Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress

SAP Review Policies & Procedures

The SAP academic plan is available for download.

To be eligible for federal student aid funds, a student must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward earning a degree. The Federal Department of Education requires Fairleigh Dickinson University to have a policy for monitoring students’ satisfactory academic progress (SAP).

This policy applies to all students whether they receive federal, state, or institutional funds. A student who is not meeting SAP is ineligible for any financial aid from federal, state, or institutional sources. An exception will be made for students who receive an Employee Tuition Remission award because this is considered an employee benefit. Beginning with the 17/18 academic year, students’ SAP statuses will be reviewed at the end of every semester to determine if they comply with the University’s SAP policy. Students will be notified in writing if they are not making satisfactory academic progress. A student who fails to meet SAP for one semester will be notified in writing that they are in a Financial Aid Warning status. In a Warning status a student remains eligible for financial aid but is notified that they will lose their financial aid eligibility if they fail to meet SAP after the next SAP review.

One measure of SAP is a student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA). It is a qualitative measure of SAP and is intended to insure that a student will have the minimum GPA required to receive a degree.

Another measure of SAP is the student’s pace of completion of credits. This is calculated using the earned credits towards the degree in relation to the total number of credits attempted. This quantitative measure of SAP measures the “pace” of degree completion and is intended to insure that a student will complete their degree within the maximum time-frame allowed by the Department of Education. The student must be “on pace” to continue to receive student assistance.

Maximum time-frame is the final measure of SAP. A student may only receive financial aid for credits equal to 150% of the published length of his academic program.

Graduate Students

Except for those academic programs noted below, a graduate student at FDU is required to maintain an overall cumulative GPA of 2.75 (qualitative component). Students in the Silberman College of Business, Public Administration Institute, Corporate & Organizational Communication Program, and Nursing are required to achieve a minimum overall cumulative GPA of 3.00. A 3.25 overall GPA is required for the Clinical Psychology program.

All students in a graduate program are required to successfully complete at least 66.67% of credits attempted (quantitative component – pace).

Graduate SAP Guidelines


Students who are not making SAP are not eligible for federal, state, or institutional funding (with the exception of Employee Tuition Remission Awards). However, a student who fails to achieve SAP may submit an appeal. A SAP appeal must be submitted before the end of the add/drop period for the payment period for which the student is requesting financial aid. A request to extend the deadline may be approved by the University Director of Financial Aid.

Appeal Guidelines

Many students experience unexpected circumstances that may cause them to have a difficult time during their education. In these instances, they have the right to appeal their ineligibility. Appeals must be submitted in writing or via email. The appeal must be signed and dated and should include:

  • The student’s name and ID number.
  • A written explanation of the reason the student is not making satisfactory academic progress including the student’s pertinent academic history and an explanation of the extenuating circumstances that prevented the student from meeting the satisfactory academic progress requirements. Extenuating circumstances may include but are not limited to: serious illness or injury to the student, death or serious illness of an immediate family member, significant trauma in student’s life that impaired the student’s emotional and/or physical health, or other special circumstances.
  • A description of the corrective action taken by the student. The appeal should explain how the student’s circumstances have changed and the steps he has taken to facilitate his future success.

Submission of an appeal does not guarantee reinstatement of eligibility for financial aid. Each appeal is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. All appeal decisions made by the Office of Financial Aid are final.

SAP Recalculation

Upon a student’s written request, the Financial Aid Officer may reevaluate a student’s SAP status if there has been a change in the student’s transcript (i.e., an incomplete grade is updated to a letter grade or a grade reported in error is corrected). FDU will not reevaluate a student’s SAP status when an incomplete grade is changed to an F after the SAP evaluation was completed until the end of the next semester.

Financial Aid Probation

If the Financial Aid Officer (FAO) approves the appeal and determines that the student should be able to meet the SAP standards by the end of the subsequent payment period, the student may be placed on financial aid probation. The student’s progress must then be reviewed at the end of that payment period, as financial aid probation is for one payment period only.

  • If the student is meeting the SAP standards after the payment period, the student is making SAP and has retained eligibility for financial aid in future semesters.
  • If the student is not meeting SAP standards after the payment period, the student is ineligible for federal, state, and institutional financial aid until such point as the student is making satisfactory academic progress.

Financial Aid Probation with Academic Plan

If the FOA approves the appeal but determines that the student may require more than one payment period to meet SAP progress standards, then the student may be placed on probation with an academic plan developed with the Financial Aid Officer.

For students failing the qualitative measure of SAP (GPA), the academic plan must outline the number of credits and the semester GPA required in each term for the entire time necessary for the student to once again meet the SAP standards. For students failing the quantitative measure of SAP (pace), the academic plan must outline the number of credits the student must complete before the next SAP review period for the entire time necessary for the student to once again meet the SAP standards. The plan may allow, but not require, a student to register for courses during intersession or the summer.

Once the academic plan is completed, the student is placed on SAP probation for one payment period only. The student’s SAP status must be reviewed at the end of the probation period.

  • If the student is making SAP after the probation period, the student has retained eligibility for financial aid in future semesters.
  • If the student is not meeting SAP standards but has met the terms of the academic plan, he is considered to be making satisfactory academic progress and is coded as having an academic plan. The academic plan must be reviewed after each payment period to determine if the student has met the terms of the plan. If at any point, the student fails to meet the terms of the academic plan, the student is again not making SAP but may appeal to be considered again for probation with a new academic plan.

A student may submit an appeal to amend their academic plan. However, academic plan amendments may not reduce the number of credits or GPA required of a student in any payment period.

Regaining Aid Eligibility

A student who has lost aid eligibility because he is not making satisfactory academic progress may regain eligibility by successfully appealing as described above or by completing a sufficient number of credits with a sufficient GPA to regain satisfactory academic progress without financial aid. If the student regains satisfactory academic progress without an appeal by completing additional credits without financial aid, the student should notify the financial aid office so that eligibility can be reinstated.