Satisfactory Academic Progress

Academic progress is measured by qualitative (grade-based) and quantitative (time-based) standards set forth by the federal government to determine eligibility for financial aid.

The federal government mandates that students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward a degree or certificate in order to maintain financial aid eligibility. Our Financial Aid Office monitors academic progress annually to implement the federal government’s requirements for financial aid. The exception is the Post Bac program, which is done at the end of each payment period.


A. Qualitative Standards

BA/BFA students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0 to keep their need-based aid. MA/MFA students must not receive an NP (no pass) or F (Failing) grade for any course. SFAI competitive scholarship recipients must maintain a cumulative GPA as stated on their scholarship letter. 

B. Quantitative Standards

BA/BFA and full-time MA/MFA students must complete at least 67% of all attempted units. Part-time MA/MFA students must complete all attempted units.

C. Completed Units

Completed units are enrolled units for which credit is received. Courses in which a student receives a grade of “F”, “I”, “IP”, “NP”, or “W”, will not be counted as completed units for Satisfactory Academic Progress purposes, but will be counted as attempted units.

D. Transfer Credits

Transfer units are not counted toward the Quantitative Standards of attempted and completed credits.

E. Grades

Courses for which a grade of “F”, “NP”, “NR”, or “W” is received are counted as attempted but not completed. Course repeats are counted as attempted and completed if a satisfactory grade is received. Courses for which a grade of “I” is received are reviewed every six weeks and are not counted as attempted or completed.

F. Maximum Time Frames

BA/BFA students must complete their degree within the equivalent of six years of full-time attendance. MA/MFA students must complete their degree within the equivalent of three years of full-time attendance. Dual degree MA/MFA students must complete their degree within the equivalent of four years of full-time attendance. Post baccalaureate students must complete their degree within the equivalent of three semesters of full-time attendance. Students who complete courses at an 80% rate will take the equivalent of six years of full-time attendance to earn a BA/BFA and the equivalent of five years of full-time attendance to earn a MA/MFA.


When an “I” grade is changed to a letter grade, the Financial Aid Office reviews and applies probationary terms retroactively if necessary (see the “Failure to Comply” section below). A student who has an “I” grade changed to an “F” grade may become immediately ineligible for financial aid due to retroactive application of probationary terms. The Financial Aid Office recommends that students complete classes for which an “I” grade is received, according to the incomplete grade petition, to avoid retroactive Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FASAP) action.


Financial aid probation means you have one semester (or as specified by the Academic Recovery Plan) to meet the SAP requirements in order to remain eligible for financial aid. You will receive notification regarding the terms of the SAP Probation Agreement that will explain the terms and requirements of your probation.

Students on SAP financial aid probation will be monitored for improvement and/or adherence to probationary terms including the Academic Recovery Plan.  While on probation, an undergraduate student is expected to complete all courses for which they are registered with a GPA of 2.0 or better in all classes. (For graduate-level students, the minimum requirement is determined by the standard set forth in the SAP policy.)

Students on probation must also follow the terms of their Academic Recovery Plan. Students continue to receive aid while on financial aid probation. Students placed on SAP financial aid probation will be monitored each semester.

A student will be removed from SAP financial aid probation once they have successfully completed their Academic Recovery Plan as demonstrated by obtaining a GPA consistent with the minimum requirement for their academic level, and is completing an aggregate percentage of 67 percent or more of all attempted credit hours.

Students who fail to adhere to the terms of financial aid probation are not eligible for aid in any subsequent semester. A written notification is sent to all students who fail to comply with the terms of their probation.


Failure to Complete Degree

Students who do not complete their degree within the maximum time frame are not eligible to receive financial aid.


Failure to Comply

Failure to improve performance during a probationary term results in a loss of all aid eligibility.  Students on FASAP probation are strongly encouraged by the Financial Aid Office to meet with the Undergraduate Academic Advisor in order to plan for academic recovery.  The Financial Aid Office sends the Notice of Ineligibility letter for Financial Aid to students.


Appeals Process

Students who become ineligible for financial aid due to FASAP and who have experienced extenuating circumstances that have had a direct effect on performance may submit an appeal to waive the FASAP policy.

A. Appeals for re-establishing eligibility may be based on extenuating circumstances that have prohibited the student from meeting SAP standards during the probationary period. Extenuating circumstances must be supported by official documents.  Examples of extenuating circumstances are:

· Death of an immediate family member.

· Documented illness.

· Major accident or injury (self, child, or parent).

· Victim of a crime or unexpected disaster.

B. Students must complete and submit a SFAI Academic Progress Appeal Request Form, along with official documentation, student’s statement, and a current educational plan.  Incomplete forms will be returned to the student.

C. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee is made up of the Director of Financial Aid, the Registrar, the Dean of Students (or their designees) and the student’s Academic Advisor.  The Committee will review requests and take one of four actions:

· Approve reinstatement unconditionally.

· Approve reinstatement with specific conditions.

· Request that the student provide additional information.

· Deny the appeal.

D. The Financial Aid Office will notify the student in writing of the decision on the appeal.