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Understanding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The Higher Education Act of 1965, requires that all institutions of higher education establish a minimum standard of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students receiving federal financial aid.  At CSULB, these SAP Standards are applicable to all federal, state and institutional aid programs for the purpose of maintaining a consistent policy for all students receiving financial aid.

 

Basic Overview

  • SAP is measured for any student at CSULB who applies for financial aid.

     
  • SAP monitors students’ academic work in three categories: GPA, Pace (credits completed vs.  credits attempted), and Maximum Time Frame (overall credits taken towards your degree)

     
  • SAP is monitored at the end of every semester, once grades have been finalized and posted.

     
  • Your SAP status is calculated using your entire academic record from all schools attended, even if you did not receive financial aid.

     
  • The first time you fail to meet any either the Pace or GPA Standard, you will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for your next semester of enrollment.  This warning status still allows you to receive aid for that next semester of enrollment, while attempting to correct the deficiency in your GPA and/or Pace.

     
  • If you fail to meet two standards for two consecutive semesters (Pace and/or GPA), you will be considered Financial Aid Disqualified.  You can appeal the loss of eligibility, but approval an appeal is not guaranteed.

     
  • A SAP / Financial Aid Disqualification has no impact on your ability to register.  You may still enroll in classes and pay out-of-pocket or with private loans.

     
  • You may regain financial aid eligibility after a SAP / Financial Aid Disqualification by either meeting the standards through your academic work in future semesters OR by having an approved SAP appeal.

     
  • Failing to meet the Maximum Time Frame Standard results in an immediate loss of further aid eligibility.  You can appeal the loss of eligibility, but approval an appeal is not guaranteed.

The SAP Standards

SAP monitors your academic work in three categories: GPA, Pace (credits earned out of credits attempted), and Maximum Time (overall credits taken towards your degree).

SAP Standards Information

Academic Objective (Degree)

Minimum Cumulative GPA

Minimum Cumulative Pace of Completion

Maximum Time Frame of Aid Eligibility for Degree Completion

Undergraduate (1st Bachelors)

2.0

66%

150% of published degree length – measured in attempted units

Teaching Credential, Certificate, Additional Bachelors’ Degree

2.5

66%

150% of published degree length – measured in attempted units

Graduate Degree (Master’s, Doctorate)

3.0

66%

150% of published degree length – measured in attempted units

Cumulative GPA:   

The GPA Standard measures your academic progress through your cumulative GPA.  Your cumulative GPA includes all courses you have taken that have been factored into your cumulative GPA at CSULB.  This includes all courses taken at CSULB as well as from any other institution (that have been accepted and posted to your record).

CSULB academic policies determine how the GPA is calculated including which grades count in the GPA calculation and the effect of course repeats on GPA.

You can see your current cumulative (or “Overall”) GPA on your unofficial transcript and Academic Requirements report in MyCSULB.


Pace of Completion:

The Pace Standard measures your progress toward successful degree completion within the maximum timeframe allowed.

Your Pace is measured by comparing the total number of overall credits completed (or earned) in relation to the total number of overall credits attempted.  The completion ratio is measured by dividing total hours passed by total hours attempted.

Credits Completed includes all coursework where credit is earned with a grade of A, B, C, D, RP, or CR

Credits Attempted includes all coursework attempted – regardless of the grade (courses with a W, WU, F, I, NC, and RD are counted as attempted)

The following types of courses and credit are NOT included in the Pace calculation at CSULB:

  • Audited coursework
  • Military credit
  • Credit earned through examination (AP, IB and other test credit)
  • Course withdrawal for extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control (normally medical) as indicated by the assignment of a grade of WE.

 


Maximum Time Frame:

A student is eligible to receive financial aid for a maximum number of overall attempted credits for their program of study.  The Maximum Time Frame Standard measures how many of your overall attempted credits you have remaining before exceeding the time allowed for your program.

Once you have exceeded the maximum time frame for your program (measured in attempted units), you will be ineligible to receive additional financial aid for that program (unless an appeal is submitted and approved).

Information Specific to Undergraduate Degree Students

Credits and Coursework that is NOT INCLUDED in the SAP Maximum Time Frame Calculation

Not all credit posted to a student’s academic record can count toward the degree program requirements.  As a result, the following exclusions/adjustments are made with regards to the Maximum Time Frame Calculation:

  • Remedial / Pre-Baccalaureate coursework is excluded as it does not carry baccalaureate credit.

     
  • Courses with a grade of WE are excluded.  Course withdrawals for extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control (normally medical) are indicated by the assignment of a grade of WE are excluded. In keeping consistent with CSULB Academic Policy, courses with a grade of WE are not included in the Maximum Time Frame, nor the Pace, calculation.

     
  • Test credit (AP, IB, etc) and Military credit are excluded from the Maximum Time Frame and Pace calculations.

     
  • A maximum of 70 units of transferable credit from a 2-year institution is included in the Maximum Time Frame Calculation based on CSU and CSULB policy.  Any units from a 2-year institution that are in excess of 70 units will be excluded from the Maximum Time Frame calculation only.

     
  • Students with additional transfer credit not already excluded in the initial calculation may submit a request to have the credit(s) excluded if it cannot be used to meet any CSULB degree requirement including general electives



Changing Majors

If you change majors, the credits you earn under all majors will be included in your GPA calculation, your Pace calculation, as well as your Maximum Time Frame attempted units.  Changing majors does not “re-set” your SAP.




Impact of Additional Academic Objectives on Maximum Time Frame

The Maximum Time Frame Standard is not increased to allow for the pursuit of additional objectives with the baccalaureate degree. 

Undergraduate students can pursue additional academic objectives (majors, minors, certificates) and receive financial aid; however they must complete all coursework within the units allowed for the ‘primary’ academic major.   

This approach is consistent with the Undergraduate Timely Graduation policy; the only difference is that the Maximum Time Frame standard measures attempted units.

Information Specific to Post-Baccalaureate Students

Dual Academic Objective

For students that are officially pursuing a financial aid eligible credential or certificate concurrently with a Master’s Degree program, the Maximum Time Frame Standard will be based on the combined sum of the minimum units required of each program you are officially pursuing.  The combined total units will be multiplied by 150%.  This will be your new Maximum Time Frame while you are pursuing both objectives.


Impact of Lower Division (100 – 200 Level Courses) on SAP

Students who are pursuing a Credential, Certificate, Additional Bachelor’s Degree, or a Graduate Degree may be required to complete lower division coursework to resolve pre-requisites or other necessary activities to complete their program of study.   These lower division courses impact the three SAP Standards in the following ways:

GPA Standard:

Your GPA is calculated based upon 300-level or higher coursework taken after completion of your bachelor’s degree.  Lower division coursework will not be factored into your cumulate GPA for your Credential, Certificate, Additional Bachelor’s Degree, or Graduate Degree.


Pace Standard

As with the GPA standard, students pursuing an academic objective beyond the initial Bachelor’s Degree receive degree credit on their transcript for completing coursework at the 300-level or higher.

When measuring your PACE, any courses attempted at the 100 or 200-level will be considered "attempted" units, but not "completed" irrespective of your final grade.   This will negatively impact your PACE measurement.




Maximum Time Frame Standard

The Maximum Time Frame is calculated using the published minimum degree requirements. If lower division coursework (100 or 200 level courses) is required to complete your program of study it is expected that it will be accomplished within the 150% maximum timeframe.

Be Aware: To receive financial aid in any term, students must be enrolled at least half-time in courses required to meet their degree or credential requirements as specified in the catalog.

SAP Evaluations and SAP Statuses

SAP is monitored at the end of every semester, once grades have been finalized and posted.  You will receive an email notification after each evaluation, notifying you of the results and your SAP Status.

The results of the evaluation, as well as your current status, can also be viewed on MyCSULB.

 

SAP Statuses Information

SAP Status

Description

Action Options

Impact on Aid Eligibility

Meets SAP

You meet all SAP Standards

No Action Required

Eligible for Aid

Warning

You did not meet one or more of the SAP Standards after a semester of Meets SAP.

No Action Required -

* Warning Status is for next semester of enrollment

Eligible for Aid

Not Meets SAP

(Financial Aid Disqualified)

You did not meet one or more of the SAP Standards (GPA, Pace) after a Warning Semester

OR

You have exceed the Maximum Time Frame

* Submit an Appeal

OR

* Continue to enroll without aid & work to improve SAP Status through academic work

Not Eligible for Aid

Probation

(Financial Aid Probation)

SAP Appeal Approved

* Probation status is for next semester of enrollment

Eligible for Aid

Not Meets SAP

(After Probation Semester)

You did not meet one or more of the SAP Standards (GPA, Pace) after your Probation Semester

* Submit an Appeal – which must include an Academic Plan

OR

* Continue to enroll without aid & work to improve SAP Status through academic work

Not Eligible for Aid

Probation

(Financial Aid Probation with Academic Plan)

SAP Appeal with Academic Plan Approved

* Probation status is for next semester of enrollment

* Follow Academic Plan requirements

Eligible for Aid

Meets SAP (with Academic Plan)

You are on an Approved Academic Plan as part of your last SAP Appeal.  Although not meeting the SAP Standards, you are adhering to the terms of your Plan.  all SAP Standards

* Follow Academic Plan requirements

Eligible for Aid

Not Meet SAP

(Did not Adhere to Academic Plan)

You were on an Approved Academic Plan as part of your last SAP Appeal.  You did not follow the requirements of the Academic Plan and are not meeting the SAP standards.

* Continue to enroll without aid & work to improve SAP Status through academic work

Not Eligible for Aid

Reinstatement of Financial Aid / Regaining Eligibility

A student that fails to meet the SAP requirements and has a SAP Status of "Not Meets SAP," will have financial aid eligibility reinstated when he or she meets all three SAP standards, or submits a SAP Appeal that is successfully approved.

Paying out of pocket for classes or sitting out a semester is not grounds for reinstatement of aid. Students must bring their academic progress back into compliance or have an appeal approved to have aid reinstated. 

SAP Appeal

Students with a status of Not Meets SAP may appeal their status to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee of the CSULB Financial Aid Office.

An appeal must be based on extenuating circumstances.  Supporting documentation may be requested and/or required as part of your appeal (depending on your circumstances).  Circumstances for appeals include, but are not limited to:

  • Illness, accident, or injury experienced by you or a significant person in your life.
  • Death of a family member or significant person in your life.
  • Divorce experienced by you or parent.
  • Significant trauma in your life that impaired your emotional and/or physical health.
  • Other significant unexpected and documented circumstances beyond your control.

Changes in major and double majors are not viewed as extenuating circumstances, since the standard is quite generous in the time frame allowed to complete a degree.

To appeal your failure to meet SAP due to any of these or similar personal issues, submit the CSULB SAP Appeal form that corresponds to your status (a direct link is provided in your email notification from our office).   Appeals must be received within 4 weeks of the date of being notified about not meeting standards. 

In your appeal, you must:

  • Explain how the circumstances prevented you from meeting SAP. 
  • Explain what has changed in your situation that would allow you to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation.  This includes detailing any action you are taking to ensure you will meet SAP standards. 

     

If your appeal is approved, you will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for the next semester of enrollment.  If your aid was previously cancelled, it will be reinstated based on funds available at that time. Therefore, your best interest is served by submitting an appeal as soon as you receive your suspension notice.

Approved Appeals

If your appeal is approved, you will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for your next semester of enrollment.  At the conclusion of your Financial Aid Probation term, you must be meeting CSULB’s SAP standards in order to remain eligible for further financial aid.

NOTE:  Receiving a grade of F, W, WU, I, NC or RD during your Financial Aid Probation semester will most likely cause you to not meet the SAP Standards at the end of your Probation term.

Denied Appeals

If your appeal is denied, you will not be eligible for financial aid until you are able to meet the SAP Standards your academic work in future semesters.

Appeal of Denial (2nd Level Appeal)

If you wish to challenge the denial of your appeal:

  • Your challenge must be submitted in writing to the Director of Financial Aid
  • You must provide a clear written rationale for your challenge of the denial
  • Your challenge must be submitted within two weeks of when you were notified of the appeal denial

     

The Director of Financial Aid will consult with the Associate Vice Presidents of Enrollment Services, Academic Affairs, and/or Student Services, as appropriate in evaluating, and responding to, your challenge.

Academic Plans

There are times when your appeal may require the submission of an Academic Plan.  This generally occurs for the following:

  • If you are appealing your status after failing to meet SAP during your SAP Probation semester.
  • If, when reviewing your appeal, it is determined that even if your appeal is approved you will not be able to meet the GPA or the Pace Standard at the end of your Probation semester.

     

Following this plan successfully allows you to either regain aid eligibility by meeting SAP standards or by continuing to follow your plan through completion of your program of study.

While on an academic plan, you must:

  • Maintain a minimum term GPA of:
    • 2.0 for Undergraduate Degree Students
    • 2.5 for Credential, Certificate, or Additional Bachelor Degree Students
    • 3.0 for Graduate Degree Students

       
  • Only take courses listed on your Academic Plan for each semester
  • Complete ALL Courses attempted each semester

     

Progress is reviewed by the Financial Aid SAP Office at the end of each semester. If, at the end of the semester, you make progress as stipulated in your academic plan, your new SAP status will be Meets SAP (based on your adherence to your academic plan).

If you are not making progress as stipulated in your academic plan, your new SAP status will change to Not Meets SAP (did not adhere to plan).  Your aid eligibility will be suspended immediately, and you will not have an opportunity to appeal your status.   Once you have failed to meet the terms of your Plan, you can regain eligibility for financial aid only by meeting the standards through your academic work in future semesters

Check Your Status in MyCSULB

Once you have been enrolled for at least one semester at CSULB, you will be able to view the results of your latest SAP evaluation through MyCSULB. 

Your "SAP for Financial Aid" screen provides the details of your latest SAP evaluation and how you measure up against each of the three required SAP Standards.

To View your SAP For Financial Aid in MyCSULB:

  1. Log in to MyCSULB
  2. Turn off your internet browser’s pop up blocker.
  3. Scroll down to Finances on the left-hand side of the screen.
  4. Locate the drop down box that says “other financial…”
  5. Choose “SAP For Financial Aid.”

Campus Support

The Financial Aid Office encourages any student experiencing academic difficulties to utilize academic services available at CSULB. These are valuable resources that can assist you if you are struggling to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Full SAP Policy

To review CSULB’s Official SAP Policy, please go to: