Satisfactory Academic Progress
In order to receive financial aid, you must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP). If you do not meet the minimum requirements, you could lose your eligibility.
Federal regulations require the financial aid office to apply reasonable standards for measuring whether you are making progress toward a degree. Making progress toward a degree is important for your academic success and a key factor in reducing student debt.
Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is a term used to describe successful completion of coursework toward a degree or certificate. This policy applies to all students who receive federal and state financial aid, WSU scholarships, grants, departmental awards, tuition pledge programs and some awards from external university sources.
- Semester aid and your progress status
- Writing a successful SAP appeal
- SAP and your academic plan
- SAP for academic advisors
- Degree Works - tool for academic planning
- SAP appeal forms
Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards and policy
Student academic progress is measured against the following standards: cumulative qualitative measure, pace progression (completion percentage), and maximum time frame. Both pace and maximum time frame are measured in credit hours, regardless of full time or part time attendance. To maintain SAP, a student must meet the following standards. All coursework is evaluated against these standards, including coursework you completed during a period when you did not receive financial aid.
Minimum qualitative requirements
Undergraduate, Phar.D. or JD
GPA of 2.0 or higher
LLM or other graduate program
GPA of 3.0 or higher
Satisfactory completion of all course requirements and examinations
Pace of progression
At least 67% of all credit hours attempted must have successfully passing grades. The pace of progress is calculated by dividing cumulative hours that have been successfully completed by the cumulative hours attempted. The 67% completion rate maintains a pace of progression toward the degree or certificate that ensures completion of the academic credential within the maximum time frame allowed.
Note: Federal financial aid regulations require WSU to discontinue federal financial aid if a SAP review indicates that you cannot complete your program within 150% of the average published length of the program. Please refer to the Grades and Credits section of this policy for a list of attempted credit hours.
Maximum time frame
Complete a degree or certificate program in no more than 150% of the average published length of the program in credit hours. For example:
Undergraduate degrees require a minimum of 120 credit hours
Attempted credit hours must be 180 or less
(120 credits x 150% = 180 credits)
Master's degrees generally require 45 credit hours
Attempted credit hours must be 68 or less
(45 credits x 150% = 68 credits)
Doctoral degrees generally require 90 credit hours
Attempted credit hours must be 135 or less
(90 credit hours x 150% = 135 credits)
School of Medicine (SoM) MD degrees generally require four years of coursework
Per SoM academic policy, attempted coursework must be complete within seven years
SAP evaluation frequency
SAP evaluation frequency for undergraduate and graduate students
Satisfactory academic progress is monitored at the end of every semester. This includes the fall, winter and all spring and summer semesters. Outstanding grades may change or delay your SAP status decision. If you have been meeting SAP standards and then fail to meet GPA or pace requirements you will be given a warning semester.
During the warning semester, you may continue to receive financial aid, but you are expected to improve your academic standing and degree progress to meet SAP standards at the end of the semester.
If you do not meet the conditions of SAP at the end of the warning semester, you will be denied financial aid beginning the following semester. You must submit a SAP Appeal to request financial aid consideration. If your appeal is approved you will be on probation.
Note: There is no warning period for students who have exceeded 150 percent of program requirements. If you have earned over 150 percent of the credits required for your program, you are not eligible for financial aid and must submit a SAP Appeal to request financial aid consideration.
Note: If your status is "Tentative SAP - Grade Pending," a preliminary review indicated you will meet requirements. This status will not prevent disbursement of your aid.
SAP evaluation frequency for students in the JD or MD program
Satisfactory academic progress is monitored at the end of each academic year. Students who are not maintaining SAP will be placed in lose their eligibility to receive financial aid. As progress is measured annually, there is no warning semester. If you are denied aid, you may appeal.
Outstanding grades may change or delay your SAP status decision. Aid will not be disbursed until your SAP status has been determined.
If you submit a SAP appeal and it is approved, JD students will be put on financial aid probation for one semester; MD students will be put on financial aid probation for one payment period. If you fail the satisfactory progress check after the end of the probationary period, you may only continue to receive aid if you are meeting the requirements of your academic plan. Financial aid can only be used to pay for courses required for your degree or eligible program.
The financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy is separate from the academic regulations at the School of Medicine and the Law School.
Satisfactory academic progress definitions
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal
If you are not meeting SAP standards you may file an appeal to request reconsideration of your eligibility for financial aid funds. An appeal must include an academic plan and an explanation of what happened and what has changed.
Financial aid warning status
If your SAP status is reviewed every semester and you are failing to make satisfactory academic progress, your financial aid eligibility will be reinstated for one semester. No SAP appeal is necessary. During the warning semester, you are expected to improve your academic standing and degree progress, to meet standards of SAP at the end of the semester. If you fail to achieve SAP at the end of the semester, you will be denied financial aid beginning the following semester. You must submit a SAP Appeal to request financial aid consideration.
WSU Law School JD program: JD student's status is reviewed annually, and warning status does not apply. If you are not meeting standards, you will be denied aid. You may appeal according to the guidelines below.
WSU School of Medicine MD program: MD student's status is reviewed annually, and warning status does not apply. If you are not meeting standards, you will be denied aid. You may appeal according to the guidelines below.
Financial aid probation status
Probation status is assigned to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress and who successfully appeals. Eligibility for aid may be reinstated for one semester/payment period and you will be required to fulfill specific conditions stipulated in an academic plan.
An academic plan, when followed, will ensure that you will meet SAP standards by a specific time. If you fail the satisfactory progress check after the end of the probationary semester/payment period, you may only continue to receive aid if we can determine that you are following your academic plan. If we determine you are not following your academic plan you will be denied financial aid. You may file a new appeal if your circumstances have changed and you wish to be considered for aid eligibility.
Notification of your status
You can view your SAP status at any time in Academica. If you are an active student with a FAFSA on file, you will be notified by email if you fail to meet SAP standards. If not all of your grades are posted when we run the SAP evaluation, be aware that your status may be delayed or changed.
After your completed SAP Appeal is reviewed by the Financial Aid Office, you will receive a decision via email to your WSU email account. Status will also be posted in Academica. Appeals are reviewed on a rolling basis as they are submitted. Incomplete appeals will be denied. We will make every attempt to notify you of an appeal decision within 15 business days.
When you lose financial aid eligibility for failing to make satisfactory progress, you may appeal that result based on: injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstances. You should not assume that a SAP appeal will be approved. Decisions of SAP appeals review are final. Be aware, that if you enroll for classes and a SAP appeal is not approved, you remain responsible for paying all charges without financial aid.
Satisfactory academic progress appeal forms, which includes detailed instructions, can be found on our website form page. During a SAP appeal review, your entire academic history and federal loan debt will also be reviewed. Earning multiple degrees and/or having high federal student loan debt may result in a denial of an appeal.
The SAP appeal must include an explanation statement. Your explanation MUST contain the following:
Explain what happened
Why were you unable to maintain satisfactory progress?
Explain what has changed
What corrective measures have you taken or will you take to achieve and maintain satisfactory academic progress?
If this not your first appeal:
- Your explanation statement must include information about what has changed since your last appeal.
- You MUST also attach a Student Improvement Plan signed by your adviser.
You may submit your SAP Appeal and Academic Action Plan at any time; however, your aid cannot be reinstated retroactively for a prior semester. You must submit your plan by the posted dates. If your appeal is not complete within 30 days, it will be denied.
If your appeal if approved
If your appeal is approved, you will be put on Financial Aid Probation for one semester/payment period. If you fail the satisfactory progress check after the end of the probationary period, you may only continue to receive aid if you are meeting the requirements of your academic plan.
An academic plan will include the following minimum requirements for students not meeting place or GPA requirements. Any deviation from the below or additional academic plan requirements will be sent to your WSU email address.
Minimum probation requirements
You must pass all courses with a minimum grade of C (no grades of W or I)
You must earn a minimum semester GPA of 2.2 or higher
You must pass all courses with a minimum grade of B (no grades of W or I)
You must earn a minimum semester GPA of 3.0 or higher
You must complete all courses with a passing grade
If your appeal is denied
If we deny your appeal, you will lose eligibility for financial aid, and you will need to use alternative financial resources to attend Wayne State until you correct your hour and/or GPA/qualitative deficiency. If you register for classes, you are responsible for all charges.
Review your payment options.
See our Student Loan Repayment web page for information about repaying your loans if you do not plan to reenroll.
Eligibility can be regained by taking action that brings you into compliance with satisfactory progress standards.
Academic probation policy differences
The Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy and the WSU Policy on Academic Probation differ. The Financial Aid SAP policy only applies to your eligibility for financial aid. The SAP policy reviews both pace and maximum time frame, in addition to GPA/qualitative measure, and all attempted credit hours are included in reviewing student eligibility. These two policies also have separate appeal procedures.
Grades and credits
Attempted credit hours include the following whether or not paid for with financial aid:
- Earned Hours (A-D)
- Pass (P, PNC)
- No Credit A (ANC)
- No Credit B (BNC)
- No Credit C (CNC)
- Satisfactory (S, SNC, S*, S+)
- Not Passed (N, NNC)
- No Grade (NR)
- Unsatisfactory (U, UNC)
- Marginal Pass (MNC)
- Honors (H)
- Excluded Hours (E)
- Withdrawal – Passing Grade (WP)
- Withdrawal – Failing Grade (WF)
- Withdrawal – No Grade (WN)
- Failure (F)
- Incomplete (I)
- Deferred Grade (Y)
- Audit (Z)
- Unofficial Withdrawal (X)
- Transfer credits
- Credits attempted at another school under a consortium agreement
If you repeat a course, credit hours for each registration will be added to your attempted credit hours total. However, only the most recent grade received in the course will be included in the calculation of your cumulative GPA/qualitative measure. Note: Federal financial aid will pay for only one repeat of a previously passed course.
Withdrawal from courses
If you withdraw from a course during the semester, after the census date, the course credit hours will be added to your attempted credit hours total. Consult the Academic Calendar for the census date for each semester.
Credit hours for each remedial course you take are included in the calculation of attempted credit hours total in determining pace. Remedial courses are not included in the calculation of GPA/qualitative measure. English as a Second Language is considered remedial coursework.
Credit hours for incomplete courses are included in the calculation of your attempted credit hours total, but not in the calculation of your GPA/qualitative measure. When your grade is updated, it will be included in your GPA/qualitative measure calculation and passing grades will be counted as earned hours.
Credits are not earned for audited courses. Therefore, they are not included in the calculation of your attempted credit hours total or GPA/qualitative measure.
Credit hours for pass/fail courses are included in the calculation of your attempted credit hours total, but not in the calculation of your GPA.
P (Pass or N (no credit) courses
Credit hours for P/N courses are included in the calculation of your attempted credit hours total, but not in the calculation of your GPA. A grade of "P" counts as credits attempted and earned. A grade of "N" counts towards credits attempted and no credits are earned, which may affect your pace.
Undergraduate courses taken at the graduate level
Undergraduate courses taken by graduate students do not earn graduate credit, and therefore, they are not included in the calculation of your GPA. However, credit hours for the courses are included in the calculation of your attempted credit hours total.
Credit hours transferred from other schools that are accepted toward completion of your WSU program count as hours attempted and hours completed. However, transfer credit hours are not included in the calculation of your grade point average.
SAP requirements under a consortium agreement
If you attending another school through a consortium agreement or study abroad program your credits attempted and earned at the other school will be used in the calculation to determine your pace and timeframe status. Only the grades you earn at WSU are used to determine your GPA status.
We must review an official grades/transcript at the end of the semester in order for your satisfactory academic progress (SAP) status to be determined. Aid will not disburse until the grades/transcript has been received, reviewed and it has been determined that you meet SAP standards.
If you change majors, the credit hours taken under all majors will be included in the calculation of the attempted credit hours total, the GPA calculation and the maximum timeframe for degree completion. Students who reach the maximum timeframe without completing the degree or certificate program will be denied financial aid for a second program until the initial program is complete.
SAP and a School of Medicine Leave of Absence
A student may be granted a personal or medical leave of absence for a variety of reasons. The approved period of leave may be excluded from the seven-year maximum to complete the program as mentioned above (maximum timeframe). However, a student will not be allowed to take more than seven years from the time of matriculation to complete the requirements for the MD degree, including leaves of absence, without approval from the WSU SoM Promotions Committee.
Student support services
We encourage you to utilize the student support and academic resources available at Wayne State University to assist you if you are struggling to maintain satisfactory academic progress.
Students who have a documented disability should register with the Student Disability Services office as soon as possible. Appropriate and reasonable accommodations will be determined based on the limitations of the student's disability. Students receiving accommodations are considered otherwise qualified students and are held to the same standards as other WSU students. Student Disability Services is an ADA-compliant office and adheres to best practices to ensure equal access for students with disabilities.
Academic Success Center
1600 David Adamany Library
1001 Faculty/Administration Building
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
552 Student Center Building
Student Disability Services
1600 David Adamany Library