This policy is effective with the SAP evaluation at the end of the Fall 2011 semester.

Graduate students are required to make satisfactory academic progress toward their degree or certificate. All withdrawals, incompletes, and repeat course work are taken into consideration when determining SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress). Incompletes and withdrawals are counted as attempted credits but not completed and do not affect the cumulative grade point average. Transfer credits are counted as both credits attempted and credits earned, but do not affect the cumulative grade point average (CGPA).  Nontraditional awarding of credit, including credit by exam and credit for life experience is counted as both credits attempted and credits earned, but does not affect the CGPA. Standards of satisfactory academic progress applies to all students, regardless of enrollment status (full-time or 1/2 time) or program. All credit hours for which a student has incurred a financial obligation are considered.

Students are considered meeting SAP if they have at least a 3.0 (CGPA) and the percentage of credit hours successfully completed versus the hours attempted is at least at 67%. Students will be reviewed at the end of each semester for SAP.  Accountability starts with the student’s entry date at the University.

Students who do not meet the required standards of SAP will receive a Warning notice. While on Warning status, students are eligible to receive financial aid and may only remain on Warning status for one semester.  Students that are still below standards for a second semester will have their aid canceled. Students may appeal the loss of financial aid under the appeal policy outlined below.

Students are also reviewed each semester for compliance with the Academic Standards. If they are suspended from school under the academic standards policy, they will lose financial aid eligibility for that time period. If a student is readmitted to the University, then the student may file an appeal for reinstatement of financial aid.

Maximum Timeframe

All students who receive financial aid must complete their program within 150 percent of the normal program length, as measured in semester credit hours. If they exceed the maximum timeframe, they are subject to the loss of financial aid, which can be appealed following the procedure outlined below.

The maximum timeframe will be adjusted on an exception basis for students who transfer in credits, change their majors or enroll in a subsequent degree.

Appeal and Reinstatement

Students who have lost financial aid eligibility for failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress will be notified in writing of the cancellation of financial aid and urged to contact the Financial Aid Office. Students with mitigating circumstances wishing to appeal the financial aid cancellation may do so, in writing, to the Financial Aid Office. Mitigating circumstances may include but are not limited to illness or injury of the student or immediate family member; death of a relative; or other special circumstance.  The committee will evaluate the appeal and determine whether the student will be allowed to continue to receive financial aid on either a Probation or Academic Plan status.


  1. The reason why the student failed to meet the SAP standard(s) AND
  2. What has changed in the student’s situation so that he or she will now be able meet the SAP standards AND
  3. Supporting documentation.

The materially complete appeal must be submitted by the start of session two in order to be considered for the current semester.  All appeals received after that date will be considered for the subsequent semester.  The appeal should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the start of session two, to allow the appeals committee time to review the appeal and request additional documents if necessary.  Please refer to the academic calendar for semester and session start dates.

If an appeal is granted and financial aid is reinstated, the student will receive aid on either a Probation or Academic Plan status.  A student on Probation is required to regain SAP standing by the end of the probationary semester; the terms of the probation will be included in the notice to the student when the appeal is granted.

If a student cannot regain SAP standing by the end of one semester, the student will be placed on Academic Plan status.  The terms of the Academic Plan will be included in the notice sent to the student when the appeal is granted, and may include 100% completion (no W, I, or F grades) and a specified minimum semester GPA.  The Academic Plan is structured to assist the student in regaining SAP status by a projected point in time not to exceed the Maximum Timeframe. Students must be in a declared program of study to qualify for an Academic Plan; students with an undecided major must declare a specific program of study (major) before an Academic Plan can be established.

Student progress will be reviewed every semester while on Academic Plan; if a student fails to meet the requirements of the Academic Plan, he or she will become ineligible for financial aid and can appeal. If an appeal is approved and the student resumes their education on an academic plan status and fails again a third appeal may be permitted for students who have stopped out for a minimum of three years.

If an appeal is denied, the student may re-submit an appeal to be considered for the subsequent semester.

SAP: Progress is Everything

As a graduate student, you are required to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to earn your degree or certificate and to receive financial aid (if eligible). SAP is determined by considering:

  • Accountability starts with your entry date at DU for your graduate program.
  • You are considered in good standing if you have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (CGPA).
  • The grade of a repeated course replaces the original grade which will impact the CGPA. The credit hours for the repeated course will count as attempted and completed and will be added to the pace calculation.
  • Grade changes, including an Incomplete converting to a grade, that occur after the end of semester SAP evaluation can be considered upon request from the student.
  • The percentage of credit hours successfully completed versus the hours attempted must be at least at 67%.
  • SAP standards apply to all students, regardless of enrollment status (full-time or 1/2 time).
  • All credit hours for which you have been charged tuition (regardless of how they are paid) are considered.

What is NOT Part of SAP

Nontraditional awarding of credit, such as credit by exam, credit for life experience, is not considered when determining your SAP.

Nontraditional credit DOES reduce the maximum time frame you have to complete your program.