Do the COVID-19 SAP Exceptions Apply To the Summer 2020 Payment Period and Beyond?

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This guidance is not award-year-specific and applies across award years.

This AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A was updated to include the latest guidance about the end date of the following COVID-19 waiver or flexibility in the June 14, 2023 Electronic Announcement (GENERAL-23-46).

Yes. Section 3509 of the CARES Act sets forth no timeframe beyond the period of the national emergency, stating, "Notwithstanding section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1091), in determining whether a student is maintaining satisfactory academic progress for purposes of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.), an institution of higher education may, as a result of a qualifying emergency, exclude from the quantitative component of the calculation any attempted credits that were not completed by such student without requiring an appeal by such student."

According to the June 14, 2023 Electronic Announcement, "This waiver ends at the end of the payment period that includes May 11, 2023. After that point, schools are no longer permitted to calculate a student’s SAP with consideration of COVID-19 related circumstances as it relates to attempted credits and excluding credits due to temporary cessation of operations at a school. Beginning with the following payment period, schools must comply with normal SAP requirements. Schools may continue to approve student appeals based on COVID-19-related circumstances on a case-by-case basis based on normal SAP authority."

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) further clarified this guidance for NASFAA, stating that attempted credits that were excluded from a student's SAP evaluation under the waiver will continue to be excluded in future SAP evaluations. ED stated, "we would not require nor desire schools to rescind their original decisions based on the waiver. Including prior excluded credits would negate the benefits afforded the students based on issues with COVID." Going forward, attempted credits can only be excluded from SAP if a school approves student appeals based on COVID-19-related circumstances on a case-by-case basis based on normal SAP authority.

See AskRegs Q&A, How Do We Treat COVID-19 Related Withdrawals In Our SAP Calculation? Reference Section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended, [20 USC 1091]

Update Notes: 

AskRegs Q&As represent NASFAA's understanding of regulatory and compliance issues. They are FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY. While NASFAA believes AskRegs Q&As are accurate and factual, they have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). If you should need written confirmation of AskRegs information for audit or program review purposes, please contact your ED School Participation Division. NASFAA shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein; nor for incidental or consequential damages resulting from the furnishing, performance, or use of this material.