Completing a SAP Appeal

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

To ensure that college students remain on a trajectory to successfully complete their degree within the limits of federal and state aid eligibility, as well as the maximum eight semesters of SLU gift aid allowed, students are reviewed for satisfactory academic progress.

For a full description of Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, please see the detailed information from the Financial Aid Office.

There are two requirements to meet SAP:

  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 after two years of enrollment (at least 1.5 for first-years, 1.75 for sophomores, and 2.0 for juniors and seniors)
  • Satisfactory progress in units completed toward graduation, also known as PACE (defined as successfully completing at least 67% of units attempted)

If a student fails to meet either requirement, they will lose federal and SLU aid. The reason for this is that a student not meeting SAP is not on a trajectory to graduate from college, and if allowed to continue, could end up exhausting aid eligibility and incurring large debts, with no way to ever complete a degree.

A student who loses aid must carefully assess their situation to figure out how best to address the challenges preventing them from succeeding academically. For some, this will mean taking a semester or two away. For others, it might be possible to turn things around without time off, but it will in any case require careful planning.

What is a SAP appeal?

A student who loses aid eligibility may submit a SAP appeal to the Financial Aid Office, asking for a waiver of the SAP requirements and to have their aid restored for the following semester. The basis of that appeal must be a carefully considered academic plan that is likely to lead to success in the coming semester. The nature of that plan will depend on the unique situation of the student in terms of both what element(s) of SAP they are not meeting and what they need to do to achieve satisfactory academic progress.

If you are writing a SAP appeal, you must address the following issues:

  • the reason(s) why you have not maintained satisfactory academic progress, and
  • what you intend to do to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements by the end of your next term of enrollment. It is important that you explain your circumstances in detail. If your SAP problem developed over the course of several semesters, you must explain the circumstances for each.

When writing an appeal, you need to have a clear understanding of what aspect(s) of SAP you are not meeting, so pay close attention to the information provided by the Financial Aid Office. You need to work with your academic advisor and/or someone from the Academic Advising Office on a plan that will help you return to where you need to be. If your GPA is too low, your plan should explain how you will raise it (such as changes in study habits and time management or wellness practices; pursuing a different major/academic path; repeating one or more courses you failed, etc.). If you have not successfully completed at least 67% of the units you have attempted, you must explain why you withdrew from or failed those courses, how you will be able to successfully complete a full course load in the future, and how you will make up for any units you are behind (through summer courses, overloads, etc.).

Note on full medical withdrawals: Courses you medically withdraw from count toward your total units attempted and can have a significant impact on PACE, especially for first-years and sophomores. If you medically withdrew from a semester and received a Dewar’s insurance claim that will either allow you to pay for an additional semester at SLU out of pocket or to take courses elsewhere that you can transfer back to SLU, you should explain that in your appeal. Whether or not you had the Dewar’s insurance, you will need a plan to make up a considerable number of units and should discuss this with your academic advisor.

While it is certainly scary to be facing a loss of your financial aid, please understand that the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement exists not to punish students for struggling, but to force students to confront a bad situation while there is time to make a course correction and before it is too late to salvage a path to graduation. The staff in Financial Aid and Academic Advising, your academic advisor, and the rest of your success network on campus are all partners trying to help you successfully complete your education and achieve your long-term goals.