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Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients

All students applying for or receiving US Federal Aid (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS) at Macquarie University must progress satisfactorily towards completion of a chosen academic program. Macquarie University is required by US Federal law (34CFR 668.16) to define and enforce standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The guidelines have been established to encourage students to complete successfully academic programs for which aid is received.

Students are entitled to modify their enrolment within the first four weeks of each semester and retain eligibility for aid, provided they maintain a full-time enrolment whilst on-shore.

Students receiving financial aid will be evaluated at the end of each semester. This evaluation process will consider the students progress under the following categories:

In order to receive US Federal funds, students must meet minimum standards for both the below mentioned components, whilst simultaneously adhering to academic progression rule and to Australian Immigration / visa legislation.


Coursework students must achieve a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.1 or greater at the end of each semester.

The following table shows the grade points for each academic grade.

Sum of (Credit points X GPA value of grade)
GPA Values for grades are as follows:


Sum of Credit Points
High Distinction (HD) 4
Distinction (D) 4
Credit (C) 3
Pass (P) 2
Conceded Pass (CP) 1
Fail (F) 0

As a general guideline, a student who enrolls in four units (of 3 credit points each), would need to achieve three (3) Pass grades and one (1) credit grade or better, to achieve the minimum GPA ratio.

Higher Degree Research students must achieve a satisfactory progress as determined by their supervisors. The progress reports must be completed and signed by the supervisors, to be submitted twice annually, to Macquarie University Financial Aid office.


An undergraduate student is entitled to receive aid for 150% of the standard course time frame, for example:

        • 1 year degree – eligibility for aid 1.5 years
        • 2 years degree – eligibility for aid up to 3 years
        • 3 years degree – eligibility for aid up to 4.5 years
        • 4 years degree – eligibility for aid 6 up to 6 years

Students should be aware that whilst federal eligibility may allow them to continue – individual MQ academic progress rules and student visa restrictions may impact on the students' ability to continue within the program.


Other than the GPA and Maximum Time Frame conditions, course-work students must also meet the minimum study pace ratio of at least 0.67 as formulated below:

Pace =  Total Cumulative Hours Completed (credit points passed) / Total Cumulative Hours (credit points) Attempted


Non-credit courses will not be counted in assessing full-time hours. A student is required to achieve a grade on any deferred or supplementary assessment within 6 months of completing a class


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be assessed for each student at the end of each academic term period, to determine your eligibility for continued awards of aid. You will be notified in writing if your Financial Aid is suspended. An appeal procedure for verifiable extenuating or unforeseen circumstances is available, if you believe that you meet those criteria.


The policy for Financial Aid Warning and/or Suspension is as follows:

Students who fail to achieve the required Cumulative GPA and/or Pace ratios, commensurate with the longevity of their degree program, and their academic level within that degree structure, will be placed on Financial Aid Warning status for the next study period.

Students who have been placed on Warning status and subsequently meet the cumulative GPA and/or Pace requirements in the Warning study period will be placed back into satisfactory Financial Aid (SAP) standing.

Students who have been placed on Warning status and do not meet the minimum academic/time-frame requirements applicable to degree and level, will have their Financial Aid suspended and are ineligible to receive aid until such time that they achieve the required cumulative GPA and/or Pace ratios.


Students who have their eligibility for US Federal Aid suspended may appeal the suspension if one or more of the following circumstances exist:

  • Death of an immediate family member* (parent, spouse, sibling, dependant child, etc).
  • An extended illness of the student – extended illness as defined as a documented chronic or recurring medical or emotional illness that causes the student to be absent from class at least 21 days or more
  • An extended illness of an immediate family member* that places hardship on the student.
  • Mitigating circumstances as determined by the Financial Aid Director (or Financial Aid Appeals committee).

*Immediate family members includes parents, current spouse, siblings, and direct dependants.

All appeals must be received within ten days of receipt of the Notice of Suspension. Students should submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Administrator. All documentation to support the appeal is required at time of appeal submission.


A Student, whose financial aid is suspended, and subsequently submits a successful appeal, will be placed on Financial Aid Probation status for one study period.

Failure to meet the minimum SAP requirements applicable to degree and level (or the conditions imposed by the Financial Aid Director) during the probation period, will result in the student's Financial Aid suspension in the subsequent study periods without any further possibility to appeal. The student will therefore be ineligible to receive aid until such time that s/he achieves the required SAP conditions.


Macquarie University has a clear refund policy for international students attending this institution. The following is an addendum for students who are utilising US Federal student aid funds. If a student who receives financial aid withdraws from the University and is due for a refund of fees paid for that period of enrolment, a determination must be made as to whether any of the refund money must be returned to the US Federal aid program.

If it is determined that refund money must be returned to the DL program, pro-rata refund calculations apply for any international student who is attending Macquarie and who withdraws within 60% off the study period. If you withdraw from the University whilst in receipt of aid, you may also be required to pay back some money to the US Federal government.

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