Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

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 or state financial aid. This requirement is called Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). 

The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy addresses your academic progress during all your terms of enrollment at DePaul, including summer, whether or not you receive financial aid during the terms. At DePaul, this policy applies to federal, state, and need-based institutional aid, and most forms of institutional merit-based or talent-based aid. Note that institutional aid programs may have specific eligibility or renewal requirements in addition to the minimum requirements of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

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
  • Other types of academic credit
  • Repeated courses​

Required minimum cumulative GPA

The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy requires that a student maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) in order to remain eligible for financial aid. 
a) Undergraduate Students:  The required minimum cumulative GPA requirement for undergraduate students is 2.0.  
b) Graduate/Professional Students:  The required minimum cumulative GPA requirement for graduate students is 2.0, or higher if required by the student’s graduate college or academic program.  

Required minimum completion rate

The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy contains a quantitative component, meaning that the student is required to make steady progress toward their degree or aid-eligible non-degree graduate program by completing at least two-thirds (66.67%) of all attempted credit hours. For example, if a student attempts 16 hours per term during the academic year (48 cumulative attempted hours), the student would be expected to satisfactorily complete at least 32 of these hours in order comply with the minimum quantitative standards.​

Required minimum term GPA

A student who is in a financial aid probation status, or who is completing a financial aid academic plan, is expected to maintain a minimum term GPA of at least 2.0.  In some cases, a higher term GPA may be stipulated if a higher GPA is required by the student’s graduate academic program, or if a higher GPA has been stipulated as part of the probation or academic plan. ​

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 non-passing grade (F, W, WA, FX, R, IN or M) is considered to be not successfully completed.

Special note:

  • Incomplete (IN) and Research (R) grades: Grades of IN and R are considered to be not successfully completed until the final grade is submitted, in accordance with university grading policy. Final grading is reviewed in the quarterly SAP review immediately following the submission of the final grade. Students wishing to appeal a grade change of an Incomplete or Research grade before the quarterly SAP review process must do so through the Financial Aid Appeal process.
  • Withdrawal grades: All withdrawal grades are considered to be not successfully completed, and negatively impact satisfactory academic progress. This includes official withdrawal grades W and WA, which are not calculated in the grade point average, as well the unofficial withdrawal grade of FX, which is calculated in the grade point average as an F.

Repeated Courses

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. As such, they are not evaluated in the review of the student's satisfactory academic progress.​

Non-Credit Developmental Courses

Non-credit development courses do not earn academic credit and are not eligible for financial aid payment. As such, they are not evaluated in the review of the student's satisfactory academic progress.

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 percent (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" status 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 percent 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 federal or state 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 the minimum term GPA required for the student’s academic level and/or academic program. In some situations, specific 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 if stipulated under the terms of the academic plan, or if required by the student’s graduate academic program) so that by the end of these terms, the student is fully meeting the minimum SAP requirements.​


More Questions?

We encourage you to also review our Satisfactory Academic Progress FAQ.