Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Overview
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) indicates the successful completion of coursework towards a degree or certificate.
- According to federal regulations, students who fail to make SAP in their education program will lose their eligibility to receive Federal Student Aid (FSA) funds (i.e., financial aid).
- SAP rules apply to all students applying for financial aid, including those who have not previously received financial aid.
- APUS evaluates a student’s SAP at the end of each payment period (i.e., semester). If APUS determines that a student has failed to meet the University’s SAP standards, the student may be placed on a “financial aid warning” semester during which they may retain their FSA eligibility. This determination is made at APUS’s discretion.
- Students are only eligible for financial aid warning status if the following criteria is met:
- The student was previously meeting SAP without a warning or appeal in the most recent completed semester or was in the first payment period of their program when they failed to meet SAP.
- The student had no “unearned F’s” in the previous semester.
- Students are only eligible for financial aid warning status if the following criteria is met:
- If APUS determines that a student has failed to meet the University’s SAP standards and determines that a financial aid warning is inappropriate, the student will lose their FSA eligibility. Students who lose their FSA eligibility may appeal the loss provided there are extenuating circumstances that inhibited their academic progress (e.g., student illness or injury, death of a relative.)
- Students who submit an appeal must provide:
- A statement that explains the extenuating circumstances that contributed to the student’s failure to meet SAP and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to either meet SAP at the next evaluation or to meet the requirements of an academic plan that would lead to meeting SAP in the future.
- Documentation that confirms the extenuating circumstances and date(s) during which the events occurred.
- If an appeal is approved, the student is placed on “financial aid probation” and their FSA eligibility is reinstated for one semester. The student must meet SAP at the next evaluation or meet the requirements of the academic plan in order to remain FSA eligible for future semesters.
- If a student’s appeal is unsuccessful, the student may take classes to demonstrate improvement for a future appeal, but they cannot receive FSA to pay for those classes. A student cannot meet SAP simply by paying for their classes on their own but must earn the necessary GPA or completion rate.
- To otherwise restore FSA eligibility, students must achieve the GPA and credit hour completion targets as defined in the policy.
SAP is evaluated based on grades posted at the end of each semester (defined as a 16-week period of academic study).
- The criteria used to measure Satisfactory Academic Progress include:
- Cumulative grade point average (qualitative)
- Credit hour completion/Program Pace (quantitative)
- The requirements of each criterion must be met and are described in detail below.
- Cumulative GPA is the qualitative measure of SAP, meaning that it looks at the quality of the grades that each student earns in their courses.
- CGPA is initially calculated after 6 undergraduate credits, or 6 graduate credits are completed at APUS. Evaluation thereafter occurs at the end of each semester according to the table below.
- Only credits completed at APUS with a final grade of A through F are included in the CGPA calculation.
- If a failed course is retaken, the later grade will replace the failed grade and factor into the CGPA.
- To meet SAP requirements, students must maintain a CGPA that meets or exceeds our minimum as shown in the chart below.
- Students who fail to meet CGPA requirements will be determined ineligible for FSA.
SAP Criteria on Cumulative GPA (CGPA) and Credits Completed
|Total Credits Completed|
(including transferred credits*)
|Minimum CGPA Required|
for Financial Aid
|Masters and Graduate Certificate Students**||6-8||2.50|
|RN to MSN Students||6-8||2.50|
*Credits transferred in from another college or university via an official Transfer Credit Evaluation are factored into the calculation of how many credits a student has completed in determining the minimum Cumulative GPA threshold from the chart.
Credit hour completion is the quantitative measure of SAP, meaning that students must complete a certain percentage of courses toward certificate or degree completion in order to maintain FSA eligibility. Each academic program within our university system has a defined number of credit hours required for completion. To maintain SAP, students must achieve a minimum percentage of credits completed (i.e., earned) versus credits attempted.
- A student must complete their program within 150% of the published length of the program. For example, a student in a two-year program must be on track to complete their program within three years.
- Any course in which the student remains beyond Week One (add/drop) will count towards attempted credits regardless of the grade received.
- Undergraduate courses with a final undergraduate grade of A through D- will be counted towards credits attempted and completed.
- Graduate courses with a final grade of A through C will be counted towards credits attempted and completed.
- Final grades that fall below the minimums (D- for undergraduates and C for graduates) are not counted as credits completed but will be considered credits attempted.
- Courses with grades of incomplete (“I”) will not be considered attempted until a final grade is earned by the student, or the Registrar or instructor converts the “I” grade to an “F”.
- Doctoral courses with a final grade of Satisfactory (“S”) will be counted towards credits attempted and completed.
- Doctoral courses with a final grade of Unsatisfactory (“U”) are not counted as credits completed but will be considered credits attempted.
- Courses from which a student has withdrawn (“W”) will be counted towards credits attempted.
- Courses dropped within the add/drop period will not be counted towards credits attempted.
- Course retakes: All attempted courses are factored into the credit hour completion percentage.
- Remedial courses do not count towards attempted credits; however, APUS does not offer remedial courses.
- Repeated courses will count as attempted courses.
- For students who change programs, credits that apply to the new program will be counted in credit hour completion and program pace.
Note: All students are required to log into each of their courses during Week One and submit an academic activity. Students who do not submit this assignment during the first week of class will be administratively dropped from any courses for which this assignment has not been completed.
SAP Criteria Based on Credits Attempted versus Credits Completed
|Credits Attempted||Credits Completed %|
|Masters and Graduate Certificate Students||6-9||50%|
|RN to MSN Students||6-9||50%|
*Credits transferred from another college or university are included in determining the credits completed percentage for the quantitative measure - completed hours divided by attempted hours. Likewise, the total of APUS and transfer credits that a student has from another college or university will factored into determining where they fall on the chart above.
Example 1: A student registers for 12 credits as an undergraduate student at APUS. The student also has 12 transfer credits from College A. At the end of the semester, here are the grades for the student:
|Course 1 (3 credits)||W|
|Course 2 (3 credits)||F|
|Course 3 (3 credits)||B|
|Course 4 (3 credits)||C|
- This student has attempted 12 credits at APUS, but has only successfully completed 6 of those credits (Course 3 and Course 4).
- The credits completed at APUS would be added to the credits transferred (6 credits plus 12 credits), and the credits attempted at APUS would be added to the credits transferred (12 credits plus 12 credits).
- The credits completed percentage would be 75% (18 completed hours divided by 24 attempted hours).
- The next step is to look at the chart above and determine what percentage is needed to make SAP.
- You then find where 24 credits attempted falls on the chart above, and you will see that the student needs to have completed 60% of their courses to make SAP.
- In this example, the student is making SAP and will be eligible for their Federal Student Aid.
If APUS determines that a student has not met SAP, the student will be placed on “Financial Aid Denial” status, meaning they have lost their FSA eligibility. Any student placed on “Financial Aid Denial” status may appeal their denial due to extenuating circumstances (i.e., situations that have had a negative effect on the student’s ability to successfully meet SAP standards, such as student illness or injury, death of a relative, or other special circumstances).
An electronic SAP Appeal Form is made available to students who are not meeting SAP through their ecampus. This form may be found in the ecampus FINANCE CENTER under the subsection for “Satisfactory Academic Progress”. Students who complete an appeal are required to provide supporting documentation. A hard copy SAP appeal form is also available, as needed.
Appeals must include a written statement submitted to APUS Financial Aid Services that addresses the extenuating circumstances that contributed to the student’s failure to meet SAP and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to either meet SAP at the next evaluation or to meet the requirements of an academic plan that would lead to meeting SAP in the future. The student also must provide documentation to support the existence of the extenuating circumstances. The deadline to submit the completed appeal form, with supporting documentation, to Financial Aid Services is the Thursday of the start week of the semester after the student has been informed of their “Financial Aid Denial” status. No appeals will be accepted for after that date. An appeals Committee will consider all appeals. Students will be notified by email of the committee’s decision. All decisions made by the committee are final.
Students failing to meet or maintain SAP during any period of evaluation will be placed on "Financial Aid Denial” status and will lose FSA eligibility. Students who receive veterans’ education benefits will also lose eligibility for that funding. Students will be notified of their “Financial Aid Denial” status by our university system financial aid staff. To regain FSA eligibility, students must successfully appeal the determination or otherwise satisfy all SAP requirements.
Students placed on “Financial Aid Denial” status may reestablish their FSA eligibility by attending and earning the GPA and semester hour requirements of the SAP policy without the use of FSA funding. Once students meet SAP requirements, APUS will package and disburse eligible aid for which they have applied.
The school may reinstate eligibility for aid for one payment period and may do so without a student appeal. This “financial aid warning” status may be granted only to students who were making SAP in the prior payment period in which they were enrolled or who were in the first payment period of their program when they failed to meet SAP. The financial aid warning is applied through APUS automation; the student is sent an email notification, and the status is noted on the Financial Information Screen in PAD.
- Students do not qualify for financial aid warning status if there are any “unearned F’s” in last semester
- Typically, a financial aid warning is granted only once. APUS in its discretion may permit a second warning status if the student meets SAP standards at the next evaluation, then subsequently fails to meet SAP.