When you receive federal or state financial aid, federal guidelines require that you make real and measurable progress toward your degree in order to continue to receive federal aid. This requirement is called “Satisfactory Academic Progress” (SAP).
At DePaul, this policy applies to federal, state, and need-based institutional aid.
Overview of Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
There are three parts to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy:
- Grade Point Average (GPA)
- Cumulative (Overall) Progress
- Academic Program completion:
a) Maximum Timeframe for completion of degree (applies to undergraduate students)
b) Timely Completion of degree or aid-eligible non-degree graduate program (applies to graduate students)
You need to comply with all requirements to remain eligible for aid, as explained in the following:
1. Grade Point Average (GPA)
The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy requires that you maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) in order to remain eligible for financial aid. This cumulative GPA is 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
If you drop below a cumulative GPA of 2.0, you will be placed in financial aid warning. Once you are in financial aid warning, you may continue to receive financial aid, but you will be expected to meet the minimum standards (2.0 cumulative GPA and a minimum 66.67% overall completion rate) by the end of your warning term in order to continue to receive financial aid. Failure to meet the minimum standards after your warning term will result in financial aid suspension.
2. Quantitative Standards - Cumulative (Overall) Progress
The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy contains a quantitative component, meaning that you are required to make steady progress toward your degree or aid-eligible non-degree graduate program by completing at least two-thirds (66.67%) of all your attempted credit hours. For example, if you attempt 16 hours per term during the academic year (48 cumulative attempted hours), you would be expected to satisfactorily complete at least 32 of these hours in order comply with the minimum quantitative standards.
If you do not successfully complete at least 66.67% of all attempted credit hours, you will be placed in financial aid warning. Once you are in financial aid warning, you may continue to receive financial aid, but you will be expected to meet the minimum standards (2.0 cumulative GPA and a minimum 66.67% overall completion rate) by the end of your warning term in order to continue to receive financial aid. Failure to meet the minimum standards after your warning term will result in financial aid suspension.
3. Program Completion
a) Undergraduate Students: Maximum Timeframe
The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy contains a maximum timeframe component, which specifies that the number of credit hours for which you may receive federal financial aid may not exceed 150% of the credit hours required for graduation with an undergraduate degree. For most undergraduate programs, the maximum is considered to be 288 credit hours.
b) Graduate Students: Timely Completion of Degree
The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy includes an expectation that you complete your degree or aid-eligible non-degree graduate program in a reasonable timeframe, appropriate to your program of study. Because graduate program lengths vary, graduate students whose cumulative graduate hours exceed 90 attempted credit hours may be required to submit a degree completion plan to the Office of Financial Aid in order to continue to qualify for federal financial aid. The degree completion plan must outline the specific requirements remaining for degree completion. The plan must be signed by an academic advisor and be submitted to the Academic Progress Committee for review.
What Happens If You Fall Below the Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements?
You will be notified by email if you fall below the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. You may also check your satisfactory academic progress status at any time in Campus Connect, “View My FA Academic Progress”.
Financial Aid Warning
You are considered to be in financial aid warning if you fail to meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for one or more of the following reasons:
A. You are below the 2.0 cumulative GPA requirement (GPA requirement); and/or
B. You are below the 66.67% minimum course completion rate (quantitative requirement).
Once you are in financial aid warning, you may continue to receive financial aid, but you will be expected to meet the minimum standards (2.0 cumulative GPA and a minimum 66.67% overall completion rate) by the end of your warning term in order to continue to receive financial aid. Failure to meet the minimum standards after your warning term will result in financial aid suspension.
Financial Aid Suspension
Your financial aid is suspended when you fail to meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for one or more the following reasons:
A. You have been assigned a warning status, a probation status, or you are in a monitoring term after your probation (see “Probation/Academic Plan” below), and you fail to meet the requirements of your warning status or academic plan.
B. You are a readmitted student or a first-time applicant whose prior coursework is below the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress threshold, and because of this you are considered suspended and ineligible unless you successfully appeal.
C. You have exceeded the maximum time frame limits for your degree.
Appealing Financial Aid Suspension
If you have been suspended from financial aid because of failure to meet the minimum SAP requirements, and you feel that severe or unusual circumstances have kept you from making progress toward your degree, you may appeal.
To appeal, you must submit an online written appeal in Campus Connect
. Your appeal should include all of the items below. Additional documentation may be requested by the committee in the review process. Appeals must be submitted by the seventh week of the term for which you are seeking reinstatement. Exceptions are made only on an appeal basis and not retroactive once the term has ended. Please refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress FAQ
for specific dates.
1. You must explain the circumstances that kept you from meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards in the past.
2. You must explain what has changed that will allow you to be successful in the future. Include as many specifics as possible, including your anticipated academic program completion date and the estimated number of hours remaining for your degree or aid-eligible non-degree graduate program.
3. You must meet with your academic advisor to discuss your plan of action. You will need to request your advisor to complete an online SAP advisor support form, or your may print the Academic Advisor Support Form from our website and request that your academic advisor complete the statement when you meet together.
Additional appeal requirements for undergraduate students who exceed the maximum time-frame: If you are an undergraduate student who is nearing or has exceeded the maximum time-frame for undergraduate study, you will need to provide additional documentation in your appeal. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid counseling staff for assistance.
The Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process
Satisfactory Academic Progress appeals are reviewed within fourteen days, provided that all necessary documentation is received. You should receive an email with the outcome of your appeal within fourteen days of your submission of a complete appeal.
Financial Aid Probation/Academic Plan: Terms Following Suspension
A successful appeal for reinstatement after a financial aid suspension will result in the following:
1. A probationary term in which specified term requirements must be met;
2. An additional two monitoring terms, at the end of which you will be expected to be fully meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, both in terms of GPA and completion rate. These monitoring terms are referred to as Satisfactory Academic Progress Term 1 and 2 (SAP Academic Plan 1 and SAP Academic Plan 2).
Readmitted students are required to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy requirements. If you are returning to DePaul after an absence, and your former coursework would indicate that you are below the minimum progress requirements, you will need to appeal for reinstatement for your student aid eligibility by submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form for Readmitted Students
1. You must explain the circumstances that kept you from meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards in the past.
2. You must explain your plan for corrective action - that is, tell us what changes you have made that will allow you to be successful in the future.
3. You must describe your current educational objective and your plan for successfully achieving this goal at DePaul University. If you are transferring in new academic credit, please explain how the transfer credit relates to your current educational objective at DePaul.
First-Time Financial Aid Applicants
Current students who apply for financial aid are required to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy requirements. If you are a currently enrolled student and you are applying for financial aid for the first time, and your coursework does not meet the minimum academic progress requirements, you will need to complete a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal, as explained in the appeal process above.
Undergraduate Students Who Exceed the Maximum Timeframe, updated July 2012
In general, accepted transfer credit hours are included in SAP measurements regardless of the treatment of courses in the student’s current DePaul degree requirements. However, a student approaching the maximum timeframe because of transfer hours that do not apply to his/her DePaul degree program may appeal for a maximum timeframe review: in these situations, a student’s cumulative attempted hours may be recomputed based on the transfer hours that apply toward the student’s DePaul degree. If you are an undergraduate student and you wish to submit a maximum timeframe appeal, you should complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal process, as explained in the appeal process above.
Students Who Withdraw
The Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to suspend students who completely withdraw - i.e., students who fail to demonstrate any measurable progress within a given term. If you withdraw completely or fail to complete all of your courses in a term, you may be suspended and asked to appeal.
Definitions and Terminology: SAP Policy
Terminology Related to Academic Credit
Attempted Credit Hours
All credit-bearing courses are calculated into your “hours attempted” for financial aid purposes. This includes:
- Accepted transfer credit (regardless of whether you received aid for the courses, and regardless of their treatment in your current DePaul degree requirements); note that credit earned through study abroad consortium or other consortium agreement is treated as transfer credit.
- Test credit
- Repeated courses
Successfully Completed Credit Hours
Any course with a passing grade (A, B, C, D, or PA) is considered to be successfully completed. Any course with a grade of F, W, WA, FX, R, IN, or M is not considered to be successfully completed.
Repeated courses are counted in the “hours attempted” calculation for financial aid purposes and the repeat grade is treated in the cumulative GPA in accordance with university policy. All repeat courses are counted in total attempted hours, regardless of their treatment in the Treatment of Repeated Coursework for Financial Aid Disbursement.
Courses Taken for Audit
Audited courses do not earn academic credit and are not eligible for financial aid payment. Audited courses are not part of the financial aid payment base.
Second Undergraduate Degree
Students seeking a second undergraduate degree are subject to the maximum timeframe component for undergraduate study. In general, this is 288 credit hours. Students who reach this timeframe and wish to appeal should follow the maximum timeframe appeal explained in Section Three. Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree are eligible only for federal student loans at the undergraduate level.
Terminology Related to Satisfactory Academic Progress Statuses
Financial Aid Warning
Financial aid “warning” is a status assigned to a student who has fallen below the minimum thresholds of satisfactory academic progress: that is, a student whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.0, or whose completion rate is below 66.67% (that is, the student has completed fewer than 66.67% percent of hours attempted). A student is eligible to receive aid in this status.
Financial Aid Suspension: Financial Aid Unsatisfactory SAP status
A “suspension” means that a student has “unsatisfactory SAP status.” Financial aid suspension is assigned when a student fails to meet his/her progress requirements after a warning, probation, or academic plan status is assigned. Suspension may also be assigned to a readmitted student or first-time applicant whose prior coursework does not meet SAP thresholds (see sections below). Suspension may also be assigned to an undergraduate student who exceeds the maximum timeframe or to an undergraduate student who is unable to demonstrate that he/she can complete his/her undergraduate degree within the 150% timeframe. As explained above, the Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to suspend students who completely withdraw – i.e., students who fail to demonstrate any measurable progress within a given term. If you withdraw completely or fail to complete all of your courses in a term, you may be suspended and asked to appeal.
A student in financial aid suspension is not eligible to receive financial aid.
Academic Progress Appeal
A financial aid appeal is an online or written student appeal, required after aid is suspended because of a financial aid unsatisfactory academic progress status. In a financial aid appeal, a student petitions for reinstatement of aid. An appeal must be submitted online in Campus Connect, or via a paper Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form. An appeal must include, at minimum, an explanation of the circumstances that caused the student to fall below the minimum SAP thresholds, and it must also include a plan for corrective action, as well as an academic advisor signature certifying that the student has discussed this plan with his/her academic advisor. Additional documentation may be requested in the appeal review.
Financial Aid Probation/Reinstatement
A suspended student who has successfully appealed for reconsideration is reinstated for aid in a probation status. During probation, which lasts one term, a student is expected to complete 100% of all courses with a minimum term GPA of 2.0. In some situations, more rigorous GPA requirements will be stipulated in the probation terms. A student who successfully meets the terms of probation will be continued on aid but will be expected to continue to meet the terms of his/her academic plan to assure that the student is fully meeting the minimum SAP requirements by the end of SAP Academic Plan 2 (see below).
SAP Academic Plan 1 and SAP Academic Plan 2
SAP Academic Plan 1 and SAP Academic Plan 2 occur after a student’s probation term. During these two terms, a student is expected to continue to meet the terms of his/her academic plan by continuing to complete all courses each term with a term GPA of 2.0 or higher so that by the end of these terms, the student is fully meeting the minimum SAP requirements.
We encourage you to also review our Satisfactory Academic Progress FAQ.