Undergraduate Student Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Educational Institutions must establish a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for determining if an otherwise eligible student is making satisfactory academic progress in his or her educational program and may therefore; receive assistance under the federal student aid programs (Section 668.34, 34 CFR). In addition, all State of Georgia financial assistance program regulations (HOPE, Zell Miller Scholarship, etc.) require students to meet the SAP criteria established for federal student aid. SAP consists of two components of measurement: quantity and quality. The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) at the University of Georgia checks SAP criteria at the end of every semester. Students who fail to maintain SAP are no longer eligible for federal or State of Georgia financial aid after their Financial Aid Warning Term.

Measurement of Quantity

Minimum 67% Pace of Completion

Undergraduate student financial aid applicants and recipients must demonstrate they are making measurable progress toward earning a degree by successfully completing a minimum of 67% (see example) of all hours attempted at the University and all hours accepted in transfer (including those hours attempted when the student did not receive federal or state student aid).

How the Minimum 67% Pace of Completion is Calculated

67% Calculation Example:
UGA Attempted Hours    62
Transfer Hours Accepted + 13
Total Attempted Hours = 75
Total Successfully Completed Hours   50

50 successfully completed hours/75 attempted hours = a .6666 (or 66.66%) Pace of Completion which is less than the required minimum 67%; therefore, this student is not making SAP. 

Maximum Allowable Total Attempted Hours

Otherwise eligible students cannot receive financial aid once they have attempted 150% of the number of hours required to complete their first undergraduate degree program. For most undergraduate programs of study, this provides students up to 181.5 attempted semester hours to complete a 121 semester hour program. The maximum allowable number of attempted hours will be increased proportionally for students in programs of study which require more than 121 hours. All hours attempted at the University and all hours accepted in transfer by the University (including all hours attempted when the student did not receive federal or state student aid) are included and apply toward the Maximum Allowable Total Attempted Hours.

Once it is apparent a student will be unable to complete an undergraduate degree within the 150% maximum total attempted hour time frame (generally 181.5 semester hours), the student will no longer be eligible for financial aid. The following attempted hour example illustrates federal or state eligibility for students approaching the 150% maximum time frame and may no longer be eligible for federal or state student aid:

Example

End of Current Semester      166-180 hours attempted

Student must be graduating the next semester to remain eligible to receive aid during that semester.

Measurement of Quality

All undergraduate students must maintain at least a 2.0 overall cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) at the end of every semester regardless of the total number of attempted and earned hours. SAP standards use the official grading scale of the University of Georgia. More information on the grading scale can be found in the University of Georgia Bulletin.

Changing Majors

Undergraduate students who change majors during the academic year are strongly encouraged not to withdraw from any classes as they still must successfully complete a minimum 67% of the hours attempted at the University including all hours accepted in transfer. Students who change majors or degree programs are at risk of exceeding the Maximum Allowable Total Attempted Hours before obtaining a degree. Students who decide to change majors or degree programs should do so early in their academic career so as not to jeopardize future eligibility for student financial aid at the University. Changing majors is not a justification for failing to maintain SAP.

Repeated Courses

All repeated courses and their grades will be included in the 67% and Maximum Allowable Total Attempted Hours calculations.

Undergraduate Transfer Students

Undergraduate transfer students are also subject to the 67% Minimum Pace of Completion, the Maximum Allowable Total Attempted Hours and the minimum 2.0 overall GPA requirement. As previously stated, all hours attempted while enrolled at the University and all transfer hours accepted by the University are included in SAP determination.

Mandatory Academic Assistance Credit Hours

The Maximum Allowable Total Attempted Hours allows for any additional attempted hours necessitated by a student’s requirement to enroll in Academic Assistance courses.

Study Abroad/Student Exchange Programs/Consortium Courses

Hours enrolled in Study Abroad, Student Exchange or Consortium courses are counted as attempted hours when applying SAP standards. These grades do not count as successfully completed hours until a transcript is received by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and grades are entered on the student's academic transcript. Students should contact OSFA once Study Abroad, Student Exchange or Consortium grades are entered so OSFA can determine if the student now meets the 67% Pace of Completion for SAP.

Excessive Elective Courses

Students found to be enrolling in an excessive number of elective courses may have their financial aid revoked as these do not contribute to making satisfactory progress toward earning a degree.

Academic Renewal

University approval of Academic Renewal does not supersede SAP requirements. All attempted hours will continue to be included in determining SAP.

Additional Bachelors Degree

Students who have graduated with a Bachelors degree and wish to pursue a second Bachelors degree will be allowed 60 additional attempted hours as their Maximum Allowable Total Attempted Hours. The Minimum Overall Completion Percentage (67%) and the 2.0 overall cumulative grade point average remain based on all hours accepted for transfer credit by the University plus all the hours attempted at the University.

Otherwise Eligible Non-Degree Students

Otherwise eligible non-degree students (example: Teacher Certification) must meet the undergraduate SAP requirements.

Students Seeking Dual Bachelors Degrees

Students enrolled in two Bachelors degree programs at the same time must still meet the Maximum Allowable Total Attempted Hours and are not eligible for additional hours of aid eligibility. The 150% is calculated using the degree which requires the most hours.

Evaluation of Undergraduate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

SAP standards will be evaluated at the end of every semester. After grades are posted, OSFA will send an e-mail to any affected financial aid recipients and applicants informing them of the need to review their SAP status on Athena, which will outline the reason(s) for their failure to maintain SAP. The information provided the student will include the specific SAP standard(s) not being met and a link to the SAP Appeals Policy & Procedures

Financial Aid Warning Status

Financial Aid Warning status is defined by federal regulation and cannot be altered or modified. Undergraduate financial aid recipients who were previously maintaining SAP but are identified at the end of a semester as failing to maintain any of the SAP standards will be automatically placed on Financial Aid Warning status for one semester of enrollment. Although students placed on Financial Aid Warning status are no longer making SAP, they are still eligible to receive any federal or state financial aid for which they are otherwise eligible during their one semester on Financial Aid Warning. All financial aid awarded for any semesters subsequent to the Financial Aid Warning semester will be cancelled.

Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Warning due to their overall GPA being less than 2.0 and/or completing fewer than 67% of their total attempted hours, will retain their financial aid eligibility if at the end of their Financial Aid Warning semester they are again meeting both of these SAP requirements. Previously cancelled aid for which they are otherwise eligible will be reinstated. See "How to Regain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) on Your Own".

Students who have either exceeded the Maximum Allowable Total Attempted Hours or cannot regain SAP on their own during their Financial Aid Warning semester should skip the following section and read the "SAP Appeals Policy and Procedures".

How to Regain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) on Your Own

As previously stated, this option applies only to undergraduate students not maintaining the minimum 67% pace of completion and/or the minimum overall 2.0 GPA. This is not an option for students who have exceeded the Maximum Total Attempted Hours Percentage (150%).

Jack is not making SAP:
He has not earned 67% of his attempted hours

At the end of Summer Semester OSFA reviews Jack's overall GPA and his total hours earned. He has a 3.2 overall GPA but has successfully completed only 48 of 73 total attempted hours which equals a 48.91% pace of completion rate; therefore, Jack is not making SAP. He must successfully enroll in and complete enough hours during his Financial Aid Warning semester that when added to his prior successfully completed 48 hours and 73 attempted hours he is again successfully completing at least 67% of his total attempted hours. If he does not, he will not be eligible for financial aid during future semesters until either he is again in compliance with the 67% SAP standard, or he submits an appeal to OSFA that is subsequently approved.
How Jack can clear SAP:
He has now earned 67% of his attempted hours

During Jack's Financial Aid Warning semester he enrolls in 12 hours and successfully completes 10 hours. He now has 85 attempted hours and 58 earned hours. Since 67% of 85 total attempted hours equals 56.95. Jack is now making SAP because his earned hours (58) are greater than the 56.95 hours necessary to equal 67%.
Jill is not making SAP:
She does not have a 2.0 overall cumulative GPA

At the end of Summer semester, Jill is successfully completing 82% of her attempted hours, but she does not have a 2.0 overall cumulative grade point average (GPA). During her Financial Aid Warning semester she must earn the grades necessary to raise her overall cumulative GPA to at least a 2.0. If she does not, she will not be eligible for financial aid during future semesters until either she is again in compliance with the 2.0 cumulative GPA SAP standard, or she submits an appeal to OSFA that is subsequently approved.
How Jill can clear SAP:
At the end of Jill's Financial Aid Warning semester she has a 1.98 cumulative GPA. Since she still does not have an overall cumulative 2.0 GPA, Jill is no longer eligible for financial aid at UGA until she has raised her overall cumulative GPA to 2.0 or greater. At that time she will regain eligibility for student financial aid. If Jill's reason for being placed on Financial Aid Warning was due to mitigating circumstances, she may submit a SAP appeal to OSFA during her Financial Aid Warning semester for consideration. See "SAP Appeals Policy & Procedures" below.

SAP Appeals Policy & Procedures

Federal student aid regulations permit (but do not require) colleges to establish a SAP Appeals Policy. Furthermore, if an institution chooses to implement a SAP policy which permits appeals, it is left solely to the institution to specify when and how such appeals will be permitted as well as how many times a student may appeal.

OSFA established the following SAP Appeals Policy and Procedures to assist students who have failed to maintain SAP due to mitigating circumstances which have now been resolved or stabilized. Under this policy, students may submit to the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) for consideration, a signed, written appeal explaining their circumstances. Mitigating circumstances are essentially unanticipated and unavoidable circumstances beyond the student’s control which directly affected his or her ability to be academically successful, and which have been resolved or stabilized so he or she is now able to be academically successful. Examples of mitigating circumstances are:

  1. serious injury/illness or an acute mental health condition of the student, or of an immediate family member, or
  2. death of an immediate family member, or
  3. any other circumstances deemed as sufficiently mitigating by OSFA.

As part of a SAP appeal, students must also provide supporting documentation which confirms the occurrence/circumstances. In addition, the student must explain and provide documentation regarding how the situation has been resolved or stabilized; thereby, enabling the student to now be academically successful.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form for Student Financial Aid Recipients is available at here.

Financial Aid Probation Status

Financial Aid Probation status is defined by regulation and cannot be altered or modified. If OSFA finds that the student’s appeal circumstances were sufficiently mitigating, AND if either (1) it is mathematically possible for the student to re-attain SAP by the end of the semester of enrollment following the student’s Financial Aid Warning semester, or (2) OSFA has approved a Financial Aid Academic Plan, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one semester. Students placed on Financial Aid Probation can still receive any federal or state financial aid for which they are otherwise eligible.

At the end of the one semester on Financial Aid Probation, the student must again be meeting either all SAP criteria, or must be meeting all the requirements of his or her OSFA approved Financial Aid Academic Plan in order to continue to be eligible for financial aid. See "Financial Aid Academic Plan" below for more information.

Students whose appeals are approved will continue to be reviewed at the end of each semester to determine if they are meeting all SAP requirements, or are meeting all the requirements of their Financial Aid Academic Plan.

Financial Aid Academic Plan

OSFA’s review of student SAP appeals will include consideration of and possible approval of, an individual student academic plan.

OSFA may work with students on a case-by-case basis to identify an academic plan that will be designed to get the student back on track and be academically successful. This is the purpose of an academic plan.  Students for whom OSFA reinstates federal student aid eligibility under an academic plan will retain that eligibility as long as they strictly adhere to their OSFA approved academic plan.

Depending on the individual student situation, an academic plan may be as simple as a mathematical calculation by OSFA that specifies the percentage of coursework the student must now successfully complete and/or the minimum grade point average the student must earn each semester, or it may be as complicated as a course by course degree plan and/or limiting the number of hours in which a student may enroll. In many cases OSFA will instruct the student to meet with his or her UGA academic advisor to formulate a structured academic plan which clearly sets forth the courses in which the student must enroll, and the minimum GPA he or she must earn each term. The student will then provide a copy of the formal academic plan to OSFA for consideration.

Students for whom OSFA approves an academic plan can receive federal or state financial aid for which they are otherwise eligible as long as they strictly adhere to their approved plan. Students on an OSFA approved academic plan will be evaluated following each semester of enrollment and a student’s failure to meet ALL the requirements of his or her academic plan will result in immediate loss of financial aid eligibility.

Appeal Denial Policy & Procedure

When OSFA does not approve a student SAP appeal based on its determination the student’s circumstances were not sufficiently mitigating, or that although the circumstances were mitigating, the student has not sufficiently documented the circumstances are now resolved or stabilized, the student may request further consideration by the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee. This Committee meets once a semester and is composed of the Registrar and two University administrators.

To request further consideration by the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee, the student needs only to send OSFA a signed written request (or e-mail from their UGA Mail account).  The decision of the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee is final.

It is important to note that all stipulations and requirements of an OSFA approved academic plan are final and are not subject to further consideration by the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee.

Student Financial Counseling May Be Required

Students who previously received Federal Direct Student Loans or previously failed to maintain SAP may also be required to complete additional financial counseling before eligibility for student financial aid can be re-established.

Effective Semester When SAP Students Can Regain Student Financial Aid Eligibility

A student may be awarded Federal Pell Grants, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Direct Loans and state financial aid (HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, etc.) for the semester in which the student is now making SAP or the semester for which a SAP appeal and/or an academic plan has been approved.

All other rules and regulations governing federal and state student financial aid programs still apply.

If you have questions concerning the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Student Financial Aid Recipients telephone (706) 542-6147 or visit OSFA at 220 Holmes/Hunter Academic Building.