The Satisfactory Academic Progress standards measures a student’s progress toward
degree completion using both qualitative (GPA) and quantitative (units completed compared
to units attempted) methods. To be eligible for financial aid, students must exceed
or meet these standards. The standards apply to all college coursework taken, regardless
of whether financial aid was received or not, including coursework transferred from
another institution. Academic progress is reviewed at the end of each semester when
grades are available. Students who fail to meet the Standards for Satisfactory Academic
Progress will have their financial aid eligibility suspended.
The SAP requirements fall into three areas:
- Making progress toward your degree by completing a minimum number of units based on
your total years of enrollment.
- Maintaining a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) 2.0 for Undergraduate and
3.0 for Graduate.
- Completing your degree within a maximum specified number of years of enrollment.
Federal regulations require California State University San Marcos to establish standards
for evaluating Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). These standards measure qualitative
and quantitative requirements and maximum timeframe for a student’s progress toward
degree completion. To be eligible for financial aid, students must meet these standards.
Failure to maintain these standards will result in suspension of your financial aid
eligibility. This policy was developed using CSUSM academic policies and federal regulation.
In addition to meeting academic standards outlined in CSUSM Policy for Graduate Probation,
Disqualification, and Reinstatement http://www.csusm.edu/policies/active/documents/graduate_probation_disqualification_and_reinstatement.html, financial aid recipients are required to meet the satisfactory academic progress
standards outlined in this policy. Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid
recipients enrolled in degree programs, as described below, is evaluated at the end
of each semester. Failure to maintain SAP, as described in this Policy, may result
in cancellation of financial aid awards, and the student may have to repay funds already
Minimum Standards for Graduate Students
- CSUSM's institutional requirements for minimum SAP requirements for graduate financial
aid recipients are defined as follows:
- Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA).
The student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
- Minimum completion rate.
The student must maintain a minimum cumulative completion rate of two-thirds of credits
attempted (50%) as measured by comparing the total completed credits to the total
- Maximum Timeframe
The student must complete his or her educational program within a time frame no longer
than 200 percent of the published length of the educational program, as measured by
credits attempted and including transfer credits (for example, the student must complete
his or her program after attempting a maximum of 72 credits for a 36 credit program).
Note: Students who have graduated from one program at CSUSM and then enroll in a second
eligible program should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine their SAP status
under their new program of study.
- Federal regulations require that CSUSM track the academic progress of financial aid
recipients from the first date of enrollment at CSUSM, whether or not financial aid
- Students who do not earn their degree within the maximum timeframe to completion,
outlined above, are ineligible for financial aid. No financial aid will be disbursed
for the student during subsequent semesters/periods of enrollment unless the student
has made an appeal and the appeal (described in section VI of this Policy) is granted.
- Students who are academically disqualified are ineligible for financial aid.
Treatment of W, I, AU, F, WU, CR, NC and RD; No Grade Reported; Repeated Course Work
and Transfer Credits
- Course withdrawals (W) after the drop/add period are not included in the GPA calculation,
but are considered a noncompletion of attempted coursework and are used in the completion
- Incomplete (I) grades are not included in the GPA calculation and are considered a
noncompletion of attempted coursework until the grade is replaced with a permanent
grade and academic progress can be re-evaluated.
- Audit (AU) grades are not considered attempted coursework and are not included in
completion rate determinations.
- Failure (F) and Failure for Nonattendance (WU) grades will be treated as attempted
credits that were not earned, and will be included both in the calculation of the
GPA and minimum completion rate.
- Credit (CR) and no credit (NC) grades the credits will not be included in the GPA
calculation and will be considered a non-completion of attempted coursework.
- Report Delayed (RD) is used where a delay in the reporting of a grade is due to circumstances
beyond the control of the student. The symbol may be assigned by the registrar only
and, if assigned, shall be replaced by a substantive grading symbol as soon as possible.
An RD shall not be used in calculating grade point average or progress points, and
will be considered a non-completion of attempted coursework until a grade is assigned
and academic progress can be re-evaluated.
- Each repeated course attempt will be included in the completion rate and maximum time-frame
- Transfer credits will be counted as attempted and completed credits for the calculation
of completion rate and maximum time frame, but will not affect the student's GPA calculation.
Financial Aid Warning Status
Graduate students who fail to maintain the minimum completion rate of 67 percent and/or
fail to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 will be placed in Financial Aid Warning
for the next semester of enrollment. Students are eligible for financial aid during
the warning semester.
Financial Aid Suspension
- Students unable to meet the SAP standards during their Warning semester are ineligible
to continue receiving financial aid. Students who do not earn their degree within
the maximum timeframe to completion are ineligible for additional financial aid. No
aid will be disbursed during subsequent semesters of enrollment unless the student
has made an appeal and the appeal is granted (See section VI.B. of this Policy which
describes appeal procedures). There are no exceptions to this requirement.
Reinstatement of Aid After Financial Aid Suspension:
- Reinstatement of financial aid after a student who has not met the SAP standards and
is on Financial Aid Suspension is achieved in one of the following ways:
- The student attends CSUSM, pays for tuition and fees without the help of student financial
aid, and does well enough in the coursework to satisfy all the SAP standards. The
student regains aid eligibility.
- The student submits a written letter of appeal and the Financial Aid Appeals Committee
grants the appeal. The student is placed on Financial Aid Probation for the next semester
of enrollment. Financial aid probation means that the student who failed to make SAP
and who has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated. At the end of that
probationary semester, their SAP status will be re-evaluated. The student must meet
all SAP requirements at the end of that semester or he/she will return to Financial
Aid Suspension and must reestablish eligibility as described in paragraph A.1. of
Section VI of this policy.
- Students who request exceptions to the CSUSM Withdrawal and Refund policies and are
granted an exception will not have their SAP reevaluated until the end of the semester,
regardless of when the exception was granted.
- Students who are beyond the maximum timeframe to completion cannot regain financial
aid eligibility except on a semester–by–semester basis through the appeal process.
- Appeal Process
- The student must submit a written appeal of Financial Aid Suspension before the deadline
(see below) to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. The appeal must include
documentation of the circumstance that lead to the student not meeting SAP standards
as well as a description of how he/she will be able to meet SAP at the end of the
next enrollment period. Circumstances which may be considered include death of a relative,
unexpected injury or illness of the student or other circumstances, as supported with
documentation. For an appeal to be considered it must contain:
- The SAP appeal form
- A one page typed and signed appeal statement
- All required documentation that supports the extenuating circumstances (death certificate,
divorce decree, police report, medical documentation)
- Academic Advisement Report
- The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review the appeal and notify the student
in writing of its decision after the Appeals Committee meets and makes its determination.
Appeals will not be granted unless the student's proposed enrollment in the upcoming
semester would be adequate to reestablish their progress under this Policy.
- Appeals are approved for one semester – if the student does not meet SAP at the end
of the probationary semester they will be placed on financial aid suspension and no
additional appeals for the same reason could be considered.
- Academic Plan – the Financial Aid Appeals committee can place the student on an academic
plan which would extend the probationary semester. This requires coordination with
an academic advisor and the student’s record will be reevaluated at the end of each
semester to determine if the student has met the requirements of the academic plan.
Failure to meet the academic plan will result in the student being placed on financial
- All decisions of the Financial Aid Appeals Committee are final.
- Deadlines to file an appeal are as follows:
Fall – October 1
Spring – March 1
Summer – July 1
This Policy is effective March 1, 2016, and will be first calculated for students
on probation under the prior Policy at the conclusion of the Spring 2016 semester.
Note: Students who fail to enroll after an appeal has been granted will be suspended again
and may be required to submit a new appeal before they will be eligible to receive