Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Satisfactory Academic Policy (hereinafter referenced as SAP) is the term used to define successful completion of coursework to remain eligible for federal, state, and institutional financial aid. William Paterson University is required by federal and state regulations and institutional policy to determine whether a student is meeting SAP requirements. SAP evaluation occurs annually, once a year, at the end of the spring semester payment period. Students not meeting SAP are not eligible for summer financial aid. All financial aid applicants are subject to the standards outlined here regardless of whether or not aid was received in the past. These standards have been developed in accordance with regulations that govern financial aid programs. There are three distinct dimensions to the satisfactory academic progress standards:

  1. Grade Point Average (Qualitative Measure)
  2. Maximum Time Frame Measure
  3. Credit Completion Ratio or Calculating Pace (Quantitative Measure)

These standards also include an opportunity to appeal the denial of financial aid if the student has faced special circumstances that prevented the student from attaining the minimum standards described in this policy.

The Satisfactory Academic Appeals Committee will not automatically reinstate a student’s aid even after a student has been readmitted to the University. It is of the utmost importance to recognize that this policy is different from the University standards of academic performance.

Students are strongly encouraged to contact their academic advisor or academic dean (if also dismissed from the University) for guidance and assistance in developing a sound academic plan. EOF Program students should contact the individual department for assistance. Undeclared students may request help from the Career Development and Gloria S. Williams Advisement Center. Graduate students should contact their program director.

PART I: Undergraduate Program Guidelines

  1. Grade Point Average (GPA) /(Qualitative Measure)

Students must maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA after attempting 12 credits.  The University requires at least a 2.0 GPA for graduation. Specific federal, state and institutional scholarships and grants may require a different GPA for renewal:

This is a separate requirement for continued eligibility for these funds.

  1. Maximum Time Frame Measure

The minimum number of credit hours needed to complete an undergraduate program is 120. A student is eligible to receive funding up to 180 attempted credit hours. Some programs limit funding on a semester basis. 

  1. Credit Completion Ratio or Calculating Pace (Quantitative Measure)

Each year, a student’s progress will be measured by comparing the number of attempted credit hours with the credit hours earned. This includes any course for which the student has remained enrolled past the drop/add period. A student who has attempted 30 or less credits must earn 60 percent of attempted credits. Students who have attempted greater than 30 credits must earn 67 percent of the cumulative attempted credits to maintain satisfactory academic progress. The formula is total earned credits divided by total attempted credits.

Required Satisfactory Academic Progress Example

Attempted Credits

Required Percentage

# of Credits That Must be Earned

Required Cumulative GPA

1 - 30
















PART II: General Information

  1. Withdrawal from courses /WD (Withdrawn officially)

Credits remain in the total number of attempted hours but are not added to the earned credits. This may have a negative effect on the total number of earned credits needed per year. The GPA is not affected by these grades.

  1. Incomplete courses/ INC (Incomplete)

Courses will be counted when determining the number of credits attempted. When a passing grade is received, the grade will be added to the number of credits earned.

  1. Repeated courses

These courses are counted each time the course is taken and will be included in the total number of attempted credit hours. When a course is completed, the credits are added to the total number of earned credit hours.  Although not a SAP eligibility requirement, students may not receive federal student aid for courses they have taken and received passing grades more than once.  However, if the student repeats a course in which all previous attempts were failures, federal regulations allow for funding of these courses (providing that all other requirements are fully met). 

  1. Transfer credits

Transfer credits, accepted by the University, will be added to the attempted/earned credit hours in order to determine the number of credits a student should attempt and earn.

  1. Failing Grades

These grades may have a serious negative impact on the student’s academic record: F (Failing), N (Unacceptable, must repeat) and M (Missing, no grade submitted).

  1. Expunged Grades

Expunged grades are included in the financial aid SAP calculation.  Federal regulations do not allow for Academic Amnesty; therefore, expunged grades cannot be excluded from evaluation.  This means that the GPA that appears on a student's academic transcript will be different than the GPA used in the financial aid SAP calculation.

PART III: Graduate Program Guidelines

  1. Credit and GPA requirement

Graduate students must earn 70 percent of their attempted credits and maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA after attempting 12 or more credits.

                                          Credit Hours Attempted    Minimum Percentage   Minimum Cumulative  
                                                Greater than 12                   70%                             3.0

Part IV: SAP Definitions

  • Appeal—A process by which a student who is not meeting SAP standards petitions the school for reconsideration of his eligibility for financial aid funds.
  • Financial aid probation—A status that a school assigns to a student who is failing to make SAP and who successfully appeals. Eligibility for aid may be reinstated for one payment period.

A student who meets academic plan requirements agreed upon during the appeal process, but does not meet the standards of SAP, may remain on probation for additional semester. 

PART IV: Appeal Procedures

Evaluation of student academic performance occurs annually at the end of the spring semester.  Students identified as not making SAP will receive correspondence at their campus e-mail address in the month of June.

Students not making SAP at the end of the spring semester are not eligible for summer financial aid.

Students have the right to appeal the decision by submitting an online appeal. Generally, the SAP Appeals Committee will consider appeals that involve circumstances beyond the student’s control that have had an impact upon the student’s academic performance.

The appeal must include a narrative of the extenuating circumstances (e.g., the student or an immediate family member suffered a serious illness or injury, death of a close relative, separation or divorce) that prevented the student from meeting the minimum requirements, and reasonable explanation of the expectation that the event/ circumstances will not re-occur. Students are required to upload pertinent documentation supporting their appeal.  Furthermore, students are expected to describe their academic plan to succeed in their program of study as well as carefully review their academic history before submitting the appeal. While in the probationary semester, The following grades are not acceptable: F, FN, D, D+, WD, INC, N or M while in your probationary semester.   We also strongly recommend that the student evaluate your educational plans with their academic advisor on an ongoing basis

SAP Appeal Deadlines:

Fall 2024

 August 15, 2024

Spring 2025

December 15, 2024

SAP Appeals Committee and Decision:

A committee will review the appeal and a response will be provided within fifteen (15) business days. All committee decisions are final. Students will be notified of the committee’s decision in writing (personal email announcement at their WPU Connect account). The decision of the SAP Appeals Committee is final.

Appeal Approvals and Academic Plan:

Students who successfully appeal and are approved for financial aid for one payment period are considered to be on probation. To gain eligibility in the subsequent semester, a student must meet the standards of SAP.  

It is highly recommended that students meet with their academic advisor before selecting their academic plan to ensure it is attainable.

If a student is granted an appeal for the fall semester and does not attend the fall semester, the appeal will automatically be granted for the immediate spring semester. Standard probation requirements apply to the spring semester.

SAP Academic Suspension:

If the student fails to meet SAP standards or the requirements set forth in the SAP academic plan, the student will be placed on SAP suspension. The student is ineligible for financial aid with this status. A student with SAP suspension status will remain ineligible for financial aid until the student meets the minimum SAP Policy requirements of a 2.0 cumulative GPA and a cumulative 67% completion rate.