Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Federal Regulations require that the Office of Financial Aid at the University of San Francisco establish, publish and apply standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid eligibility. This policy pertains to Institutional, Federal and State Financial Aid and is separate from the Academic Policies established by USF. Please note that some Private, Gift and/or Endowment Scholarships may fall outside of the scope of the SAP Policy due to more stringent eligibility requirements. The purpose of measuring and enforcing these standards is to ensure that Financial Aid recipients progress towards degree completion in a timely manner. Students who fail to meet the SAP requirements become ineligible to receive Financial Aid until they are in compliance with the requirements. To be eligible for Financial Aid, a student must be in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress towards the completion of a degree within a maximum time-frame. Students are evaluated annually after the Spring Semester to ensure that SAP standards are being met and will be effective for the following Fall semester (or the next semester that the student enrolls at USF). Students failing to meet the minimum SAP standards will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Students may appeal a Financial Aid Suspension status and be placed on Financial Aid Probation for Financial Aid purposes.

 

SAP Notification

Satisfactory progress is measured at the end of the spring semester. Students who fail to meet SAP standards after the semester review will be notified by letter and/or email. The Office of Financial Aid sends printed and/or digital communication to students corresponding directly to their SAP status. Students who submit an appeal will be notified after the appeal review with a letter detailing the appeal decision.  

To remain eligible for Financial Aid and other University funding, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.0, Graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or Law cumulative GPA of 2.3 NOTE: Undergraduate must have achieved the equivalent of a “C” average by the end of the second academic year. 
  • Complete/Passed 67% of attempted credits-- an "attempted credit" is defined as any credit(s) the student remains enrolled in after the add/drop period, this includes credits that a student withdraws from. Courses with an F, I, IP, U, or W do not count as earned credits.
  • Attempt no more than 150% of the published program length of the student’s currently enrolled academic program

A student has a limited time-frame to complete all degree requirements and remain eligible for Financial Aid. 

Undergraduate Students:
For students enrolled in an undergraduate degree program the time frame cannot exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program, which is measured in attempted credit hours, based upon the number of credits offered at USF for the program. Therefore, the maximum duration of financial aid eligibility for students in this program is 192 attempted credit hours at USF.

Masters Degree- School of Education and College of Arts and Sciences Students:
For students enrolled in a Master's in the School of Education or the College of Arts and Sciences, the student has been enrolled for no more than four calendar years from the beginning of the semester in which the program was initially begun, including periods of non-enrollment. 

Masters Degree- School of Management, School of Nursing and Health Professions, and School of Law Students:
For students enrolled in a Master's in the School of Management, School of Nursing and Health Professions, or the School of Law, the student has been enrolled for no more than five calendar years from the beginning of the semester in which the program was initially begun, including periods of non-enrollment. 

Doctoral Students:
For students enrolled in doctoral programs, the student has been enrolled for no more than seven calendar years from the beginning of the semester in which the program was initially begun, including periods of non-enrollment. 

While receiving an incomplete in a course(s) has no immediate adverse effect on a student's overall GPA, note that the course(s) in which a student receives an Incomplete will count as attempted credits.

These attempted credits will be included in determining whether a student is making Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid purposes.

Once the incomplete grade changes to a letter grade, it will then count towards your overall GPA in determining if you are making Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid purposes. 

Students may repeat a course, for which the student previously earned credits, or a punitive grade (F, I or W). This repeated course will be counted in the SAP calculation for the student for the GPA, but will not replace the punitive grade from the prior semester.


The credit earned from the repeated course will not be counted in the completion rate. 

Non-credit courses and non-credit remedial courses are not used for SAP purposes, as these courses are not Financial Aid eligible.

Courses that transfer students took at previous institutions prior to attending USF are counted as both attempted and successfully completed credits for financial aid purposes. The grades from the courses are not considered in the GPA calculation per the University's academic policy. 

A joint degree student or student enrolling in multiple degree programs at different academic transcript levels (e.g., law and graduate) will be evaluated for SAP based upon each transcript level. Failure to meet the standards on either academic transcript level will classify the student as not making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.

Students having academic records in multiple programs at the same transcript level will be evaluated based upon all grades at that level, regardless of current enrollment status in any of the programs. It is vital that students monitor their classification in each academic program to ensure accurate representation of their intended degree plans, especially as it relates to satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.

The maximum time limits as defined under “Maximum Time Frame for Receiving Financial Aid” above are still applicable to students in joint degree and/or concurrent multiple degree programs.  

While withdrawing from courses has no adverse effect on a student's overall GPA, note that courses a student withdraws from after the add/drop period count as attempted credits.

These attempted credits will be included in determining whether a student is making Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid purposes.

Students who are not meeting the SAP requirements are ineligible to receive Financial Aid. Students may appeal to have their Financial Aid reinstated. Notifications, for students who are not making SAP, will be sent to students after grades have been posted for the Spring Semester.

Failure to maintain the minimum GPA for your specific grade level/program, failure to complete 67% percent of attempted credits or exceeding the maximum time frame of 150% of the published program length are all utilized to calculate Satisfactory Academic Progress. If there are circumstances beyond the student’s control, the student may complete the appeal process.

An appeal must be based on extenuating circumstances that seriously affected the student’s academic performance. Examples of possible extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Death in the family
  • Disabling illness or injury to the student or immediate family member (that required the student’s care)
  • Emotional or mental health issue of the student that required professional care
  • Other extenuating circumstances that were beyond the student’s control To complete the appeal process students must submit the following:
    • A detailed letter explaining the extenuating circumstance(s) that caused the student to not meet the minimum SAP requirements for Financial Aid and what has now changed to allow the student to be successful
    • Supporting documentation of the circumstance(s) cited
    • A letter of support from an advisor or professor
    • An Academic Plan, signed by your advisor
  • Obituary/Death certificate
  • Documentation from the student’s (or family member’s) medical provider
  • Statement from a third party (preferably in a professional capacity)

The SAP Committee will review all SAP appeals. Final decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Submission of a SAP appeal does not guarantee approval. Students are responsible for payment of their tuition and any fees they may incur during the appeal process.

  • Lack of knowledge/understanding of the SAP Policy at USF
  • Medical appeals for illness/injury/hospitalization that do not coincide with the semester(s) of sub-standard progress
  • Work/Scheduling conflicts (including voluntary overtime)
  • Acclimation issues in regard to being in a University setting
  • Student has submitted a previous SAP appeal with the same extenuating circumstance(s), and the student is still not meeting the SAP requirements
  • Student is repeating courses to increase the student’s GPA or the student is taking courses for degree requirements outside of the student’s current course of study
  • Student is taking pre-requisite(s) for a degree program for which the student is not currently enrolled in

Students may choose not to appeal their SAP status. In this case, the student will not receive Financial Aid for the time period for which the student is not meeting SAP requirements. Financial Aid eligibility may be reinstated once it is determined that the student is meeting the SAP requirements.

If a student submits an appeal, and it is denied, the student will be ineligible for financial aid for the semester in which they were denied. Students may appeal again the following semester if they can demonstrate academic progress.