Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Unsatisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Academic Plan

For the purpose of this policy, “semester” refers to a sixteen-week academic period or a set of two terms that are linked together (also referred to as linked-terms or linked-mods). “Term” refers to an eight-week academic period. Often, the word “term” is used interchangeably with the word “module.” Saint Leo University’s academic year consists of 2 semesters or 4 terms.

All students receiving Federal Title IV financial aid, state aid or Saint Leo institutional aid must adhere to the university’s published policy on satisfactory academic progress. The Higher Education Act as amended by Congress mandates that higher education institutions establish minimum standards of “satisfactory academic progress” for students receiving financial aid.

Satisfactory academic progress standards are evaluated at the end of each semester. Students receive a warning when not meeting all or part of the standard and are given one additional semester to meet the standard. Those that do not meet the standard after the warning period are not eligible for financial aid. Ineligible students may be able to appeal the decision.

Requirements to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards include:

  1. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of:

    Undergraduate Students:

    Total Number of Credits Attempted Minimum Cumulative GPA
    1-44 1.50
    45-59 1.70
    60 or more 2.0

    Graduate Students: A minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA is required at all times.

    Doctor of Business Administration in Management Students: A minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA is required at all times.

  2. Successfully meet pace of completion rate by completing at least 67% of all attempted credit hours.
  3. Complete program of study within the maximum timeframe of 150% (see academic catalog for published program lengths). Doctor of Business Administration in Management students must successfully complete and defend their dissertation within 7 years from the start of the program.

Treatment of courses:

  • Successful completion of a class is defined as earning a grade of A, B, C, D, or P (Pass). Unsuccessful grades are F, FA or W. Incomplete grade (I) is not included in the calculation until the course is completed and grade is assigned.
  • Repeated courses: The highest grade earned is counted in GPA calculation. All repeated course credit hours count toward pace of completion and maximum timeframe.
  • Audit courses: Courses taken on an audit basis are not counted when determining the pace of completion or for purposes of determining your cumulative GPA or for maximum timeframe.
  • Remedial courses: Remedial courses are counted when determining the pace of completion and maximum time frame.
  • Transfer credit: All hours accepted by Saint Leo that count toward the degree will be used to determine pace of completion rate and maximum timeframe. Transfer credit is not assigned quality points (grades for GPA).

Satisfactory academic progress is evaluated at the end of each payment period (i.e., fall, spring, and summer semesters). The following financial aid eligibility statuses are assigned after the review:

  • Eligible: Student is meeting the minimum SAP standards or has no academic history.
  • Warning: Student did not meet minimum SAP standards in the previous evaluation period. Student is still eligible for financial aid, but must reach all minimum standards by the end of the next evaluation period to maintain eligibility.
  • Probation: Student appeal approved; placed on an academic plan. Eligible for financial aid.
  • Ineligible: Student has had two consecutive SAP evaluation periods below minimum standards for cumulative GPA and/or 67% completion rate; or student has exceeded the maximum time frame of 150% (see academic catalog for published program lengths); or student did not meet the requirements of their academic plan. Students in ineligible status may not receive financial aid.
  • Max time frame: Student has exceeded 150% of length.

How to Re-establish Eligibility

There are two ways a student can re-establish their eligibility for financial aid:

  1. A student must bring his/her GPA and/or completion rate up to the minimum standards, as stated above, to regain financial aid eligibility. At the check-point after meeting SAP standards, the student will regain financial aid eligibility. A student should consult with a Financial Aid Liaison to ensure aid eligibility is reinstated for the next period of enrollment.
  2. Transfer credit accepted by SLU can affect completion rate. If transfer credit is accepted by SLU the student should request a review of their satisfactory academic progress to determine if eligibility has changed.

Special Circumstances

If a student has experienced special circumstances (e.g. illness, job related issues, family illness or for maximum time frame; dual major, second degree, etc.) during the most recent evaluation period that s/he did not meet standards of academic progress, they may submit an appeal to reinstate financial aid eligibility. Appeal forms are available on the SLU Financial Aid website. The student must also submit supporting documentation and a completed SAP Academic Plan form when submitting the appeal form. If the request is granted, the student will be placed on financial aid probation for a minimum of one semester.

  • One Semester Probation - The student is expected to improve to minimum standards by the end of the next evaluation period. The student is eligible for financial aid, but must meet minimum standards by the next evaluation period to maintain eligibility.
  • SAP Academic Plan – A student who cannot meet the minimum standards by the next evaluation period is placed on a SAP academic plan. The academic plan is designed to allow the student to meet minimum standards within a fixed number of evaluation periods (generally two semesters). Progress is monitored and evaluated based on the terms of the plan. If the student fails to meet the requirements of the plan they will become ineligible for financial aid. If a student meets minimum standards at any time while on an academic plan their financial aid status can be updated to eligible upon request.

The following financial aid eligibility statuses are assigned if probation is approved:

  • Probation (PROB-1): placed on one semester probation
  • Academic Plan: placed on an SAP academic plan

If the request is not granted, the student will remain ineligible for financial aid until they meet all minimum standards.

Students may not submit an appeal for two consecutive review periods. Undergraduate students in a four year program may submit a maximum of two appeals for the duration of their program, undergraduates in a two year program and graduate students may submit a maximum of one.


Appeal must be submitted by week 5 of the semester when the student became ineligible in order to be applicable to the current semester.

  • Appeals received by week 5, if approved, will allow the student to regain financial aid eligibility for the current semester of enrollment.
  • Appeals received after week 5 will be effective for the next period of enrollment. Student will regain eligibility in the next semester of enrollment.

Notifications are sent via email to the student's Saint Leo email address within 30 days of the university receiving a complete appeal.