Are Incarcerated Students Required To Comply With a School’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policies?

Award Year: 2023-24 KA-36656 Helpfulness Rating 36 page views

This guidance is specific to the 2023-24 award year and later.

Yes. According to SE-Q10/A10 on the U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) Prison Education Programs Questions and Answers website:

"Confined or incarcerated individuals are required to comply with a school’s SAP polices. The PEP regulations did not make changes to the SAP regulations. The SAP regulations outline the minimum standards that a school must consider in evaluating a student’s progress to completion. If a student fails to meet a qualitative or quantitative standard there are mechanisms that allow for flexibility, such as financial aid warnings and SAP appeals. Schools are strongly encouraged to consider circumstances outside of a confined or incarcerated individual’s control, such as lockdowns within a correctional facility, as a valid reason to grant a SAP appeal.

A school’s SAP policy must be at least as strict as that school’s SAP policy for students enrolled in the same program of study who are not receiving Title IV funds, and it must apply equally to all students within categories, e.g., full-time, part-time, undergraduate, and graduate students. If the eligible PEP is considered a separate and unique program offered to confined or incarcerated individuals you may develop a separate SAP policy specific to that eligible PEP.

For more information on the requirements around SAP, please see Volume 1 of the most recent FSA Handbook."

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