financial aid

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FSAP)


The following polices are related to a student's eligibility for federal financial aid.  These policies are separate from the academic standing policies set by the institution.

FSAP Policy during Coursework enrollment: Effective July 1, 2011

For all students enrolled in coursework

Annual evaluation of FSAP will occur after spring grades are posted each year (in July or August depending on the spring track end dates).

A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained AND a minimum of 67% of attempted units must be successfully completed with a grade of “C” or better (grade of “B” or better required for Clinical students). Transfer credit (“TR”) will be considered as both attempted and completed units. Incomplete grades (“I”), failing grades (“F”, “NP”), withdrawn grades (“W”), repeated courses (“R”) and courses in progress with grades pending (“J”) will be counted as attempted units and excluded from completed units until successful grades are posted to the transcript.

Example: The percentage of completed units is calculated by dividing the number of successfully completed units by the number of attempted units. For example, if you attempt 6 units in each of the fall, winter, and spring terms for a total of 18 attempted units and you successfully complete a total of 12 units, you have completed only 66.7% and are not maintaining FSAP. Your eligibility for federal aid would be suspended.

Dissertation students completing dissertation coursework are considered to be in progress and will be counted as attempted credits and will not receive a grade until the student is able to complete his/her dissertation.  Students who are completing their dissertation demonstrate FSAP by having a committee formed and submitting acceptable written work to their dissertation committee chair/advisor by the end of the first year. The committee chair must confirm that such progress has occurred. At the end of the second year of dissertation, in order to be making FSAP, a student must have a committee approved proposal to receive aid during a third year of dissertation work. Federal financial aid is not available beyond the third year of dissertation work.

Financial Aid Suspension
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure FSAP is maintained. Students will not receive prior FSAP warnings.  Students who fail to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point of average of 3.0 and/or fail to successfully complete a minimum of 67% of attempted units each year will lose eligibility for Federal Stafford and Grad Plus Loans. These students will be notified in writing if/when their eligibility for federal aid is suspended. Contact the Financial Aid Office for details regarding the impact on scholarship awards.

Appeal Process
Students, for whom federal aid has been suspended, may appeal if extenuating circumstances (such as a death in the family, injury, illness, or other special circumstances) has hindered academic performance.

Students are strongly encouraged to submit a written appeal within 2 weeks after receiving notification that financial aid has been suspended.  Appeals must be in writing and describe the basis for the appeal: the death of a relative, an injury, or illness of the student, or other special circumstances. The appeal should include an explanation as to what has changed that would allow the student to demonstrate FSAP at the next evaluation and a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) that provides a detailed explanation of how and when deficiencies will be resolved and may include a proposed academic plan for completion of the degree requirements. The appeal and the CAP must be submitted in writing to the Director of Financial Aid at Pacifica Graduate Institute, 249 Lambert Road, Carpinteria, CA  93013. Phone: 805-969-3626, ext. 137.  The FSAP Committee will review each student’s appeal and CAP to determine whether the FSAP standards will be met and if eligibility for federal aid may be continued for a probationary period.

Maximum Timeframe
Students must successfully complete the program within the maximum time frame. Students in the Master's programs must complete the degree requirements within 5 years and Doctoral programs within 8 years. The maximum number of units a student may attempt in the process of completing their degree is:

Program               Number of Units required for Degree  Maximum Number of Attempted Units Allowed *
PhD Clinical Psychology                            104                          156
PsyD Clinical Psychology                           107                          160.5  
MA Counseling Psychology                         73                           109.5
MA/PhD Depth Psychology                         90                           135
Community, Liberation, Eco Psychology        90                           135
Jungian Archetypal Studies                        90                           135
Somatic Studies                                      90                           135
MA Engaged Humanities and Creative Life     48                           72
MA/PhD Mythological Studies                      82                          123
PhD Depth Psychotherapy                          83                          124.5
* The maximum number of units attempted may vary based on degree requirements at the point of admission to the program of study

FSAP Policy during Dissertation phase of the PhD programs:

If you are enrolling in the dissertation phase of the PhD program, you may be eligible for the Direct Loan program.  You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form each year.  Federal regulations require all financial aid recipients to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward completion of degree requirements for continued eligibility. 

Please note that if you are approved to begin your dissertation clock while simultaneously being enrolled in regularly scheduled coursework, your eligibility for the year may already be depleted. Your only choice for funding may be through a Direct Grad Plus Loan or Private Alternative Loan programs. Contact the Financial Aid Office for consultation.

If enrolled in the dissertation phase only, you are considered to be enrolled on a half-time basis. All eligible financial aid recipients entering the dissertation phase of the program will be awarded aid on a borrower-based academic year. In other words, from the time the nine-quarter dissertation enrollment period begins, financial aid will cover four consecutive quarters for two years, and then one last quarter for a total of nine quarters. For example: dissertation start quarter (winter) – financial aid will cover four consecutive quarters (winter, spring, summer, fall) twice, and then one last winter quarter.

Upon completion of the first four quarters of the nine-quarter dissertation enrollment period, the Financial Aid Office will confirm your active participation in the dissertation process. Active participation is defined as the submission of written materials beyond the initial concept paper and on-going consultation with your dissertation committee. Once active participation in the dissertation process is confirmed, you may be eligible for additional financial aid during the remaining five quarters of the nine-quarter dissertation period. If active participation cannot be confirmed, finanical aid eligibility will be suspended. Students for whom finanical aid has been suspended, may appeal if extenuating circumstances (such as death in family, injury, illness, or other special circumstances) has hindered academic performance. 

If you find that additional time beyond the nine-quarter dissertation period is necessary for completion of dissertation, you must enroll in an annual extension. You may be eligible for financial aid during the one year extension, provided your dissertation committee has approved your proposal and submitted your approval form to the dissertation office. Proposal requirements are defined by each program and are included in your dissertation handbook. It is your responsibility to stay in contact with your committee and to follow-up on the progress of your proposal approval. If the proposal approval is not on file by the extended dissertation phase, finanical aid eligibility will be suspended. Financial aid eligibility may be re-instated once the proposal approval is on file as long as it is during the annual extension.

Financial aid is not available during quarters approved as No-Fee Extensions. Financial aid is also not available beyond the thirteen quarters of dissertation enrollment. Please be aware that all pending finanical aid will be canceled once the final draft of your dissertation is approved.

Summary of Dissertation Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements:
Federal Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements

  • First four quarters of initial nine-quarter enrollment: Successful completion of coursework requirements as defined by FSAP policy for coursework requirements.
  • Remaining five quarters of initial nine-quarter dissertation period: Continued financial aid eligibility requires confirmed submission of written materials beyond the initial concept paper and on-going consultation with dissertation committee, or as outlined by your program.
  • Third year/One-year extension: Continued eligibility during the one year following the nine-quarter dissertation period requires dissertation committee approval of the proposal and submission of the approval form to the dissertation office.
  • Federal financial aid is not available for quarters at No-Fee Extensions or beyond the 13 quarters. All pending financial aid will be canceled once the final draft is approved.


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