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B.1.d. Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

This Policy applies to all undergraduate College students and is intended to ensure compliance with federal regulations.

The normal timeframe for earning the baccalaureate degree at Middlebury College is four consecutive years of study in a pattern of two 4-credit semesters and 1 Winter Term every year.  When students declare a major, they are required to complete a review of their degree requirements to ensure that they are on track to complete the degree requirements while making satisfactory academic progress.

The Office of the Registrar reviews all student records at the end of each semester (once grades are submitted and recorded), and notifies the Office of Student Financial Services and the Office of the Dean of Students of any students who are not making satisfactory academic progress.  The Office of Student Financial Services notifies any financial aid recipients who are not making satisfactory academic progress, while the Office of the Dean of Students notifies any students not on aid of any deficiencies. 

Minimum Course Completion Requirements

Students need to earn at completion of their first year 7 credits, 15 credits at completion of second year, and, 24 credits after completing their third year at Middlebury.  Students who do not meet the minimum course completion requirements will not be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress until the deficiency is corrected.

Minimum Cumulative GPA

By the second calendar year of enrollment in a post-secondary educational program, the student must have at least a 2.0 cumulative G.P.A. to be considered making satisfactory progress for continued participation in federal aid programs. Students who do not meet this test will be ineligible to participate in federal financial aid programs until this deficiency is corrected.

Maximum hours to earn degree:  For the undergraduate program, the maximum time frame in which a student is expected to complete a program is six years, as the maximum time frame may not exceed 150% of the published length of the program measured in credit hours attempted. Undergraduate students at Middlebury College are allowed institutional aid for 8 semesters. The Dean of Students must approve a 9th semester of financial aid eligibility.

Students who are allowed by their Dean to continue their enrollment while on academic probationary status, will also be put on "Financial Aid" probation and will be expected to meet the same minimum standards outlined by the Dean for continued enrollment.

Financial Aid Warning: Students who may be in jeopardy of losing their federal financial aid will be sent a warning letter which will remind them of the minimum academic requirements for federal aid and to take advantage of the academic services available to students. Students will still be able to receive federal student aid.

Financial Aid Probation: If the student has not reached the maximum number of scheduled hours and the Financial Aid Appeals Committee determines that the student has fallen below the completion ratio standards for satisfactory progress, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and notified that his/her continued eligibility for federal financial aid assistance is terminated. Students who fail to maintain the required minimum GPA will also be placed on financial aid probation.

Students on financial aid probation will receive a letter outlining the academic requirements the student must meet in order to receive aid for following semester. If the student on financial aid probation meets the terms of the probation, he/she will be permitted to continue to participate in the federal student aid programs for a subsequent semester. Students who have been placed on probation shall be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress for the purposes of receiving financial aid as long as the student continues to follow the academic plan outlined by their Dean. Students will normally be allowed only one probationary semester during their academic program. If the student does not meet the terms of the probation, the student will forfeit eligibility for all federal financial aid programs.

Specific Circumstances

1. Repeated Courses

A student who fails a course and takes it a second time will have both grades calculated into the grade point average. If a student passes a course and then repeats it (after receiving permission of the Administration Committee), only the first grade is calculated into the grade point average, and the course is only counted once for credit, although both grades appear on the transcript. See also, “Grades and Transcripts” in the Middlebury Handbook for college undergraduates.

2. Multiple-Semester or Term Course Grades

When a course would have relatively little value unless followed by a second semester or term course intended to complement it, a department may designate first-semester courses for which no credit will be received without completion of a second semester of the course sequence. A department may designate second semester courses in which the final examination will cover the work of the entire year. Students must register each semester or term for the continuing credit. The first semester of such courses is graded Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory grades may be submitted only for multiple-semester or term projects carrying more than one course credit (500-honors projects for seniors, 700-level senior work). At the conclusion of the project, the student receives alphabetical grades for all course units.

3. Incomplete Grades  *Provisional*

Incompletes are issued only in unanticipated, exceptional circumstances that arise near the end of the term and when a student has been meeting the majority of course expectations. Incompletes may only be granted by the Student Life Dean, after consultation with the faculty member involved. In order for the dean to grant an incomplete, the faculty member will provide the dean and the Registrar's Office with a provisional grade that would be assigned if the remaining work in the course were not completed. When the faculty member submits grades for the course, they will submit an incomplete for the student.

The dean will share the provisional grade with the student and will set the deadline for the submission of all remaining work, which will ordinarily be before the deadline for adding classes in the following Fall or Spring semester. The deadline may be no later than the deadline to drop classes in the following semester. Incompletes in winter term courses will follow the same procedures: the deadline for the submission of all remaining work may be no later than the deadline to drop classes in the Spring semester. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that all work is completed by the deadline.  Should the faculty member be unavailable to evaluate the remaining work, it will be the responsibility of the department chair or program director, or designee, to complete the evaluation of submitted work. If the course is not completed by the deadline, the provisional grade based on the work that has been completed will be recorded by the Registrar's Office. 

If the Registrar's Office has not received either a provisional or a final grade by the deadline, the grade will ordinarily be recorded as an F. The Registrar's Office will notify the student that the grade has been recorded. Deans will consult with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) where students indicate that a disability or health condition is the basis for the incomplete. If the DRC staff determines that an incomplete is a reasonable accommodation for a disability, then the Dean will grant the incomplete, which should ordinarily follow the procedures described above, unless the DRC recommends a modification.  Supportive measures in Title IX matters will be handled in a similar manner, with the Title IX Coordinator working with the Dean.  

4. Withdrawals and Leaves of Absence

Please see the Student Status Policy in the Middlebury Handbook for college undergraduates.


Students wishing to appeal their financial aid ineligibility and request a semester on financial aid probation or who have exceeded the maximum timeframe for completing their degree must submit a letter to the Office of Student Financial Services (SFS) explaining the circumstances involved in their lack of academic progress. The SFS Appeals Committee will review the student’s request and make a final determination. Circumstances such as illness, death in the family, extreme financial hardship necessitating full-time employment or a change in educational objectives may be considered for extension of eligibility.


rev. 9/10/21