SAP Policy

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).

Satisfactory Academic Progress

All students who wish to qualify for federal and state aid must meet three standards collectively known as SAP. These standards include:

  • a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • a minimum credit hour completion rate
  • completion of a degree or program of study within a maximum number of credit hours

Read the full SAP Policy and Progress Standards

What is considered in the review
  • All prior coursework, attempted and earned, is reviewed in the determination of SAP. 
  • Students who have been re-admitted as a result of the “two year rule” or “associate rule” (see catalog) are still subject to Satisfactory Academic Progress standards for all attempted coursework at UNC Charlotte. 
  • Any courses that had a grade replacement utilized will also have the original grade included in the determination for SAP.
  • 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.
  • Eligibility to receive aid may be reestablished if grades and/or the completion rate improves to meet the cumulative SAP standards.
When the review happens
  • The Office of Financial Aid will measure a student’s academic performance annually, at the end of each spring semester.
  • You will be notified by email and in Banner Self-Service if you fail to meet the standards of SAP; however, it is the students’ responsibility to stay informed of the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standards and to monitor their own academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements

I. Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

In order to receive federal financial aid or other need-based aid, a student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) must meet the minimum requirement as defined below:

  • Undergraduate Students – must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • Graduate Students – must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • 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 when SAP is reviewed.
II. ​Minimum Credit Hour Completion Rate

All students must earn a minimum of two-thirds or 66.6% of the credit hours that they have attempted.

Example A:

The student below has earned 120 hours cumulatively between transferred courses and those taken at UNC Charlotte.

Attempt HoursPassed HoursEarned HoursGPA HoursQuality PointsGPA
UNC Charlotte:76.00073.00073.00073.000283.003.877

Example B:

The student below has attempted a total of 48 credit hours during his entire attendance at UNC Charlotte.  In order to meet the minimum credit hour completion rate requirement and be eligible for financial aid for future semesters, the student must have earned a passing grade for 32 of those credit hours (48 x 0.666 = 32).  In this case, the student has only earned 24 credit hours and is NOT meeting the minimum credit hour completion rate.  (24 earned hours divided by 48 attempted hours = 50%).  This student is not eligible for financial aid.

Attempt HoursPassed HoursEarned HoursGPA HoursQuality PointsGPA
UNC Charlotte:48.00024.00024.00024.00060.002.500

SAP Specifications

  • Earned Hours:  includes grades of A, B, C, D, H, P or S
  • Unearned Hours:  includes grades of F, I, IP, W, WE, NR, U or N 
  • In Progress Grades: Graduate students who earn IP grades for dissertation/thesis research credits will be evaluated on a case by case basis separate from the initial SAP review process.
  • Withdrawals (W): Courses for which a student has withdrawn and a W is posted on their transcript, are counted as attempted but not earned credit hours. This includes a withdrawal for extenuating circumstances (WE).
  • Course Repeats: If a student repeats a course, both the original and the repeated courses will count toward the earned and attempted credit hours.  Students may only receive federal financial aid for one repeat of a course that has been successfully completed with a grade    of “D” or higher.
  • Incomplete Grades (I):Courses for which a student earns a grade of incomplete (I) are counted as attempted but not earned credit hours.  Once a grade is received it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid by submitting an appeal.
  • Remedial or ESL Coursework: Remedial and ESL coursework are treated the same as other course work for financial aid purposes. Both the attempted and earned hours count in the calculation of completion ratio and maximum allotted hours. 
III. Maximum Credit Hours
  • To remain eligible for financial aid at UNC Charlotte, students must complete their degree program requirements within 150 percent of the published length of their degree program.  All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received.
    • Undergraduate Example:
      • If an Undergraduate degree program requires 120 semester credit hours to complete, then a student is eligible for financial aid during the first 180 attempted credit hours as an Undergraduate. 
      • (120 x 150% = 180 maximum attempted credit hours for financial aid eligibility).
    • Graduate Students:
      • Graduate programs may vary in length. Graduate students must complete, their degree within 150% of the maximum time frame as determined by the Graduate School.
    • Second Degree-Seeking Students:
      • A student pursuing a second undergraduate degree, after earning their first undergraduate degree from UNC Charlotte, is eligible to receive financial aid for a combined maximum of 228 attempted hours in total. 
      • Students with a prior undergraduate degree from an institution other than UNC Charlotte are subject to the 180 attempted credit hour maximum.
      • All transfer credit from a prior degree earned from another institution will count toward the 180 (or 228) attempted credit hour maximum.
    • Mid-Year Transfer Students:
      • When a student transfers to the University, all of their transfer credit hours are counted towards SAP as attempted and earned hours. All transfer grades are excluded from the University for SAP purposes, and the GPA starts at 0.00 as a new transfer student.