Satisfactory Academic Progress

The criteria of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at AGS are the following:

  • The student's grade point average must not fall below 3.0 two semesters in a row.

  • The student must make progress towards obtaining his/her degree within a time period not exceeding 3 years for the Masters program or 5 years for a PhD, barring special circumstances which will be considered on a case by case basis.

This applies to all students and in particular eligible U.S. and eligible non-U.S. citizens receiving Title IV aid, specifically the Federal Stafford and PLUS loans. For these students, as required by the US federal regulations, the way AGS defines and enforces SAP standards is further detailed below:

Student recipients of U.S. Federal loans will be evaluated each semester they are enrolled at AGS (in February and in June) to ensure they are making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) while Federal Aid is being given.

Failure to maintain satisfactory progress may result in cancellation of financial aid awards, and the student may be requested by the Federal loan authorities to repay any funds already received

A student is considered to be making satisfactory academic progress at AGS if he/she is in good academic standing, and completes the degree program in a maximum time frame.

Academic standing

The student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 each semester.

Federal regulations require that the academic progress of student loan recipients are tracked, in compliance with Federal regulations, from the first date of enrolment at AGS, whether or not student loans were received at that time. Credits transferred from all other credit sources will be considered as attempted and completed credits in the evaluation of the completion rate standards, but these courses do not affect the calculation of the GPA.

Grading scale

AGS's grading scale goes from A to F and also includes letters Inc, W and AU detailed below.

For more information on the grading scale see full chart


Any student with a GPA below 3.0 is placed on probation.

Incomplete Grades

The grade of Inc ("Incomplete") may be given at the discretion of the professor to a student who, due to extenuating circumstances, is unable to complete the course during the semester. Incomplete (Inc) grades are not included in the GPA calculation, and are considered a non-completion of attempted course work until academic progress can be re-evaluated and the Incomplete (Inc) grade is replaced with a permanent grade (A-F). An Inc cannot remain a permanent grade at AGS.

Withdrawal from a course

The grade of W denotes withdrawal. Withdrawals during the 1st week of classes leave no indication of the course on the student's transcript. Between the 2nd and 6th week of semester, a student may withdraw without prejudice to his/her GPA. A "W" will appear on the transcript. Withdrawals after this period are not permitted. Students withdrawing at any time without following proper procedures automatically receive a WF which is considered a failing grade and is computed in the cumulative average.

Students who wish to withdraw from a class must file a Notice of Withdrawal form, which they can get in the administrative office. The date of withdrawal is the date the form is signed by the administration. Withdrawals must be made in person or in writing.

Auditing a course

The grade AU denotes Audit. An audit (AU) grade is not considered attempted course work. It is not included in the GPA calculation or completion rate determinations.


F-grades are treated as attempted credits that were not earned, and so are included in both the calculation of GPA and minimum completion rate.


P-grades are awarded to students having successfully completed an internship. This grade is not included in the calculation of GPA but is included in the completion rate determinations.

Repeated Course

For a course that is repeated, the GPA computation will take account of the most recent grade earned, but every repeated attempt will be included in the completion rate determinations. No student loans can be disbursed for a repeated attempt if the student has already achieved a passing grade for that course and a student may receive aid for only one repeat of a course.

Maximum time frame to complete the degree

Federal Regulations allow a part time student to benefit from financial aid, as long as they do not drop below half time. However that student must complete the program in a time frame no longer than 150% of the published length of the program.

  • Full time students in the M.A. degree program complete their degree program in 2 years, thus aid eligibility is 3 years.

  • Full time PhD students complete their coursework in 2 years, and their dissertation in a further 3 years, thus aid eligibility is 7 years

Please note that while the U.S. federal eligibility may allow you to continue your degree if you are not studying full time, French immigration regulations for students, may have an impact on your status and may not allow you to remain in France to complete your program.

Students who have completed their degree requirements, but who are still attending courses, are not eligible to continue to receive aid even if they are below the maximum time frame

Failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress

Failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress can lead to suspension or loss of federal aid.

Student Loan Probation Status

Students who fail to meet the minimum 3.0 cumulative Grade Point Average standard, or who fail to complete at least two-thirds of cumulative credits attempted, will be placed on Student Loan Probation for the following semester of enrolment until the next evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress (February and June).

Student loans can be received during the semesters on probation. But student loan disbursements for the subsequent period of enrolment will be held until the grades and course completions have been reviewed for the semester of Student Loan Probation.

While students are on Student Loan Probation status, they must maintain the minimum completion rate and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Failing to do so will place a student on Student Loan Denied status for subsequent semesters of enrolment. No financial aid will be disbursed during subsequent semesters until the student is removed from Student Loan Denied status.

Student Loan Denied Status

In all cases where attempted credits, including transfer credits, exceed the 150% time frame, a student will be placed on Student Loan Denied status. No financial aid will be disbursed for the student during subsequent semesters unless the student has made an appeal of the Student Loan Denied and the appeal is granted. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

While students are on Student Loan Denied status, they must maintain the minimum completion rate and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Failing to do so will place a student on Student Loan Denied status for subsequent semesters of enrolment. No financial aid will be disbursed during subsequent semesters until the student is removed from Student Loan Denied status.

Reinstatement of Aid After Student Loan Denied Status

Reinstatement of financial aid after a student is placed on Student Loan Denied status is achieved in one of the following ways:

  • The student submits a written letter of appeal in accordance with the appeal process, and the AGS Financial Officer grants the appeal. The student is placed on Student Loan Probation for the semester rather than on Student Loan Denied status.

  • The student attends AGS, pays for tuition and fees without the help of student financial aid, and does well enough in the course work to meet all the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. The student regains aid eligibility in a probationary status. Students on Student Loan Denied status for failure to meet the 150% requirement cannot regain eligibility this way.

Appeal Process

The student must submit an appeal of Student Loan Denied status in writing to the AGS Financial Officer by the date specified in the Student Loan Denied notification letter. He will review the appeal and notify the student in writing of his decision within 14 working days after the Review. All decisions made by the AGS Financial Officer are final.


Satisfactory Academic Progress will be assessed for each student at the end of each semester to determine eligibility for continued financial aid. The student will be notified in writing by email, and hard copy, if financial aid eligibility has been suspended; or on financial aid warning, if placed on probation.

Leave of Absence

If a student wishes a leave of absence from the program he must inform the AGS Financial Officer in writing.

Students must submit all documentation to the financial aid officer.:

Financial aid and AGS Refund Policy

Students who are permitted to withdraw from a course, or from the school, may be eligible for a refund from AGS.

These withdrawal allowances are granted only after the student has formally withdrawn through the office of the financial officer, and are dated from the day of signature by the administration. If a student wishes a refund they must make a request in writing. The following percentages of the charge for tuition will be refunded, or credited against a balance due:

  • within the first week of class............................................. 100%

  • within the second week of class ..................................... 75%

  • after the second week of class ........................................ 0%

For more information see Withdrawal policy

Return of Title IV funds

If a student recipient of financial aid withdraws from the program and is eligible for a refund from AGS, before any refund is made, the financial officer must first determine whether any of that money must be returned to the U.S. Federal Government.

If money has to be returned to the aid program then the distribution of money will be as follows:

  • 1 - Stafford Unsubsidised

  • 2 - Stafford Subsidised

  • 3 - Federal Plus

If AGS is required to reimburse the U.S. Federal Government for any funds or part of funds, that a student has been awarded, then the student is required to pay that money to AGS. Any remaining funds will be returned to the student.

For more information see Return of Title IV funds

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Paul Vallet USA, France
Associate Professor
School of International Relations

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