Financial Aid

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PACE FAQ


Q. My USU GPA is above a 2.0, why am I on financial aid warning?

A. Academic progress for financial aid means more than just having a good GPA. You must also earn a minimum number of passing grades each semester based on your enrollment. The ratio of passing grades to courses attempted is referred to as your PACE or pace of completion.

Every course you register for (including transfer courses) is considered an attempted course. Courses graded "D" or better are considered passing or earned courses. If you fail, withdraw from a course, repeat courses, or get an incomplete in one or more courses, these courses are still considered attempted and they show up on your transcript.

Students who fail to earn passing grades in 67 percent of their attempted courses are put on financial aid warning and could lose financial aid eligibility after their warning semester. Students who fail to earn passing grades in all of their courses run the risk of not graduating before their financial aid eligibility is exhausted even if they are still in good standing otherwise.

Q. What happens if I drop or withdraw from a course?

A. It depends on when you drop:

Classes you drop before the last day to add (or the refund period) do not count as attempted credits. If you drop a course during the refund period it will not count against your PACE, however you may be required to repay some of the grant monies you received for that course.

Classes you drop after the last day to add (after the refund period) are considered attempted (and withdrawn) and are generally given a "W" grade on your transcript. Any withdrawn classes count as attempted credits on your transcript. Any course on your transcript with a "W" grade is an attempted course and may disqualify you from financial aid if it happens too frequently.

Q. How do complete withdrawals affect PACE?

A. It depends. If you completely withdraw during the refund period, there is no effect other than having to repay most or all of your financial aid. If you completely withdraw after the last day to add (after the refund period,) you receive a "W" grade on your transcript. All withdrawn classes count as attempted credits on your transcript. The more classes you withdraw from, the more your PACE is negatively impacted. Also, you must repay any unearned funds when you completely withdraw from all of your classes. More detail about complete withdrawals.

Q. Why am I on financial aid warning? All of my USU grades are in good standing?

A. According to federal regulations, transfer grades including "F,""W," incomplete or repeated grades from other schools are now used to calculate attempted or earned credits when calculating your PACE. Your transferred passing grades help your PACE while your failed or withdrawn grades count against your PACE.

Q. How do "F" grades hurt my GPA and my PACE?

A. Failing grades are considered attempted credits and have no earned value: i.e., 0.0 GPA. Failing courses hurts your GPA as well as your PACE. Failing all of your classes can put you at risk of repaying some or all of your financial aid immediately.

Q. I repeated some classes with poor grades, why am I on financial aid warning?

A. Repeating classes with a failing grade is generally ok. But anytime you repeat a course with a passing grade, you may be helping your GPA while reducing your PACE! This happens because the better grade replaces the poor grade; the poor grade no longer has any GPA value which improves your GPA. But the replaced course is still listed as an attempted course on your transcript. It's there, but it has no graded or earned value anymore. Like a withdrawn course, it will count against your PACE.

Please note that some classes are intended to be repeated, such as music, studio, and exercise courses, these courses generally retain all of the passing grades you received and will not harm your PACE unless you fail or withdraw from them.

Please note, federal regulations allow students to receive aid for only one repeat of a previously passed class except for those classes noted above . When you register, Banner will disregard any such repeated classes when disbursing aid. But repeating courses too often, will still count against PACE even if you did not receive financial aid for them. However, this policy does not prevent you from enrolling in a class as many times as you need. More information on repeated courses.

Q. I qualified for Academic Renewal, why am I on financial aid warning?

A. The renewal procedure allows the student's academic record to be reviewed for the purpose of eliminating from a student's GPA all grades of "D+" or below that were entered on the academic transcript five or more calendar years prior to admission. However, these courses still remain on your transcript and federal regulations require them to be counted as attempted courses. Therefore, these courses still count against PACE and maximum credit limits even though they no longer count against your GPA.

Q. How do I get off of warning status and back into good standing?

A. The only way to get back into good standing is by taking and passing enough courses in a single semester to get back into good standing for PACE as well as getting your USU GPA to a 2.0 in the same semester. This is not always mathematically possible, but you may appeal for financial aid on probation if there were extenuating circumstances that hindered your academic progress.

Q. How many courses can I drop in a term and still be okay?

A. The table below illustrates how many credits you must pass in your first term at USU based on the number of credits enrolled or attempted to avoid going on Financial Aid Warning. Please see the next question to see how many passing credits over time are required to remain in good standing.

If you register for:
You must earn passing grades in:
1 credit
all courses
2 credits
all courses
3 credits
2 credits
4 credits
3 credits
5 credits
4 credits
6 credits
4 credits
7 credits
5 credits
8 credits
6 credits
9 credits
6 credits
10 credits
7 credits
11 credits
8 credits
12 credits
8 credits
13 credits
9 credits
14 credits
10 credits
15 credits
10 credits
16 credits
11 credits
17 credits
12 credits
18 credits
12 credits

Q. How do I know if I'm not passing enough classes in order to maintain financial aid eligibility until I graduate?

A. The table below roughly illustrates the minimum number of courses requiring passing grades for the total number of courses you attempt in order to be in good standing. Please note that students who fail to earn passing grades in 67 percent of their courses tend to be suspended for too many credits before they graduate.

Total credits attempted:
Minimum credits earned to be ok:
10
7
20
14
30
20
40
27
50
34
60
40
70
47
80
54
90
60
100
67
110
74
120
80
130
87
140
94
150
100
160
107
170
114
180
120

Please note that it generally takes 120 earned credits to graduate. We suspend financial aid right after a first bachelor's student attempts 180 credits. As you can see above, a student who is under the 67 percent completion rate is at risk of not being able to use financial aid for their final semesters. Second Bachelors' students must finish their program in 60 attempted credits. Associate Degree students must finish their program in 90 attempted credits.