Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
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Satisfactory Academic Progress

General information

All students for whom a financial aid record exists are evaluated for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). A financial aid record is created when a student receives any type of financial aid award or for whom NAU receives the results of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). SAP standards apply to all students evaluated; however, eligibility for only federal and state financial aid is affected.

Federal and state financial aid includes:

  • federal grants such as Pell and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)
  • federal student and parent loans such as Direct Loans
  • federal Work-Study Program
  • state grants such as University and Financial Aid Trust Grants

Some lenders of private/alternative loans and scholarship donors may also consider a student’s SAP status when evaluating eligibility.


NAU Students must meet all three of the following standards:

1.  Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

Only NAU course grades are included in the cumulative GPA. Transfer credits or other non-qualifying credit hours are not included in the calculation.

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

NOTE: If taking a pass/fail course, please keep in mind that a passing grade will not count toward a student’s GPA, but a failing grade will.

2.  Pace of progress

All NAU students must maintain a minimum 67% pace of progress, which is calculated by the total sum of successfully completed credit hours divided by the total attempted credit hours, i.e., Completed ÷ Attempted = Pace of Progress.

Transfer hours count as both completed and attempted. Incompletes (I) and In Progress (IP) are considered attempted, but not completed until the grade(s) are posted.

NOTE: Only career-appropriate courses count toward pace. For example, undergraduate courses taken by graduate students do not count as earned credits, which can have a negative effect on pace.

3.  Maximum timeframe

Students must complete a degree within a certain number of credits. To view the number of credits based on your career, explore the links below.


Complete a degree within 150% of the number of credit hours required for the degree program, as published in the academic catalog. Example: Most undergraduate degrees require 120 credits, so students are allowed funding up to 180 credits.


Complete a degree within the number of credit hours as outlined below for the degree program, as published in the academic catalog.

  • Masters students – NAU grants an additional 18 graduate credits over and above those required for the degree program for completion of the degree. Example: Most graduate programs require 36 credits, so students are allowed funding up to 54 credits.
  • Doctoral students – NAU grants an additional 30 graduate credits over and above those required for the degree program for completion of the degree.

Certificate programs

Complete a certificate program within the number of credit hours required for the certificate, as published in the academic catalog. Not all certificate programs are eligible for federal or state aid.

Students that are in a certificate program AND a degree program are granted the exact amount of credits required to obtain both programs and are not eligible for buffer credits. This policy aligns with the federal regulations for certificate programs that states students can only be funded for the exact amount of credits required for the certificate.

NOTE: Maximum timeframe is measured by academic career, undergraduate, or graduate. Beginning a new program in the same career does not restart the timeframe calculation. Students are limited to one appeal for maximum timeframe per program per career.

SAP statuses

It is important that students understand their SAP status and the action(s) needed to remain eligible for federal and state financial aid. The following are SAP statuses assigned to a student after an SAP evaluation:

Meet all SAP standards

Student is in good standing. Student meets all three SAP standards and is eligible to receive financial aid for the current and upcoming academic year.

SAP probation

Student is under SAP probation. Student had an SAP appeal approved, and must meet one or more conditions to maintain aid eligibility. Student’s SAP status will be evaluated at the end of each term to review progress on the conditions.

Frequently asked questions

To view a list of frequently asked questions about Satisfactory Academic Progress and their answers, visit the Satisfactory Academic Progress FAQs.


  • For new or returning NAU students, SAP evaluation takes place immediately upon admission to the university and the creation of a financial aid record. A financial aid record is created when a student receives any type of an award or for whom NAU receives the results of a FAFSA.
  • OSFA evaluates SAP annually at the end of each spring semester. If a student attends summer, then they are also evaluated at the end of the summer term. Both evaluations set the student’s SAP status for the upcoming award year, which begins in fall. Students who are suspended after the spring evaluation retain eligibility for the summer.
  • Students on SAP probation and/or are in a certificate-only program are evaluated at the end of each semester after grades post, including summer.
  • If at the time of evaluation a student has Incomplete grades, they can not be re-evaluated until the next evaluation if they are changed to a grade after evaluation. Therefore, we cannot retroactively change the students’ SAP status.
  • An SAP status is assigned based on the results of the evaluation and may be viewed via a student’s LOUIE account under the Financial Aid link.
  • An SAP status of “Meet all SAP Standards” or “SAP Probation” is required to be considered for federal or state funding. If students are awarded federal or state funds, and their status changes to “SAP Suspension,” the federal or state funds awarded will not disburse.
  • If a student’s status is SAP suspension, a To Do List item will exist on LOUIE that explains the specific SAP standard that was not met.
  • All students will be contacted to via their NAU email explaining their SAP status.

Regaining eligibility

Students who failed to meet one or more of the SAP standards and are on SAP suspension may do one of two things for reconsideration of federal or state financial aid:

  • If the SAP suspension is a result of cumulative GPA or pace of progress, students can successfully complete courses without financial aid to improve the cumulative GPA and the pace percentage. Or visit Summer term for summer class information to help regain eligibility.
  • For any of the three failed SAP standards, students can submit an appeal.

Submit an SAP appeal

Students may submit an appeal for any of the three Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. The appeal form and all required documentation should be submitted to NAU Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at the same time to avoid delays in processing. Allow up to 25 business days to receive a decision via NAU email. Submission of an appeal is not a guarantee of approval and/or reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.

A photo of two students sitting at table and talking.


The deadlines to submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal to regain financial aid eligibility for each term are:

  • Fall – November 1
  • Spring – April 1
  • Summer – July 1

NOTE: Financial aid SAP suspension does not automatically withdraw students from the university or prevent them from enrolling in courses. Contact the Office of the Registrar for information on an official withdrawal from NAU.


Online SAP Appeal Form

  • Required for all appeals

SAP Academic Plan Form

  • Required for maximum timeframe appeals

Personal documentation

  • Supporting documentation from a professional third-party such as a physician’s letter, police report, etc. specifying date range and reason for appeal
  • Required for pace of progress appeals


SAP probation

If an SAP appeal is approved, students are considered to be on SAP probation, wherein certain conditions must be met to maintain financial aid eligibility. These conditions will be documented in the decision emailed to each student. Probation statuses and consequences are:


NAU student is required to meet specific probation conditions and progress will be reviewed at the end of each semester. If conditions are not met, financial aid for the upcoming semester will be canceled and the student will be placed on SAP suspension.

Exceptions failed

NAU student failed to meet probation conditions and is again ineligible for financial aid. The student can appeal again for reconsideration, but only if their circumstances have changed since the original appeal.

Last eligible term

This is an NAU student’s last eligible term to receive financial aid based upon probation conditions, unless their academic career changes from undergraduate to graduate.