Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

In order to receive federal financial aid, students must meet certain academic requirements called Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP requirements apply to all students (including non-aid recipients) and are monitored after grades are posted at the end of each semester (including summer). Students who do not meet SAP are notified via their NDSU email and are given the reason for not meeting SAP as well as appeal options.

SAP Policy   ​SAP Appeal Forms

SAP requirements are measured in the following areas:

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Undergraduate and Professional students must earn and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0* or higher. Graduate students must earn and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. For purposes of determining financial aid eligibility, cumulative GPA calculations include transfer credits. Grades of P (Pass) or S (Satisfactory) are not factored into the GPA; however, F (Fail) grades are, even when choosing a Pass/Fail grading option.

*NOTE: GPA is not rounded up. For example, 1.997 does NOT meet the 2.0 GPA requirement.

IMPORTANT! The grade point average requirements listed in the financial aid and One Stop sections of the website refer to the standards for financial aid eligibility only. The various colleges within NDSU (e.g., College of Health Professions) may have separate requirements for certain course grades and may require a minimum GPA be earned every semester, not just cumulatively. Each student is responsible for knowing the criteria that determines good academic standing within their specific college and degree program. Information is usually posted on the college’s website, in their policy manual, or can be found by contacting the department or the student’s academic advisor. 

Successful Completion of Attempted Credits

Students must successfully complete two-thirds (67%)** of the credits they attempt cumulatively. This percentage is determined by dividing the total number of successfully completed credits by the total number of credits the student has attempted based on their enrollment on each semester’s census date. The financial aid census dates can be found under Registration and Records Dates and Deadlines with the description "Attempted credits calculated for financial aid SAP."

**Successful completion is rounded up to the nearest tenth. For example, 66.666% DOES meet the 67% requirement.

The cumulative credits calculation includes all credits attempted even if they do not pertain to the student’s current degree. (See the section titled "Treatment of Non-Standard Credits")

Successfully completed credit hours include grades of A, B, C, D, P or S. Credit hours that are NOT considered successfully completed include unreported/blank grades, F (Fail), W (Withdrawal), U (Unsatisfactory) and I (Incomplete). Both successful and unsuccessful credit hours are included as attempted hours.

  • Grade Changes – If a blank, incomplete or letter grade is changed during the semester, the student's SAP status will be recalculated. If the updated grade results in the student's status changing to "Disqualified" he/she will be notified through NDSU email and will have 2 weeks to appeal. Failure to appeal or denial of an appeal will result in the immediate loss of financial aid eligibility and the cancellation of financial aid that was disbursed for the semester.
  • Military Activation or Deployment – Students who are required to withdraw from NDSU after the Census Date for military reasons may be placed on Financial Aid Warning or Disqualification. The student should contact NDSU One Stop to resolve any negative SAP status that has resulted from their deployment.

Maximum Attempted Credits/Time Frame

Students have a maximum credit or semester limit in which they must complete their degree. Undergraduate students are required to complete their degree within 150% of the published length of the program, and are disqualified at 140% with the option to appeal. Masters, Professional and Doctoral students will have their maximum time frame calculated based on the number of semesters of enrollment, with 19 to 30 semesters being the maximum, depending on the academic program. Students who exceed 130% of the published length of their program will be placed on Financial Aid INFO status, and are encouraged to submit an appeal if they are not in their final term of study. If no appeal is received, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Disqualification upon reaching 140% of the published length of their program.

Example: If a program requires 122 credits to graduate, the student would be placed on INFO status at 159 attempted credits (122 x 130%). If he/she does not successfully appeal while on INFO status, the status will change to Disqualification once the student reaches 171 attempted credits (122 x 140% = 171).

  • Major Changes – Students who have changed their major or are pursuing a second degree are more likely to reach the maximum time frame. Through the appeal process NDSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships can adjust the maximum number of credits they are allowed to attempt in the pursuit of their degree. If a student changes majors, the credits earned under all majors will be included in the calculation of attempted, earned and maximum time frame.
  • Academic Forgiveness/Amnesty – Coursework for which a student has been granted academic forgiveness is included in the maximum time frame and attempted credits calculation.

If You Do Not Meet SAP Requirements

Students who do not meet SAP requirements for GPA, completion of attempted credits and/or remedial courses will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for their next semester of enrollment. Financial aid may be received during the semester while the student is on Warning. Students who meet the SAP requirements during their next semester of enrollment will automatically be removed from Warning at the end of that term. Students who do not meet SAP requirements in any area at the end of their semester of Warning will be placed on Financial Aid Disqualification. Students exceeding Maximum Attempted Credits/Time Frame limits may have an INFO status on their account.

Financial Aid Warning means:

  1. The student may receive financial aid if otherwise eligible during the semester in which a Financial Aid Warning indicator is on their account. The student must meet all SAP requirements at the end of the warning semester. If he/she does not, the student will lose eligibility for financial aid and will be placed on Financial Aid Disqualification.
  2. A Financial Aid Warning indicator will appear on the student’s Campus Connection portal. The status is informational only, will not interfere with adding or dropping courses, and will not appear on the student's academic transcript or any other permanent record.
  3. While on Financial Aid Warning, students should seek assistance from various campus resources that may assist them in meeting their personal and educational goals.