Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is defined as the successful completion of coursework towards an eligible degree within a maximum period of time. Federal regulations require institutions to monitor the academic progress of all students receiving federal financial aid.

SAP standards

  • SAP standards apply to undergraduate and graduate students who wish to establish or maintain financial aid eligibility for federal student aid.
  • SAP standards apply to a student’s entire academic record, whether or not financial aid was received for prior terms of enrollment.
  • Include the following requirements:
    • Grade-point average (GPA)
      • cumulative GPA for undergraduate students must be at least 2.0 after two academic years (or 4 semesters) of attendance
      • cumulative GPA for graduate students must always be at least 3.0.
      • cumulative GPA for Pharmacy students must be at least a 2.0 during P1 and P2 years and at least 2.5 during P3 and P4 years.
    • PACE or completion rate — must earn 67 percent of all attempted credits*.  Incomplete courses are not counted in attempted credits until the course is complete.
    • Maximum time frame - Undergraduate students must complete degree within a maximum timeframe not to exceed 150 percent of the credits required for the degree. Credits are determined by school as follows:
      • CCPA - 124 credits required x 150% = 186 maximum attempted
      • Decker - 128 credits required x 150% = 192 maximum attempted
      • Harpur - 126 credits required x 150% = 189 maximum attempted
      • SOM - 126 credits required x 150% = 189 maximum attempted
      • Watson - 128 credits required x 150 % = 192 maximum attempted
    • Maximum time frame - Graduate students must complete degree within a maximum time frame, as determined by the institution's Graduate School.  At Binghamton University, a student has 5 years to complete a master's degree.  A master's student who continues to doctoral study or a student admitted directly into a doctoral program has 5 years to be admitted to doctoral candidacy (advance to ABD status).  All doctoral degree requirements, including the dissertation, must be completed within 5 years of admission to doctoral candidacy.  PharmD students must complete the program within 5 years.  Federal aid eligibility is lost once these maximum time frames are reached.  Students must check with the Graduate School for 5-year extension options/approvals, if needed. 

*Important Note: “W” grades and transfer credits must count toward total attempted credits when determining federal aid eligibility. Repeat courses will also count as attempted credit hours even if the grade is no longer used in the GPA. 

SAP eligibility review

Academic records are reviewed at the end of each semester, including summer, for all financial aid recipients to determine compliance with the SAP standards listed above.  Students who fail to meet GPA (if applicable) and PACE standards, will be placed on “Federal Warning” but will be allowed to keep their federal aid for the following semester without any student action. This semester should be used to get back on track academically; meeting with an academic advisor to develop an academic plan is encouraged.

Note: “Federal Warning” does not apply to students who have reached MAXIMUM TIME FRAME. Once a student reaches their maximum time frame, they are no longer eligible for federal aid.

Students who have already received aid for one semester while on “Federal Warning” must meet the required SAP standards listed above every semester thereafter to be considered in good standing.

Loss of financial aid eligibility

If a student already received federal aid for one semester on “Federal Warning” and after one or more semesters does not meet the required SAP Standards, federal aid will be canceled and the student will be considered as not making satisfactory academic progress. See SAP Appeal information.

Re-establishing eligibility

Students may re-establish their eligibility for federal aid through the appeal process, or by enhancing their academic standing in subsequent semesters to satisfy the required SAP standards listed above. Student may enroll in courses during the summer or winter session to make up for deficiencies in GPA and/or PACE, and restore federal aid eligibility for subsequent semesters. Read more on the SAP resources page.