Satisfactory Academic Progress

California Lutheran University is required to ensure that students receiving federal and / or institutional financial assistance meet minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.

Students must meet minimum requirements in Grade Point Average (GPA), completion of courses, and be making steady progress toward degree completion. Students who do not maintain SAP requirements will lose their eligibility for some or all financial aid programs. 

Students’ progress is evaluated at the conclusion of each term and all work is evaluated cumulatively, even work completed in semesters when no financial aid was received. 

The Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) SAP is designed to take into consideration program requirements, contextual education, and formational requirements appropriate to the certificate and degree programs of a theological seminary. The PLTS SAP procedure is designed to encourage success by making provisions for each seminarian to steadily work towards graduation requirements as well as maximize opportunities for improvement through personal effort and institutional support.

Note, though not the minimum requirement necessary to meet progress, PLTS strongly encourages seminarians to maintain a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA throughout their tenure at the Seminary.

PLTS SAP requirements:

        1. GPA: Maintain a cumulative minimum 2.50 GPA. Successful completion of a course requires a grade of “C” or better. Repeated courses are treated per the institution’s standard Repeated Coursework Policy.
        2. Satisfactory Contextual Education and Formation Requirements Completion: Completion of contextual education and formation requirements of the program with a Pass (P) grade;
        3.  Satisfactory Enrollment and Completion of Course Load (Pace): Students must achieve a 67% successful completion rate of their cumulative coursework in order to remain eligible for financial aid. This is measured in terms of total units completed divided by total units attempted.
        4. Satisfactory Advancement in the Program (Maximum Time Frame): Completion of the certificate or degree in the maximum time allotted to complete the program; 150% of the units required to receive the degree or certificate. MDiv: 79.5 x 150% = 119 maximum attempted units; MTS: 49.5 x 150% = 74 maximum attempted units; CATS 24 x 150% = 36 maximum attempted units.  

Satisfactory Academic Progress Procedure
At the end of each semester, the Office of the Dean in conjunction with the Financial Aid Office reviews the academic records of progress for each seminarian to determine if the seminarian made Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students will be notified in writing and through electronic communication when it is determined they are NOT meeting minimum SAP standards. The notification will include their standing and steps for expected improvement.

Level 1: SAP Notice:  
When a student is still maintaining SAP standards but is in danger of going below standards the school will notify the student through a “SAP Notice” status. Such situations warranting a “SAP Notice” might include but is not limited to:

        1.  A seminarian receiving one or more F’s/Fail/NC’s in any term, and/or whose cumulative grade point average (GPA) has fallen below a 3.0 average but remains above 2.5
        2. A seminarian who will exceed the maximum time allotted to complete a program in the next academic year.

While on SAP Notice a seminarian is eligible to receive all types of financial aid. The Notice will include a statement that failure to meet minimum SAP standards at the conclusion of following semester may result in placement on Financial Aid Warning. In some cases, students may receive multiple SAP Notice status determinations (i.e. multiple semesters of maintaining minimum GPA but also earning grades less than “C” in one or more classes).

Level 2: SAP Warning:  
A student is placed on SAP Warning the first time (or any time after a successful semester) they fail to meet one or more of the minimum SAP standards.

      1.  During the semester a seminarian is on warning, she or he will remain eligible to receive all types of financial assistance programs.
      2. The warning will include written notification to the seminarian that failure to meet SAP in the following semester will result in being ineligible for institutional and federal financial aid in future semesters.
      3. A student cannot receive Warning status in consecutive semesters.

Note: With being placed on warning, the Office of the Dean may advise the seminarian to follow up with a campus pastoral care team member about vocational discernment.

The seminarian’s academic advisor is notified that the seminarian has been placed on warning, and a Formation for Ministry Conversation is scheduled to determine or revise a Program Success Plan that includes a course of action for improvement or completion in the next term. The course of action will be placed on file.

Level 3: SAP Suspension:
Following a semester on SAP Warning, if a student does not meet all SAP standards he or she will be placed on SAP Suspension and made ineligible for federal, institutional, and other types of financial aid. The student remains ineligible for financial aid until they have successfully completed one of the following processes to take them off SAP Suspension:

  1. Meet all SAP Standards
  2. Successfully appeal the suspension and be placed on SAP Probation

Students may continue to be enrolled in the Seminary but will not be eligible for financial aid programs while in the Suspended Status.

SAP Probation and Reinstatement of Aid Eligibility: 
Students may become eligible for financial aid through one of two processes.

  1.  Meet all SAP Standards. When they have completed a semester and are in good standing in GPA, Pace, and Maximum Time Frame standards they must notify the Office of the Dean and the Financial Aid Office to request to have their aid reinstated. The reinstatement is not retroactive and only applies in semesters moving forward in the program.
  2.  Appeal Process (SAP Probation)

A student may appeal the suspension for extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to, personal illness/accident; serious illness or death to an immediate family member; or other reasons beyond the reasonable control of the student.

  1. The student must complete the SAP Appeal Form and include all requested documentation and an academic plan outlining their educational plan through graduation.
  2. Appeals must be submitted within 30 days of the date of the SAP notification.
  3. Appeals will be reviewed by the Appeals Committee
  4. Students will be notified of the determination of the Appeals Committee and the decision is final.
  5. Denied appeals mean the student is ineligible for financial aid.
  6. Approved appeals mean the student is placed on “SAP Probation” and allowed to continue to receive financial aid as long as they:
    1. Continue to improve their SAP standards and make satisfactory progress toward graduation. Failure to meet SAP Standards or meet all requirements of probation will result in immediate SAP Suspension.
    2. Meet all requirements outlined for the student’s specific Probation plan and follow all special instructions provided in the appeal approval letter.
  7. Probations can be one or more semesters. The length is determined the Appeal Committee. Probation lengths are determined the ability and length of time needed to meet all SAP Standards before Maximum Time Frame is expired
  8. Probation lengths are not automatically extended
  9. The SAP Probation status is lifted once the student is in good standing on all SAP standards.

Note: All students must be in good standing with SAP requirements and all internship prerequisites must be completed prior to beginning an internship program.