Terms and Conditions of Your Award


Uniform national standards and methodology determine financial need. Financial aid awards from St. Olaf College are based on a packaging policy established by the Financial Aid Committee. The packaging policy is the basis for institutional scholarship and grant aid. All financial assistance is awarded on an annual basis, using costs for a full-time, on-campus student, unless otherwise indicated. If you are living at home or are in attendance for less than an entire academic year, you will receive a proportional amount of the original award.

Award Renewal

Merit-based scholarships in your package are renewed based on criteria outlined on our website and were also outlined in the scholarship offer that was sent to you earlier. For need-based institutional gift aid (St. Olaf Scholarships and Grants), if comparable need is demonstrated from year to year, you can expect that that institutional gift aid will be fully renewed each year. Renewal is not automatic. You must renew your FAFSA and complete the St. Olaf Online Financial Aid Application to be considered for financial assistance.

Four Year Commitment

Our financial aid program is designed to assist you in completing four years of study at St. Olaf College. Students enrolled for a 9th or 10th semester are not eligible for institutional scholarship and grant programs and therefore may have a large loan component in a fifth (and subsequent) year of enrollment.

Full Time Status

Your financial aid award is based on full-time enrollment. At St. Olaf, full-time status is defined as 3 or more credits per semester, with 4 credits being the normal course load. If, at any time during a term, you consider dropping to a course load of less than 3.0 credits, contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine the changes that might be made to your financial aid award. If you are a MN State Grant recipient, you must complete 7.5 credits a year, with minimum enrollment each semester of 3.75 credits to be considered full-time. Interim enrollment can be counted towards either Fall or Spring semester’s 3.75 credits. If you do not meet this criteria, your MN State Grant award will be reduced. A student becomes ineligible for a state grant after enrollment in 8 full-time semesters of post-secondary education at any institution whether the student was paid a state grant or not.

Outside Scholarship Policy

Often, students receive grants and scholarships from sources outside of St. Olaf. Federal and state regulations require the incorporation of any outside aid into your need-based financial aid award. Please inform our office of all grants and scholarships you expect to receive that do not appear on your financial aid award. The college policy regarding the incorporation of outside aid is as follows: Outside scholarships will be used to reduce self-help in the following order — all of the Federal Perkins Loan will be eliminated first, and then reductions will be made evenly in the Student Employment and Subsidized Federal Loan programs. If a student receives enough outside aid to completely eliminate the self-help portion of the financial aid package, and the student’s total costs are fully funded, then need-based St. Olaf gift aid will be reduced.

Student Employment Conditions

St. Olaf offers the opportunity to work in an on-campus or off-campus job to all students with demonstrated financial need. Total earnings will depend on the total number of hours worked. Students may choose to have earnings paid to their student account, directly deposited into a bank account or receive a paper check.

In many cases, a student’s need-based student employment will be used to meet the family’s financial need. Many students will use student employment earnings to cover their charges at St. Olaf College, while other students may wish to use their earnings to help with other educational expenses (such as books, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses). In these cases, other arrangements would need to be made to cover direct charges to the student account.

Students are not guaranteed to earn the full amount of their work award. Once a student is placed into a position, it is their responsibility to work with their supervisor to arrange hours. Students are limited to their work award. Once a student reaches their limit, they will no longer be eligible for student employment in that academic year.

Changes in Financial Situation

We assume your family’s financial situation will continue as reflected in your application for financial aid. If, however, your family does experience a financial reversal or crisis, be sure to let us know so that we may reconsider your award.



Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

To maintain eligibility for all types of financial aid at St. Olaf College, students must make Satisfactory Academic Progress  (SAP) towards a degree. SAP standards are based on federal regulations and apply to federal, state and St. Olaf financial aid. These financial aid SAP standards may differ from the academic standards administered by the Registrar’s Office for the faculty. SAP standards are cumulative and include all periods of enrollment, whether or not the student received financial aid.

Overview of Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)

There are three parts to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. Compliance with each of the following is required to maintain eligibility for financial aid:

  • Grade Point Average (GPA)

SAP policy requires you to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) to remain eligible for financial aid. The cumulative GPA is described in the SAP chart below.

  • Cumulative Overall Progress

Federal SAP standards require you to make steady progress toward completion of your degree program by completing at least 67% of all your attempted courses. St. Olaf requires students to meet the course completion requirement based on the chart below. 

  • Timely Program Completion — Undergraduate Students: Maximum Time frame

SAP policy requires that the number of courses for which you may receive financial aid may not exceed 150% of the number of courses required for graduation with an undergraduate degree. For most undergraduate programs, the maximum is 52.5 courses (35 courses x 150%=52.5).

If you change majors, you are still expected to complete your program within the maximum time frame. In limited circumstances appeals will be considered. See the Appealing Financial Aid Suspension section.

Four years (eight semesters) is the normal time for completing an undergraduate degree.

Since St. Olaf grants and scholarships are awarded for only eight semesters, students enrolling for a ninth or tenth semester may only be eligible for federal student loans and/or alternative education loans. Students may appeal for an extension of St. Olaf grants and scholarships beyond eight semesters if there are extenuating circumstances.

Year 1 2 3 4 5
Course Completion (%) 67 67 67 67 67
Required Cumulative GPA 1.80 1.90 2.0 2.0 2.0


What Happens If You Fall Below the Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements?

You will be notified by email if you fall below the SAP requirements.

Financial Aid Warning

You are placed in Financial Aid Warning if you fail to meet minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for one or more of the following reasons:

  • You are below the cumulative GPA requirement.
    • During Financial Aid Warning, you may continue to receive financial aid.
    • In addition, you are expected to meet the minimum GPA standards and meet the course completion requirement.
    • Failure to meet SAP standards after your Financial Aid Warning term will result in Financial Aid Suspension.
  • You are below the course completion requirement.
    • During Financial Aid Warning, you may continue to receive financial aid.
    • In addition, you will be expected to meet the minimum GPA standards and meet the course completion requirement.
    • Failure to meet SAP standards after your Financial Aid Warning term will result in Financial Aid Suspension.

Financial Aid Suspension

Your financial aid is suspended when you fail to meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for one or more the following reasons:

  • You have been assigned Warning status, Probation status, or you are in a monitoring term and fail to meet the requirements of your Warning status or Academic Plan.
  • You are a readmitted student or a first-time applicant whose prior coursework is below the minimum SAP threshold. As a result you are in Financial Aid Suspension and therefore ineligible unless you successfully appeal.
  • You have exceeded the maximum time frame limits for your degree.

Appealing Financial Aid Suspension



  • A student who fails to meet SAP standards and is placed on Financial Aid Suspension may appeal.
  • Appeals must be based on special, unusual, or extenuating circumstances causing undue hardship for the student. Examples may include a death in the family, student injury or illness, or other special circumstances as approved by St. Olaf.
  • Appeals must be submitted by the student in writing to the Financial Aid Office.
  • The appeal must include an explanation of the special, unusual, or extenuating circumstances causing undue hardship that prevented the student from making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • The appeal must also include what has changed in the student situation that would allow the student to demonstrate SAP by the end of the next evaluation period. Supporting documentation is strongly encouraged and may be required.
  • Appeals are reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee whose decisions are final.
  • Approved appeals must contain an Academic Plan which, if followed, ensures the student will be able to meet SAP standards by a specific point in time (usually graduation).
  • Academic Plans based on GPA deficiency require a minimum GPA of 2.0 during the probation term.
  • All plans based on a completion deficiency require a term of 100% completion.

Probationary Status:

Approved appeals are placed on Financial Aid Probation for one evaluation period (semester).  At the end of the next evaluation period if a student on Probation status:

  • Has met the GPA and/or completion a standard, the student returns to good standing.
  • Has not met GPA and/or completion standards but has met the conditions specified in the student’s Academic Plan, the student retains his/her financial aid under a probationary status for a subsequent evaluation period.
  • Has not met the grade point and completion standards and also not met the terms and conditions in his/her Academic Plan, the student is re-suspended immediately upon completion of the evaluation.

Notification of Status and Appeal Results


Status Notification:

  • Students are notified in writing (letter or email) when evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress results in Warning, Probation, or Suspension.
  • The notice includes the current status and the conditions and process necessary to appeal to regain eligibility for financial aid.

Appeal Result Notification: 

  • Students are notified in writing (letter or email) of the results of all appeals.
  • Approved appeals include the conditions under which the appeal is approved and requirements necessary to retain eligibility for financial aid in the future.
  • Denied appeals include the reason for denial and the process to appeal the denial.


  • A student suspended from financial aid eligibility may be reinstated after an approved appeal or when the minimum cumulative GPA and completion standard have been achieved.

Special Situations


  • Readmitted Students
    Readmitted students are required to meet SAP standards. If former coursework is below SAP requirements, reinstatement for financial aid eligibility must be appealed in writing to the Financial Aid Office. The appeal must explain:

    • The circumstances that prevented meeting SAP standards in the past.
    • The plan for corrective action – what changes will be made that will allow success in the future.
    • The current educational objective and plan for successfully achieving this goal at St. Olaf College. If you are transferring in academic credit, please explain how the transfer credit relates to your current educational objective at St. Olaf.
  • First-Time Financial Aid Applicants
    • Current students who apply for financial aid for the first time are required to meet SAP standards.
      • They also need to complete a SAP appeal if their coursework does not meet SAP standards (explained in the appeal process above).
  • Undergraduate Students Who Exceed the Maximum Time frame
    • Accepted courses in transfer are included in SAP calculations regardless of the treatment of courses in the student’s current St. Olaf degree requirements.
    • A student approaching the maximum time frame because of transfer hours that do not apply to the St. Olaf degree program may appeal for a maximum time frame review. In these situations, a student’s cumulative attempted hours may be recomputed based on the transfer hours that apply toward the student’s St. Olaf degree.
    • Complete the SAP appeal process as explained above to appeal the maximum time frame standard.
      Students Who Withdraw
    • Courses from which a student withdraws for any reason are counted as an attempted course and are included in calculating the percentage of courses completed for SAP.
    • The Office of Financial Aid may suspend students from receiving financial aid who completely withdraw – i.e., fail to demonstrate any measurable progress within a given term.
    • If you withdraw from all enrolled courses or fail to successfully complete all your courses in a term, you may be suspended from financial aid and asked to appeal.

Definition of Terms

  • Transfer and Summer School Courses:
    • A Transfer student’s previous college transcripts will be evaluated for allowable courses at the time they transfer to St. Olaf.
    • All courses/credits allowed in transfer count towards SAP and are listed on the St. Olaf transcript as non-St. Olaf courses.
    • Current St. Olaf students taking a non-St. Olaf course will have the course reviewed for transfer after the transcript is received by the Registrar.
    • Students not completing the minimum number of courses by the end of the Spring Semester to receive aid in the fall, may take courses during summer session at St. Olaf or transfer a summer session course from another institution. When the grade from a summer session course is posted to the St. Olaf transcript, the student will be eligible to receive financial aid for the fall semester if the all other SAP standards met.
  • Full-time Status:
    • Full-time status requires a minimum of 3 credits per semester, with 4 credits being the normal course load.
      •  Minnesota State Grant recipients must complete 7.5 credits per year, with minimum enrollment each semester of 3.75 credits to be considered full-time.
        • Interim enrollment can be counted towards either semester’s 3.75 credits.
  • Withdrawal grades
    •  All withdrawals are given a non-passing grade, and negatively affect SAP.
    • Official withdrawal grades WP and WF are not calculated in the grade point average.
  • Incomplete (I) grades
    • Courses with a grade of ‘I’ are not successfully completed until the final grade is submitted.
    • Final grading is reviewed during the SAP review immediately following the submission of the final grade.
    • If the Registrar grants an “Incomplete” for a course, which the student needs to maintain the minimum number of required courses for SAP, the student may continue to receive financial aid in the subsequent semester.
    • If the student does not successfully complete the “Incomplete” course or courses within the time defined by the Registrar, the student may not be eligible to receive financial aid in the next semester.
  • Successfully Completed Courses
    • Any course with a passing grade (A, B, C, D, P, or S) is successfully completed.
    • Any course with a non-passing grade (F, N, U, WP, WF, or I) is not successfully completed.
  • Attempted Courses
    All credit-bearing courses are calculated into your “courses attempted” for financial aid purposes. This includes:

    • Accepted transfer credit (regardless of whether you received aid for the courses, and regardless of their treatment in your current St. Olaf degree requirements)
    • Credit earned through study abroad or other consortium agreement is treated as transfer credit.
    • Test credit
    • Other types of academic credit
    • Repeated courses
    • St. Olaf does not offer noncredit remedial courses
  • Repeated Courses
    • Repeated courses are counted in the “hours attempted” calculation for financial aid purposes.
    • The repeat grade is treated in the cumulative GPA in accordance with College policy.
    • Only one repeated course is counted for SAP with the second grade used for the cumulative GPA calculation for SAP.
  • Unofficial Withdraws/ F grades
    • If a professor gives a grade of F, the professor will be asked to provide the Last Date of Attendance.
  • Evaluation Period
    • Satisfactory Academic Progress is evaluated by the Financial Aid Office after each period of enrollment: Fall/Interim, Spring and Summer Terms.