Satisfactory Academic Progress

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› The minimum units you must complete to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

› The grade point average you must maintain for aid eligibility.

› What grades are acceptable as units earned.

› The maximum number of units and/or semesters for which you may receive aid.

› If you do get behind, the action you can take to reestablish eligibility for aid.

Appeal procedure and financial aid probation.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards

To receive federal and state financial aid, including grants, loans and work study, you must meet the standards of the university's Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy.

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will determine if you have met these requirements annually at the end of the spring semester. If you do not meet SAP, you will be notified by e-mail and through your AidLink account and, you will not be eligible to receive financial aid until you either meet SAP or receive an approved financial aid appeal.

We encourage you to meet with your academic or major advisor on a regular basis to ensure you will be able to meet the SAP requirements to continue to receive financial aid.

Maintain SAP

To be eligible to receive financial aid you must meet these satisfactory academic progress requirements.

  • Minimum GPA — maintain a minimum cumulative GPA.
  • Minimum pass rate — successfully complete at least 75% of the units you attempt each academic year (includes summer term, fall semester, and spring semester).
  • Maximum time frame — complete your degree, credential, or certificate within a prescribed length of time (maximum units for which you may receive aid).

It is your responsibility to be aware of and in compliance with SDSU’s satisfactory academic progress standards.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

You must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA to receive aid.

Minimum GPA Required
Class Level or Degree Minimum GPA Required
Undergraduate degree 2.00 cumulative GPA
Master's degree or credential 2.85 cumulative GPA
Doctoral degree 3.00 cumulative GPA

Acceptable grades for undergraduate and credential students

  • Acceptable grades are A through D and Cr (Credit).
  • Unacceptable grades are everything else.

Acceptable grades for masters and doctoral students

  • Acceptable grades are A through C and Cr (Credit).
  • Report in Progress (RP) is acceptable for thesis or dissertation.
  • Unacceptable grades are everything else.

Also review the General Catalog and Graduate Bulletin for acceptable grades for your degree.

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Units Required Each Year

Each academic year you must complete, with acceptable grades, at least 75% of the units you attempt. Units attempted is determined by your enrollment as of census (after the add/drop deadline).

Stay On Track!

You are expected to successfully complete all of your units.

However, to remain eligible to receive financial aid, you must complete at least 75% of the units you attempt each academic year.

For example as an undergraduate

If you enroll full time, 12 units for the fall semester and 12 units for the spring semester, you are expected to complete 24 units during the academic year.

To continue receiving financial aid, you must complete at least 18 units (75% of the 24 units you attempted).

If you enroll less than full time, you must complete 75% of the units you attempt.

If you also enroll in the summer term, you will be expected to complete at least 75% of the units you attempt. The summer term is part of your academic year.

Thesis and dissertation enrollment

When you enroll in thesis or dissertation you will be considered to be enrolled half time or full time. However, you pay part-time tuition and fees if your total units are 6.0 or less, regardless of your enrollment status.

Graduate students enrolled in—

  • Thesis 799A is considered to be enrolled full time;
  • Thesis 799B or 799C are considered to be enrolled half time;
  • Doctoral Research 897, Doctoral Dissertation 899, or Clinical Internship (Psychology 894), are considered to be enrolled full time.

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Maximum Units and Semesters

You may continue to receive financial aid until you reach the maximum units or full-time equivalent semesters (FTES) established for your degree, credential, or certificate.

Maximum Units

There are a maximum number of units for which you may receive financial aid.

In addition, some aid programs have a specific semester or unit limit.

At the end of the spring semester of the academic year in which you reach either maximum units or maximum FTES, you will not be eligible for further aid for that degree or objective.

We will notify you with a message by e-mail and in your AidLink account.

Units counted toward the maximum

  • All units you complete at SDSU or transfer to SDSU are counted.
  • Units are counted even if you did not receive aid for those units.
  • Semesters of enrollment are counted whether or not you passed your classes.

Undergraduate students

Undergraduate students may receive funds only until one of the following has occurred—

  • The first undergraduate degree has been earned;
  • 180 units are completed
  • 15 semesters of full-time equivalent enrollment have been completed.

Caution: Undergraduate students may lose eligibility for grants (Pell Grant, State University Grant, and/or Cal Grant) before the unit and FTE limits are reached.

Classified graduate / credential students

Classified graduate or credential students may receive funds only until one of the following has occurred—

  • A degree or credential has been earned
  • 45 units are completed (based on a 30-unit graduate degree)
  • 5 semesters of full-time equivalent enrollment have been completed
  • 2 semesters of comprehensive examination 799C have been completed
  • 4 semesters, in any combination, of thesis coursework 799A and 799B have been completed
    • Enrollment in Thesis 799A/B does not count toward the maximum number of units and FTES. However, once enrolled in thesis coursework, your eligibility for aid is limited to four semesters, in any combination, of 799A and 799B.

Note: Most graduate programs require only 30 units; unit maximums and FTES are adjusted for graduate degrees requiring more than 30 units.

Caution: Graduate and credential students may lose eligibility for State University Grant (SUG) before the unit and FTE limits are reached due to a new policy from the California State University limiting how long you can receive SUG. Students pursuing a second credential or second master's degree are no longer eligible for SUG.

Limited eligibility for a second master's degree

If you are pursuing a second master's degree, you may be eligible for the Direct Loan Program.

  • Eligibility is limited to 2 years (4 full-time equivalent semesters or 38 units).

Note: Due to a new policy from the California State University, students pursuing a second master's degree or second credential are no longer eligible for State University Grant.

Joint doctoral students

Joint doctoral students may receive funds only until one of the following has occurred—

  • A degree has been earned;
  • 150% of the units required for the doctoral program have been completed. These are units completed in residence at SDSU and does not include units you complete at the joint degree university.

Note: Maximum units and FTES are adjusted accordingly for doctoral degrees requiring more than 18 units in residence at SDSU. Audiology doctoral students’ maximum units are adjusted automatically to 201 units.

Education doctoral students

Education doctoral students may receive funds only until one of the following has occurred—

  • A degree has been earned;
  • 90 units are completed;
  • 10 semesters of full-time equivalent enrollment have been completed.
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How to Reestablish Eligibility

You may be able to reestablish eligibility for financial aid after failing to maintain satisfactory academic progress by using your own resources to attend and complete coursework until you meet the SAP standards for a full academic year or you may choose to submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal

One Appeal;
One Probationary Semester

Limited to one appeal per degree program.

If approved, you have one probationary semester in which you must maintain SAP or you lose eligibility for aid.

You may submit one appeal per degree program.

As part of the appeal process, develop a plan of action. (Refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form for more information and instructions.)

  • Less than 75% passed: Submit an appeal if you can document extenuating circumstances beyond your control that affected your ability to satisfactorily complete your classes.
    • You must be able to document the circumstance as well as the steps you have taken to resolve the situation and successfully move forward.
    • Extenuating circumstances beyond your control might include, but are not limited to, your serious illness or injury, or a death in your family.
  • GPA deficiency: If you are working with a staff, faculty member, assistant dean or other academic professional on campus please include a letter of support from this person with your appeal.
  • Academic disqualification: If you are academically disqualified, you are ineligible for financial aid.
    • If you are reinstated by the university, you will need to submit an appeal to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships requesting a review of your ineligible financial aid status.
  • Maximum units: Prepare an academic plan and submit it with your written appeal and supporting documentation. (Refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form for more information and instructions.)
    • If your appeal is approved, you must meet the terms of your approved appeal to continue receiving financial aid. Depending on the documentation you provide, approval could be for one or more semesters. However, you may be eligible for aid only for the units and semesters required to complete your degree, credential, or certificate.
    • If you do not complete your degree, credential, or certificate within your documented and approved time frame, you must then complete your degree objective without the benefit of financial aid.

Appeal denied

If your appeal is denied, you must use your own resources to attend and complete coursework until you meet the SAP standards.

Appeal approved

If your appeal is approved, you are placed on financial aid probation. You must meet the terms of your probation to continue receiving financial aid.

Financial aid probation

You are placed on financial aid probation after you receive an approved appeal.

  • With an approved appeal, your units and grades will be evaluated at the end of your probationary semester, including summer term.
  • If you are successful during your probationary semester, you are released from financial aid probation and may continue receiving financial aid.
  • If you do not maintain satisfactory academic progress during your probationary semester, you will not be eligible to receive financial aid the following semester.
  • Failure to meet the standards set forth in your approved appeal will result in your financial aid ineligibility.
  • You may reestablish eligibility by meeting the standards on your own, without the benefit of financial aid.

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