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Satisfactory Academic Progress - Undergraduate

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 those awards. To remain eligible for Title IV programs, students must be making satisfactory academic progress in accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulations. Students are evaluated for satisfactory progress each quarter.

If you do not make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, you could lose your federal, state and University financial aid.

Qualitative Standard

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher.

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

Quantitative Standard

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 Hours 12
Transfer Hours Accepted +6
Total Attempted Hours =18
Total Successfully Completed Hours 12

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

Maximum Attempted Units Allowed

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 feel their circumstances warrant an exception to this standard.

Unit Requirements

All financial aid recipients must register for and maintain a full course load of 12 units or more per quarter, if the aid was awarded on this basis. Students who drop below 12 units may see their financial aid adjusted. Full-time and part-time status is defined as follows:

  • Full-time: 12 or more units

  • Three-fourths time: 9 to 11 units

  • Half-time: 6 to 8 units

  • Less than half-time: fewer than 6 units

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.

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, the grades of both the original and the repeated course are included in the calculation of the student's grade point average, but units are awarded toward graduation only once for each course passed. Certain courses, such as special topics courses and performance courses, are repeatable, and students will receive a grade and units for each successful completion.


All students enrolled at Santa Clara University are evaluated for satisfactory academic progress at the end of each quarter after the Office of Registrar has released official grades.

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 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, s/he will be placed on financial aid probation (separate from academic probation). Students will be notified of the appeal results in writing. 

NOTE: Graduate students will need to contact their graduate school regarding conditions for satisfactory academic progress.

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.