Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

To be eligible for financial aid, a student must make satisfactory academic progress. The Department of Education considers a satisfactory academic progress policy to be reasonable if it meets both the qualitative and quantitative criteria. Please review below for the eligibility requirements and FAQs for SAP. 

Important Note

  • All students must meet all three requirements to continue to receive financial aid.

  • Student who do not meet SAP requirements are terminated from receiving financial aid for the following academic year.

  • SAP is evaluated  at the end of each academic year, after spring semester grades are posted. All students are evaluated on the three eligibility requirements.

  • Students with a SAP appeal approved in the Fall semester will have their SAP status evaluated during Spring semester -- based on the term of your probationary period, as stated on your appeal.

How to Maintain SAP FAQsOpens in new window

Not Meeting SAP? SAP Appeal Process FAQsPDF File Opens in new window

SAP Requirement #1 - GPA
Terms Cumulative GPA
After the 2nd term 1.50
After the 3rd term 1.70
After the 4th term, Juniors, Seniors, Undergraduates beyond the 5th term, and 2nd Bachelor Degree students 2.00
Credential 2.50
Graduate 3.00

A student enrolled in an educational program for at least two academic years or more -- at the end of the second academic year the student must have a GPA of at least a "C"; which is equivalent to a 2.0. 

SAP Eligibility Requirement # 2 - PACE calculation
Total Cumulative Earned Units * ÷ (Divided By) Total Cumulative Attempted Units * = (Equals) % Percentage Passed or Failed
23 ÷ 29 79.31% Passed
23  ÷ 44 52.27% Failed

All students are required to complete at least 66.67% of their cumulative attempted units  to earned units.

* Important Note: All units are accounted for on the student's transcript -- both attempted and earned units

SAP Eligibility Requirement #3 - Maximum Time-Frame | Also Known As "Unit Cap"
Career Standard Time-Frame Maximum Time-Frame (150% of Standard Time-Frame) - Unit Cap
Undergraduate 120 units 180 units
Credential 30 units 45 units
Graduate** 30 units 45 units

Federal regulations require that all student complete their academic program(s) within 150% of the stand time-frame of their program.

      1. The standard unit cap for graduate and post-baccalaureate students is based on the number of units required for your academic program. 

      2. All units are counted, even if the student did not receive financial aid; even if the units do not count for credit toward graduation. 

      3. Once the student reached the unit cap for their program, he/she is ineligible to receive financial aid.

Important Note: A student may receive financial aid up to the maximum time-frame, however, financial aid programs life-time limit policy is accounted for in the student's eligibility. If the student exhausted any financial aid programs prior to reaching the maximum time-frame allow to receive financial aid, the student will not be awarded aid to that particular program.

  •  Learn about Units CapOpens in new window totals for program requiring more than the standard number of units.

  • ** Courses numbered 500 or higher are considered "graduate courses" and are weighted at 1.5 times their units value. The unit cap is 150% of the minimum required units after weighting of the required graduate units in the program. Independent study courses are not weighted at 1.5 times their unit value.

  • The calculation of attempted units includes all course-work completed at CSUF as well as all other transferable course-work completed at other institution.  

Appealing for Reinstatement of Financial Aid

All students who does not meet SAP requirement are sent an email to their campus email account. The email provides the reason why the student is terminated from financial aid and link(s) to download the SAP Appeal form if the student wishes to appeal. Students can appeal for extenuating circumstances that prevented them from meeting the SAP requirement. Examples of extenuating circumstances are illness, hospitalization, death in the family, or other circumstances that interfered with the student meeting SAP.

Students who fail both qualitative and quantitative are required to complete both appeals, as the links to both forms will be on the student's email.


Appealing Process

  1. Calendar -- Be aware of key deadlines, including cancellation, disenrollment, tuition/fee refund dates, and SAP Appeal deadline etc.

  2. Write Your Appeal Letter (Please Type It) -- Your letter of explanation should include the exceptional circumstances that prevented you from meeting financial aid SAP requirements and steps you have taken to ensure your academic success.

  3. Give Examples -- In your letter, include changes you will make and/or resources you will use to ensure your future academic success (e.g. EOP advising, counseling, tutoring, reduce work hours, etc.).

  4. Gather Documentation's (Provide Copies) -- Include documentation to support your letter of explanation (e.g. medical documentation, pay check stubs, transcripts, etc.).

  5. Meeting with an Adviser (Academic or Financial Aid) Recommended -- Meet with an adviser if you have concerns and need additional help and guidance.

  6. Submitting Appeal -- Submit  your completed appeal form with your personal typed letter and documentation to the Office of Financial Aid @ GH-146. Double check your appeal to make sure everything you want to inform and provide to the committee is there before submitting it.

    • Additional documentation maybe requested by the committee members before a decision is rendered.

  7. Prepare a Backup Plan -- If your appeal is not approved, you may need to seek alternative enrollment options or sources of funding.


Other Information

Processing Time-frame

  • Approximately 4-6 weeks

General Deadline Month for Submission

  • Fall Semester - October

  • Spring Semester - April

  • The SAP form have the actual date

 SAP Form

  • It is highly recommended you download and print the form from your email because the link was generated to a specific form, which coincide with your ineligibility for financial aid. Students may be ineligible because of more then one reason.

Reviewing Your Appeal

  • Make sure you understand what successful completion means and the numbers of units you must complete each semester to maintain you financial eligibility. 

  • If you are approved and considering a change in your course load, discuss your academic plan options with both your academic adviser(s) and a financial aid adviser prior to making any adjustments to your schedule.

  • Read your approved SAP Appeal to make sure you are following any approval requirements to maintain financial aid for the academic year you submitted your appeal.

  • By signing and submitting the SAP appeal form you acknowledge your understanding of the basic requirement on that form, including any additional requirement from your approved SAP appeal. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is CSUF's Definition of "Completed Units"?

You complete a course when you earn credit by receiving a passing grade.

The following grades does not count towards your completed units, however, they count toward attempted units:

Grades: F, NC, W, WU, AU, I, IC, U, WF, SP, RD, RP

Do remedial and repeated courses count for financial aid?

Up to 30 units of remedial course-work are allowed under financial aid regulations as long as you earn a grade of "CR" for the course. A grade of "SP" or "NC" does not count as credit earned. 

If you repeat a courseOpens in new window for which you previously received unit credit for (e.g. a grade of D or higher), you may receive financial aid for one retake of the course.  

Financial Aid policy differs from the academic policy governing repeated courses. 

How many units must I enroll in and complete to maintain eligibility for aid?

The Office of Financial Aid does not impose a minimum number of units each semester, although most financial aid programs require at least 6 units per semester (half-time status) to receive funds. Therefore, you may decide each semester how many units you will attempt. In deciding, consider factors such as -- employment, course difficulty, family, responsibilities, academic probation, etc. 

If I am on probation and fail to meet SAP, may I file another appeal?

You were placed on probation because you had an appeal approved which enabled you to received financial aid while you implemented the changes necessary for you to meet the SAP standards.

As a financial aid recipient, you are required to make satisfactory academic progress toward your degree attainment.

Second appeals within the same academic year are generally not accepted if you fail to make progress, unless you have serious documented extenuating circumstances such as a death in the immediate family.