Financial Aid Policies
Satisfactory Academic Progress
SAP for Financial Aid Recipients Policy
To receive financial aid , students must be making satisfactory academic progress towards completing their degree (academic goal).
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, who, after the fourth semester of enrollment at UNL (undergraduate and Law students) have not earned a minimum cumulative 2.000 GPA and/or who have attempted more than the maximum time-frame 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.
Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) requires:
Successful completion  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divided by all attempted UNL credit hours (this includes: earned credit hours plus incomplete, failed, no pass or withdrawn credit hours).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 Time-frame Requirement. Please note that all students, even those who did not take advantage of financial aid 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 aid .
Successful completion  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, 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 aid 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 aid .
Successful completion  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 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 Time-frame Requirement. Please note that all students, even those who did not take advantage of financial aid  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 aid .
Impact of dropping or withdrawing from a course or courses:
Students who drop or withdraw from courses must still maintain SAP policy requirements. A withdrawal is not earned credit hours and while it does not affect your GPA, it will affect your SAP earned to attempted credit hour completion rate. By the end of spring semester a student must be meeting at least a 67% completion rate to continue their financial aid eligibility.
Students who drop or withdraw from courses while on a SAP approved appeal (SAP Academic Plan) may lose their financial aid eligibility in subsequent semesters. Students should contact their student services specialist at Husker Hub prior to dropping or withdrawing from courses.
Impact of earning an incomplete grade:
An Incomplete course counts as credit hours attempted but does 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 their student services specialist in Husker Hub, if they are planning to take an incomplete in a course.
Impact of Incomplete grade for Dissertation Credit Hours:
The grade, IP (in progress), for dissertation credit hours does 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, each time the course is taken for both SAP Pace and SAP Maximum Time-frame calculations, but only the first time a passing grade is received for the course, will it be counted as earned in the SAP Pace calculation. If the first attempt was not successful and you repeat the course and earn credit for the course in your second attempt, the SAP calculation includes the credit hours in the first attempt, the credit hours in the second attempt and the earned hours in the second attempt.
Example: In the fall semester a student attempts a 3 credit hour course and earns a grade of F, but then in the spring semester the student repeats the course and earns a grade of B for this second attempt, then the SAP calculation (for that course) would be 3 earned credit hours to 6 attempted credit hours.
In general financial aid recipients may repeat courses and use federal financial aid for each attempt of the course, provided they have not earned a grade higher than an F. If a student has earned a grade of D- or higher in a course, he can repeat the course only once more and still receive financial aid for the course. This excludes particular courses that are allowed to be repeated multiple times for credit.
Impact of Academic Bankruptcy:
While Academic Bankruptcy will improve your SAP cumulative GPA as it does with your academic record, the UNL credit hours attempted and earned that have been “bankrupted” will remain part of the SAP calculation. All UNL hours attempted and earned prior to Academic Bankruptcy will be calculated in your SAP status.
Impact of transfer credit hours:
All accepted transfer credit hours are used in a student’s SAP Maximum Time frame calculation (total attempted credit hours). Therefore it is very important that you have your transfer credits evaluated by your major department to ensure that you are receiving the most credit hours towards your degree program. This will ensure that you do not duplicate credit hours, for which you have already received credit, and that you may graduate in the shortest time-frame possible, as well. Once you have exceeded the SAP Maximum time frame for your degree level, you are no longer eligible to receive financial aid.
What if I transferred in more credit hours than my college applied toward my degree program?
In most cases this will not affect your SAP Status, unless you have made many changes to your degree program and institutions. At 180 credit hours (for undergraduate financial aid recipients) the SAP Maximum Time frame rule has already allowed for some changes in program over the typical 120 credit hours length program. If however, you may have over 90 transfer credit hours and you have been notified that you are not meeting SAP as you have exceeded the maximum time frame allowed, you may want to check with your student services specialist at Husker Hub to learn if a SAP appeal is possible.
Impact of Study Abroad Transfer Credits:
When calculating the annual SAP status, the student management software system does not recognize Study Abroad transfer credit hours as UNL earned credit hours, therefore these credit hours must be manually calculated for the SAP status of a Study Abroad participant. Therefore if you received a Fail to Meet SAP letter and per your academic record it appears that you should otherwise be meeting SAP standards, it is important that you meet with a student services specialist to learn if you should complete the Student Now Meeting SAP Policy Guidelines or SAP Status Calculation for Study Abroad Hours form. If you participated in a Study Abroad program, ensure that your Study Abroad transfer credits have been properly evaluated and posted to your UNL academic records before requesting a manual SAP calculation.
SAP Frequently Asked Questions
How often is SAP reviewed?
The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) annually evaluates the SAP status for all financial aid recipients (if they have applied for financial aid for the following academic year or when they do apply for financial aid) and new admits following the end of spring semester final grade submission.
The first SAP GPA calculation is completed at the end of each semester for students who have completed a fourth semester at UNL. After the initial SAP GPA calculation, then a student’s SAP GPA calculation will be completed after each spring semester along with the completion rate and maximum time frame calculation.
What happens after the SAP calculation?
Students who meet SAP will continue their financial aid eligibility for the next academic year-fall and spring semesters.
Students who do not meet SAP are notified of their SAP status and loss of financial aid eligibility via letter within a week or two of the SAP calculation and any financial aid that had been awarded for the next semester and/or academic year will be cancelled. Review the SAP policy information for your student status at the top of this page for more information.
What financial aid programs are affected?
If a student is not meeting SAP, they are generally ineligible for all federal, state, and some institutional grant and scholarship financial aid programs. Private as well as some institutional scholarships may or may not require that SAP standards be met and usually have their own specific standards for disbursement and renewal. Please see each scholarship program for details. Students can learn about possible private loans that do not require that SAP standards be met, through the OSFA website. Students should meet with their student services specialist for further information.
How does a student re-gain financial aid eligibility?
A student can either successfully appeal for reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility (See Appeal Process below)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 their enrollment on their own.
Please note that attending another institution to transfer coursework to UNL, will not improve your UNL completion rate or UNL cumulative GPA (with the exception of transfer GPA from UNO, UNK or UNMC). However, the transfer credit hours are calculated towards the SAP maximum attempted credit hours.
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. The student will submit to our office a completed appeal which includes: a personal narrative, support documents and a degree plan. The SAP Appeal Committee reviews the appeal and makes the decision to approve or deny the appeal. If the appeal is approved, you will be on financial aid probation and have an Academic Plan, which you must follow each semester until you are meeting SAP policy requirements. While on financial aid probation, you are eligible to receive financial aid and your academic record will be evaluated after each term to ensure you have met the criteria of your Academic Plan. For appeal forms, please click here.
What is the deadline to appeal?
For specific semester deadlines to appeal for reinstatement of your financial aid eligibility, please refer either to the academic year SAP Appeal (for fall and spring semester) or the summer SAP appeal. Appeals submitted within the last week of the semester for which the student is seeking financial aid reinstatement, may not be reviewed in time for financial aid reinstatement and would be reviewed for the following semester.
What type of aid is available if I submit an appeal right before the semester begins?
Only aid not affected by your SAP status, such as scholarships from individual programs, private scholarships and/or private loans (if you have these aid types). If you do have these aid types, you will not have any aid available as they are ineligible.
What does the SAP Appeal Review Committee consider when reviewing an appeal?
The Committee reviews each appeal individually, on a case‐by‐case basis. Your appeal consists of a personal narrative which fully explains the extenuating circumstances throughout your academic career for which you could not plan, influence, or prevent (extenuating circumstance such as illness, accident, injury, death of a close family member, other family issues, or work-unexpected overtime was required), a degree plan and any relevant support documents. You should include all pertinent information in your narrative such as specific dates of the extenuating circumstance (which should coincide with the dates of the unsuccessful semesters) along with documentation from appropriate third parties, if applicable (e.g., a physician, therapist, etc.). Your narrative should include a plan of action or changes you have made in your lifestyle or academic approach, which will support academic success from the current semester going forward. Third party documentation need not be specific, but should inform the committee on your prognosis (readiness to return and ability to focus on your academics). Please note: when necessary the SAP Appeal Review Committee may review MyPLAN notes for further information about your appeal. It is recommended that you meet with a student services specialist at Husker Hub as well as your academic advisor prior to submitting a SAP appeal.
What is the role of the academic advisor in SAP Process?
To assist you in completing the Academic Plan for the SAP appeal and discuss options to progress towards graduation (such as: steps toward declaring a major when a low GPA is a factor--develop a plan to reach the required GPA, while ensuring that you can declare and graduate within in a reasonable time frame without exceeding the maximum time frame rule).
What is important in the Academic Plan for undeclared students?
A reasonable plan in which the student in academic trouble can reasonably be successful and return to meeting SAP standards. This reasonable plan should also reveal to the student that you can meet the criteria of the intended major within a reasonable period of time (does not have to be in 4 years max, could be longer if necessary) and still graduate under the SAP maximum time frame. If a student is undeclared and has over 60 credit hours, they should contact the academic advisor of the intended major to complete the Academic Plan. The SAP Appeal Committee will want to know that you can graduate in your intended major without exceeding the maximum time frame.
How long before an appeal decision is made? When will I be notified?
Appeal decisions are generally made in at least 2 – 3 weeks after the completed appeal (all requested documentation received) is submitted. You will receive the appeal decision via your huskers.unl.edu email address. It can also be viewed in MyRED Message Center.
What happens if my appeal is approved?
When the SAP Appeal is approved, you will be sent an email, which outlines the criteria that you must meet each semester as well as following the Academic Plan. We will review your academic record at the end of each semester until you are meeting SAP or have graduated whichever comes first.
You will be expected to enroll in only required major or degree courses, and that you earn all credit hours in which you enroll with passing grades, no withdrawals, incompletes, and N or F grades, and that you earn at least a 2.000 semester GPA. Please check with your student services specialist in Husker Hub, if you need to drop/withdraw or take an incomplete grade.
What happens if my appeal is denied?
You will be sent an email, which outlines the steps toward regaining your financial aid eligibility. This decision is final and not subject to further review. Eligibility for a subsequent appeal will be based on completing a successful semester on your own.
What is a successful semester on my own?
A successful semester on your own is defined as a successfully completed semester without the use of federal or state financial aid. You enrolled in only the courses that were listed on the submitted degree plan, you successfully completed all courses with no F’s, W’s, N’s, or I’s, maintained a semester GPA of 2.000 or higher, and did not exceed the SAP maximum timeframe.
If the appeal is denied, are there other aid options for me?
Yes. within the appeal decision email, you are directed to our website concerning alternative resources and you are welcome to make an appointment at Husker Hub to meet with a student services specialist for further discussion.
If after the spring SAP calculation has been run, you subsequently meet the minimum SAP Policy requirements by completing a summer and/or fall semester on your own, or had a positive grade change, then you should complete the Student Now Meeting SAP Policy Guidelines or SAP Status Calculation for Study Abroad Hours form. Since the SAP calculation is run just once a year, OSFA does not run a report at any other time of the year to find students, who have regained eligibility for financial aid.
SAP Frequently Asked Questions for Academic Advisors
Why are students encouraged to appeal?
Students are encouraged to appeal if financial aid is necessary to cover cost for school. We also believe going through the appeal process is beneficial for the student to determine a plan to progress toward degree completion. It does not guarantee the appeal will be approved.
How often are appeals reviewed?
SAP appeals are reviewed by a committee on a rolling basis after spring semester grades have been posted and the SAP calculation has been completed.
What is the role of the student services specialist (Husker Hub) in the appeal?
To explain the process of appealing and discuss other financial aid options should the appeal be denied.
What is the role of the academic advisor?
To assist the student in completing the Academic Plan and discussing options to progress towards graduation (such as: steps toward declaring a major when a low GPA is a factor—develop a plan to reach the required GPA, while ensuring that the student can declare and graduate within in a reasonable timeframe without exceeding the maximum timeframe rule). Please note: The SAP Committee may review MyPLAN notes for further information about a student’s appeal.
If the appeal is denied and students are not able to obtain other aid options, then academic advisors could assist students by informing them of community college options for transfer coursework, which can be applied towards the degree program. Please keep in mind, however that transfer work has no bearing on SAP Pace or GPA (exception: transfer GPA from UNO, UNK and UNMC does affect the SAP GPA calculation, only), but transfer work does impact the maximum time frame rule.
Are there any student groups that will push to the MyPlan overview screen?
Yes. Any student who has applied for financial aid will have one of the following items listed in the overview screen pertaining to their SAP status.
- OSFA SAP: Met SAP (no action needed)
- OSFA SAP: Did NOT Meet SAP (ineligible; refer to financial aid)
- OSFA SAP: On OSFA Academic Plan (must follow approved plan)
- OSFA SAP: Not Calculated Yet (refer to financial aid)
- OSFA SAP: Borderline SAP (don’t drop class; refer to financial aid)
What is important in the Academic Plan for undeclared students?
A reasonable plan in which a student in academic trouble can reasonably be successful and return to meeting SAP standards. This reasonable plan should also reveal to the student that they can meet the criteria of the intended major within a reasonable period of time (does not have to be in 4 years max, could be longer if necessary) and still graduate under 180 credit hours.
Can students amend their Academic Plan after their SAP appeal was approved?
Plans can be amended on a case‐by‐case basis. The student, working with their academic advisor, will submit the amended Academic Plan, along with the student's signed statement, that explains the reason for the change to the Academic Plan (such as the suggested credit hours to be taken in a semester or the total credit hours needed to graduate), to OSFA for review by the SAP committee. Students will be notified via email if the SAP committee has approved their amended Academic Plan. Failure to notify OSFA of changes to their Academic Plan, could result in the denial of a subsequent term financial aid.
Other important items to consider:
- Important for the advisors to list on the Academic Plan, the total number of transfer credit hours that will be used toward fulfilling major and degree requirements. This can be very helpful with regard to students who may be close or have exceeded the 180 maximum credit hour requirement.
- We will recalculate student’s maximum attempted hours, if the student has excess of 60 transfer credit hours from a community college and excess of 90 transfer credit hours from a 4-year institution. (We will manually recalculate when a student has appealed due to exceeding the 180 maximum credit hour requirement).
- If a student has exceeded or will exceed the 180 maximum credit hour requirement and the student has more than one major/minor, it would be in the student’s best interest to decide on the major in which they can graduate in the shortest amount of time and present that in the appeal for reinstatement of their aid. The regulation is in place to ensure the student is making progress towards earning a degree, the 180 maximum credit hour requirement allows for a student to change majors, and may even allow for a double major/minor but not in excess of 180 credit hours.
- Academic Bankruptcy does not forgive attempted credit hours in the SAP calculation. All UNL hours attempted and earned prior to Academic Bankruptcy will be calculated in a student’s SAP status.
- If a student, who has the SAP status “On OSFA Academic Plan,” seeks to withdraw from or take an incomplete in any attempted coursework, they should be directed to Husker Hub before taking this step. Students “On OSFA Academic Plans” are required to successfully complete all attempted courses, and therefore they should be reminded of this requirement, the consequences of withdrawing or taking an incomplete, as well as reviewing the steps they should take for appealing loss of their financial aid eligibility.
- If a student, who has the SAP status “Borderline SAP” (students whose SAP status falls in close range of the minimum SAP policy guidelines), seeks to withdraw from or take an incomplete in any attempted coursework, they should be directed to Husker Hub to learn the outcome of taking this step. The student services specialist can manually calculate their completion rate and outline steps for a possible appeal.
- As study abroad transfer credits are not calculated as UNL earned hours in SAP, it is important to direct students to complete the Student Now Meeting SAP Policy Guidelines or SAP Status Calculation for Study Abroad Hours form, if they have received a Fail to Meet SAP letter and per their academic records appear that they should be otherwise meeting SAP standards. Study abroad participants should ensure that they have had their study abroad transfer credits evaluated and posted to their academic records. OSFA cannot calculate their SAP status unless the study abroad credits have been applied to their UNL transcripts.