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Satisfactory Academic Progress - Graduate

Graduate Federal SAP Policy

Once you have received your financial aid (federal, state, and all university funding), you must continue to progress in your studies in order to maintain your aid. To remain eligible for Title IV programs, state aid, and all university funding, students must be making satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education regulations. If you do not make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, you could lose your federal, state, and all university funding.

Qualitative Standard

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

NOTE: Some Santa Clara University graduate programs require a higher cumulative grade point average than the federal minimum (academic purposes not aid eligibility). Please check with your program office. 

Quantitative Standard

Students must maintain a cumulative 67% completion rate for all units attempted toward their academic programs. Pace is determined by dividing the cumulative number of credits you have earned by the cumulative number of credits you have attempted.

Maximum Attempted Units Allowed

Students must complete the requirements for their academic programs within 150% of the minimum units required to complete their academic programs (varies by program). Students who have reached their maximum attempted units allowed are ineligible for additional financial aid. Students may appeal for financial aid probation status if they feel their circumstances warrant an exception to this standard.


All graduate students enrolled at Santa Clara University are evaluated for satisfactory academic progress at the completion of each academic year (end of spring term).

Pass/No Pass

Courses with Pass grades will count toward your total hours for the cumulative completion rate for federal financial aid. However, Pass grades will not count in your GPA calculation. Courses that earn NP grades will count as attempted but not completed, and could impact your eligibility for federal aid. P/NP options may not be available in all graduate programs. Graduate students should refer to their program office for additional guidance.

Repetition of Courses

Graduate students should contact their program office to discuss their options for repeating courses.

In most cases if repeated courses are allowed, the repeated course is used in the calculation of the student's grade point average (this may not be the case for all programs please check with your program office).

Units are awarded toward graduation only once for each course passed.

Courses Incompletes, Withdrawal, Failures, and/or Repetitions

Incompletes (I), Withdrawals (W), Failures (F), and/or repeated courses will adversely affect a student's completion rate. Students must complete the minimum number of units to fulfill federal, state, and University requirements. Completion rates are calculated cumulatively and will include all quarters/semesters that the student was enrolled, whether or not the student received financial aid.

Students who wish to withdraw from Santa Clara University must contact their graduate school advisor. Depending on your date of withdrawal, you may automatically be assigned a withdrawal grade (W) and may not be eligible for a tuition refund. Your program advisor will advise on what you can expect and /or what to be prepared for. 

Students who abandon their classes will receive a failing grade, impacting their qualitative and quantitative SAP requirements.

Students who withdraw from their program are still responsible for any financial commitment made to both the university and loan provider(s).

IMPORTANT: Any student leaving Santa Clara University at the conclusion of any quarter should also contact their graduate program.

Appeal Process

There could be extenuating circumstances encountered by students that may affect their ability to be academically successful during an enrollment period. These circumstances include personal injury or illness that occurs during an enrollment period; death of an immediate family member or legal guardian during an enrollment period; or other documented circumstances that were unexpected in nature and beyond control of the student. In these cases, cumulative grade point average or completion rate may decline resulting in the student not meeting the minimum qualitative and quantitative standards previously described. If you wish to appeal your financial aid suspension, a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on financial aid probation (separate from academic probation) and will be notified of the appeal results in writing. 

Loss of Eligibility 

Students who have lost eligibility to participate in federal, state, and University aid programs for reasons of academic progress, can regain that eligibility only by enrolling at Santa Clara University at their own expense. The mere passage of time will not restore eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory academic progress. Students who have been dismissed from Santa Clara University for academic reasons, but who are subsequently readmitted are not automatically eligible to participate in federal, state, or institutional aid programs and will be placed on financial aid warning/or suspension. Re-admission decisions are separate from funding decisions.

Regaining Eligibility 

Students who failed to meet satisfactory academic progress and who choose to enroll without financial aid may request a review of their academic record after any term in which they are enrolled without the receipt of financial aid. If the standards are met at the time of review, eligibility may be regained for subsequent terms of enrollment in the academic year.