Maintaining Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress

In order to maintain financial aid eligibility, students must continue to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress.

SAP is a federally mandated policy that establishes three measurements of successful academic progress to be met by all students receiving all kinds of financial aid. The Berry College's SAP Policy requires students to demonstrate that they are moving through their academic program at a reasonable pace and "making progress" toward their degree. It consists of the following criteria:

Standard One: Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)
Students are required to maintain a cumulative SAP GPA of 2.0 or better to meet the standard of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The calculation of the SAP GPA does not exclude grades in case of grade forgiveness in repeat courses. Each time a course is taken, the hours will be included in the cumulative attempted hours, and all grades will be included in the SAP GPA calculation.

Standard Two: Pace of Completion
Berry College students are required to earn 67% of all attempted credit hours. Credit hours graded A, B, C, D, P and S (including pluses and minuses) are considered attempted and earned for purposes of this policy. Credit hours graded F, U, H, X, I, W, WF, WS and NR are considered attempted but not earned.

Standard Three: Maximum Time Allowed to Receive Aid
Berry College scholarship and grants are limited to 8 semesters. Also, students may receive federal financial aid for no more than 150% of the credit hours required to earn their degree. For example, a degree which requires 124 hours will result in a maximum of 186 hours for federal financial aid. HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships are available until the student has attempted 127 credit hours.

Evaluation, Notification and Status

Student academic records are reviewed for SAP status at the end of each semester. Once SAP status is determined, students who do not meet Berry College policy standards are notified by letter.

Students who do not maintain SAP for two consecutive terms will have their financial aid suspended (Financial Aid Suspension) and become ineligible for all types of financial assistance

Students can file an appeal if extenuating circumstances have contributed to a student’s failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students are only able to file an appeal one time throughout their enrollment. The form to submit an appeal (SAP Appeal Form), and additional information, can be found in the students' financial aid portal at For an exhaustive review of the SAP policy, please visit the Berry College Catalog.

Renewal of your financial aid and scholarships

In addition to meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress, different types of aid may require renewal applications or the achievement of a minimum GPA one year to the next.

We recommend that you file a FAFSA (opens on October 1st) for each year of enrollment. Renewing the FAFSA each year will continue your eligibility for need-based scholarships, whether from the Federal government or from Berry College, and for Federal and State loans.

Berry Scholarships, such as the Berry Academic Scholarship, require a Berry cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater for their renewal.

State of Georgia HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships require a GAfutures-calculated GPA of 3.0 and 3.3 respectively. You may check your GPA progress and State aid eligibility requirements at

Financial aid can be impacted by changes in your residential status (on campus or off campus). Check with the financial aid office before making changes to your residential status.

Berry Scholarships and grants are available for 8 semesters. We strongly encourage you to plan as soon as you believe that you will need more than 8 semesters to graduate. Our office can help with advisement and planning of your financial aid options. Schedule a financial aid counseling appointment with our office as early as possible.

Other Financial Aid Policies

When navigating financial aid, it is important to understand the policies for student aid eligibility. Below are the most frequently reviewed policies that can impact student financial aid. We also encourage students to work closely with their advisors or course professors, and use resources available to students at the Academic Success Center to best navigate their financial aid eligibility.

Federal verification is the process that confirms that the data provided on your FAFSA is accurate. This process entails the collection and review of documentation by the office of financial aid.

The U.S. Department of Education selects a group of FAFSA records for verification each year. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, you will be notified by the Department of Education as well as by our office. The deadline (typically 30 days) by which your verification items must be submitted will be specified in our notification.

Schools may also select students for verification institutionally. Berry College reserves the right to verify the records of any students, and in particular of students participating in any of the special scholarship programs each academic year. Special scholarship programs may include the Gate of Opportunity Program, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship, the Griswell Scholars Program or the Bonner Scholars Program.

Your financial aid offer may change because of the verification process. Berry College may revoke any aid offer based on disqualification or failure to provide the required items needed for verification by the specified deadline.

Disbursement of financial aid takes place following the add/drop period and confirmation of students’ attendance each semester. This is during the first half of September in the fall semester, and in the second half of January in the spring semester.

Students must be enrolled in a degree seeking program at least half time. Eligibility for certain types of aid may be impacted by enrollments below full time. The student must meet financial aid and program-specific eligibility requirements before disbursement of funds.

If you plan to borrow Federal Student Loans, before funds may disburse, you must accept your loan offer and complete the corresponding counseling by logging into your financial aid portal.

Students eligible for Federal Title IV aid are given access to funds in order to purchase books and supplies as early as the first week of classes and before the actual disbursement of aid.

Early spring semester and after you have filed your FAFSA is a great time to plan your financial aid for the upcoming year. Attend one of the FAFSA and Scholarship Opportunities sessions offered early in the semester, apply for departmental scholarships, and do not hesitate to reach out to our office about any particular circumstances, including changes in your family’s financial situation, or for financial aid advice. Our staff is available to discuss your situation and advise about additional scholarship opportunities and/or resources.

Financial aid administrators may use the authority dispensed by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, to exercise professional judgment on a case-by case basis to adjust data items required to calculate a student applicant’s financial need. This discretion is used to address limited special or unusual circumstances, contingent upon adequate documentation provided by the student applicant.

If you or your family encounter any of the following circumstances, please contact the financial aid office for an appointment. A financial aid counselor may assess the impact of these circumstances on your eligibility for financial aid and provide guidance on the professional judgment process when applicable. Following a review of all requested information, students can expect a resolution and adjustment to their financial aid based on professional judgment within two weeks.

Special circumstances may include but are not limited to:

  • Involuntary unemployment or reduced work hours
  • Medical, dental, or nursing home expenses not covered by insurance
  • Child or dependent care expenses
  • Severe disability and care expenses of a household member
  • Divorce or death of a parent
  • Change in housing status or homelessness

Unusual circumstances that may lead to an adjustment of dependency status on the FAFSA, or dependency override, include:

  • Human trafficking
  • Refugee or asylum status
  • Parental abandonment or estrangement
  • Parental incarceration

However, the following are not considered unusual circumstances:

  • Parents’ refusal to contribute to the student’s education
  • Parents not providing information for the FAFSA or the verification process
  • Parents who do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Students demonstrating total self-sufficiency.

Students enrolled in 6 credit hours or more during the summer term may qualify for certain types of aid such as the Federal Pell Grant, the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarships and Federal loans. Other types of assistance possibly available during summer are related to Study Abroad or other Diverse and Multicultural curricular experiences and internships. For more information, please contact our office, International Experiences or the Community and Industry Internship Program.

Veterans and their dependent beneficiaries seeking enrollment in the college should promptly notify the Registrar. The Registrar’s office coordinates the student’s application and certification with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Registrar’s and Financial Aid offices work closely to ensure a seamless application of benefits. Berry College participates in the Yellow Ribbon program. Student with questions may speak with the Registrar about the application and eligibility for benefits and with our office for questions about the integration of these benefits with other forms of aid. All benefits are subject to approval by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In order to initiate the qualification for educational benefits, students must forward a copy of their Letter of Eligibility from the VA to the Registrar’s Office. New applicants should expect to receive their first payment 8 to 12 weeks from the time of their certification. Payments apply retroactively to the first day of class. Note that a change in enrollment load from the time when the VA benefit was certified may cause a reduction of the VA payment.

Students who withdraw all classes after the add/period of a semester will be charged tuition, housing and meals, if applicable, at the rate of 10 percent of the semester charge for each week of enrollment.

Student Financial Services calculates the percentage earned by the student according to federal regulations. If a student is scheduled to receive a refund, all or a portion of this refund will be used to reimburse the corresponding financial aid program. Federal Title IV aid (Direct Loans, Pell Grant, FSEOG, TEACH Grant, etc.) will be subject to the calculation to determine the amount earned as well as the refund of all or a portion of funds to the respective loan or grant.

A student who has completed more than 60% of the enrollment period is considered to have earned 100% of the Title IV aid awarded; no return of Title IV aid is required.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, including the financial aid related information of enrolled college students. In order to speak with relatives or family members, the student must have granted permissions in compliance with FERPA. Students may grant or update FERPA permissions by completing the Release of Information Form available in VikingWeb.

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