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Satisfactory Academic Progress - Undergraduate

What is SAP?

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are the standards students must meet to ensure that they are successfully completing coursework and can continue to receive Title IV and SCU financial aid. To remain eligible for Title IV programs and institutional aid, students must be making satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education regulations.

Who does SAP apply to?

All undergraduate students who are applying for financial aid must adhere to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy across all programs and enrollment levels. This policy holds students accountable for meeting academic progress requirements, regardless of whether or not they have previously received financial aid. If a student fails to meet these requirements, they will not be eligible for financial assistance. 

How often are students evaluated?

Undergraduate students are evaluated for SAP at the end of each term (Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer) after the Registrar has released official grades.


SAP is comprised of three components GPA, PACE and MAX. After the review of all standards at the end of each term, there are three possible outcomes.

  1. PASS: Student Passes SAP, they meet all standards and are in good standing. There is no communication between the Financial Aid Office and the student should this be the outcome.
  2. WARNING: Financial Aid Warning is assigned if a student was previously meeting SAP policy standards, but failed to make satisfactory academic progress for the last SAP review of enrollment. During the SAP warning period, students are allowed to continue to receive financial aid without a written appeal. The student will receive a notification via Workday account notifying them that they have been placed on SAP Warning.
  3. FAIL: Fail status is assigned if a student was previously placed on SAP Warning and fails to meet the standards for the last SAP review of enrollment. Students with this status are not eligible for Title IV and SCU financial aid. The student will receive notification via their Workday account that they have failed to meet SAP standards. It is important to note that students can appeal their SAP status.

Standards Evaluated

Qualitative Standard (GPA). Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher. This cumulative grade point average is 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

NOTE: Some Santa Clara University aid programs require a higher cumulative grade point average than the federal minimum.

Quantitative Standard (PACE). Students must maintain a cumulative sixty-seven percent completion rate for all units attempted toward their academic programs.

Example of 67% Minimum Pace of Completion Calculation:

SCU Attempted Units


Transfer Units Accepted


Total Attempted Units


Total Successfully Completed 


12 successfully completed units/18 attempted units=0.667 Pace of Completion.

Maximum Attempted Units Allowed (MAX). Students must complete the requirements for their academic programs within one-hundred fifty percent of the minimum units required to complete their academic programs. Units attempted include all units transferred into Santa Clara University from prior institutions that can be used to satisfy students' academic program requirements. 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 believe their circumstances warrant an exception to this standard.

How are Pass/No Pass courses evaluated?

Unit credit, but not grade point credit, is awarded when the grade of "P" is assigned. Unit credit is not awarded when the grade of "NP" is assigned. A P/NP will be considered when evaluating PACE. 

Transfer Credit

All transfer credits accepted by SCU are included in the attempted and completed calculations for Pace. Transfer credit is not included in the GPA calculation.

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 that the student was enrolled, whether or not the student received financial aid.


(I) grades are not included in the GPA calculation and are considered a non-completion of attempted coursework (for PACE) until the grade is replaced with a permanent grade and academic progress can be re-evaluated.


Students who wish to withdraw from Santa Clara University during a quarter must complete a withdrawal form and an exit interview in the Drahmann Advising and Learning Resource Center. If the formal requirements for withdrawal are met, the student's registration will be canceled without academic penalty. A withdrawal notation (W) will be assigned for each course from which the student withdraws after the fourth week of the quarter. Students who leave Santa Clara University during a quarter without formally withdrawing are subject to failing grades in all courses in which they were registered and are ineligible for refund of fees.

IMPORTANT: Any student leaving Santa Clara University at the conclusion of any quarter should also complete the standard withdrawal process.

Repetition of Courses

Students may only repeat a course in which they have received a grade of less than C minus (C-). In such cases, only the highest grade for the repeated course will be applied in the GPA calculation. Certain courses, such as special topics courses and performance courses, are repeatable, and students will receive a grade and units for each successful completion.

Appeal Process

There may be extenuating circumstances encountered by a student that may affect his/her 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 a student wishes to appeal a financial aid suspension, a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. If the appeal is approved, s/he will be placed on financial aid probation (separate from academic probation). Students will be notified of the appeal results in writing. 

Appeal Outcomes

Denied: If a student's appeal is denied, they will receive an email notification through their Workday account. In this case, the student will not be eligible for Title IV aid and/or SCU institutional aid.

Approved: If a student's appeal is approved, they will receive an email notification through their Workday account. The student will be placed on probation. While on probation students will be able to receive Title IV aid and/or SCU institutional aid for the term they are enrolled in as they work towards meeting SAP standards.

Loss of Eligibility 

A student who has 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 his/her 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 re-admitted are not automatically eligible to participate in federal, state, or institutional aid programs and will be placed on financial aid warning. 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.