Like all other CSU campuses, we are required by Federal and State regulations to ensure that each student who is receiving financial aid maintains satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward his or her degree objective. What makes a student academically eligible to be admitted and enroll in units at SF State is different to what makes a student academically eligible to receive financial aid.

There are three major components to the standards:

  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

1. Pace Standard

This is a quantitative measure which 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 course work 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.


  • Student A enrolls in 15 units in Fall and 12 units in Spring. The student successfully earns 12 units in Fall and 9 units in Spring.  21 divided by 27 = 78% pass rate
  • Student B enrolls in 15 units in Spring and 6 units in Summer. The student earns only 6 units in the Spring and 3 units in the Summer.  9 divided by 21 = 43% pass rate.

2. Maximum Time Frame Standard

This is to ensure a student is actually 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. 

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

3. Grade Point Average (GPA Standard)

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.


  • 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 standard are notified via email of the results and the impact on their aid eligibility.


Students who are not meeting one or more SAP standard 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 which 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 doctor's note)



  1. Print the forms and fill them out fully, typing where possible. Be sure to follow the instructions.
  2. Submit to our office by mail, in person at the Financial Aid counter at the One Stop Center in the Student Services Building (SSB), or online by selecting the Online Document Submission button at the bottom of this page.

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.



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Undergraduate Students Appeal Form

Forms are in PDF Format - Please fill out and submit to our office.


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Graduate Students Appeal form

Forms are in PDF Format - Please fill out and submit to our office.


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