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To receive federal student aid, you must meet certain requirements. You must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a valid social security number (unless you’re from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia or the Republic of Palau).
  • If you’re male and 18 to 25 years of age, you must be registered with Selective Service.
  • Have a high school diploma, General Education Development (GED) Certificate or pass an exam approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree in an eligible program at a school participating in the federal student aid program.
  • Not have a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, loans or work-study).
  • Make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree.
  • You must not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal student loan.
  • You must demonstrate financial need (except for unsubsidized direct loans).


If you’re selected for verification, SAU is required to verify the data you supplied on your FAFSA (Federal Application for Federal Student Aid). You’ll be notified via email. You must provide documentation to prove the accuracy of certain items reported on the FAFSA before you received a financial aid award or your aid is disbursed.

It is important to note that you should not send us documents unless we have specifically requested them. Unsolicited documentation may cause delay in the processing of your financial aid.

Documentation we may request includes, but is not limited to:

  • Household Verification worksheet
  • IRS Tax Return Transcripts
  • Verification of non-filing letter from the IRS
  • W-2 forms from employer
  • Proof of high school completion
  • Proof of Identity and Statement of Educational Purpose
  • Documentation of legal guardianship, orphan or ward of the court status

Financial Aid Forms

FAFSA is different this year. Learn more about what to expect on our FAFSA information page.

Notification/Accepting of Your Aid

The Office of Financial Aid will send a paper award letter to your permanent address notifying you of your financial aid eligibility. You will need to return a signed award letter indicating whether you accept or decline the aid awarded.

You must complete Direct Loan online Entrance Counseling and a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at before your loans can be processed.


Students who enroll at Spring Arbor University will receive instructions from BankMobile Disbursements, a technology solution, powered by BMTX, Inc. on how to select a refund preference. Visit this link for more information:

You must follow the instructions included in the kit to go online and activate your refund preference. Any refunds from students’ accounts at Spring Arbor University are distributed through BMTX, Inc. Financial aid refunds are released to BMTX, Inc. automatically once a student’s account shows a credit.

*To view our third-party servicer contract for refund management, click here.

Dropping and Withdrawal from Classes

Changes in your enrollment may have an effect on your financial aid eligibility in the current semester and throughout your academic career. We recommend that you contact our office to find out how dropping a class could have long term effects on your financial aid eligibility.

If you withdraw from the university and are receiving any form of Federal Aid (Direct Loans, Parent PLUS Loans, Graduate PLUS Loans, Pell Grant), the Office of Financial must complete a Return of Title IV Calculation (R2T4). If you received a Michigan Tuition Grant, the Office will also complete a calculation to determine if a portion of your grant is considered unearned.

The results of these calculations may mean that you could owe SAU for any unearned financial aid that was used to help pay your charges. The Office of Financial Aid, will work with the student accounts office to complete the calculations and you will be contacted regarding any outstanding charges you have as a result of this process.

Students who are delinquent in the settlement of any of their accounts with Spring Arbor University, or who have not made arrangements with an approved payment plan, forfeit all university privileges, including, but not limited to, room and board, class attendance and access to the SAU Network. Students whose accounts are not paid in full are not issued transcripts or permitted to register for a new semester. Diplomas and transcripts will not be issued until all financial obligations have been cleared.

Return of Title IV Aid Policy

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998, as well as the program integrity regulations in 2010, set forth regulations governing the treatment of Title IV funds when a student withdraws from an institution.

This policy governs the earned and unearned portions of the students Federal Title IV Financial Aid. If a student completely withdraws from the school during a term, SAU must calculate, according to specific formula provided by the federal government, the portion of the total financial assistance that the student has earned until the time that the student withdrew.

For programs offered in modules, a student who drops a course during a semester may have to be treated as having withdrawn for financial aid purposes even if the student is registered for future courses in the same semester. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid with questions regarding dropped courses in modular programs.

Calculation of Unearned Title IV Aid

Students who receive federal financial aid must “earn” the aid they receive by staying enrolled in classes. The amount of federal financial aid assistance the student earns is on a pro-rated basis. Students who withdraw or do not complete all registered classes during the semester may be required to return some of the financial aid they were awarded based on the Return of Title IV (R2T4) Calculation. Once 60 percent of the semester is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of his/her financial aid and will not be required to return any federal funds.
The percent earned is equal to the number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal date, divided by the total calendar days in the payment period (less any scheduled breaks that are at least five days long).

The payment period for most students is the entire semester. However, for students enrolled in modules (courses which are not scheduled for the entire semester or term), the payment period only includes those days for the module(s) in which the student is registered.
The percent unearned is equal to 100 percent minus the percent earned.

Types of Withdrawals

Official Withdrawal

Students wishing to officially withdraw must contact the Registrar’s Office or their advisor to initiate an official withdrawal for a semester. Students may also drop all of their courses through the Portal.

Unofficial Withdrawals

  • If a student who receives Title IV funds begins to attend class but then ceases to attend class without providing official notification to the University, it is considered unofficial withdrawal according to Title IV regulations. For Title IV purposes, the withdrawal date for students who unofficially withdraw is considered to be the mid-point of the semester unless a documented last date of attendance can be determined.
  • However, if the University determines that a student did not provide official notice of the intent to withdraw due to illness, accident, grievous personal loss or other circumstances beyond the student’s control, the University may use a date that is related to that circumstance.
  • The refund rules for Title IV aid recipients who withdraw are then followed to determine the unearned portion of Title IV aid that must be returned to the appropriate aid program(s).

Modular Withdrawals

  • If a student is enrolled in a standard, term-based program offered in modules (semesters) and ceases attendance at any point prior to completing the payment period or period of enrollment, unless the school obtains written confirmation from the student at the time of the withdrawal that, he or she will attend a module that begins later in the same payment period or period of enrollment, the student is considered a withdrawal for Title IV purposes.
  • If written confirmation of future attendance is received from the student but the student does not return as scheduled, the student is considered to have withdrawn from the payment period or period of enrollment.
  • The student’s withdrawal date and the total number of calendar days in the payment period or period of enrollment would be the withdrawal date and total number of calendar days that would have applied if the student had not provided written confirmation of future attendance.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursements (PWD)

If a student receives less financial aid than the amount earned, Spring Arbor University must offer a disbursement of the earned aid that was not received. If a post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, SAU will obtain permission from a student or parent for a parent plus loan, before making any disbursements.

SAU is permitted to credit a student’s account with the post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV grant funds without the student’s permission for current charges for Institutional Charges such as tuition, fees and room and board up to the amount of outstanding charges.

SAU will pay the student any remainder of grant aid based on the timeline below:

  • The student will be notified within 30 days of the date of determination of withdrawal of the post-withdrawal disbursement.
  • The student has 14 days from the date of notification to respond.
  • Loan funds will be disbursed within 180 days of the date of determination of the students withdrawal date if the student or parent submits a timely response.

Timeframe for the Return of Title IV Funds

Spring Arbor University abides by the following guidelines pertaining to the time frame for the Return of Title IV program funds. The following rules apply when a school is completing a return calculation for a student who has officially or unofficially withdrew:

  • return funds within 45 days of withdrawal date
  • disburse directly to a student any amount of a post-withdrawal disbursement (PWD) of grant funds no later than 45 days after the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew (DOD)
  • offer any post-withdrawal disbursement (PWD) of loan funds within 30 days of the date of the institution’s determination (DOD) that the student withdrew.

Returning Federal Funds

Federal funds must be returned in the following order:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Federal Perkins Loan
  3. Federal PLUS (parent loan)
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Federal FSEOG
  6. Federal Teach Grant

Student Notification of Repayment

A notification letter outlining the amount returned to the federal and institutional program(s) will be mailed to the student’s permanent address. SAU will return funds on the student’s behalf to the appropriate federal and institutional aid program(s). The student is responsible for all charges and overpayments resulting from a Return of Title IV Calculation.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

In accordance with regulations that govern Federal and State financial aid programs, SAU is required to establish and implement a policy to measure a student’s academic progress. Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) must include:

  • a qualitative component (GPA);
  • a quantitative component (completion ratio); and
  • a maximum time-frame (150 percent of the published length of the program).

Each SAP component must be cumulative and must be evaluated at the end of each semester. Please be aware that these SAP standards are different from the academic eligibility requirements monitored by the Registrar’s office.

SAP Policy for all Students

Total Hours Attempted1-1516-2425-3637-4748+
Minimum Required GPA-Undergrad1.
Minimum Required GPA-Graduate3.
Minimum Completion Ratio*50%67%67%67%67%

*Earned Credits divided by Attempted Credits

Maximum Total Credits allowed to complete degree requirements is 150% of the program length.

Graduate students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a completion ratio of 67 percent or higher.

150 percent of the program length

For the timeframe component, students must complete their coursework within 150 percent of the normal timeframe for their program. The timeframe is measured throughout a student’s progression in a program by reviewing a student’s completion ratio which compares attempted credits and completed credits. Courses that the student withdraws from that count toward their degree are counted as credits attempted, regardless of the grade assigned for the total time-frame calculation

  • A student who does not receive Title IV aid during a specific semester will have the attempted credits counted towards the maximum time frame component.
    • Undergraduate Students – The maximum timeframe is 186 attempted credits (Program length (124) x Max timeframe (150 percent)
    • Graduate Students – The maximum timeframe may vary based on the program. (See catalog for total program credits)

Incomplete, Withdrawal, Remedial or Transfer credits

All courses attempted at SAU and transfer credits that count toward a student’s degree are counted as credits attempted, regardless of the grade assigned for the completion ratio and total time-frame calculations. Only courses with final grades issued and considered passing are counted as credits earned. All credits for repeated courses are counted as attempted credits, and if passed, as earned credits. If a course is repeated, the highest grade for the course will be used in the GPA calculation. Incomplete courses “I” or “IP” are counted as attempted credits for quantitative and maximum timeframe measures, but not as earned credits. This will be included in the credits completed when the “IP” grade is replaced with a passing grade.  The “I” or “IP” grade is treated as a “U” in the qualitative measure until the incomplete grade is replaced with a passing grade.

Additional SAP Criteria

  • Change Majors
    • If a student changes majors, the credits earned under all majors will be included in the calculation of attempted, earned and maximum attempted credits, as well as GPA calculation.
  • Pursuit of a second degree

For a student pursuing a second degree, the student’s SAP eligibility will restart and reviews for the subsequent degree will only count coursework completed toward the second degree.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Status

Financial Aid Warning

Students are placed on Financial Aid Warning the first time they do not meet SAP requirements at the end of the term. The student must meet the requirements by the end of following term of enrollment. Those students will receive a letter stating that they are on financial aid warning and are one term away from losing their financial aid eligibility. They are still eligible for financial aid.

Financial Aid Suspension

Students on Financial Aid Warning and are still not meeting SAP requirements at the end of the term for which they were placed on Warning status, will be ineligible for additional financial aid and will be put on Financial Aid Suspension. Students determined to be ineligible will receive a letter notifying them of the loss of eligibility along with an explanation of how they can appeal the loss of eligibility.

Financial Aid Probation

Students who successfully appealed a Financial Aid Suspension will be placed on Probation for one term. At the end of one term on financial aid probation, the student must meet the institution’s SAP standards. The SAP Status will reset back to SAP eligible. If they do not meet the SAP standards at the end of the term, they will be placed back into Suspension.

Financial Aid SAP Academic Plan

Students who have successfully appealed a Financial Aid Suspension may be placed on a SAP Academic Plan which must be successfully followed. If the student does not meet the criteria outlined in the SAP Academic Plan, the student will be placed back into Suspension. If they are meeting the criteria outlined on the SAP Academic Plan, they will remain in this status until either the plan expires or they are meeting SAP standards.

Students who meet SAP standards while on Probation or SAP Academic Plan will be placed back into meeting SAP Status for the next term.

If not meeting SAP standards and the SAP Academic Plan expires, they will need to submit a new SAP Appeal in order for their aid eligibility to be re-evaluated.

Steps to Appeal Financial Aid Eligibility After Suspension

If a student loses Federal, State and Institutional Aid eligibility because of not meeting the SAP Cumulative GPA or Completion ratio, the following steps may be taken to appeal the suspension:

  • Students will receive a letter from the Financial Aid office notifying them of the loss of eligibility.
  • Students who have lost eligibility may appeal based on the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student or other special circumstances.
  • Appeals must be submitted in writing and must state why the student failed to make SAP, and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow them to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation. Appeals must be signed by the student.
  • Signed appeals should be addressed to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee and faxed to the Financial Aid Office at 517-750-5555, or emailed to as an attachment.
  • Appeals will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee and the student will be notified of the results of the review.
  • If the appeal is granted, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation.
  • Students who have been suspended from Federal and State Aid programs due to having failed to make SAP can take courses without the benefit of Federal or State Financial Aid until such time as they meet the SAP.
  • Students being readmitted will be reinstated at the same satisfactory progress level they were at upon leaving Spring Arbor University.

If your SAP appeal is denied, you will be responsible for all costs associated with your enrollment during the academic year. The Office of Financial Aid will certify a private education loan if you secure a loan and are approved by a private lender.