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Satisfactory Academic Progress

The federal government requires that institutions of higher education establish minimum standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress toward the completion of a degree. Students who fail to meet these standards are not eligible to receive federal, state, and institutional financial aid.

DePauw’s eligibility standards are based on ten semesters to complete a major or program of study; however, scholarship and grant assistance from DePauw and from state agencies is limited to only eight semesters. Additionally, while a student must meet the minimum standards outlined below to maintain general eligibility for financial assistance, all University merit and private scholarships have specific GPA criteria (outlined in the scholarship award letter) that must be met in order to maintain eligibility for those awards.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) includes three standards -- qualitative, quantitative and maximum time limit. Students must meet all standards in order to be eligible for financial assistance. SAP is monitored twice per year, after the fall and spring semesters. Students who fail to meet any of the standards will either be placed on Financial Aid Probation or will be ineligible for financial assistance for the following payment period (defined as a semester).

Qualitative Standard (Cumulative GPA)

Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average.  Students must also be academically eligible to continue at DePauw as determined by the Registrar's Office.

Quantitative Standard (Completed Course Credits)

This standard measures the number of course credits completed versus the number of course credits attempted.  DePauw's quantitative standard is higher than that specified in federal regulations. Students must complete approximately 80% of attempted course credits in order to maintain satisfactory academic progress.  Credits are counted as attempted even if a student withdraws from all course work after the semester begins and no course credits are received for the semester.  The following chart illustrates the minimum number of credits required in order to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Please remember that financial assistance from DePauw and state agencies is limited to a maximum of eight semesters.

Credits AttemptedCredits Completed
4 3
8 6
12 9.5
16 12.5
20 16
24 19
28 22
32 25.5
36 28.5
40 32

Completing a course requires receiving a grade of A, B, C, D, P or S. Credits are counted as attempted and NOT completed when the student earns a grade of U or F, when a student withdraws from a course and receives a grade of W or doesn’t finish a course with I.

Maximum Time Limit Standard

Institutional financial aid is limited to 8 semesters for first-time degree-seeking students.  Students transferring from another college or university are limited to 8 semesters less the numbers of semesters of coursework accepted toward the degree from another institution. Students accepted to the double degree program (BM and BA) may have one additional year of institutional financial aid eligibility. There are no extensions of maximum time limits for double majors. 

State financial aid is limited to 8 semesters of eligibility across all institutions. No extensions are possible with state financial assistance. Federal financial aid is suspended once a student has attempted 150% of the required coursework for their degree program. No appeals are possible on the maximum time limits.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Status

All students enrolled at DePauw will be evaluated for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at the end of each semester of attendance. This evaluation will occur even if a student is not receiving financial assistance.  Students who complete the semester meeting SAP standards are evaluated with a "Satisfactory" status.

FA Warning

Any student who, for the first time, fails to meet either qualitative or quantitative SAP standards will be notified in writing that they have been placed on FA Warning for one semester.  Students placed on FA Warning are eligible to continue receiving financial aid.  To be removed from this status, students must attain the required cumulative GPA and/or credit completion rate by the end of the warning period.

FA Suspension

Any student on FA Warning or FA Probation who fails to meet either the qualitative or quantitative SAP standards (or any student who fails all courses in a semester) will be notified in writing that they have been placed on FA Suspension and will be ineligible to receive continued financial assistance until the SAP standards have been met or until the student successfully appeals for a probation period (see below).

FA Probation

Students who successfully appeal FA Suspension are placed on FA Probation for one semester and are eligible to receive continued financial assistance during the probation period.  Failure to meet SAP standards at the end of the probation period results in the student returning to FA Suspension.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Process

Students on FA Suspension may appeal the decision by submitting a written explanation to the Financial Aid Office detailing the extenuating circumstances that resulted in the student's inability to maintain SAP standards.  Examples of extenuating circumstances must be specific and may include (but are not limited to) serious personal problems, family tragedy, illness, and other unusual circumstances that could reasonably contribute to a lack of academic progress.  Documentation supporting the extenuating circumstances may be requested to verify information in the appeal.

The appeal statement should indicate how circumstances have changed that will enable the student to meet SAP standards in the future. In addition, students should identify an academic plan that leads to the student's successful attainment of minimum SAP standards and to the completion of degree requirements.  The academic plan can include specific courses and strategies (such as weekly advising or tutoring) and should be supported by an academic advisor or faculty member. 

In some cases, an academic plan may extend over multiple semesters as long as benchmarks are established at the end of each semester to evaluate academic progress.

Students will be informed of the appeal decision as quickly as possible, typically within three weeks.  Students who successfully appeal SAP Suspension will be placed on SAP Probation for one semester.  Students must successfully meet SAP standards by the end of the probationary period. 

In cases where the student's academic plan requires more than one semester, students must meet with a financial aid counselor to review and confirm that the conditions of the academic plan are being met before each additional probationary semester is granted.

Additional SAP Considerations

Academic Dismissal (and Return):

Students who are dismissed academically are not eligible to receive financial assistance.  In cases where students are allowed to return, financial assistance is NOT automatically reinstated. Students must meet all SAP standards as defined above. If below the standards, such students must follow the appeal process or use means other than financial aid for educational expenses.

Audit Courses:

Students are not eligible to receive financial aid for audit courses. Audited courses are not included in the number of credits attempted or earned for SAP determination and no grade is received.

Changes of Major:

If a student changes major, all credits attempted, including those taken toward the prior major will be counted when calculating the cumulative GPA. These credits will also be counted in the credits attempted versus credits completed calculation.

Completion of Degree Requirements:

Once students have completed all academic requirements for a degree, they are ineligible for any further financial aid, Federal or otherwise.

GPA Exclusions:

A grade of P, U or W counts as credits attempted and completed, but is not calculated in the cumulative GPA.

Grade of F in all Courses:

Any student that finishes a semester earning a grade of F in all courses will immediately lose eligibility for financial aid regardless of the cumulative GPA.  Students must appeal to have eligibility reinstated for a probationary period. 

Incomplete and Deferred Course Grades:

Any course with I (Incomplete) or L (Deferred) is counted in credits attempted (quantitative) but not completed.  When an actual grade is assigned, SAP standards are reevaluated based on the grade(s) earned and completed credits, if applicable.

Reinstatement Policy:

A student that chooses not to appeal, or whose appeal is denied, will regain eligibility once the minimum standards for GPA and/or completion ratio are achieved. The student should contact the Financial Aid Office when standards are reached.

Repeating Courses:

Only the second grade counts toward the cumulative GPA.  Repeated courses always count as credits attempted. Students may only earn credit for a successfully completed course once. Therefore, repeating courses to improve a grade may negatively affect a student's ability to maintain the quantitative standard of SAP.

Transfer Credits:

Credits accepted for transfer will be included in attempted credits and completed credits. Grades received for transfer credits will not be computed in the cumulative grade point average. Transfer credits are also applicable toward the number of semesters when determining maximum time frames for institutional awards. Every four course credits accepted for transfer counts as a semester of eligibility.


Any course with a "W" is considered as credits attempted. Students should be aware that excessive withdrawals from classes could result in the loss of financial aid at some point in future semester due to quantitative standards for SAP.