Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require the Office of Student Financial Aid to monitor the academic progress of all federal financial aid recipients. Recipients of federal financial aid are expected to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) towards a degree as a condition of receiving their financial aid. At the end of each semester, the Financial Aid Office will monitor each undergraduate and graduate student's academic progress to determine financial aid eligibility. (Optometry and doctoral students are monitored by their respective academic disciplines.)  Satisfactory Academic Progress is essential to remain eligible to receive funds for any Federal Title IV funds and also state and university aid programs (see note at bottom). Please note that some scholarships may have a higher renewal GPA requirement. 

SAP Requirements

Federal financial aid regulations require financial aid recipients to make progress toward earning their degree, stay above specific GPA minimums, and to complete the degree within a given time frame. You can lose eligibility for aid if you are not doing well in your classes, if you frequently withdraw from classes, and/or if it is taking you a very long time to earn your degree. If you are not meeting the minimum standards, even if you are allowed to continue your enrollment, you may have to do so without the benefit of financial aid.

GPA Requirements  Students must have an UMSL cumulative grade point average (GPA) sufficient to meet University graduation requirements.  For undergraduate students, this is a minimum GPA of 2.00. Graduate students must have a minimum GPA of 3.00.  

Semester Hour Completion Rate  Students must complete 66% of the credits they attempt each semester. Attempted credits are defined as credits you are enrolled in at the end of the 100% drop and add period (the first week of classes).  If a student does not complete any classes or fails all classes, financial aid will be suspended immediately for future semesters.

Maximum Timeframe  Students must complete their degree program within 150 percent of the semester hour requirements for the degree.  Students must complete a bachelor’s degree within 180 attempted hours.  In general, a master’s degree must be completed within 54 semester hours.  Transfer credit is included in the maximum timeframe calculation.  Transfer credits are used to determine your class level and progress toward a degree, even if you did not receive financial aid at the previous institutions.

What Happens in the Review Process?

All students are classified as Meeting SAP Requirements when they first enroll at UMSL. Students who meet the aforementioned criteria for GPA, semester hour completion rate, and maximum timeframe will continue to meet SAP requirements and will continue to be eligible for financial aid.

Students classified as Meets SAP Requirements who do not meet the semester completion rate or GPA criteria will be put on Financial Aid Warning for one semester. Undergraduate students who do not complete 66% of attempted credit hours after one semester and/or maintain a 2.00 cumulative GPA will be placed on Financial Aid Warning.  Graduate students who do not maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA will be placed on Financial Aid Warning.  Students are eligible to receive federal financial aid funds while on Financial Aid Warning. We will remind students on Financial Aid Warning of the requirements for SAP, and they will be encouraged to seek additional academic assistance to ensure they meet the requirements in the following semester.  At the end of the warning period (semester), students on Financial Aid Warning who meet the requirements for SAP will be set back to Meets SAP Requirements. Students on financial aid warning who do not meet the requirements for SAP will be put on Financial Aid Suspension. (See Financial Aid Suspension below for additional information.) The student's federal, state, and UMSL aid is terminated at this point.

Students on Financial Aid Suspension may appeal their suspensions, provided there are extenuating circumstances surrounding their failure to meet the SAP requirements. If the student files a successful appeal (see Appeal process below), the student’s status will be change to Financial Aid Probation.  The student's progress will be monitored at the end of each semester as required by the conditions of the probation.  Provided the student continues to meet the requirements set forth by the probation, the student will continue to remain in Financial Aid Probation and continue to be eligible for financial aid.  If the student fulfils the terms of his/her probation, s/he will be deemed to Meet SAP Requirements. If the student does not follow the conditions of the probation, the student subsequently will be suspended from financial aid.

Notification  You will be notified by e-mail if you fall below the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.  It’s important to mention that you may also check your Satisfactory Academic Progress status at any time.  It is the student’s responsibility to monitor his or her academic progress and to be aware of the academic requirements of his or her program.

Late Grade Posted or Grade Change  If a student has been notified that their financial aid has been suspended and a grade is posted late or a professor changes a grade that will make a difference in the student’s academic progress evaluation, the student must notify the Financial Aid Office to request a reevaluation of their academic progress.  There is no automatic process to clear SAP holds for students who have a late grade posted or a grade change.

For additional information about the SAP process, click here

Financial Aid Suspension

A student's financial aid will be suspended for any of the following reasons:

  1. The student does not make progress toward the minimum required cumulative GPA during the semester following notification of Financial Aid Warning.
  2. The student does not complete 66% of attempted credit hours for which the student is enrolled during the semester immediately following notification of Financial Aid Warning.
  3. The student does not meet the requirements of his/her financial aid probation.
  4. The student completely withdraws from all classes during a semester for which financial aid was received.
  5. The student does not complete any credit hours attempted during the semester with a passing grade.  Passing grades are A,B,C,D.
  6. The student has attempted more than the number of credit hours as defined by their program.
  7. The student is dismissed from the University for any reason.

Appeal process

Students may appeal the suspension of financial aid by completing the following steps. 

  1. Complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form
  2. Submit with the completed Appeal Form a letter explaining the circumstances that have affected their academic performance and what has changed that will allow him/her to make Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Supporting documentation should be attached to the letter.

Handwritten appeal letters or incomplete forms will not be accepted.

The deadline for appealing SAP suspension is usually the last day to add a regular session class for the semester (ie. one week after classes start).  Check with our office for the actual deadline - it is also listed on the SAP Appeal.

Students should be prepared to seek other options if the appeal is not approved.  It is important to point out that unless a student is academically dismissed by UMSL, a student denied financial aid generally may continue attending by funding their educational costs themselves.

Programs Affected

Students in Financial Aid Suspension may not receive financial aid from most financial aid programs.  This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Federal aid (Pell Grant, SEOG, TEACH, Federal Work-Study, Direct Loan, Perkins Loan, Parent PLUS Loan, Grad PLUS loan)
  • Any UMSL need-based award (UMSL Grant)
  • Any UMSL scholarship with a GPA or SAP requirement, if the student fails to meet the requirement
  • State aid (Access Missouri award, Bright Flight, Marguerite Ross Barnett Scholarship, and other state aid programs.)
  • Any private scholarship with a GPA or SAP requirement if the student fails to meet the requirement 

Financial Aid for Repeated Courses  

Federal regulations change the way enrollment status is determined for students who are repeating coursework in which they previously received a letter grade of D- or higher. An institution may pay a student one time for retaking previously-passed coursework. To determine a student’s enrollment status (full-time vs. part-time), the school may not include more than one repetition of a previously passed course.

Example: Two years ago, Michael enrolled in a 3-hour Applied Mathematics course and received a grade of D-. Michael took the same course again last year and received a grade of C-. His major requires that he pass the class with a C or better, and Michael decided to take the course again this semester. Michael is enrolled in 9 hours of other coursework plus the Applied Math class, for a total of 12 hours. The 3 hours from the Applied Math class are NOT included in determining Michael’s enrollment status for the current semester because it is the 2nd time he is repeating a class in which he previously received a “passing” grade. For financial aid purposes, Michael is enrolled in 9 eligible hours. Michael would be paid financial aid as a part-time student because he is enrolled in 12 hours minus the 3 hours of the course he’s repeating for the second time, which do not count.