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SAP Terminology

Understanding Satisfactory Academic Progress at Vanderbilt University

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards are required to be monitored for financial aid continuing eligibility for (institutional) need-based and/or federal Title IV financial assistance.  These standards may be stricter than those defined in the academic standards applied by each of the individual undergraduate and graduate/professional schools.

SAP Requirements

  1. Grade Point Average – a minimum cumulative grade point average required to maintain financial aid eligibility.
  2. Completion Rate – you must successfully complete at least 2/3 of all credit hours you attempt each term.
  3. Maximum Time Frame – you must complete your degree within 8 full-time equivalent semesters to maintain institutional aid and within 150% of the length of your program for federal aid eligibility.

SAP Review Timeframe is as follows:  Undergraduate students will be reviewed at the end of each term.

Graduate Professional students will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Attempted Hours: In keeping with the Registrar’s policy, attempted hours include all those in which you are enrolled as of the end of the second week of fall or spring term (typically the end of the add/drop period). Summer schedule is similar to fall/spring but determined according to the summer calendar.

Repeated Courses affect both your GPA and your completion rate.

Transfer Hours do not affect your GPA. However, transfer hours are added to both completed hours and attempted hours in the completion rate.  Transfer hours are counted in the limitation of 8 semesters of institutional aid.  Example: You transfer in 30 hours of completed course work at a post-secondary institution. This will count as 2 full-time equivalent semesters toward your eight semesters for institutional aid eligibility.

Temporary Grades of M, MI, I affect your GPA in determining your SAP status.  A temporary grade is calculated as an F until a permanent grade is assigned. If a temporary grade is converted to a passing grade, your GPA will be recalculated accordingly. Temporary grades will adversely affect your SAP Completion Rate, counting as attempted hours but not completed hours.

Withdrawals do not affect your GPA. However, withdrawals are NOT considered successful completion, and will adversely affect your Completion Rate as well as your maximum institutional aid eligibility.

Failed courses will impact your GPA. A failed course will also adversely affect your Complete Rate, counting as attempted hours but not completed hours.

Warning status (WARN) will be assigned to students who fail to complete the required credit hours within the specified time frame and/or who fail to maintain the minimum GPA. The financial aid commitment will be made for one subsequent semester only, pending review of SAP at the end of that subsequent semester.

Suspended status (SUSP) will be assigned to students who fail to complete the required credit hours and/or fails to maintain the minimum GPA within the subsequent semester. All institutional and/or federal financial aid will be Suspended

SAP appeal may be submitted in certain circumstances.  Appeals may be made in the case of injury, illness, the death of a relative, or some other unique circumstance. An appeal should contain an explanation of why the student failed to make SAP and what has changed that will now permit satisfactory progress by the end of the next enrollment period.

Deadline for appeal will be imposed. Your appeal must be received by our office 30 days after the date of SAP notification or 30 days prior to the start of the next term (whichever is greater) if you plan to enroll and request financial assistance.  If the deadline is not met for the current/subsequent term you may appeal for financial assistance for the following term.

Financial Aid Probation (PROB) will be granted to a student who successfully appeal. The probation period is one semester in length. At the end of the probationary semester, the student’s satisfactory progress will be reviewed. If a student fails to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress all institutional and/or federal Title IV financial aid will be Suspended

Subsequent appeal may be submitted for continuation of financial aid and will be reviewed in collaboration with an Institutional Appeal Committee to include members of the academic unit. If it is determined that the student’s failure to meet academic progress was the result of illness, death in the family, or other exceptional or mitigating circumstances, those factors will be considered in determining whether or not eligibility for federal and/or institutional student aid funds can be reinstated for one or more semester(s) while following a prescribed Academic Plan as defined by an academic dean and/or advisors.

Academic Plan (PLAN) will be established to ensure SAP will be met by a specific point in time in order to continue to receive institutional and/or federal student aid. Students who fail to earn the minimum credit hours and GPA specified in their established PLAN will have all financial assistance suspended until the academic deficiency is corrected.

Reestablished eligibility for institutional and/or federal student aid will occur when a student successfully meets the SAP standards. This may be done by completing additional coursework without financial assistance.  It will be the responsibility of the student to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships to request the reinstatement of his/her institutional and/or federal assistance.

Maximum Aid Eligibility for institutional need-based assistance is a maximum of four years (eight semesters or its equivalent) of full-time enrollment. This timeframe is established for attainment of one major toward a baccalaureate degree. Terms enrolled and credits earned at prior colleges/universities and accepted toward the student's undergraduate degree may be counted toward the maximum time frame for institutional financial assistance.

Maximum Aid Eligibility for federal assistance is a maximum of 150% of the required credit hours to receive a degree or six years (twelve semesters or its equivalent) of full-time enrollment. This timeframe is established for attainment of the baccalaureate degree.