image of clocktower at dawn on Saint Leo University campus

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Jump to

SAP Standards Policy

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. The standards used to judge academic progress include all periods of enrollment, even periods in which the student did not receive federal student aid funds.

Saint Leo University’s classes are offered in semester and module formats. “Semester” refers to a sixteen-week academic period or a set of two eight-week modules that are linked together. (This is also referred to as “linked-terms” or “linked-mods.”) Often, the word “term” is used interchangeably with the word “module.” Saint Leo’s academic year consists of a traditional calendar with 2 semesters or 4 terms, or an alternative calendar with 4 terms. Semester classes typically have one disbursement, term classes also have one disbursement, with 2 disbursements over the span of the semester.

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.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

The following are Saint Leo's requirements to meet satisfactory academic progress standards.

  • Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of:

Undergraduate Students:

Total Number of Credits Attempted Minimum Cumulative GPA
1-30 1.50
31-59 1.70
60 or more 2.0

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

Doctoral Students: minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA is required at all times.

  • Successfully meet pace of completion rate by completing at least 67% of all attempted credit hours.

  • Complete program of study within the maximum time frame (MTF) of 150% (see academic catalog for published program lengths).

Treatment of Courses


All courses taken at Saint Leo for an undergraduate program and transfer credit that apply to your program will be used to determine pace of completion rate and maximum time frame (even when changing majors).


All courses taken at Saint Leo for a graduate program and transfer credit that apply to the program will be used to determine pace of completion rate and maximum time frame. The maximum time frame may be extended if completing a second degree at the same level (i.e. second graduate degree earned at SLU).

Course Completion

Successful completion of a class is defined as earning a grade of A, B, C, D, or P (Pass). Unsuccessful grades are F, FA (failure to attend), or W (withdrawal). Incomplete grade (I) is not included in the calculation until the course is completed and a 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 time frame.

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 time frame.

Remedial courses

Courses are counted when determining the pace of completion and maximum time frame requirements.

Transfer credit

All hours accepted by Saint Leo that count toward the degree will be used to determine pace of completion rate and maximum time frame. Transfer credit is not assigned quality points (grades for GPA).

Financial Aid Eligibility Statuses

Satisfactory academic progress is evaluated at the end of each payment period (semester).

  • Blank: Student has no academic history.
  • Eligible: Student is meeting the minimum SAP standards.
  • 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.
  • Ineligible: Student has had two consecutive SAP evaluation periods below minimum standards for cumulative GPA and/or PACE; or student has exceeded the maximum time frame requirement (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 for subsequent semesters.
  • Max time frame: Student has exceeded 150% completion requirement. Students in max time frame status do not receive financial aid for subsequent semesters.

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 checkpoint after meeting SAP standards, the student will regain financial aid eligibility. A student should consult with a Student Financial Advisor to ensure aid eligibility is reinstated for the next period of enrollment.
  2. Transfer credit accepted by SLU that applies to the student’s program 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 Circumstance Appeals

If a student has experienced special circumstances (e.g. illness, job related issues, family illness) during the most recent evaluation period that s/he did not meet standards of academic progress, an appeal to request reinstatement of financial aid eligibility can be submitted.

  • If you have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you should submit your SAP appeal through Financial Aid Forms. You can access Financial Aid Forms through Saint Leo University's Okta Portal by clicking on the Financial Aid Forms tile. You can then review the SAP Appeal Instructions document by clicking the Request button. Follow the specific instructions for document upload. Your SAP appeal review will move forward once all items are submitted and satisfied.
  • If you do not have a FAFSA on file, you can contact Student Financial Services for guidance. Toll free: (800) 240-7658 or email:

A completed appeal form, personal statement, and supporting documentation is required before the appeal will be reviewed. The personal statement should explain what extenuating circumstances beyond your control prevented you from meeting the SAP requirements; and the steps you have taken to resolve your circumstances. In some situations, an academic plan may be required. If the appeal request is granted, the student will be placed on financial aid probation for a minimum of one semester.

  • One Semester Probation – The student is eligible for financial aid and is expected to improve and 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 checked each semester 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 the minimum SAP standards while on an academic plan their financial aid status is updated to eligible at their next checkpoint.

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

  • Probation (PROB-1): placed on one semester probation.
  • Academic Plan (PROB-2): placed on a two semester probation with academic plan.

If the appeal 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 (this includes probationary 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 or doctoral 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. Students with approved appeals 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.

Contact Student Financial Services