CGPA to required standards. A student may appeal if you have extenuating circumstances.

If you do not have an overall completion rate of 67% or more

All types of US Direct Loan denied

Raise your completion rate to 67% or higher. You may appeal if you have extenuating circumstances.

If your CGPA drops below 2.0 AND your overall completion rate of under 67%

All types of US Direct Loan denied

Raise your completion rate to 67% and raise your CGPA to 2.0 or higher.  You may appeal if you have mitigating circumstances.

Once the school becomes aware that you will need to take more than 150% of the published length of time to finish your degree (in credits or in years, as applicable)

All types of US Direct Loan denied

You may appeal if you have extenuating circumstances. (Please refer to the following section on SAP appeals)

 

SAP Appeals

Students not fulfilling SAP requirements will receive an e-mail at their McGill e-mail address only. Upon receiving notification, a student may appeal within ten business days from the date of the e-mail. The appeal submission must include:

  • A letter from the student explaining:
    • the student’s circumstances/reason(s) for not meeting SAP requirements;
      • please note: an appeal may be on the basis of a student’s illness or injury, death of a relative, or other special circumstances
    • what will change that will allow the student to satisfy SAP requirements in the future;
    • any other relevant information.
  • Supporting documentation relevant to the appeal.

The appeal must be submitted in writing to:

SAP Appeal Committee
Scholarships and Student Aid Office
3600 McTavish Street, Room 3200, Brown Student Services Building
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 0G3

Only complete files will be reviewed. The decision made by the SAP Appeal Committee will be sent to the student’s McGill email address. The appeal decision may be:

  • a reinstatement of eligibility for US Direct Loans, or
  • a financial probationary period with conditions, or
  • a denial of US Direct Loans.  

Any conditions pertaining to the financial probationary period status will also be listed in the email. Examples of conditions may include raising the CGPA by the end of the next semester, meeting with an Academic Advisor to develop an academic plan to ensure future academic success, etc. At the end of the subsequent semester, SAP will be re-evaluated according to the SAP policy and any conditions stipulated in the appeal decision. Failure to meet the SAP requirements or any appeal conditions will result in denial of US Direct Loans.

Students cannot appeal SAP in the same year on different grounds if eligibility was not re-established after the first appeal.

Students may submit an appeal each time they are notified they have lost eligibility for US Direct Loans for reasons of SAP. 

Students Denied US Direct Loan

If a student is denied US Direct Loans after an appeal but in subsequent years meets SAP requirements, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Scholarships and Student Aid Office that SAP requirements have been met and to apply for US Direct Loans. The Scholarships and Student Aid Office will verify SAP requirements have been met prior to originating any US Direct Loans.

Back to top