Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) 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.
University regulations require that students meet the grade point average standard as required for their grade level classification to remain eligible for institutional aid. In addition, certain merit-based scholarships have higher GPA standards as outlined in the catalog.
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 students 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:
Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average according to their current grade level:
Students enrolled in Associate or Bachelor degree programs must achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.0 by the end of their second year. The second year refers to the length of time a student has been enrolled at USF, not necessarily the student’s class standing.
Students must complete with a passing grade (A, B, C, D or P) at least 67 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 degree program must not exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program. All credits attempted, including transfer hours, repeated hours and those for which students 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 Pursued
Maximum Credit Hours Attempted
Drops & Withdrawals: If students drop a course prior to the add/drop deadline for the term or are dropped by the school due to non-attendance as of the add/drop deadline the dropped units are not included in the GPA or pace calculations. If students withdraw after the add/drop deadline, they will receive a grade of “W” for the class. The credits for the course will not be included in the GPA calculation, but will count as attempted credits toward the pace calculations.
Incompletes: The grade of “I,” indicating incomplete work, may be given only to students who are unavoidably prevented from completing the work of the course. The incomplete counts as zero grade points and has the same impact on the GPA calculation as an “F.” If the incomplete is changed to a letter grade, this letter grade will be included in the next SAP evaluation. A grade of “I” for a course will count as attempted credits toward the pace calculations.
Pass/No Credit or Audited Coursework: Grades of “P”, “N” or “AU” are not included in the GPA calculation. Grades of “P” and “N” are included in the pace calculations, but a grade of “AU” is not included.
Transfer Credits: All accepted transfer credits count as attempted and completed hours when calculating pace and are considered toward the GPA calculation. In cases when a transcript is received after SAP has been calculated for the term, transfer credits will be included in the next SAP evaluation. For students accepted into the Accelerated Nursing program, only credits required for the degree will be transcribed.
Repeated Coursework: All repeated courses count as attempted credits for the 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 grades may do so as many times needed until a passing grade is achieved, unless stipulations are placed upon students 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 both the GPA and pace calculations, including coursework completed for prior degrees and majors. (Undergraduate credits do not count toward the GPA or pace calculations for students enrolled in a graduate degree program.)
Academic Amnesty: All student coursework is included when reviewing satisfactory progress standards for GPA and pace, including grades excluded by academic amnesty.
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 during their semester of warning. No appeal is required.
If students who are on financial aid warning fail 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 and are approved 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 in writing. Reasons for appeal must include mitigating circumstances, such as, illness, injury, death in the family, significant interpersonal issues or other documented circumstances that were unexpected in nature and beyond the students’ control. Appeals must include information regarding why students failed to make satisfactory academic progress, and what has changed in the students’ situations that would allow them to demonstrate satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. Students are encouraged to strengthen their appeal by providing third party documentation that verifies the information provided.
Students must submit an appeal by the deadline for that term. 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 will be required to sign an individualized academic plan. Students who are on financial aid probation will remain eligible for Title IV funds and will have their progress evaluated at the end of each term by the Financial Aid office. If students meet either the conditions of the academic plan as set forth, or the USF SAP standards, they are considered to be eligible for financial aid for the following term. If neither condition is met, students’ financial aid will be suspended, and they may appeal. The number of appeals students may submit is not limited, unless prohibited by the students’ academic plan.
Reinstatement of Eligibility
Students whose appeals are denied or who choose not to appeal can reestablish eligibility by enrolling at their own expense. Once the USF SAP standards have been achieved, students should provide an academic transcript to the Financial Aid Office and a written request for reinstatement of aid eligibility.
Students who do not appeal a previous suspension by the original deadline may choose to submit a late appeal to be reviewed during the next Financial Aid Appeals Committee meeting. The Appeals Committee meets three times per year (January, June and August). Any financial aid that is reinstated is not retroactive and does not extend eligibility beyond previously established time limits.