DePaul University > Admission & Aid > Financial Aid > Maintain Eligibility > Satisfactory Academic Progress > Policy Overview

Overview of Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

There are three parts to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy:

  1. Grade Point Average (GPA)
  2. Cumulative (Overall) Progress
  3. 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 and professional students)
      c. Degree Completion Requirement (applies to all 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.

  1. Undergraduate Students: The minimum cumulative GPA requirement is 2.0.
  2. Graduate/Professional Students:  The minimum cumulative GPA requirement is 2.0, or higher if required by the graduate college or academic program. (Supporting graduate academic policy clarification 2018-19 academic year.)

2. 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 a student attempts 16 hours a term, the student is expected to complete at least 11 hours.

3. Academic 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.

If you change majors, you are still expected to complete your program within the maximum timeframe. In limited circumstances appeals will be considered.

b) Graduate and Professional Students: Timely Completion of Degree

The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy includes an expectation that you complete your graduate/professional degree or aid-eligible non-degree graduate program in the timeframe stipulated by your particular program of study. Graduate students whose enrollment appears to exceed the stipulated timeframe 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 Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee for review.

c) All Students: Degree Completion Requirement

Undergraduate Students

Federal and state financial aid is limited to the pursuit of your declared degree. Once it has been determined that you have completed the requirements for your degree and/or have no further enrollment requirements, you are no longer eligible for federal or state financial aid, and your options for institutional assistance are limited, based on the terms and availability of your institutional aid program. This is true even if you have not applied for graduation and/or your degree has not been officially conferred.

Undergraduate students who are pursuing a double major or an additional minor: Once you have completed the degree requirements for your first undergraduate degree, you are no longer eligible for federal or state financial aid awards that are restricted to the first undergraduate degree. For more information, see "Special Situations" below.

Graduate and Professional Students

Federal financial aid is limited to the pursuit of your declared graduate or professional degree or eligible non-degree graduate program. Once it has been determined that you have completed the requirements for your graduate or professional program and/or have no further enrollment requirements, you are no longer eligible for federal financial aid. This is true even if you have not applied for graduation and/or your degree has not been officially conferred.

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 > Financial Aid Tile > "View My FA Academic Progress."

Financial Aid Warning

A student is eligible to receive aid in this status. Financial aid “warning” is assigned to a student who has fallen below the minimum thresholds of SAP:

  • cumulative GPA is below 2.0 (or higher if required by the student’s college or academic program), or
  • completion rate is below 66.67% (the student has completed fewer than 66.67% of hours attempted)

Failure to meet the minimum standards after your warning term will result in financial aid suspension.

Financial Aid Suspension

A student in financial aid suspension is not eligible to receive federal, state, and most institutional financial aid. "Suspension" status means that a student has an "unsatisfactory SAP status." This status is assigned when:

  • a student fails to meet their progress requirements after a warning, probation or academic plan status
  • a readmitted student or first-time aid applicant whose prior coursework does not meet SAP thresholds
  • an undergraduate student who exceeds the maximum timeframe
  • an undergraduate student who is unable to demonstrate that they can complete their undergraduate degree within the 150% timeframe

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, your aid may be suspended. You can appeal this status.

Special Situations

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 Appeal Form for Readmitted Students (PDF) explaining:

  1. The circumstances that kept you from meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards in the past.
  2. 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. 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.

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.

A student approaching the maximum timeframe because of transfer hours that do not apply to their DePaul degree, or for other limited circumstances, may appeal for the reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility for their remaining required courses. Cumulative attempted hours may be recomputed based on the transfer hours that apply toward the student’s DePaul degree.

To complete the appeal process, you will need to meet with your advisor to discuss and submit documentation in Campus Connect of:

  • your anticipated graduation term
  • remaining coursework
  • an explanation of which transfer credit applied towards your DePaul degree

The Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to suspend students who officially or unofficially withdraw, or fail to earn credit in any coursework -- in consecutive terms of attendance, or in two or more terms within two consecutive academic years. If you fail to demonstrate progress in this manner, your financial aid may be subject to review and/or suspension, and you will then be required to follow the financial aid appeal procedures.

Undergraduate students pursuing a second major or an additional minor are subject to the Program Completion Requirements explained in the Overview of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (above, Requirement 3). A student who has completed the requirements for a first bachelor’s degree (even if the student has not applied for graduation and/or the degree is not officially conferred) is no longer eligible for federal and state financial aid programs that are restricted to one undergraduate degree. These include the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and the State of Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP Grant).

For more detailed information, please see our Satisfactory Academic Progress FAQ.

Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree are eligible only for federal student loans at the undergraduate level and are subject to the maximum timeframe component for undergraduate study. In general, this is 288 credit hours. In limited circumstances appeals will be considered for students who reach this timeframe. Once it has been determined that a student pursuing a second undergraduate degree has fulfilled the enrollment requirements for the second undergraduate degree, the student is no longer eligible for federal or state financial aid. See Program Completion Requirements, explained above, Requirement 3.