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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is used to determine financial aid eligibility and academic standing. The main goal of the SAP system is to make sure that all degree-seeking students are making timely progress toward earning a degree.

Although DePauw’s SAP standards address academic standing at the university and general eligibility for financial assistance, students should note that scholarship and grant assistance from DePauw and from state agencies is limited to eight semesters. Additionally, 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 specific awards.

Timely Progress

To graduate from DePauw with a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Musical Arts degree requires 31 course credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA, cumulative and in the major. The Bachelor of Music Education Degree requires 33 course credits with a 2.0 cumulative GPA.

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Musical Arts, and Bachelor of Music Education degrees are expected to complete their degrees in eight semesters; students in the dual degree Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Arts program have ten semesters to complete the degrees.*

Student who withdraw from the university for one or more semesters will not have those semesters count towards expected progress.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Status

There are four  SAP statuses:

  • Satisfactory
  • Warning
  • Suspension
  • Probation

Two primary measures are used to determine SAP status: academic performance as measured by grade point average and progress toward degree as measured by earned college credits applicable to the degree. GPA is referred to as a qualitative measure; credits earned as a quantitative measure. The quantitative measures include both credits earned and percentage of credits attempted that are earned. The qualitative measures include both cumulative and major GPAs.

DePauw uses a graduated scale of minimum standards students must achieve to be in satisfactory standing.

Semester Completed









Minimum Cumulative GPA









Major GPA









Minimum Credits Earned









Percent of Attempted Earned









Minimum GPA and Credit Earned

Full-time students must earn at least 2.0 course credits and at least a 1.0 GPA each primary term (Fall and Spring). Students who fall below these  primary term minimums are suspended.

Review Process

At the end of each  primary term, student performance is reviewed by members of the Financial Aid and Registrar’s offices. Students who are meeting the above minimum standards are judged to be making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree.

Students who have been doing satisfactorily and then fall below any of the above standards are given a warning to improve performance. If they fail to meet the benchmark for the next semester or perform below the minimums for the primary terms, they are suspended. They may appeal the suspension (see Appeals Process below) or apply for readmission after spending some time away from DePauw.

Students who successfully appeal suspension are placed on probation. In most cases, they will have one probationary semester to bring their performance into line with the satisfactory academic progress standards. If they fail to do so they are again suspended. However, some students who come close to reaching the target may be continued on probation upon appeal.

SAP progress is evaluated at the end of the Fall and Spring primary terms in order to give students who are suspended a chance to submit an appeal before the beginning of the next semester. Status determinations are provisional until the extended term is completed.

Appeals of Suspensions

Students who are suspended for failing to meet SAP guidelines may appeal their suspension in writing to the Academic Standing Committee, which includes representatives from the faculty, Academic Affairs, Student Life and Financial Aid. Usually, appeals are heard approximately two weeks after grades for the primary terms have been posted (approximately January 15 and June 10). In the appeal the student presents his/her case for continuing. If the student is behind in credit earned, the appeal should include a plan for catching up, which may include taking courses elsewhere over the summer. If the student has fallen below the minimum GPA standards, the appeal should include a plan for improving performance. Note that course work done elsewhere or online does count toward the quantitative, but not the qualitative measures, because course work done elsewhere does not count into DePauw GPAs.

Students who successfully appeal a suspension may continue on probation in the following semester. Those whose appeals are denied may apply for readmission after being away for a minimum of one semester.

* DePauw’s academic calendar consists of two semesters each of which has a primary term and an extended term. Semester I includes Fall and Winter terms; Semester II Spring and May terms.

(Approved by DePauw Faculty, Sept. 8, 2014)

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.