Satisfactory Academic Progress

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Federal and state regulations require that students maintain a certain level of academic performance in order to be eligible for financial aid. This is known as Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

  • If you meet these requirements, you are eligible to be considered for financial aid, provided you also meet all other financial aid requirements.
  • If you do not meet these requirements, you are not eligible to receive financial aid, including during summer terms.

Read the full SAP Policy and Progress Standards

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Requirements:

  • GPA – Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 for all undergraduate students and 3.0 for all graduate students.
  • Credit Completion Rate – Minimum credit hour completion rate of 66.6% for both undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Maximum Time Frame – Completing a degree within a maximum time frame (150% of the number of hours required for graduation in their programs of study, including transferred hours accepted for credit toward the degree.)
Reviewing Your Academic Progress
  • The Office of Financial Aid reviews the grades of each student who received aid at the end of each Spring semester.
    • The review includes all semesters of attendance at UNC Charlotte, whether or not financial aid was received.
  • Students who fail to meet one or more of the SAP standards at the time their academic progress is reviewed are not eligible for financial aid going forward.
  • Financial aid eligibility may be regained in the future if the student’s cumulative performance meets all three standards of SAP.

Appealing the SAP decision

Students who are not meeting SAP may appeal their eligibility to receive aid by completing the appeal process below.

  • Appeal Form Submission Deadlines:
    • August 26 – Deadline to submit a SAP appeal to receive aid for Fall 2024
    • Summer Exception – Appeals are NOT accepted for any summer terms
  • Number of Appeals: Students are limited to a maximum of three approved appeals during their program of study. Students who are not progressing due to not completing their degree in the maximum time-frame are limited to one approved appeal.

If you choose not to appeal or your SAP appeal is not approved, you must make your own financial arrangements and pay your bill in full by the payment due date. You also have the option to apply for an alternative loan. This is a private education loan, offered by private lenders. Read more about alternative loans here.

Academic Suspension
  • Students who are academically suspended at the end of the spring semester, but are allowed to enroll in the summer term as a condition of their reinstatement, are not eligible for financial aid during the summer terms.

  • Students who have been re-admitted as a result of the “two year rule” or “associate rule” must still meet the standards of SAP in order to be eligible for financial aid.
  • Forgiveness and/or grade replacements are an academic policy only that does not apply to financial aid. Both the original and repeated grades will count towards the cumulative GPA and completion rate when SAP is reviewed.

Notification regarding SAP
  • Please allow up to 3 weeks for a decision to be made on a SAP appeal.
  • The Office of Financial Aid will notify you of your failure to meet the standards of SAP by email; however, it is your responsibility to monitor your SAP status, and stay informed of the University’s SAP standards.
  • SAP policy and appeal information are detailed in the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the SAP Policy

Will the SAP process affect my Summer and/or Fall/Spring awards as a continuing student?
  • All awards are tentative based upon final evaluation of SAP. SAP evaluations are completed at the end of Spring, at which point, future award offers will be removed for those students who do not meet SAP criteria.
  • If a student is not meeting SAP, they will be notified and can submit a SAP Appeal for the next Fall or Spring.
    • Fall SAP appeals are made available at the end of Spring (May).
    • Spring SAP appeals are made available at the end of Fall (December).
  • Appeals will be reviewed to determine if we can award financial aid on a probationary basis.
    • Please Note: Submission of an appeal does not guarantee you will receive aid.
  • Summer aid will not be available to students who are not meeting SAP at the end of Spring. There is no SAP Appeal for Summer.
  • Students not meeting SAP have the option of a payment plan or alternative loans, using a lender that does not require the student to be meeting SAP.

What can I do to make sure I remain in good SAP standing?
  • Avoid withdrawing from classes
  • Avoid earning grades not considered to be passing according to the SAP policy
  • Follow your degree plan
  • Meet with an advisor regularly.

Why is my SAP status not available?
  • Please ensure that we have received your FAFSA as we evaluate SAP for all students with a FAFSA on file.
  • If you are a new freshmen or transfer student, you will not have a SAP standing until the end of the Spring semester.
    • Newly admitted students will default as financial aid eligible and will have an official SAP status determined at the end of Spring.

How can I be in good standing academically but not be meeting SAP for financial aid?

The academic GPA and financial aid GPA may be different. Forgiveness and/or grade replacements are an academic policy only and do not apply to financial aid. Financial aid guidelines do not allow us to forgive grades which is why we evaluate SAP using the cumulative GPA, including all original grades.

About SAP Appeals

How do I submit a SAP Appeal?
  • SAP Appeals for Fall or Spring must be submitted via by the posted deadline for the semester.
  • If you are not meeting SAP, you will see the option to submit a SAP Appeal in the appeals tool.

I have been out of college for a number of semesters/years, how can I be on suspension?
  • Your academic history, including hours transferred into UNC Charlotte, is cumulative and never resets itself, unless you change programs (undergraduate to graduate).
  • Once you are in violation of SAP requirements, the suspension status remains until an appeal is approved or sufficient academic progress is made.
  • Transferred hours do not count towards GPA but they do count towards maximum attempted hours and completion rate.

My Academic Suspension Appeal has been approved; does this remove me from financial aid suspension?
  • No, an approved Academic Suspension Appeal does not impact your financial aid status.
  • Only a financial aid SAP Appeal approved through the SAP Appeal committee can reinstate students’ financial aid.

I’m on financial aid suspension, can I still apply for a Direct Loan?

No, your suspension status impacts eligibility for all federal aid, including Direct Loans.

Is there any way to expedite the review of my appeal?

No, appeals are reviewed according to the date they are received.

How long will it take to receive a decision?

The review time can take up to three weeks and there is no guarantee your appeal will be approved.

How will I be notified whether my appeal is approved or denied?

A message will be sent to your University email address.

If my appeal is denied can I petition the decision?

No, the committee’s decision is final.

If my appeal is approved, does it go into effect immediately, or can I use it for a later date?
  • If approved, SAP appeals allow financial aid eligibility only for the term for which you submitted the appeal.
  • If you do not attend UNC Charlotte during the term for which the appeal was submitted, the approval will become null and void.
  • You will be required to submit another appeal with no guarantee of approval if you return to UNC Charlotte at a later date and wish to be considered for financial aid.

About Withdrawing from Classes

I need to withdraw from a class; what will happen?
  • Withdrawing from classes should be avoided when possible. Doing so could require a portion or the entire amount of financial aid funds disbursed to be paid back. Withdrawing also affects Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status and possible future financial aid eligibility, this includes withdrawals for extenuating circumstances.
  • Students needing to withdraw from a class should consult Niner Central to discuss how withdrawing from a course (or courses) may affect SAP status or cause a potential return of financial aid funds.

How is my Satisfactory Academic Progress affected by withdrawing from a class?
  • You are required to complete a minimum of 66.6% of all courses attempted. Every time you withdraw from a class, it affects your completion rate.
  • Failure to maintain the 66.6% minimum completion rate will result in being placed on financial aid suspension.
  • If you are on financial aid probation (due to an approved SAP Appeal), you have to meet the probationary criteria which includes a term completion ratio of 75% or higher.