SAP for Undergraduate Students

Federal regulations require the Office of Student Financial Aid to monitor the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) of undergraduate and graduate students. SAP is a Federal financial aid policy, and SAP policies may be different than your College’s academic warning or probation policy.

Financial Aid Warning

Students are placed on SAP Warning for one semester if one or more SAP requirements are not met during the most recently completed semester. Students on SAP Warning are eligible for financial aid for one semester on SAP Warning and must meet SAP requirements at the end of the Warning semester to continue to be eligible for financial aid. Additional information about SAP requirements is available below “Financial Aid Suspension” on this webpage. Students will be notified about the SAP Warning reason via a targeted message in AccessPlus, and an email will be sent to students directing them to AccessPlus to view the targeted message. Scholarships may have more or less strict renewal requirements than what is set in the SAP policy. Students on SAP Warning are encouraged to check with their individual scholarship providers to confirm academic requirements for scholarship reinstatement.

Financial Aid Suspension

Students can be put on SAP Suspension for the reasons listed below and are not eligible for financial aid while on SAP Suspension. Students on SAP Suspension may appeal for the reinstatement of their financial aid. Approval of the appeal is not guaranteed. Students will be notified about the SAP Suspension reason and appeal deadline via a targeted message in AccessPlus, and an email will be sent to students directing them to AccessPlus to view the targeted message. Scholarships may have more or less strict renewal requirements than what is set in the SAP policy. Students not meeting SAP Suspension are encouraged to check with their individual scholarship providers to confirm academic requirements for scholarship reinstatement.

Reasons for SAP Suspension

  1. Do not meet the SAP requirements after one semester on Financial Aid Warning.
  2. Do not meet the requirements of their Academic Plan.
  3. Meet or exceed the Maximum Time Frame requirement to obtain a degree.
  4. Withdrawal from ALL semester credit hours while on financial aid warning.
  5. Withdrawal from ALL semester credit hours in back-to-back semesters.
  6. Receive a non-passing grade or incomplete in ALL semester credit hours.
The components of the SAP policy are available below and all components of the SAP policy must be met for a student to be eligible for financial aid.

1. Minimum GPA

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of a 2.0 or higher to remain eligible for financial aid. Academic records are reviewed at the completion of every term of enrollment (Fall, Spring, Summer) to determine SAP. Students who receive a 0.0 GPA for any given semester will be automatically placed on financial aid suspension without a warning semester, unless that student receives a passing grade in an internship course. Students in this situation may also be required to provide additional documentation to our office, proving their attendance for the semester.

2. Minimum Pace-of-Progression

Students must complete coursework at a cumulative rate of 67%. Completed coursework is defined as any course for which the student receives a passing grade. Academic records are reviewed at the completion of every term of enrollment (Fall, Spring, Summer) to determine SAP. Use the formula below to determine the pace of progression. The minimum pace requirement is 67%.

Completed Semester Hours (all passing grades)
  • All credit hours with a passing grade on a student’s academic record according to the Office of the Registrar (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, P, S, T), and all transfer, remedial, English as Second Language, IEOP, and early credit hours taken in high school.

Divided By

Attempted Semester Hours

  • All completed credit hours listed above, and all credit hours with a non-passing grade (F, NP, X, I) on a student’s academic record according to the Office of the Registrar
***See the pace of progression examples below for more information.

3. Maximum Time Frame

Federal regulations limit financial aid eligibility to 150% of the published length of the education program, as measured in attempted credit hours. When the student has attempted 125% of their education program, a letter is mailed to the student and a message is posted to the student’s AccessPlus account as notification that they are approaching the maximum time frame. Additionally, Federal regulations state that a student is ineligible when it becomes mathematically impossible to complete their program within 150% of the published program length.

The following are counted when determining minimum Pace of Progress and Maximum Time Frame Requirements:

    • Transfer: (including courses taken in high school for college credit), Remedial, English as Second Language, IEOP, and Early credit hours: These courses are counted as both attempted and completed towards pace of progression and maximum time frame.
    • Repeating a course: The credit hours from a repeated course are counted as attempted if the student receives a grade of I, NP, F, or X on their academic record. Once the course is passed, the credit hours are counted as both attempted and completed credit hours. Also see our policy on repeated courses and the impact on financial aid.
    • Incompletes: All incomplete grades count towards attempted hours for pace of progression and maximum time frame.
    • Academic Renewals: All academic renewal credit hours are counted towards pace of progression and maximum time frame requirements.
    • Receive a non-passing grade in ALL semester credit hours: Grades defined as non-passing are I, NP, F, or X, and credits for non-passing grades are counted as attempted towards pace of progression and maximum time frame.

View the following document for more information on unofficial withdrawal from classes/last date of attendance:

  • Withdrawal from all semester courses: All courses a student withdraws from at Iowa State University are counted towards attempted credit hours for pace of progression and maximum time frame. Also see policy on Withdrawal from Classes.
  • Students seeking an additional undergraduate degree after graduating: Financial Aid eligibility for students seeking an additional undergraduate degree is limited to Federal Direct Loan eligibility for up to 90 credit hours attempted for the additional degree, or 270 total undergraduate credit hours attempted at all institutions, whichever limit is met first.

Pace of Progression Examples

(Completed hours and hours with non-passing grades or incompletes)

First-year FreshmanFall SemesterSpring SemesterCumulative Total
Hours Completed61016
Hours Attempted121224
Pace of Progression50%83%67%
Financial Aid Status after SemesterWarningMet SAPEligible for Aid
First-year FreshmanFall SemesterSpring SemesterCumulative Total
Hours Completed6816
Hours Attempted121224
Pace of Progression50%67%*58%
Financial Aid Status after SemesterWarningSuspensionNot Eligible (needed 67%)
Continuing Student Fall Semester Cumulative Total
Hours Completed 3 50
Hours Attempted 12 72
Pace of Progression 25%69%
Financial Aid Status after SemesterMet SAPEligible for Aid
Spring SemesterCumulative Total
Hours Completed 6 56
Hours Attempted 12 84
Pace of Progression 50%67%
Financial Aid Status after Semester Met SAPEligible for Aid
Summer SemesterCumulative Total
Hours Completed 3 59
Hours Attempted 6 90
Pace of Progression 50%65%
Financial Aid Status after SemesterWarningRemains Eligible (needs 67%)
Fall SemesterCumulative Total
Hours Completed 8 67
Hours Attempted 12 102
Pace of Progression 67%66%
Financial Aid Status after SemesterSuspensionNot Eligible (needed 67%)

† Student already completed 47 credit hours and attempted 60 credit hours going into Fall semester: 78% pace of progression.

‡ Student did not meet 67% for the semester, but maintained the cumulative 67% pace required for financial aid.