Policies and Procedures

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations mandate that all institutions of higher education establish Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for students receiving financial aid. {Note: Financial Aid SAP policy criteria differs from the University's Academic Standards Suspension and Probation Policy criteria. Students who receive financial aid must understand and meet both standards.}

In order to receive financial aid ongoing, students must meet the following three SAP standards:

1. Grade Point Average:
    Undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above.
    Graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.

2. Minimum Credits Completed:
    Students must successfully complete 67% of total attempted credits. That means:

  • Credits attempted include all courses that are part of the student's official record, regardless of the grade earned. All grades of A, B, C, D, or S denote satisfactory course completion. A grade of F, XF, W, U, SP, or I denotes unsatisfactory course completion.
  • Repeated courses will count as credits attempted each time the course is taken. note: regulations dictate that students cannot use financial aid to pay for a course with a passing grade more than twice (i.e., taken initially and repeated once).
  • Audit courses are not counted when calculating SAP.
  • The 67% is calculated by taking the number of earned credits divided by the number of attempted credits (for example, 120 divided by 180 is a pace of 67%).
  • As a student earns 67% of credits attempted in each semester, the student should complete an academic program within the maximum timeframe (below).

3. Maximum Timeframe:
A student can receive financial aid for no more than 150% of the published number of credits required for the current academic program. Most UW-River Falls undergraduate programs require 120 credits, so students can receive financial aid up to 180 credits even if they have not yet graduated.
If a student is pursuing a second degree, the 180-credit maximum may be exceeded only through the appeal process, evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Most graduate programs require 34 credits, so a student could receive financial aid up to 51 credits even if they have not yet graduated.

Financial Aid Suspension
After grades have been submitted and the Registrar's office has calculated Academic Suspension following each fall semester, the financial aid office evaluates SAP on all students. Accordingly, a student's financial aid eligibility is suspended for subsequent semesters if the student presents any of the following:

  • an undergraduate cumulative GPA less than 2.0 (3.0 for graduate students)
  • a completion rate less than 67% of total attempted credits (see Minimum Credits Completed above)
  • a credit total exceeding the maximum time frame (explained above)
  • Academic Suspension (If a student is suspended academically after any semester, that student is automatically be placed on financial aid suspension as well.)

Financial Aid Reinstatement Appeal
If a financial aid recipient is placed on Financial Aid Suspension, that student may appeal for a Financial Aid Probation semester using the appropriate form:

     Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal - GPA/Completion Status

     Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal - Max Time Form

Appeals will result in either financial aid reinstatement (Financial Aid Probation) or financial aid denial (Financial Aid Suspension).
The student can receive financial aid during the Financial Aid Probation semester if:

  • the student's appeal is approved and
  • it is possible for the student to meet the SAP standards at the end of the Probation semester by either:
    • meeting the terms of probation in the letter from the Financial Aid Office and/or
    • meeting the criteria of an academic plan developed with the student's academic advisor
      In either case, if the terms are followed, this will ensure that the student is able to meet the SAP standards by a future established and agreed upon date/semester.

The appeal must be submitted and approved before the end of the semester for which the student is appealing to received financial aid.

Students will be notified if their appeals are approved; this email will explain Financial Aid Probation and outline the specifics of their academic plans.

Regaining Continued Eligibility
All students who are on Financial Aid Probation will be reevaluated for SAP progress at the end of the Probation semester, and manually monitored following each term as long as they remain on probation or an academic plan:

  • If the student meets the SAP progress criteria after the Probation semester, financial aid eligibility will be reinstated.
  • If the student does not meet the SAP requirements after the Probation semester but meets other specific criteria in the academic plan, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation again for the subsequent semester. The student will again be eligible for financial aid during the Financial Aid Probation semester and will be reviewed for SAP at the end of that semester. The student will be notified with results and instructions.
  • Any student who meets neither the Probation semester SAP progress criteria nor the specifics of the academic plan will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension, lose financial aid eligibility, and will be notified accordingly.
    While on Financial Aid Suspension, students can apply for private or alternative loans that do not require Satisfactory Academic Progress while attending school.

Additional Information for Students Returning From Studying Abroad:

UWRF Study Abroad Program
If a student has participated in a UWRF study abroad program and receives an I (incomplete) grade, the Financial Aid Office is still required to count those credits as attempted, and they will be counted as unsatisfactory in the course completion total until the I is updated to an official grade, the student must notify the UW-River Falls Financial Aid Office to have SAP re-evaluated.

Non-UWRF Study Abroad Program
Grades for credits attempted through a non-UWRF study abroad program are historically slow in being reported to the UWRF Registrar’s Office. The Financial Aid Office is still required to count those credits as attempted, and they will be counted as unsatisfactory in the course completion total until an official transcript from the other school is received and evaluated by the UWRF Registrar's Office. This situation may result in a financial aid reinstatement. The Financial Aid Office will be notified by the Registrar's Office once the official transcript had been evaluated and the Financial Aid Office will then re-evaluate SAP.