Financial Aid Office

Policies for Satisfactory Academic Progress

(This policy also refers to transfer and former GSU students)


Satisfactory Academic Progress is one of the federal requirements for receiving federal aid. The purpose of the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy is to comply with federal regulations that require determination of students’ academic progress before awarding federal financial aid.


A student making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) must meet both the qualitative and the quantitative standards to receive federal aid. The qualitative standards are defined as earning a required percentage of the cumulative hours attempted with a required Grade Point Average (GPA) at the end of the evaluation period. The quantitative standards are defined by the federal maximum time frame (Pace) in which a student must complete his or her education program. The time frame cannot exceed 150% (Max Hours) of the published length of the program. SAP evaluation is done at the end of the academic year. Students failing to meet the minimum SAP standards will have to appeal to the SAP committee. If the appeal is denied, then the student will be placed on financial aid suspension, which means the student will not be eligible to receive financial aid. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on Probation. During the Probationary Period, the student must meet all of the requirements of an academic plan set by the student’s department, the SAP appeals committee, or designee. Students, who meet the probation conditions, will be eligible for federal aid until the next evaluation period. Students who fail to meet the probation/academic plan conditions at the end of the next payment period will be declared ineligible for federal aid and may go through the appeal process or pay to regain eligibility. This policy also applies to former students who are returning. There is no limit on the amount of times that a student may appeal.

Transfer Students

Transfer students will be considered as meeting the SAP requirements when admitted to the university. They will; however, be evaluated by the same standards as continuing students on the subsequent SAP evaluation. Furthermore, all transfer hours will be counted towards the maximum timeframe rule (150%).

A. Maximum Time frame Requirement (Quantitative)

Associate Degree (2 years) Based on 150% of 68 hrs 102 Credit hrs
Four Year Degree (Bachelor’s) Based on 150% of 125 hrs 188 Credit hrs
2nd Bachelor’s Degree Allowance of additional 90 hours 278 Credit hrs
Master’s Program Based on 150% of 36 hrs 54 Credit hrs
2nd Master’s Allowance of Additional 36 hours 90 Credit hrs
Ph. D. Program Based on 150% of 60 hrs 90 Credit hrs

B. Qualitative Standards

Students Min. % Hours
Min. Cumulative

67% 2.0
GRADUATE Masters 67% 3.0
  Doctorate 67% 3.0


C. Suspension

Financial Aid Suspension is the loss of financial aid eligibility for students who choose not to appeal, have their appeal denied, or did not complete the academic plan. The mere passage of time will not restore eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory academic progress. The student may appeal the Financial Aid Suspension if unusual circumstances beyond their control prevented them from meeting satisfactory academic progress (see appeal procedures).

D. Appeals Procedures:

Students failing to meet the minimum SAP requirements with extenuating circumstances may submit an appeal with supporting documentation to the Appeals Committee. Examples of extenuating circumstances are but not limited to:

  • Prolonged illness, medical condition, or injury to student or immediate family member
  • Death of an immediate family member
  • Extenuating circumstances beyond the student's control

Examples of Supporting Documentation are but not limited to:

  • Physician's letters and hospital records (must include dates of illness and recovery time)
  • Death certificate or obituary
  • Court or police documents
  • Letters from third party professional counselors on his/her letterhead

Regardless of extenuating circumstances, the Appeals Committee has a right to deny an appeal based on a pattern of poor performance and/or withdrawals. The Appeals Committee has a right to deny eligibility reinstatement after the committee determines that a student has submitted forged or altered documents. Such students will be reported to the Department of Education, the Office of the Inspector General, and GSU’s Department of Judicial Affairs. The Appeals Committee will review all appeals and will notify students of their decision. In times of critical need, the chairperson of the Appeals Committee or the Director of Student Financial Aid has the authority to approve or deny appeals.

E. Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility

Student can regain financial aid eligibility once:

  • Student has an approved appeal
  • If the appeal is unsuccessful and the student wishes to reestablish eligibility for federal financial aid, the student must enroll with funds from sources other than federal financial aid, and meet the SAP standards

F. Financial Aid Probation

Students on Financial Aid Probation will have to meet certain conditions for academic performance. These conditions will be set by the Appeals Committee and monitored, for students with an APPROVED APPEAL.  Students with approved appeals will be informed of the probationary conditions. Students who meet all of the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress while on 'Probation' will be placed in 'Meets SAP' at the conclusion of the period of enrollment or academic plan period. Progress in an academic plan is measured at the end of each payment period. Students who do not meet all of the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress or academic plan requirements while on 'Probation' will be placed on 'Suspension.'

G. Other Relevant Considerations:

Attempted Credit Hours includes all hours (courses) enrolled in which a grade was received, including W, P, NC, U, I, IX, F. Also included are non-credit remedial repeated, transferred, academic renewal and ESL course hours. The standards apply to all students applying for federal financial aid, regardless of whether or not financial aid was received.

Cumulative Grade Point Average is computed on all hours attempted including repeated course work and all transfer work accepted by Grambling State University. All “I” grades (Incomplete) are computed as 0 Quality Points in the Grade Point Average. All “W” grades are not computed in the Grade Point Average.

For financial aid eligibility purposes, credit hours dismissed through academic bankruptcy are included in attempted hours only.

Major changes will be considered for students who have exceeded the maximum time frame of 150%. However, students must still submit an appeal to the committee to ensure that the student is progressing in the current major.

H. Terms and Definitions

Financial Aid Probation-the SAP status of students that have been placed on 'suspension' and have an approved appeal.
Academic Plan-a plan developed by the student's department, Financial Aid Appeal Committee or designee as a plan of action for the remainder of the student's academic career.
Academic Year -a period of time that includes Fall and Spring.

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Additional Information: