Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is about ensuring you are able to complete your academic program in a timely manner while achieving minimum academic standards. In an age of increasing accountability of the use of federal student aid funds (and other federal, state, and institutional funds), institutions and students must demonstrate financial aid funds are being used to assist students in completing their academic goals in the most efficient way.
Federal regulations mandate all students are required to maintain SAP toward a degree in order to receive financial assistance through Title IV federal financial aid (including, but not limited to, the Pell Grant, Stafford Loan, Perkins Loan, Parent PLUS, Graduate/Professional PLUS, Federal Work-study, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and TEACH Grant) and need-based state aid (such as the Kentucky CAP Grant) programs. You must meet the academic standards as outlined in the SAP policy. These standards are for financial aid purposes only and neither replaces nor overrides academic policies outlined by the University of Louisville. A current academic year FAFSA must be on file in order for SAP to be evaluated. Therefore, before an appeal is submitted please ensure your FAFSA is complete. Complete your fafsa here at www.fafsa.gov. The SAP policy applies to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students as described below.
You are initially considered meeting SAP when admitted as a new, degree-seeking Freshman. Courses taken as a high school student will impact your SAP assessment beginning with the first annual SAP evaluation after your first term as a new, degree-seeking Freshman. For example, if a new, degree-seeking Freshman’s SAP is not evaluated until after the end of your first semester, you will not automatically be considered meeting SAP and any courses taken as a high school visitor will be included in the SAP assessment.
Post-baccalaureate students and those seeking a second undergraduate degree should be aware assessment of their SAP status will be based on criteria established for undergraduate students.
Graduate students and students seeking a second graduate degree will be assessed according to the criteria established for graduate students.
Dental and Medical students are considered to be maintaining satisfactory academic progress if they are in good academic standing as determined by the standards and promotions committee at each school.
Law students are considered to be maintaining SAP if they are in good standing as defined by the school of Law and are meeting outlined Pace and Maximum Time Frame requirements.
Policy Components for Undergraduate and Graduate Students
There are three components of SAP consisting of quantitative and qualitative measurements. Quantitative measurements evaluate the pace and progress by which you are working toward the completion of your program. This is measured by establishing a required percentage of credit hours that must be passed when attempted and by a maximum time frame in which you must complete your required coursework. The qualitative measurement evaluates the quality (GPA and academic standing) of your academic work.
Maximum Time Frame
You are expected to finish your program within a maximum time frame as determined by the university. All attempted credit hours are considered toward the maximum time allowance, regardless of whether you received financial aid.
Undergraduate Students: Your total cumulative attempted undergraduate hours may not exceed 182 hours (150% of the minimum 121 hours required to earn a bachelor’s degree -- 121 hours x 150%=182 hours)
- If the sole academic plan is Paralegal Studies Associate Degree, you cannot exceed more than 95 cumulative attempted hours.
Graduate Students: Your total cumulative attempted graduate hours may not exceed 150% of the minimum hours needed to complete the degree program for which you are enrolled.
Though SAP is generally only reviewed annually for students who are not on SAP probation, if it is determined you will exceed your time frame established prior to the next award year’s annual SAP evaluation, you will be reviewed on a semester basis instead of annually. For example, if you are evaluated at the end of spring semester as meeting SAP and have 176 cumulative attempted hours, if you exceed 182 hours after the summer term, you will be evaluated at of the end of the summer term and would no longer be meeting SAP.
Undergraduate and graduate students must be on target to complete their academic program within a set time frame. To determine if you are meeting this standard, total cumulative earned hours are compared to total cumulative attempted hours. Pace is calculated by dividing the total cumulative earned hours by the total cumulative attempted hours. The result must be 66.66% or greater, which means you must complete and pass at least two-thirds of your cumulative attempted hours.
Cumulative Earned Hours
Cumulative Attempted Hours
12/24 = 50%;
60/75 = 80%;
60/99 = 60.61%;
- GPA and Academic Standing
- Undergraduate Students: You must maintain at least a cumulative 2.0 official GPA and not be dismissed nor suspended from your academic program, as determined by the academic units’ policies.
- Graduate Students: You must maintain at least a cumulative 3.0 official GPA and not be dismissed nor suspended from your academic program, as determined by your academic units’ policies.
Evaluation and Notification
SAP will be reviewed annually beginning at the end of the spring semester if you have applied for summer federal financial aid or have completed the upcoming academic year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or are a new admit for a term within the upcoming academic year or are eligible to enroll in future semesters. In addition, you must be fully graded (no blank grades) since the fall 1999 term for each of your prior semesters of enrollment at UofL. If you become eligible to enroll, are admitted, apply for aid, and/or become fully graded after the first annual SAP process is run for the award year, you will have your SAP eligibility evaluated prior to your federal aid eligibility being determined. After a term has ended, any SAP evaluation completed after that date will include that term in the evaluation process. For example, if the fall term has ended prior to your SAP being evaluated, the fall term and all prior terms will be included when your SAP is calculated. If you exceed your maximum time frame established as of the end of the summer or fall term, your SAP will be re-evaluated at the end of the respective term. In order to be eligible for federal financial aid and state need-based grant aid, you are required to meet certain SAP standards, regardless of whether financial aid was received in prior semesters. If it is determined you do not meet SAP standards, you will be ineligible for any federal financial aid and state need-based aid programs. Any federal financial aid offered for the summer term prior to the annual SAP evaluation will be canceled if it is determined you do not meet SAP standards.
If it is determined you are not meeting SAP standards, you will be notified electronically. The notification will include an explanation of the SAP standards evaluated and the specific standards you do not meet.
If you lose eligibility for federal aid and state need-based programs due to not meeting SAP requirements you may:
- earn the necessary GPA or semester hours to meet the minimum requirements while not receiving federal financial aid and state need-based aid and regain eligibility after the following SAP annual review or
- submit a SAP appeal.
Unless academically dismissed, if you are denied federal aid and state need-based aid, you may continue attending using other aid sources or by funding your education yourself.
It is your responsibility to monitor your academic progress and to be aware of the requirements of your program and SAP standards.
How to Regain Eligibility
You can regain eligibility for federal aid and state need based aid through self-correction or through the appeal process.
Quantitative-Maximum Time Frame
To regain eligibility, you must graduate and advance to a new career level (UG to GR etc.). You must also meet all other components of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy as outlined above.
To regain eligibility, take courses at your own expense in a subsequent term or terms and meet the standards according to the cumulative credit hours completion ratio outlined above under the heading Pace. You must also meet all other components of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy as outlined above. Once you have taken the courses and earned passing grades, you will need to notify the Office of Financial Aid by completing the SAP Self-Correction Form.
To regain eligibility, complete courses at your own expense at the University of Louisville and raise your cumulative GPA to at least a cumulative 2.0 official GPA for undergraduate students or 3.0 official GPA for graduate students and not be dismissed nor suspended from your academic program, as determined by the academic units’ policies. You must also meet all other components of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy as outlined above. Once you have corrected your GPA, you will need to notify the Office of Financial Aid by completing the SAP Self-Correction Form.
In all instances, you will be notified through U of L email as to the results.
Monitoring the Status of Your Self-Correction Form
It may take up to 15 business days to process your form once it is received by the Student Financial Aid Office. You can monitor the status of your submitted form on your Ulink To Do List.
If a decision has not been made by the time your bill is due, it is your responsibility to pay your balance in full or discuss your payment options with the Bursar’s Office.
Below is a listing of the potential Self-Correction Form Statuses:
- In-Progress: Your form has been received but not yet reviewed or processed.
- Approved: Your Self-Correction form has been approved. You must continue to meet all SAP requirements.
- Denied: Based on the information submitted, you do not meet the requirements for self-correction of SAP. You are not eligible to receive federal financial aid or state need-based aid. If you intend to remain enrolled at the University of Louisville, you must pay your bill with other sources. You can review the SAP policy online for information about your options to submit a SAP appeal.
If you are determined ineligible for financial aid for failure to meet the University of Louisville’s SAP standards you have the right to make a written appeal to the Student Financial Aid Office if you can demonstrate:
- failure to meet the minimum standard(s) was caused by extreme or unusual circumstances beyond your control,
- you have resolved the issue(s) that caused the deficit(s), and
- the issue(s) will not affect your performance in the future.
***Students held for Maximum Time Frame must submit the SAP Max Time Frame worksheet as part of the appeal, which is to be completed by the Academic Advisor.***
If an appeal is approved, you will be placed on probation for one semester. Your SAP will be evaluated at the end of the probation semester to ensure you are is still meeting the appropriate requirements. If at that time the standards are not being met, a SAP hold will be placed back on your account, and any federal aid and state need-based grant aid awarded for semesters beyond the probationary semester will be canceled.
Fresh Start, Academic Bankruptcy and Grade Changes or Replacement
If you utilize Fresh Start, Academic Bankruptcy, or have a grade changed or replaced, you are not automatically cleared of any SAP issue(s) you may have. Although no longer included in the cumulative GPA calculation, hours approved for Fresh Start and Academic Bankruptcy are still included as attempted hours and will be evaluated to determine if the hours were earned. Therefore, the hours will be used when calculating Max Time Frame and Pace. If interested in appealing, you must follow the instructions and federal requirements for submitting a SAP appeal. It is your right to submit an appeal. If no appeal is submitted, SAP will be re-evaluated during the next annual SAP evaluation process.
Multiple and Dual Degrees
If you are pursuing a second undergraduate or graduate degree or are working on dual degrees, hours from all degrees within the same career are counted when evaluating SAP. If determined not to meet the maximum time frame component of SAP, and you appeal and the appeal is approved, you will likely be placed on an academic plan which will generally allow you to attempt the additional credit hours required to earn your second or dual degree.
SAP standards are evaluated based on academic careers. Therefore, if you switch careers while at the University of Louisville, your SAP standards will be evaluated based only on your academic data for the career you are currently active in. Therefore, as an undergraduate, you may be determined to not be meeting SAP standards. However, if you switch to a graduate career, the next time a SAP evaluation is completed for you, it will only be based on your graduate career information; no undergraduate career information will be factored into the evaluation (unless an undergraduate course is coded as a career transfer).
Academic Program Changes
If you change your academic program (change major), credits specific to the earlier major(s) will still be evaluated when determining your SAP status. Therefore, coursework you take for enrollment in another major(s) within the same career will be counted during your SAP review.
Instructions for Submitting an Appeal
- Complete the SAP appeal application.
- Attach a typed and signed letter that includes the following:
a. a description of the unforeseen circumstance which may have prevented you from meeting the SAP standards,
b. explain how the circumstances have been resolved, and
c. explain how the circumstance(s) will not affect your future academic progress.
- Attach supporting documentation.
Documentation of circumstances described in the letter must be included with the written appeal.
Note: The inability to attend classes due to lack of funds is not an extenuating circumstance. Refer to the list below for examples of acceptable documentation. Additional documentation may be requested after an appeal is reviewed.
- Submit the appeal application, letter, and documentation to the Student Financial Aid Office. Please retain a copy of all documents submitted for your records; no documents will be returned.
Monitoring the Status of Your Appeal
It may take up to 15 business days for your appeal to be reviewed once it is submitted. Your appeal will be reviewed by the Student Financial Aid Office. All decisions are final. A second review can only be requested if you can provide new information and documentation that may have been omitted from your initial appeal. If a decision has not been made by the time your bill is due, it is your responsibility to pay your balance in full or discuss your payment options with the Bursar’s Office.
You will receive notification of the decision made on your appeal via your University of Louisville email account. The status of your appeal can also be monitored via your ULink To-Do-List.
Below is a listing of the potential appeal statuses:
- In-Progress: Your appeal has been received but not yet reviewed.
- Deferred: Your appeal has been reviewed but has been deferred for additional information. You will receive an email detailing the additional information or documentation needed. The Additional Information for Deferred SAP Appeal (pdf)should be printed and submitted as a coversheet.
- Approved: Your appeal has been approved, and you are on SAP probation for one semester. At the end of your probation semester, you must have corrected your SAP issue(s) and be meeting all SAP standards, or if placed on an academic plan, you must be meeting the requirements specified in your plan. You will be placed on an SAP plan if it has been determined you will not be able to correct your SAP issue(s) in one semester. You will receive an email outlining your SAP plan. A SAP plan will ensure you will be able to meet SAP standards by a specific point in time.
A disbursement hold will be placed on your account after your SAP probation term until the Student Financial Aid Office has reviewed your account to determine if you met the requirements of your probation term.
If after your probation term you fail to meet the requirements of your SAP plan or the standard SAP requirements, a SAP hold will be placed on your account and future federal aid and state need-based aid will be canceled.
- Denied: Your appeal was not approved based on the information you provided. You are not eligible to receive federal financial aid or state need-based aid. If you intend to remain enrolled at the University of Louisville, you must pay your bill with other sources.
Limit of appeals
There is no limit on the number of appeals you can submit; however, if you appeal using the same extraordinary and extenuating circumstance twice, you will be denied. The Student Financial Aid Office uses professional judgment to review appeals on an individual and case-by-case basis to evaluate the information submitted by you for each appeal. Previous appeals are reviewed to compare information previously submitted.
Other SAP Information
Additional information regarding grades, credits, academic polices, and study abroad
- Earned Hours: A,B,C,D, Deferred, P (Pass), S (Satisfactory), X (deferred for graduate students), CR (Credit), test hours, and transfer hours accepted by the University of Louisville.
- Attempted Hours: All earned hours, plus W (withdrawal), F (failed), I (incomplete), X (deferred for graduate students), U (unsatisfactory), with exceptions listed below.
- Accepted Transfer and Test Credits: Count as earned and attempted hours; are not factored into your GPA calculation.
- Repeat Courses: Courses count as attempted hours each time taken, regardless of whether federal financial aid is received. If the class is passed, it is also counted as earned hours. If you are using any of your four repeat options offered through the Registrar’s Office, the initial enrollment in the course (the class which is being replaced) will be included as attempted hours and excluded from earned hours if previously passed (which impacts pace), and it will be excluded in the GPA calculation.
- Incomplete and Withdrawal Grades: Count as attempted hours; do not count as earned hours.
- Deferred Grades: Counted as earned hours and attempted hours.
- Audited/Non-Credit Courses: Excluded from all calculations and will not be considered when determining SAP.
- Credit by Exam Courses: Courses are counted as attempted hours, and if the course is passed, it is also counted as earned hours. If you receive an A, B, C, D, or F grade for the course, it is factored into your GPA calculation.
- Remedial/Developmental Courses: Courses are used in calculating pace, but are not used in determining maximum timeframe. Although remedial courses are not calculated in the official university GPA, a separate GPA including grades in remedial course will be calculated and used for SAP if you failed any remedial work.
- Academic Bankruptcy and Fresh Start: Will impact your cumulative GPA; however, has no impact on earned and attempted hours (no impact on maximum time frame and pace; hours are still counted).
- Study Abroad: Courses accepted by the University of Louisville will be used in calculating SAP.