College/University Advising FAQ

  • Will the college credits I earn in high school save me and my parents money?

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    Yes!  If you and your family are not paying or not paying much, for the college credits you earn in high school, chances are you will save money.  Check with the colleges/ universities that you are looking to attend to learn how the credit earned fits into the school’s degree or certificate program.

    If you are not sure which college or university you’ll attend (or if you’ll go to college at all), go ahead and find out how the credit counts at a nearby college or university anyway. Each college or university has a policy for accepting credits.  How the college credits you earn in high school counts toward a degree or certificate may be different at each institution.  Here is a useful website to help you:

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  • Will my credits transfer to another college?

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    Every college and university accepts credits differently. Please refer to the Transfer and Transferability section for more information. Be sure you are in contact with the college(s) you are looking at and understand their policies when it comes to accepting dual credit.

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  • What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and why does it matter?

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    All college students who receive Financial Aid must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree in order to continue to receive financial aid.  Although you may be taking college classes while still in high school, the college credits you earn in high school can be considered when a college calculates SAP.  This is why it is important when you have the opportunity to accept or decline your WOU credit. 

    If you took some college classes for credit in high school or during the summer between high school and college, but you didn’t complete all the credits you started or didn’t receive passing grades for some courses, you may receive a notice with a financial said warning or suspension.  If this happens, you should make an appeal to the Financial Aid Office.  (See How do I submit an appeal if I’m not meeting SAP standards? below) Remember, with WOU Assessment Based Learning Credits, you will not transcribe a failing grade, but you may with other types of Willamette Promise or other programs credits.

    There are typically three main components to SAP-GPA, pace, and timeframe.


    • Grade Point Average (GPA). The standard minimum GPA for SAP is 2.0. However, GPA requirements can vary by institution and even by departments within the same institution.
    • Academic pace refers to the percentage of credits attempted vs. credits earned each academic term to maintain SAP.
    • Timeframe refers to the maximum number of credits for which one can receive federal financial aid (i.e., Pell Grants).  The timeframe is equal to 150% of the number of credits required to complete the degree or certificate you plan to earn.  For example, if your associate degree program requires 90 credits of college-level work, federal financial aid would be available to you for up to 135 credits.
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  • How do I submit an appeal if I’m not meeting SAP standards?

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    The US Department of Education requires all colleges and universities to establish, publish, and apply standards to monitor each student’s progress toward completing a degree or certificate program. If your college or university notifies you that you aren’t meeting SAP standards, you may be placed on financial aid warning or suspension and may temporarily lose your financial aid. Check with the Financial Aid Office to find out about your school’s specific SAP policies, which can vary by school.

    Each college and university has an appeal process. Talk to the Financial Aid Office right away if you are notified that you have been placed on financial aid warning or suspension. Financial Aid officers must follow specific rules and processes in calculating SAP. Some parts of the calculation are flexible and others are not.

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  • College credits earned in high school and SAP

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    All college credits you attempt – regardless of where or how they are paid for – are counted as part of your Satisfactory Academic Progress. If you receive low grades for college courses taken in high school, you may have SAP issues starting your first term of college. This can also happen if you take courses over the summer before your first year of college and don’t complete them all or receive satisfactory grades. 

    Students in short-term certificate programs, such as certificates that are available in various CTE programs, might only be eligible for one term of financial aid. Schools must also calculate a “remaining eligibility period” for all students who are eligible for subsidized student loans, and students lose access to subsidized loans once they exceed their program length. 

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  • How will the college credit I earn in high school affect my Oregon Promise grant or scholarships?

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    College credits attempted in high school count toward the 90-credit maximum for the Oregon Promise grant. Other scholarships may also be affected by credits earned in high school. Once you have reached the 90-credit limit, you are no longer eligible for the Oregon Promise grant. Here is a link to a video about the Oregon Promise 90-Credit Limit to help you understand how this works.

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  • What can I do to avoid academic probation?

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    You should look for credits that fit into the degree or certificate pathways that interest you.  You should also ask lots of questions and watch for notices from the college and respond to requests for information right away.  Don’t wait until the first day of classes to ask questions. Counselors and financial aid advisors are all very busy during the first week or two of classes, and lines of students waiting for help are very long. In addition to the Financial Aid Office, you can get help from teachers, college admission counselors, academic advisors, or even the Admissions Office at the college or university you plan to attend. 

    Be aware of timelines for WOU Assessment Based Learning Credits.  Remember you will not transcribe failing grades, but you should do your research before you accept your scores to determine whether or not they meet the needs of your future education programs.

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  • Useful Terminology for Financial Aid

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    Financial Aid: Financial aid from the federal government to help you pay for education expenses at an eligible college or career school. Grants, loans and work-study are types of federal student aid. You must complete the FAFSA form to apply for this aid.

    Satisfactory Academic Progress or SAP: A school’s standards for satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate offered by that institution. Check with your school to find out its standards.

    College Credit: Recognition by a school or college that a student has fulfilled a requirement leading to a degree.

    Attempted Credit: Credit having been tried without success.

    Earned Credit: Credits completed successfully. 

    Transfer Credit: Educational experiences or courses taken from one university but granted credit at another institution.

    Grade Point Average: Grade Point Average is the measure of a student's academic achievement; calculated by dividing the total number of grade points received by the total number attempted.

    High School Credit: Credit that counts towards a high school diploma

    College Degree or Certificate: An academic award for completion of a course or major.

    Timeframe Limits: The maximum number of credits for which one can receive federal financial aid.

    Credit Limit: This is a limit on the total number of college credits you have attempted.

    Pace: Number of credits attempted compared to number of credits earned. If the number of attempted credits is much higher than the number of credits earned, then a student is not passing satisfactory academic pace.

    Disbursement: Payment of federal student aid funds to the borrower by the school. Students generally receive their federal student aid in two or more disbursements.

    Academic Probation/Warning/Suspension: Each college has a policy for letting students know when they do not make good academic progress. This is called a warning or probation. The student must improve their grades or their academic work or else they will be dismissed or suspended from continuing to study at that college.

    Appeal: Request for a review of the decision about SAP or other policies. Students may write a letter or present other evidence about their situation with their request for a different outcome.

    Notice: Written communication about a student’s status

    Cumulative maximum: Total number of credits allowed to be paid by financial aid for a degree, certificate, or scholarship. 

    Mitigating circumstances (leaves of absence, professional discretion): A student may be able to change their financial aid information if there are circumstances way beyond your control.

    Verification: The process your school uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA form is accurate. Your school has the authority to contact you for document.

    *From Federal Student Aid (US Department of Education)

    **From Oregon Student Aid (OR Higher Ed Coordinating Commission OSAC)

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