Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

In accordance with Title IV Financial Aid federal regulation 34 CFR 668.34, the University of Massachusetts Lowell has established the following policy for evaluating the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) of Title IV financial aid recipients.  This policy extends to university and state financial aid programs.

Policy: 
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the measurement of a student's academic progress toward the degree or certificate program.  SAP evaluates three components to determine eligibility for financial aid: qualitative measure (cumulative grade point average), quantitative measure (percentage of coursework completed) and maximum time frame allowed for degree completion.  

The review of a student's SAP status is based on the entire academic record, even if the student did not receive financial aid for previous semesters of enrollment. In order to be eligible for financial aid, students must satisfy all three components.
Undergraduate students must meet each of the following SAP criteria
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 
  • Minimum completion rate of 70% 
  • Maximum Time Frame of 180 attempted credits for bachelor's degree; maximum of 90 attempted credits for associate's degree; maximum 150% of defined program length for certificate programs
Graduate students must meet the following SAP criteria
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 
  • Graduate Certificate programs require a minimum completion rate of 70% 
  • Maximum Time Frame of 150% of defined program length
  • Master’s and Doctoral degree completion rate, maximum timeframe and graduation requirements as defined by the University Academic Policy are monitored by each academic department 
Completion rate is calculated by total earned credits divided by total attempted credits. 
Earned Credits include successfully completed courses (ie. grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-,C+, C, C-, D+, D, P, S) and transfer credits. Audited and remedial coursework not included. Repeated coursework is counted once toward earned credits.
Attempted Credits include successfully completed courses (ie. grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-,C+, C, C-, D+, D, P, S), non-passing grades (ie. grade of F, U), Incomplete (ie. grade of  INC), withdrawn courses (W), administrative withdrawals (X,Y), transfer credits and repeated courses.  Audited and remedial coursework are not included in attempted credits or GPA.
Maximum Time Frame Allowed is calculated by multiplying the published program length by 150 percent.  Example: published program length of 120 credits * 150% = 180 maximum time frame allowed to complete degree requirements.
Evaluations and Notifications:
The Financial Aid Office evaluates SAP annually at the end of each spring term for undergraduates and graduates, or upon re-enrollment into the university.  Students enrolled in a certificate program are evaluated at the end of each term. SAP is also reviewed at the end of each probationary period, if applicable to student. Students must be making satisfactory academic progress to continue to receive financial aid in a subsequent payment period, including summer term.   Financial aid applicants not meeting SAP standards will be deemed ineligible to receive financial aid and will be sent written notification to their university student email accounts.  

Financial Aid Termination:
Students who do not meet the university SAP standards are not eligible to receive financial aid. Financial aid applicants not meeting SAP standards will be sent written notification to their university student email accounts.  SAP status applies to financial aid eligibility and does not impact registration or academic standing. 

Appeal Process:
Students who do not meet the minimum SAP requirements for financial aid eligibility have the right to appeal when special circumstances exist.  Conditions when a student may appeal include death of a relative, injury or illness of the student or other extenuating circumstances. 
To appeal, a student must complete the following:
  • Complete SAP Appeal Form (pdf).  Student statement must include why the student failed to meet SAP and what has changed to allow student to meet SAP at the end of next evaluation. 
  • Meet with academic advisor and develop an academic plan.  Both student and advisor must sign SAP appeal form. 
  • Submit completed forms and supporting documentation to the Financial Aid Office for review.  
  • Appeal forms, academic plans and supporting documentation must be submitted for review prior to each term's deadline. (See the SAP appeal form for the deadlines per term)
  • Appeal forms submitted for a specific term will not be granted for that term if the student has stopped attending that term or the student withdraws from all courses or the University while waiting for an appeal decision during that term.
  • An appeal reviewed by the Financial Aid Office does not guarantee reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.
  • All appeals are reviewed by representatives of the Financial Aid Office, with input from academic administrators when appropriate.  
  • Approved appeals will result in the student being placed on Financial Aid Probation (see Financial Aid Probation section).   Written notification will be sent to the student's university e-mail account.
  • Denied appeals will result in the student being ineligible for financial aid. The student may enroll in coursework.   

Financial Aid Probation: 
A student who failed to meet SAP and who has successfully appealed with the Financial Aid Office will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one semester.  During the Financial Aid Probation period, the student is considered eligible for financial aid.  At the end of the Probation period, the Financial Aid Office will again evaluate the student's academic record to determine SAP status. (see Re-Establishing Financial Aid Eligibility section).

Re-Establishing Financial Aid Eligibility:
A student may regain financial aid eligibility by successfully meeting the university's SAP policy requirements.

All information is subject to change based on changes to federal law, regulation, or university policy and procedure. If changes are made, students must abide by the new policy.  Current Policy effective as of June 8, 2012.