Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require the university to establish, publish, and apply standards of satisfactory academic progress. The purpose of measuring and enforcing these standards is to ensure financial aid recipients make progress toward degree completion. Students who fail to meet SAP requirements become ineligible to receive financial aid until they are (a) in compliance with these requirements or (b) by successfully appealing for eligibility and receiving financial aid under a probationary status.

Satisfactory progress is measured once annually at the end of each spring semester. Students who have not completed at least 67% of their attempted credit hours with satisfactory grades, maintained the minimum GPA requirement and/or who have attempted more than the maximum timeframe allowed will not receive financial aid. In addition, students who are academically dismissed from the University, are ineligible to receive financial aid. These students must be readmitted to the University and be meeting all SAP policy requirements should they wish to receive financial aid.

SAP for Financial Aid Recipients Policy

Undergraduate Students

Successful completion 2 of 67% of UNL attempted credit hours. This SAP policy requirement is known as the Minimum Pace Requirement (Pace) and is calculated as follows:

  • Completed (earned) UNL credit hours (with grades of A through D or P (Pass) divided by all attempted UNL credit hours (this includes: earned credit hours plus incomplete, failed, no pass, or withdrawn credit hours).

    Example: 16 credit hours earned ÷ 24 credit hours attempted = 67%

Maintain a 2.000 cumulative GPA or higher, if you have enrolled in at least 4 or more semesters (summer counts as a semester) at UNL. This SAP policy requirement is known as the Minimum GPA Requirement.

Complete your degree prior to reaching the maximum credit hour limit of 180 attempted credit hours from all institutions attended (includes earned transfer credit hours plus the credit hours attempted at UNL). This SAP policy requirement is known as the Maximum Timeframe Requirement. Please note that all students, even those who did not take advantage of financial aid1 during some or all of their attempted credit hours, are affected by the maximum credit hour limit at any time should they wish to become eligible for financial aid1.

Graduate/Professional Students

Successful completion 2 of 67% of UNL attempted credit hours. This SAP policy requirement is known as the Minimum Pace Requirement (Pace) and is calculated as follows:

  • Completed (earned) UNL credit hours (with grades of A through D or P (Pass) divided by all attempted UNL credit hours (this includes: earned credit hours plus incomplete, failed, no pass, or withdrawn credit hours).

    Example: 16 credit hours earned ÷ 24 credit hours attempted = 67%

Complete your degree prior to reaching the maximum credit hour limit of 72 (Master’s program) and 140 (Doctoral program which includes credit hours from Master’s degree) attempted credit hours from all institutions attended (includes earned transfer credit hours plus the credit hours attempted at UNL). This SAP policy requirement is known as the Maximum Timeframe Requirement. Please note that all students, even those who did not take advantage of financial aid1 during some or all of their attempted credit hours, are affected by the maximum credit hour limit at any time should they wish to become eligible for financial aid1.

Law Students

Successful completion 2 of 67% of UNL attempted credit hours. This SAP policy requirement is known as the Minimum Pace Requirement (Pace) and is calculated as follows:

  • Completed (earned) UNL credit hours (with grades of A through D or P (Pass) divided by all attempted UNL credit hours (this includes: earned credit hours plus incomplete, failed, no pass, or withdrawn credit hours).

    Example: 16 credit hours earned ÷ 24 credit hours attempted = 67%

Maintain a 2.000 cumulative GPA or higher, if you have enrolled in at least 4 or more semesters (summer counts as a semester) at UNL. This SAP policy requirement is known as the Minimum GPA Requirement.

Complete your degree prior to reaching the maximum credit hour limit of 138 attempted credit hours from all institutions attended (includes earned transfer credit hours plus the credit hours attempted at UNL). This SAP policy requirement is known as the Maximum Timeframe Requirement. Please note that all students, even those who did not take advantage of financial aid1 during some or all of their attempted credit hours, are affected by the maximum credit hour limit at any time should they wish to become eligible for financial aid1.

1 Financial Aid Programs include, but are not limited to, all federal grants, loans and work-study, state grants, and most University of Nebraska need-based grants and scholarships.  Check with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid if you have questions about specific sources of funding.
2 Satisfactory grades are defined as the sum of all UNL credit hours completed with a grade of A through D or Pass (P). 
Impact of dropping or withdrawing from a course or courses:

Students who drop or withdraw credit hours must still maintain SAP policy requirements. Students who drop or withdraw from credit hours while on a SAP approved appeal (SAP Academic Plan) may lose their financial aid eligibility in subsequent semesters. Please contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid prior to dropping or withdrawing from courses.

Impact of earning an incomplete grade:

An Incomplete course counts as credit hours attempted but will not count as credit hours completed/earned until a passing grade has been assigned. An incomplete grade like a dropped or withdrawn course can negatively affect a student’s Pace and financial aid eligibility. Should students who are on a SAP approved appeal (SAP Academic Plan) earn an incomplete, they may be in jeopardy of losing financial aid eligibility in subsequent semesters. Students on SAP Academic Plans, should contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, if they must take an incomplete in a course.

Dissertation Credit Hours and Incomplete grade:

The IP grades (in progress) for dissertation credit hours do not affect a graduate student’s SAP status, as these credit hours indicate satisfactory work in progress and will be changed upon a student’s successful defense of the dissertation.

Impact of repeating a course:

Repeating a course still counts as attempted credit hours (for each time the course is taken) and if credit is earned (repeats as well) then it will also count as completed/earned credit hours in Pace and Maximum Timeframe calculations.

Impact of transfer credit hours:

All accepted transfer credit hours are used in a student’s Maximum Timeframe SAP calculation (total attempted credit hours).

Regaining financial aid eligibility:

Students can either successfully appeal for reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility or they can earn both the necessary cumulative GPA and meet the minimum completion rate of the SAP for Financial Aid Recipients Policy, while paying for your UNL enrollment on your own.

Appeal Process

When students are notified that they do not meet the satisfactory academic progress policy requirements, they have the right to appeal that decision. Appeals must be based on relevant, significant, and documentable extenuating circumstances for which a student could not plan, influence or prevent, such as; a serious injury or an illness requiring hospitalization, or the death of a close relative. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.  For appeal forms, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions for Students

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Frequently Asked Questions for Academic Advisors

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