Creating a solid SAP policy can seem an overwhelming process. When should you measure? What terminology do you use? Should you have an appeal process? These questions are just a few of the components administrators have to consider when writing a policy. Then there’s communicating your comprehensive policy to your students. When and how do you communicate so they will understand and not be caught off-guard?
Here are a few items to consider when creating your policy:
- Minimum Requirements - For starters, your policy must be as strict as your academic progress policies, apply equally to all Title IV programs, and explain how ineligible students can restore eligibility. SAP standards must also apply to all students within given categories, meet quantitative and qualitative criteria, and account for progress evaluations based on program length.
- Components - Some of the primary components the policy must address are grades, pace of completion, maximum time frame, frequency of evaluation, and reestablishing aid eligibility. Also, do you utilize steps of warning or probation and allow for appeals with academic plans?
- Communications - Your communication strategy is key to getting your message across to your students. Identifying the most effective message delivery strategy in concert with a proactive and concise message using clear language and easy to understand examples will give you the best chance of educating your student on this complex topic. Consider integrating with award letters, addressing in new student orientations and having key faculty members address in an email blast to new students. Social media is also a great place to infuse some humor and pique some curiosity about this important subject.
As vital as it is for students to understand SAP, it can be confusing simply because of how many layers are included in the regulations. In the end, start with the filter of compliance, but then don’t be afraid to jazz up your messages with some fun and humor!