Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require institutions of higher education to establish minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for students receiving financial aid.  Progress is evaluated by qualitative (GPA), quantitative (completion percentage), and maximum timeframe for completion of educational objective measures. Students are expected to achieve satisfactory grades and progress toward the successful completion of an approved credential in a reasonable period of time and within a reasonable number of credit hours for their program of study.  It is the responsibility of each student to be aware of his/her Satisfactory Academic Progress status for financial aid eligibility. SAP standards require that students meet the following guidelines to maintain eligibility. Federal financial aid at Mount St. Joseph University includes the Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Teach Grant, College Work-Study, Perkins Loans, Direct Student Loans, and Graduate PLUS loans.

Please note, Mount St. Joseph University also uses this policy to determine eligibility for state and institutional financial aid programs including tuition remission benefits. These financial aid standards of academic progress are separate from, and in addition to, academic standards required by the College for continued enrollment.

Monitoring: At the end of spring semester, the Student Administrative Services Office will review students’ progress during the previous three semesters. All periods of enrollment are reviewed, including semesters during which no financial aid was received. Students who have been awarded financial aid for a “borrower based year” (BBY) rather than a traditional academic year, will be reviewed at the end of each BBY. Any student who is not meeting the SAP standards will have their aid eligibility terminated.

In addition to the standards used for the annual monitoring, a student’s financial aid eligibility is terminated immediately if they withdraw from all coursework in a term or fail to earn any credits during a term in which they are enrolled for more than one course, excluding audited courses.


Qualitative Requirement – Grade Point Average (GPA)

Total Credit Hours Attempted Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average
1-27 1.75
28-59 1.90
60 or more 2.00
Any Graduate Hours 3.00


The QUANTITATIVE STANDARD requires successful completion of 66.67% (two-thirds) of the cumulative credit hours attempted.  “Attempted hours” are hours for which a charge was incurred excluding audited hours. Successful completion means the student receives a passing final grade of A, B, C, D, P, or S.

There is also a MAXIMUM TIME FRAME that a student has to complete his or her original program of study.  This is determined by multiplying the published number of semester hours needed to complete the program by 150% and comparing that to the number of hours the student has attempted. When the 150% point is reached, financial aid will cease even if the student is meeting other measures of SAP. For example, if an undergraduate program requires 120 hours in order to graduate, a student could not receive financial aid beyond 180 hours (including transfer hours) whether or not financial aid was received for those credits.

It is important to understand how various grades and enrollment decisions impact your Satisfactory Academic Progress calculations.

  • Withdrawals – Withdrawals (W), will adversely affect a student’s SAP by reducing the number of hours successfully completed for a term. 
  • Audits - Audited courses may not be counted towards the total number of hours of enrollment for a term as no credit will be earned. 
  • Transfer Credits - Hours accepted from other institutions and evaluated in the student’s current program are included in the calculation of the maximum time frame.
  • Incompletes - Grades of "I", will not affect a student’s GPA at the time of review.  Incompletes are temporary grades and will be replaced with a final grade. Should the grade become final before the review, the actual grade, credits attempted, and credits earned will be used to determine if the student is making SAP. In many cases, aid for subsequent terms will need to be placed on “hold” until passing grades are earned for incomplete courses.
  • Repeats - Courses may be repeated by students. When a course is repeated the most recent final grade will be used to determine eligibility.  The prior grade is no longer calculated in to the GPA at MSJ, however, the previous hours attempted will be counted as hours attempted when reviewing SAP completion rate and maximum time frame.  Students may repeat a previously taken course one time and be eligible for aid for the hours. This applies to withdrawn, failed, and passed courses. 
  • Summer Courses - Summer Session hours attempted and earned will be included in the calculation of SAP as for any other term.

Financial Aid Termination: If a student is not meeting the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress, he or she will have federal, state, and MSJ financial assistance terminated. The cost of attendance will be the responsibility of the student. Restoring eligibility requires successfully completing enough course work to be in compliance with both the qualitative (GPA from the chart) and quantitative standards (66.67% completion rate) required by this policy.

SAP Appeals - Students whose financial aid has been terminated due to failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress may submit a written appeal to the Director of Student Administrative Services if they can document extenuating circumstances that have impacted their academic performance.  Events/circumstances that may merit an appeal are: a personal or family emergency, a serious illness or accident, a death in the family, a military service commitment, or another serious situation beyond the student’s control.

  • Appeals should be submitted within 30 days of notification of Financial Aid Termination due to SAP.
  • The student needs to explain what event/situation occurred that had a negative impact on their academic performance, providing supporting documentation if appropriate.
  • In the appeal, the student should also explain how this event/circumstance will no longer affect his/her ability to perform.
  • The student should indicate the semester for which they are seeking to re-establish financial aid eligibility.
  • Properly completed and documented SAP Appeals will normally be reviewed within 15 business days and a response will be mailed to the student’s permanent address.
  • If your appeal is approved, you will be required to either meet the SAP benchmarks by the end of the probationary semester, or meet the requirements of an academic plan which typically requires the completion of all of your course work for the term while earning at least a 2.0 GPA in that course work.

Students with questions about satisfactory academic progress should contact the Student Administrative Services Office in the Conlan Center on the first floor of the Administration Building.