Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations require that students (undergraduate and graduate) maintain satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a degree program in order to receive Title IV Federal financial aid.

Type and Frequency of Measurement

Satisfactory academic progress is reviewed at the end of each academic semester (fall, spring, and summer) regardless of whether or not a student received Title IV aid.

Satisfactory progress involves a measurement of students' performance through grade point average (qualitatively) and by pace of progression (quantitatively) through completion rate and maximum attempted credits. Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid eligibility is evaluated separately from USF's academic policies. Students who fail to maintain satisfactory academic progress can expect to have their financial aid suspended.

All students must maintain ALL THREE STANDARDS listed below in order to remain eligible for Title IV federal financial aid.

Grade Point Average:

A Student must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average according to their current grade level:

Freshmen (0-27 credits) 1.75
Sophomore (28-59 credits) 2.00
Junior (60-89 credits) 2.00
Senior (90+ credits) 2.00
Graduate   3.00

Financial Aid GPA includes all coursework, including grades excluded by academic amnesty.

Completion Rate:

Students must complete with a passing grade (A, B, C, D or P) at least 70 percent of the cumulative credits attempted.

All credits attempted, including transfer hours, repeated hours and those for which the student received no financial aid are included in the total. (Remedial coursework hours are excluded.) Grades of "F" (failure), "I" (incomplete), "W" (withdraw), and "N" (no credit) will count as credits attempted but not satisfactorily completed.

Maximum Attempted Credits:

The maximum time frame for completion of the certificate or degree program must not exceed 150% of the published length of the program. All credits attempted, including transfer hours, repeated hours and those for which the student received no financial aid are included in the total. (Remedial coursework hours are excluded.) Grades of "F" (failure), "I" (incomplete), "W" (withdraw), and "N" (no credit) will count as credits attempted.

The maximum number of credits is based on the degree pursued.

Type of Degree PursuedMaximum Credit Hours Attempted
Associate's 96
Bachelor's 186
Master's 50

In order to meet these timeframes, (undergraduate) students must successfully complete a minimum of 21 credits per year.

Special Situations


The grade of "I," indicating incomplete work, may be given only to students who are unavoidably prevented from completing the work of the course. Until changed to an appropriate letter grade, the "I" counts as zero grade points and has the same impact on the grade point average as an "F." If the incomplete is changed to a letter grade, SAP for the student will be recalculated.

Drops & Withdrawals:

If students drop a course prior to the add/drop deadline for the term, the dropped units are not included as attempted when computing pace. If students withdraw after the add/drop deadline they will receive a grade of "W" for the class and the credits for the course will be included as attempted but not completed credits when computing completion rate. A grade of "W" for a course will count as attempted credits towards the maximum attempted credits calculation.

Transfer Credits:

All accepted transfer credits count as attempted and completed hours when calculating pace and are considered toward the GPA calculation.

Repeated Coursework:

All repeated courses count as attempted credits for pace calculations, but only the highest grade is used for the GPA calculation.

Students receiving federal financial aid may repeat a previously passed course only one time using federal funds. Students receiving federal financial aid who repeat a course because of failing grade may do so as many times needed until a passing grade is achieved, unless stipulations are placed upon the student by an appeals committee.

Changes in Major or Pursuit of Second Degree:

Students who change their majors or enroll in a second degree may be eligible for financial aid, but all previous undergraduate credits attempted/completed are included in the pace calculation, including coursework completed for prior degrees and majors. (Undergraduate credits do not count toward the completion rate for a graduate degree.)

Financial Aid Warning Status

Students are placed on financial aid warning for failing to meet the qualitative and/or quantitative measures of SAP, as outlined by the guidelines above. If students are placed on financial aid warning, they may continue to receive Title IV aid for one additional semester despite the fact that they failed to make SAP. No appeal is required.

If students who are on financial aid warning fails to make SAP at the end of the semester, they will be suspended and will lose Title IV aid the following semester unless they appeal to be placed on financial aid probation.

Appeal Process of Financial Aid Suspension

Students who fail to maintain satisfactory academic progress will be notified via certified mail and may appeal the suspension of their financial aid eligibility. Reasons for appeal may include, but are not limited to, situations involving serious medical issues, death in the family, significant interpersonal issues, difficulties in balancing school, work and other demands. Appeals must include information regarding why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress, and what has changed in the student's situation that would allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. Students must submit an appeal prior to the date listed on the suspension letter. Appeals will be reviewed on an individual basis by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. All students filing an appeal will be notified in writing of the committee's decision within 20 days of the appeals deadline.

Financial Aid Probation Status

If an appeal is granted, students will be placed on financial aid probation and allowed to receive Title IV funds for one additional semester. The Appeals Committee may grant an appeal only if it determines that the student will be able to meet SAP standards after the subsequent semester; or an appeal may be granted if the student is placed on an academic plan, which if followed will allow the student to meet SAP standards at a specific point in time. Students who is on financial aid probation will have his or her progress evaluated at the end of each term. Failure to meet either the GPA or the pace requirement while on probation may be appealed. If the student has met the conditions of the academic plan as set forth, the student is considered to be eligible for financial aid for the following term. If the student has not met the conditions of the academic plan, financial aid will be suspended, and the student may appeal.

Reinstatement of Eligibility

Students whose appeal is denied or who chooses not to appeal can reestablish eligibility by enrolling at his or her own expense and successfully completing twelve credits with a 2.00 GPA or higher and completing at least 70% of the credits attempted. The student should then provide an academic transcript to the Financial Aid Office and a written request for reinstatement of aid eligibility.

Any financial aid that is reinstated is not retroactive and does not extend eligibility beyond previously established time limits.