Satisfactory academic progress


From 29th April 2021, La Trobe University is no longer eligible in administering the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aids (William D Ford Direct Loan). Our status has changed to be a Deferment Only institution.

To remain eligible for US Financial Aid, you must meet our satisfactory academic progress guidelines.

  • Under US federal law (34CFR 668.16), we must make sure students who receive US Financial Aid uphold a satisfactory standard of academic progress.
  • At La Trobe, satisfactory academic progress (SAP) means achieving acceptable grades in your course and completing your course within the maximum allowable timeframe.
  • To receive US Financial Aid, you must meet our SAP guidelines while adhering to Australian ESOS and visa legislation.

Academic standing and maximum timeframe

If your course goes for four years or less:

  • you must maintain a Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of at least 60 at the end of each semester.

If your course goes for five years or more:

  • you must maintain a Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of at least 50 at the end of your first year
  • you must maintain a Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of at least 60 at the end of each semester after you've completed your first year.

We’ll assess you against our SAP guidelines at the end of each semester to determine if you’re eligible for continued aid. If you haven’t met the guidelines, you may be placed on financial aid probation or your financial aid may be suspended.

If this is the case, we’ll notify you in writing, both by email and hard copy.

You’re entitled to receive US Financial Aid for 150 per cent of your course duration. For example, if your course duration is three years, you’ll be entitled to aid for 4.5 years.

It’s important to understand that while you’ll remain eligible for aid, individual academic progress rules and student visa restrictions may prevent you from continuing in your program for longer than the course duration.

If you’re doing postgraduate study by research, you’ll need to meet the same criteria for academic standing and maximum timeframe. You'll need to achieve the 'good standing ' criteria awarded by the research office to students.

Remedial, non-credit courses and incompletes

If you're doing a non-credit course, such as a short course or a single subject enrolment, it won't count towards our assessment of your study load.

Incomplete subjects are not considered as subject completed and may affect your SAP status. If you have any deferred or supplementary assessments that may delay your results, you will need to follow up and make sure to obtain a grade within six months of completing the subject.

Financial aid probation and suspension

If you’ve failed to achieve the required SAP guidelines, you’ll be placed on financial aid probation for six months. Once you’re on probation:

  • If you meet the SAP guidelines in the next semester, you’ll be placed back into good financial aid standing and be eligible to receive more funds.
  • If you don’t meet the SAP guidelines in the next semester, your financial aid will be suspended. You’ll be ineligible to receive more aid until you meet the guidelines.

If you transfer into a new academic program while on probation, you'll still need to meet the guidelines in the new program before you can receive more aid.

Financial aid appeals

If you’ve been placed on probation or suspended because of extenuating or unforeseen circumstances, you may be able to appeal the decision. Circumstances that may form the basis of an appeal include:

  • death of a family member (parent, spouse, sibling, dependent child etc.)
  • the extended illness of the student (extended illness is defined as a documented chronic or recurring medical or emotional illness that causes you to be absent from class at least 15 days or more)
  • the extended illness of a family member that places hardship on you (immediate family members include parent, spouse, sibling, dependant etc.)
  • mitigating circumstances as determined by the Financial Aid Appeals committee.

If you choose to lodge an appeal, we must receive it within 10 days from when you received notice of your probation or suspension. It should be addressed to the Director, International Partnerships and Services, and clearly state:

  • the reason(s) for your failure to meet SAP guidelines
  • why your financial aid should not be suspended.

All supporting documents must be provided when you submit your appeal. We will consider your appeal and provide a response within 14 days.

Reinstatement of eligibility

If you have been denied aid due to your failure to meet SAP guidelines, it’s up to you to monitor your individual academic progress. When you believe you’ve regained eligibility, you should submit a new La Trobe Financial Aid Application Form [PDF 101KB] along with all supporting documents.

If reinstated, you’ll automatically be placed on financial aid probation.