What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

The Charger Bulletin

DID YOU KNOW that you could lose all of your financial aid if you don’t achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

By: The FEDS

In accordance with federal regulations, all students receiving financial aid are required to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) towards their degree and be in good academic standing in order to remain eligible to receive financial aid. In other words, you must earn all the credits for which you are awarded financial aid, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA (cGPA), and meet a minimum successful completion rate (pace) each year.

At the end of the spring term, the Financial Aid Office will check your academic transcript to make sure that you have achieved the SAP requirements and are not on academic probation.

If you do not make satisfactory academic progress, then you will not be eligible to receive financial aid until you are in good standing.  All financial aid, including but not limited to, federal student loans, federal parent loans, grants, scholarships, and work study are subject to meeting the minimum SAP standards set by the university.

SAP for a full time day student is defined as successful completion of 24 credits in a single academic year, September to May, while maintaining the necessary cGPA and Pace.  Let’s look at each component separately.

A full time day student must successfully complete 24 credits per academic year.  Successful completion of a course is defined as the receipt of a final letter grade, ranging from A+ to D-.  You will not be making Satisfactory Academic Progress if you do not complete the full amount of credits required each academic year. Even if you have a 4.0 cumulative GPA, you won’t be making SAP if you earned less than 24 credits for the year.


Fall earned 12 credits + Spring earned 12 credits = 24 Total earned credits  🙂

Fall earned   9 credits + Spring earned 15 credits = 24 Total earned credits   🙂

Fall earned   9 credits + Spring earned 12 credits = 21 Total earned credits   🙁

A Withdrawal, Did Not Attend, Incomplete, or an “F” in a course is not considered successful completion, and the student will not receive credit. These marks are, however, still considered attempted credits even though the course was not completed and no letter grade was received. This falls under another branch of SAP, known as “Pace”.

In order to have good Pace, you NEED to earn at least 67% of the credits attempted during your ENTIRE COLLEGE CAREER INCLUDING TRANSFER CREDITS, SUMMER COURSES, INTERSESSION COURSES, ETC. For example, imagine that you are an exceptionally good first year student and decided to take 20 credits for the Fall semester and 20 credits for the Spring semester. This is a total of 40 attempted credits for the entire year. Part way through the semester you realized that the workload of all those courses is too much, and you need to maintain a 4.0 cGPA (because you are such a great student!), so you decide to withdraw from a few of your courses so that you are now taking only 12 credits per semester. Therefore you will still complete a total of 24 credits for the entire year. You might think that you are making SAP because you have earned the 24 credits required for each year and you have achieved a 4.0 cumulative GPA. However, this is not the case. You MUST remember that you attempted a total of 40 credits, but only earned 24 of those credits, which means that you have only earned 60% of your attempted credits. This puts you at a bad Pace percentage, which means you are not making SAP and will not receive any financial aid from the school. If you have withdrawn, failed or did not attend courses, you should check the amount of credits earned versus the amount of credits attempted to make sure that you have earned at least 67% of your credits attempted.

Total Credits earned/Total Credits attempted    >  67%

In addition, students are also required to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (cGPA) in accordance with the number of credits attempted.  Keep in mind that this is your ATTEMPTED credits, not EARNED credits.  In order to maintain good SAP, you must meet the following cGPA requirements:

  • if you have attempted 3-27 credits = cGPA of 1.75 or greater
  • if you have attempted 28-57 credits = cGPA of 1.85 or greater
  • if you have attempted 58 or more credits = cGPA of 2.0 or greater

A student’s academic progress is reviewed at the end of each spring term. The Financial Aid Office will mail a letter to each student who fails to maintain the minimum academic progress standards detailing their deficiencies and the steps for reinstating their financial aid eligibility.

What if you won’t have the necessary cGPA and the right amount of credits by the end of the academic year in May? One thing you can do is enroll in a summer course to bring your grade up and/or earn the credits you need for SAP. Prior to enrolling in the additional courses, you should consult the Registrar’s Office to ensure that the end result of taking that course will help you attain your SAP goals.  Then, you need to inform the Financial Aid Office that you believe you have reinstated your eligibility once your new grade posts. They will check up on all your information, and if you are making SAP, you will be reconsidered for financial aid.  (Note: You should try to reinstate your SAP as soon as possible.  The longer you are ineligible, the lower your resulting financial aid award might be due to depleted funding.)  If you are interested in taking a course outside of the University of New Haven, you must first check with the Registrar’s Office. You should ask them if the course you take will transfer and appear on your transcript in such a way as to help you achieve SAP. For example, if you are taking a 3 credit course, make sure that the Registrar’s Office will put it on your transcript as a 3 credit course. However, if your SAP problem revolves around your cumulative GPA, then you must take the courses at UNH, as they are the only ones that affect you cGPA.

If SAP is something you are concerned about, the first thing you should do is talk to the Financial Aid Office to see what options are available to you. So, remember to keep your grades up, complete at least 24 credits by the end of each academic year, and earn at least 67% of the credits attempted, and you will achieve good SAP!