Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

All students who have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and wish to be considered for federal, state and some private aid must meet the criteria stated in federal regulations (34 CFR 668.34). Financial aid eligibility is based on satisfactory academic progress standards established by the University, pursuant to federal law, to ensure that all financial aid recipients progress towards degree completion. 

The Office of Financial Aid/VA monitors qualitative and quantitative standards for students after the end of the students’ completion of the academic year.  The academic year for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) eligibility determination is comprised of the fall, spring, and summer terms.  Students who do not complete classes enrolled in or fail to achieve the minimum standards for grade point average may lose their eligibility for all types of state, federal and some private aid.

USCB Students Sitting

Elements of Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

Qualitative Standard

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative 2.0 grade point average (GPA). Please note that while passing grades (P) are treated as completed units, they do not count in the GPA calculation.

Quantitative (Pace) Standard

Students must complete 67% of all hours attempted at USCB plus other hours accepted for transfer by USCB regardless of whether federal financial aid was received.  Please note the following:

  • Courses in which a student receives a W, WF, I, U, NR, or F are counted as attempted hours, but not completed or earned hours. Only grades of A, B, C, D, S, and T are counted as attempted hours and hours earned. Students enrolled in audit courses (AUD) will not receive financial aid for these classes. Grades of W, NR, I, U, S, T and AUD are not used when computing GPA. Receiving grades of W, WF, I U, NR, or F can negatively impact the percentage of completion.
  • If a student repeats a course, both the original and the repeated courses will count toward attempted credit hours and earned credit hours.
  • Transfer units will be counted in the completion rate as both attempted and earned hours provided they have been accepted by the University for degree credit.

Maximum Timeframe Standard

Students receiving financial aid must complete their program of study within a reasonable time frame.  The total number of hours attempted at any post-secondary institution cannot exceed the maximum time frame which is 150% of the published length of the academic program (to include transfer credit hours) regardless of whether financial aid was received.

We recommend that a student attempt to earn at least 30 hours per academic year (fall, spring, summer) in order to graduate in four years for programs that require 120 credit hours.

A student who changes majors or courses is still responsible for completing his degree in the maximum time frame established.  Once the maximum time frame has been exceeded, financial aid eligibility ends even if the student is in compliance with the other two standards.

Failure to comply with any component above may result in the loss of financial aid eligibility.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility

If a student loses federal, state and private aid eligibility because he is not making SAP Standards, he may regain eligibility in one of the following ways:

Appealing SAP Requirements

Students deemed ineligible can submit a written appeal if they had extenuating circumstances which prevented them from making satisfactory academic progress.  Extenuating circumstances are considered to be significant life experiences that impacted a student’s emotional and/or physical health so much that they were unable to make good academic progress.  Documentation to support/verify the circumstances is required, but cannot be from family members, significant others, roommates, etc.  Extenuating circumstances are defined as:

  • Death (immediate family member)
  • Personal illness of student
  • Immediate family member illness
  • Divorce or separation
  • Traumatic/Extraordinary Event (traumatic event does not include college adjustment issues, homesickness, problems w/roommate, problems w/faculty, staff or administration at college, difficult course load, dependent care allowance or transportation problems. This list is not an exhaustive list.)

The appeal should be typed and fully explain:

  • Reasons why the student did not achieve minimum academic standards
  • Reasons why aid eligibility should not be terminated and reinstated (a student's inability to pay for courses is not a valid reason), and
  • What action the student will take to correct the deficiency and allow for future success.

The SAP Committee will review the appeal and determine whether the student is eligible for reinstatement of Federal, State and private aid.  The Committee will meet prior to the start of each semester, and the student will be advised in writing of the committee’s decision within ten days after the review of the appeal. All decisions that are rendered by the Committee will be final and not subject to further review.

Appeals may be approved, denied or approved with stipulations.  If an appeal is approved, the student is considered to be on Probation and may receive financial aid for only one semester.  At the end of that probationary period, the student must meet USCB’s SAP standards or meet the requirements of an academic plan to qualify for future financial aid.  Academic plans may be developed by the Financial Aid Director, Academic Advisors, or members of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Committee.  If a student fails to either regain regular SAP eligibility or meet the conditions of their academic plan, the student is placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

Students who are on Financial Aid Probation may experience delays in receiving funds the following semester due to the need to confirm the previous semester's grades before releasing further financial aid.

Second Undergraduate Degree Appeal

A student who has completed the first undergraduate degree is required to appeal for additional aid eligibility when seeking a second undergraduate degree. No aid will be awarded or loan application certified until the completed appeal has been received, reviewed, and approved.

The student must explain in writing why they are seeking a second undergraduate degree or teacher certification, their career goals, and a timetable for completion of these goals.  This appeal will also require documentation from the student’s academic advisor indicating the number of credit hours needed to complete the second degree.  If the appeal is successful, the student is granted up to four terms maximum of loans and scholarships if eligible.

Non-Appealable Circumstances

If a student does not have extenuating circumstances or a valid reason, they may regain eligibility by completing one semester at USCB with at least part-time enrollment (6.0 to 8.0 credits) without receiving financial aid. Courses taken must be in the student’s degree program, and the student must earn a 2.5 GPA in all courses taken. Please note that a student does not regain eligibility for financial aid by sitting out a semester.  In addition, the student must submit a Eligibility for Title IV Aid - Reestablished Form at the end of the term, after the grades have been posted to the student’s official record by the Registrar Office. If the student is reinstated, they may be eligible for future aid only because awards are not retroactive.

If you have reached the maximum timeframe and do not have an appealable situation, this option does not apply to you.

For further information regarding SAP, the student should contact:

The USCB Office of Financial Aid/VA

801 Carteret Street
Beaufort, SC  29902
(843) 521-3104