SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS: Policy and Requirements

Like all other CSU campuses, we are required by Federal and State regulations to ensure that each student receiving financial aid maintains Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward their degree objective. What makes a student academically eligible to be admitted and enroll in units at SF State is different from what makes a student academically eligible to receive financial aid.

If you are required to submit the form to our office, please click on the link listed right below to access the form.

There are three major components to the standards:
Steps Details
  1. Pace (Pass Rate) Standard
Satisfactorily complete a minimum percentage of their cumulative units
  1. Maximum Time Frame Standard
Complete a degree program within 150% of the units for the degree
  1. GPA Standard
Meet the minimum cumulative GPA of:
2.0 for Undergraduate students
3.0 or above for Graduate students

This is a quantitative measure that calculates the pace or pass rate at which a student is progressing toward completion of his or her graduation requirements at SF State.

To be eligible for financial aid, a student must maintain a minimum pass rate. The pass rate is cumulative and is calculated every academic year.

  • Undergraduates: Need to complete 67% of the units attempted
  • Graduate students, other post-baccalaureate students: Need to complete 70% of the units attempted

How We Define the Pace Standard:

  • Completed units are defined as having earned a grade of A, B, C, D, or CR.
  • Transfer units are not included in this calculation.
  • However, repeated units at SF State coursework are included.
  • All types of attempted units are defined as such, regardless of the reason for the grade earned. Therefore, grades such as F, I, NC, U, W, AUD, RD, or SP count as units attempted with zero units earned.

How To Calculate the Pace (Pass Rate) Standard:

Refer to your unofficial SF State transcript. Start with the cumulative units completed and divide by cumulative units attempted.

Examples:

  • Student A enrolls in 15 units in Fall and 12 units in Spring. The student successfully earns 12 units in Fall and nine units in Spring.  21 divided by 27 = 78% pass rate
  • Student B enrolls in 15 units in Spring and six units in Summer. The student earns only six units in the Spring and three units in the Summer.  9 divided by 21 = 43% pass rate.

This is to ensure a student is completing the academic program within a reasonable overall time frame based on units attempted. To meet the standard, students must complete their program of study within 150% of the units required for the degree.

Unlike the Pace standard, all units attempted at all institutions are included, regardless of whether or not SF State has accepted the units toward the degree OR whether or not financial aid was received for those units. 

Unit Breakdown

Maximum time frame:

150% units required to complete programs

Undergraduate students

180 Attempted units

Master's degree candidates

Varies by major

Teaching credential candidates

57 units

Second baccalaureate students

75 units

Certificate students

Varies by program

Doctoral degree candidates

75 units

Financial aid recipients must be in good academic standing with the University. The Office of Student Financial Aid will adhere to the University's academic standard requiring:

  • 2.0 minimum GPA for Undergraduate students
  • 3.0 or above for Graduate students.

Students are ineligible to receive financial aid if they are dismissed academically from the University. Please refer to the University Bulletin for more information.

HOW WE MONITOR SAP

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress is monitored annually, every academic year. The appeal probationary period, therefore, is the same as an academic year.
  • Students who fully meet all three standards above are considered successfully making academic progress for financial aid.
  • Students who are not meeting one or more standards are notified via email of the results and the impact on their aid eligibility.

APPEALS POLICY

Students who are not meeting one or more SAP standards for financial aid may submit an appeal one time only. No extensions or subsequent appeals will be granted for any reason. The appeal must include:

  1. Personal statement
    • Should explain the extenuating circumstances* that affected your ability to make progress toward completing graduation requirements at an acceptable rate and what has changed so that you will meet SAP standards in the future.
  2. Graduation Plan
    • List of remaining courses that should be completed with the help of an academic advisor and/or your major advisor.

*As defined by Federal guidelines, examples of extenuating circumstances include:

  • Prolonged illness under a doctor's care or illness/accidents requiring hospitalization
  • Prolonged illness of a dependent
  • Death of an immediate family member
  • Interpersonal problems relating to family, financial, or scholastic issues
  • Financial Difficulties
  • Change in major (only for those not meeting Max Time Frame; does not apply to students not meeting the Pace Standard)

Please attach appropriate documentation to support your statement (e.g., for a medical issue, attach a doctor's note).

APPEALS PROCESS

Instructions:

  1. Download the form and fill them out entirely. Be sure to follow the instructions as listed on the form.
  2. Submit to our office through DocuSign, in person at the Financial Aid counter at the One Stop in the Student Services Building (SSB), or by mail.

What to expect after you submit the appeal

You will be notified by automatic email notification of the appeal decision in approximately 2 to 3 weeks from the date of submission. If your appeal is approved, you should know:

  1. You can only appeal once. No second appeals or probationary extensions.
  2. You have a probationary period of one academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer) to increase your pass rate to the required percentage. By the end of the probationary period, you must be meeting the standards to retain your financial aid eligibility.
  3. If you are not meeting the Maximum Time Frame standard, you will have until the end of the current academic year to finish your program while retaining your financial aid eligibility. After the current academic year ends, you will no longer be eligible for financial aid at SF State.