Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal Student Aid regulations require that students receiving federal financial aid (including federal and state work-study), regardless of whether they received financial aid in the past, must make progress toward a degree/certificate according to Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards set by Northern Arizona University. 

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress Consist of Three Measurements:

1. Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) (Qualitative standard) - 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not include: transfer hours outside of the NAU system, Audit hours, Incompletes, In Progress hours, Courses reported as Withdrawn, Non-credit Remedial courses, Undergraduate courses taken at Graduate level, College Level Exam Program (CLEP), or any other credit by exam.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 (Quantitative standard) - Meet pace of progress toward graduation. 

To meet the Pace of Progress:

Undergraduate students must successfully complete 75% of their cumulative total attempted credit hours in their current degree level at NAU.

Graduate students must successfully complete 75% of their cumulative total attempted credit hours in their current degree level at NAU. Effective summer 2014, Graduate students must successfully complete 67% of their cumulative total attempted credit hours in their current degree level at NAU. 

Pace of Progress = Cumulative (total) number of earned credit hours divided by cumulative (total) number of attempted credit hours.

Total attempted credit hours include: Total Hours Earned PLUS all transfer credits entered on student's unofficial NAU transcript, courses completed with a grade of "F", Incompletes, In Progress hours, Courses reported on the transcript as Withdrawn, Non-credit Remedial courses, Undergrad courses taken at Graduate level, and Repeated courses. 

Earned credit hours include: Credit hours successfully completed with a grade of A, B, C and D; and earned toward current degree level. 

Earned credit hours do not include: Courses completed with a grade of "F", Audit hours, Incompletes, In Progress hours, Courses reported on the transcript as Withdrawn, Non-credit Remedial courses, Undergrad courses taken at Graduate level, and Repeated courses. 

3. Maximum Time Frame (Quantitative Standard) - Complete degree within 150% of the published credit hours required for the degree. 
         We are required to select students at the point in time we determine they may not be able to meet the 150% requirement. Therefore, we begin to select students when they have attempted the following: 
  • Certificate Program - more than 22 hours attempted
  • Bachelor's Degree - more than 150 hours attempted   
  • Master's Degree - more than 45 hours attempted       

 

Academic Renewal and SAP
Academic Renewal (exclusion of coursework from GPA calculation) may help a student's academic career. However, Federal Student Aid Regulations require that attempted credits and grades that were removed during the Academic Renewal process must still be included toward the number of attempted credits and the cumulative grade point average for SAP conditions. 
SAP Monitoring

The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid evaluates each undergraduate and graduate student to ensure that he or she is meeting the SAP standards on an annual basis. SAP standards are evaluated at the completion of each spring semester after grades have been posted for all students with the exception of those enrolled in a certificate program. This process must be completed before financial aid can be disbursed for the upcoming semester and/or academic year. 

Students in certificate programs will be evaluated at the end of each academic term, per Federal Student Aid regulations. 

 

For Personalized Learning students, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid evaluates each undergraduate student to ensure that he or she is meeting the SAP standards after the end of each payment period (subscription). This process must be completed before financial aid can be disbursed for the upcoming payment period (subscription).

 

SAP standards are also evaluated for all incoming transfer students or students returning after an absence from the University who wish to receive federal or state financial aid. 

All SAP standards are based on cumulative measures, including credit hours accepted for transfer. A student 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. 
Suspended SAP Status

A student who fails to meet one or more SAP standards at the time of the SAP evaluation. A student with a SAP suspended status is not eligible for financial aid for the current and subsequent semesters. Students suspended for failing to meet SAP standard requirements will be notified by email and letter, and a notification will be placed on the student's "To Do" list in LOUIE. 

*Suspended status does not prevent a student from enrolling in coursework. 

 

Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility for Students With Suspended SAP Status

A student can reinstate financial aid in one of two ways. 

  • Successfully complete coursework that improves your NAU cumulative GPA and/or completion rate to meet the SAP standards. As noted earlier, you are evaluated on an annual basis. However, you may request a SAP review at the end of any semester of enrollment. Note: students who are at or near the maximum time frame cannot improve their status by continuing to take classes. 
  • Submit a SAP Appeal to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid committee. Information on how to submit an appeal is included in the notification you will receive if you do not meet the SAP standards. The following must be submitted to our office:
    • The completed and signed SAP appeal Form
    • Typed personal statement explaining the extenuating circumstances that led to not meeting the standards; how that situation has changed so that the student can be successful going forward; and, what actions the student is taking to ensure future academic progress; and,
    • Documentation to support extenuating circumstance(s). 

Students who are suspended due to Maximum Timeframe must also meet with his/her academic advisor to completed the academic plan section of the SAP appeal form. The SAP Appeal form and instructions can be found at http://nau.edu/finaid/forms/

Submission of an appeal is not a guarantee of an approval and/or reinstatement of financial aid eligibility. 

Students whose appeals are approved will be placed on Financial Aid Probation, will be given an Academic Plan, which is intended to ensure that they are able to meet the SAP standards, with specific conditions they must follow, and will be allowed to receive aid for that semester.

Students with a SAP status of Probation will be evaluated at the end of the semester to determine his/her status for the following semester. Students must meet the conditions of their Academic Plan, or meet SAP standards before receiving financial aid the next semester at NAU. Once a student fails to meet the terms of his or her academic plan, they will become ineligible for additional financial aid in future semesters until such time as they meet the conditions of the NAU Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. 

Contact the NAU Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid if you have any questions regarding the NAU SAP Policy or SAP Appeal procedures. 

SAP Appeal Forms and Information