Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the set of 3 academic standards students must meet in order to receive Federal student aid. Whether you know it or not, your SAP status is being reviewed each semester. SAP is a federal requirement, not a university one, and it is different from Missouri State University’s academic standards or scholarship renewal criteria. The 3 SAP standards are GPA, Pace, and Timeframe.
The purposes of SAP are:
- To motivate students to work hard and complete their degrees.
- To ensure that tax dollars (federal student aid) are being spent wisely.
Both undergraduates and graduate students who intend to use federal student aid must meet SAP guidelines.
Standard 1: Grade Point Average
- Undergraduates: Must have an overall GPA of 2.00 after 24 attempted credit hours
- Graduate students: Must have an overall GPA of 3.00 after 9 attempted credit hours
- “Overall” means classes transferred in from other schools are included as well, not just MSU classes.
- “Attempted” means a class you started but did not drop before the 100% refund deadline for that class.
Standard 2: Pace – Put simply, you must pass two-thirds of your classes.
- Credit hours completed / credit hours attempted = 67% or higher
- “Z” or “F” do not count as completed classes, but do count as attempted.
Standard 3: Timeframe – In short, you can receive financial aid for no more than 150% of the credit hours your degree requires. For example, if your degree requires 120 credit hours, you can attempt 180 credit hours and receive financial aid for it.
- “Degree” means undergraduate or graduate degree, not your specific major.
- Changes in major or addition of a minor do not buy more time
If You Aren’t Meeting SAP
Our office reviews your file each semester after grades are submitted. If you are not meeting any one of the three criteria, one of two things will happen:
- If this is your first time not meeting one of the SAP standards, you can still receive federal financial aid for one semester while you bring yourself back into compliance. This is called a “warning” period.
- If this is not your first semester not meeting one of the SAP standards, you will not receive federal financial aid until you are meeting all three criteria again. This is known as being “terminated.”
If You Are Terminated
You can appeal your termination if there are reasons beyond your control that caused you to fall below SAP standards. Appeals are due the 10th week of each semester. Let’s say that you didn’t fare too well in the fall term and your federal aid has been terminated for Spring. You have until the 10th week of the spring term to submit your complete appeal. If approved, you can still receive aid for the spring term. If your appeal is denied you would not receive aid that spring. But we will review your grades after the spring term in the hopes that you are back in compliance.
Tips on Appealing
- Sign your personal statement. Yeah, you need to write a personal statement with your appeal.
- Address every semester that you did not complete a class
- Attach documentation. Dr. notes, letters of support, police records, travel records.
- Submit your appeal early. Each appeal takes a long time to review because the committee wants to consider every reason why you may not be making the grade. The backlog grows quickly. An appeal includes the Application and the Academic Plan
We will be back from winter break on January 6th. Until then, feel free to email us if you have questions and we will respond to you as quickly as we can in January.