Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal Student Aid regulations require students receiving financial aid must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) towards their degree/certificate programs. Students must meet all SAP standards to maintain their financial aid eligibility.

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress Consist of Three Measurements:

1. Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) 


Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA in accordance with university academic     standards.

  • Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative NAU GPA.
  • Graduate students must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative NAU GPA.

The GPA calculation does not include: Transfer, Audit, and In Progress hours; Incompletes; courses reported as withdrawn (W is listed as grade on transcript); non-credit remedial courses;  undergraduate courses taken at graduate level; College Level Exam Program (CLEP), or any other credit by exam.

2. Pace of Progress 


Effective summer 2014, graduate and undergraduate students must successfully complete 67% of total attempted units during their current degree level at NAU. 

Pace of Progress: Total number of earned units divided by total number of attempted units.

Attempted Units: Total units earned at NAU and all transfer units listed on NAU transcript; courses completed with a failing grade; courses listed as Incomplete and In Progress; courses reported as withdrawn; non-credit remedial courses; undergraduate-level courses taken during graduate career; and repeated courses.

Earned Units: Units successfully completed with a grade of A, B, C and D and earned toward current degree level. Earned units do not include courses completed with a failing grade; audited courses; courses listed as Incomplete and In Progress; courses reported as withdrawn; non-credit remedial courses; undergraduate-level courses taken during graduate career; and repeated courses

3. Maximum Time Frame 


Complete degree program within 150% of the published units required for the degree.

Students will be suspended when they have attempted the following:

  • Certificate Program - 22 units attempted
  • Bachelor's Degree - 150 units attempted
  • Master's Degree - 45 units attempted
Academic Renewal and SAP
The attempted units and grades removed during the Academic Renewal process will be included towards the number of attempted units and the cumulative grade point average for SAP conditions.

Students are evaluated annually to ensure they are meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. Evaluation must be completed at the end of each spring term before financial aid disburses for the upcoming term and/or academic year. Exception: students in certificate programs will be evaluated at the end of each term.

Personalized Learning students are evaluated at the end of each subscription period. This process must be completed before financial aid can be disbursed for the upcoming subscription.

All incoming transfer students or students returning to the university are also evaluated. SAP standards are based on cumulative measures, including units accepted for transfer. 

All students must meet all three SAP standard requirements listed above to be eligible to receive federal and state financial aid.

Good SAP Status
A student who is meeting all three SAP standards at the time of evaluation. Students will be notified via email. 
Suspended SAP Status

A student who fails to meet one or more SAP standards at the time of the evaluation. A student with a SAP suspended status is not eligible for financial aid for the current and subsequent terms unless it is appealed and approved. Suspended students will be notified by email and letter.

*Suspension does not prevent a student from enrolling in courses.

* Suspension does not withdraw students from courses. 

Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility for Students With Suspended SAP Status

Financial Aid Reinstatement Options

  • Successfully complete coursework that improves NAU cumulative GPA to a 2.0 minimum and/or reach a minimum 67% completion rate. Although evaluation is conducted at the end of each academic year, you may request a SAP review at anytime. Students who are at or near the Maximum Time Frame cannot improve their status by continuing to complete courses. 
  • Appeal the failed condition(s) via the SAP Appeal Form.  The following must be submitted:
    • Complete and signed SAP Appeal Form
    • Personal Statement
    • Supporting Documentation
    • Maximum Timeframe Requirement:  Academic Plan completed by the student and advisor.

Submission of an appeal is not a guaranteed reinstatement of financial aid eligibility. 

If an appeal is approved, the student will be placed on financial aid probation. Conditions determined by the financial aid advisor must be met per guidelines set in place for the following terms. The student is evaluated at the end of each term to determine if conditions are met and eligibility to receive financial aid continues.

If determined conditions are not met, the student is ineligible for additional financial aid at NAU for future terms until Satisfactory Academic Progress standards are met.


SAP Appeal Forms and Information