Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Spring 2021

A view of misty hills outside of campus

Federal and state regulations require that students receiving financial aid have a responsibility to make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or credential objective in order to remain eligible for financial assistance. The following requirements in this section apply for all periods of enrollment, including Summer, at SSU regardless of whether or not the student received financial aid. Summer financial aid cannot disburse unless satisfactory academic progress for the previous semester has been demonstrated. Satisfactory academic progress for all students is conducted at the end of each semester. Appeals of disqualification must be approved within the term of enrollment to receive funding.

There are three major components to the standards:

  1. Pace (Pass Rate) Standard: Satisfactorily complete a minimum percentage of their cumulative units.
  2. Maximum Time Frame Standard: Complete a degree program within 150% of the units for the degree.
  3. GPA Standard: Meet the minimum cumulative GPA of: 2.0 for undergraduate students 3.0 or above for graduate students.

1. Pace Standard

This is a quantitative measure which calculates the pace or pass rate at which a student is progressing toward completion of their graduation requirements at SSU.

To be eligible for financial aid a student must maintain a minimum pass rate. The pass rate is cumulative, and is calculated every semester.

  • Undergraduates: Need to complete 67% of the units attempted.
  • Graduate students, other post-baccalaureate students: Need to complete 70% of the units attempted.

How We Define the Pace Standard:

  • Completed units are defined as having earned a grade of A, B, C, D, or CR.
  • Transfer units are included in this calculation.
  • Repeated units at SSU course work are also included.
  • All types of attempted units are defined as such, regardless of the reason for the grade earned. Therefore, grades such as F, I, NC, U, W, AUD, or RD count as units attempted with zero units earned. All enrolled classes after the add/drop date will be counted toward the attempted units.

How To Calculate the Pace (Pass Rate) Standard:

Refer to your unofficial SSU transcript. Start with the cumulative units completed and divide by cumulative units attempted.

Examples:

  • Student A enrolls in 15 units in Fall and 12 units in Spring. The student successfully earns 12 units in Fall and 9 units in Spring. 21 divided by 27 = 78% pass rate.
  • Student B enrolls in 15 units in Spring and 6 units in Summer. The student earns only 6 units in the Spring and 3 units in the Summer. 9 divided by 21 = 43% pass rate.

2. Maximum Time Frame Standard

This is to ensure a student is actually completing the academic program within a reasonable overall time frame based on units attempted. To meet the standard, students must complete their program of study within 150% of the units required for the degree.

Transfer units are included in this calculation (based on Acadmic Policy), regardless of whether or not SSU has accepted the units toward the degree OR whether or not financial aid was received for those units.

Allowable Timeframe for Degree Completion
Academic Level Excessive Units Condition Resultant SAP Status
Undergraduate more than 180 units Financial Aid Disqualification for Excessive Units
Saturday BA Completion Program after 4 terms of attendance at SSU Financial Aid Disqualification for Excessive Units
MA Counseling more than 72 units Financial Aid Disqualification for Excessive Units
MBA and Wine MBA more than 48 units Financial Aid Disqualification for Excessive Units
MA English more than 49 units Financial Aid Disqualification for Excessive Units
MA Psychology more than 51 units Financial Aid Disqualification for Excessive Units
MA Public Administration more than 55 units Financial Aid Disqualification for Excessive Units
MS Nursing more than 61 units Financial Aid Disqualification for Excessive Units
MS Nursing with RN more than 66 units Financial Aid Disqualification for Excessive Units
Other Post-baccalaureates and Graduates more than 45 units Financial Aid Disqualification for Excessive Units

3. Grade Point Average (GPA Standard)

Financial aid recipients must be in good academic standing with the University. The Financial Aid Office will adhere to the University's academic standard requiring:

  • 2.0 minimum GPA (cumulative) for Undergraduate students.
  • 3.0 or above (cumulative) for Graduate students.

Students are ineligible to receive financial aid if they are dismissed academically from the University. Please refer to the Office of Registrar's Academic Regulations webpage for more information.

How We Monitor SAP

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress is reviewed after every semester.
  • Students who fully meet all three standards above are considered successfully making academic progress for financial aid.
  • Students who are not meeting one or more standard are notified via email of the results and the impact on their aid eligibility. At the point the student is determined to be ineligible for financial aid, any future financial aid awards or disbursements will be canceled.

Financial Aid Warning

If a student fails to meet the SAP requirements, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for the following semester (or the next semester that the student enrolls at SSU). While on Financial Aid Warning, the student may retain their Financial Aid eligibility and receive a Financial Aid Award. At the end of the Financial Aid Warning semester, the student’s record will be re-evaluated. If the student is meeting the SAP requirements after the Financial Aid Warning semester, the student may be taken off of Financial Aid Warning and re-establish Financial Aid eligibility for the following semester (or the next semester the student enrolls at SSU). Financial Aid Warning is only allowed once during the student’s degree tenure at SSU.

Financial Aid Disqualification

If a student fails to meet SAP requirements for any semester after the initial Financial Aid Warning semester, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Disqualification and will not be eligible for Federal, State and/or Institutional Financial Aid.  The status of Financial Aid Disqualification will remain in place until the student is again meeting the SAP requirements or the student has filed a successful SAP Appeal.

Please note: Financial Aid Disqualification is not the same as Academic Disqualification. Please refer to the Office of Registrar's Academic Regulations webpage for more information regarding Academic Disqualification.

Appeals Policy

Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Disqualification have the right to appeal their status to the Financial Aid Office. SAP Appeals must be based on extenuating circumstances that seriously affected the student’s academic performance.

1. Personal Statement

The statement should explain the extenuating circumstances that affected the student's ability to make progress toward degree completion requirements at an acceptable rate. Also, include what has changed to ensure the student will meet SAP standards in the future. The statement should address all semesters that SAP was not met, not just the last semester that caused the Financial Aid Disqualification.

As defined by Federal guidelines, examples of extenuating circumstances include:

  • Prolonged illness under a doctor's care or illness/accidents requiring hospitalization.
  • Prolonged illness of a dependent.
  • Death of an immediate family member.
  • Interpersonal problems relating to family, financial, or scholastic issues.
  • Financial difficulties.
  • Change in major (only for those not meeting Max Time Frame; does not apply to students not meeting the Pace Standard)

Please attach appropriate documentation to support your statement (e.g. for a medical issue, attach doctor's note).

2. Graduation Plan

  • A graduation plan is only required for students that have exceeded their Maximum Time Frame.
  • List the remaining courses that need to be taken to complete the program. This should be done with the assistance of an academic advisor and/or your major advisor.

Appeals Process

Instructions:

  1. Students who have lost financial aid eligibility may appeal their disqualification using the appropriate appeal located on our Satisfactory Academic Progress Forms page. Print the form and complete all fields. Be sure to follow the instructions and attach any appropriate documentation.
  2. Submit to our office by mail, email, or in person at the Seawolf Service Center located on the 1st floor of Salazar Hall.

What to expect after you submit the appeal

  1. The SAP Committee will thoroughly review each appeal. If the SAP committee needs clarification or additional information, the committee will contact the student directly. Any requested documentation is to be submitted as soon as possible. SAP Appeal decisions are final and will be emailed to the students within 3-5 weeks of submission. Students are encouraged to submit their SAP Appeal and documentation as early as possible to allow on-time disbursements of aid if the appeal is approved.
  2. If the student’s SAP Appeal is approved by the SAP Committee, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and may be able to receive Federal, Institutional and/or State Aid for the following semester (or the next semester that the student is enrolled at SSU). All Federal Financial Aid rules will apply. A successful SAP appeal does not override the academic requirements established by private/Gift/Other Scholarships that may have more stringent eligibility requirements. For approved SAP Appeals, the Financial Aid Office will monitor the student’s progress against the Academic Plan to determine if the student is making satisfactory progress. A student must make progress congruent with the Academic Plan in order to continue receiving Federal, State and/or Institutional Financial aid. If the student has not regained compliance with the SAP requirements or met the conditions of their Academic Plan when their progress is checked by the Financial Aid Office, the student will lose Financial Aid eligibility.
  3. If a student’s SAP Appeal is denied or the student chooses not to submit a SAP Appeal and continue enrollment at Sonoma State University, the student becomes financially responsible for any and all charges without the assistance of Federal, State and/or Institutional Financial Aid until they are again meeting SAP requirements.

Financial Aid Reinstatement

  1. A student’s SAP Appeal is approved by the SAP Committee and the student gets placed on Financial Aid Probation. While on Financial Aid Probation, the student may receive Federal, State and/or institutional aid. All Federal Financial Aid rules will apply.
  2. A student who is on Financial Aid Disqualification can regain their eligibility by completing a full-time academic (minimum of 12 units) load with a minimum 2.0 term GPA. The student would not be eligible for Federal, State or institutional Aid during the period in which they are trying to re-establish their eligibility. If the student is predominantly a part-time student (by using the last two semesters enrolled at SSU), the student must complete the same unit load successfully.