Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy 

Federal Law requires that institutions of higher education monitor the academic progress of students who receive federal financial aid.  In order to remain eligible for federal, state, and institutional financial aid, students must comply with the Upper Iowa University standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). All undergraduate and graduate students will be evaluated for SAP at the end of every semester. The components of Upper Iowa University's Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for financial aid are as follows: Grade Point Average (GPA), Pace (66.7% Rule), and Maximum Time Frame (150% Rule).


Financial Aid Warning - A status a school [Upper Iowa University] assigns to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress.  The school reinstates eligibility for aid for one payment period and may do so without a student appeal.

Financial Aid Suspension - An undergraduate or graduate student who fails to meet SAP requirements after Financial Aid Warning, is placed on Financial Aid Suspension and is not eligible to receive financial aid without a successful appeal.

Appeal - A process by which a student who is not meeting SAP standards petitions the school's SAP Appeals Committee for reconsideration of their eligibility for financial aid funds (Title IV).

Financial Aid Probation - A status a school assigns to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress and who successfully appeals.  Eligibility for aid may be reinstated for one payment period.

Maximum Time Frame - A period no longer than 150 percent of the published length of the program.

Payment Period - Is the length of a semester.  Example, Fall Semester (August - December)

Qualitative Measure: Grade Point Average (GPA) 

Undergraduate student must maintain a cumulative GPA as described below:

  • Freshman - 1.75 GPA (1 to 29 completed credits)
  • Sophomore - 1.90 GPA (30 to 59 completed credits)
  • Junior and above - 2.0 GPA (60+ completed credits)

Graduate student must maintain a cumulative GPA as described below:

  • 2.5 GPA (1-9 completed credits)
  • 3.0 GPA (10+ completed credits)

The following do not count towards the SAP GPA: Incomplete, Withdrawals, Non-Attendance, Preparatory (Foundation) Courses

Quantitative Measure: Pace of Progression (66.7% Rule) 

All full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students at UIU who receive financial aid must stay on pace to graduate on time. Pace is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credits a student successfully completed by the cumulative number of credits they have attempted.  When this calculation falls below 66.7% (2/3), a student is no longer on pace to graduate on time.  Transfer credits that count toward a student's program are considered within this calculation as credits attempted and credits earned.

The following do count towards attempted credits: Withdrawals, Administrative Withdrawals, Incomplete, and F Grades

Maximum Time Frame (150% Rule) 

An eligible undergraduate, graduate or 2nd degree-seeking student can receive Federal financial aid while attempting up to, but not exceeding, 150% of the published normal completion length of the student's program, regardless of enrollment status.  For example, a student seeking a degree which requires 120 credit hours could receive financial aid while attempting 180 credit hours (120 x 150% = 180).  Credits transferred to UIU, and any credits attempted at UIU, with or without the benefit of student financial aid, must be taken into consideration.  Financial aid will be suspended when the Financial Aid Office determines that a student cannot mathematically complete their degree within this time frame. 

Failure to Meet SAP Requirements

Financial Aid Warning: An undergraduate or graduate student in their first semester of noncompliance will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one semester. During the warning period, students are eligible to receive financial aid. Students are encouraged to seek academic counseling to ensure they satisfy all deficiencies during this period, and to consult with their Academic Advisor if they have any questions.

Financial Aid Suspension: An undergraduate or graduate student who fails to meet SAP requirements after Financial Aid Warning, is placed on Financial Aid Suspension and is not eligible to receive financial aid without a successful appeal.  Should a student not wish to appeal, the student must meet SAP requirements before aid eligibility can be re-established.

Financial Aid Probation: An undergraduate or graduate student who has successfully appealed a Financial Aid Suspension, will be placed on probation for one semester.  If the student meets the SAP standards at the end of the probation semester, the student's SAP status will be reset back to passing SAP.  If they do not meet the SAP standards at the end of their probation, the student will be placed back into Financial Aid Suspension.

SAP Appeal: An undergraduate or graduate student with extenuating circumstances may appeal the denial of student financial assistance by submitting a SAP Appeal Form within five (5) business days from the day the Notice of SAP Suspension was sent. The appeal must be made in writing, addressed to the SAP Committee and include the following documentation:

  • Completed SAP Appeal Form
  • A letter written and signed by the student describing why the student has failed SAP and what has changed that will allow the student to successfully meet SAP in the future
  • A physicians' note if the appeal is based on medical circumstances.  In accordance with HIPAA privacy rules, documentation should never include medical records or copies of prescriptions.
  • Additional support documents, if appropriate
  • An academic improvement plan must also be included with the appeal

Extenuating Circumstances (Must have occurred during the warning or suspension semester)

  • Death of an immediate family member
  • Major medical issue (i.e. requires hospitalization) experience by the student or an immediate family member of the student 
  • Domestic violence
  • Involuntary call to active military duty
  • Documented learning disability

Late appeals will not be accepted. Only one approved appeal per each level of education will be allowed (one for undergraduate and one for graduate level). 

Students who are aware of learning disabilities are advised to contact the Disability Services Office so that appropriate accommodations can be made.  A student with a documented disability and functional limitations is still held to the same academic expectations as other students. If the student is registered with the Disabilities Services Office and receiving appropriate accommodations, the student should be able to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid eligibility purposes.

This is a brief overview of the Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, please refer to the full policy at uiu.edu/about/policies

If you have any questions please contact the Financial Aid Office at 1-800-553-4150 or financialaid@uiu.edu