Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for the College of Arts & Sciences and Sawyer Business School

Federal regulations require that students demonstrate satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in their educational program in order to maintain eligibility for financial aid. SAP is established and reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Services for the College of Arts & Sciences and Sawyer Business School.

SAP is evaluated independently from the Academic Standing Committee and it is possible for a student to be in good academic standing with the University, but not be making satisfactory academic progress under this policy as determined by the Office of Student Financial Services. Conversely, a student may be meeting Financial Aid SAP requirements, but still be dismissed by an Academic Standing Committee. Students who are academically dismissed from Suffolk University do not retain eligibility for financial assistance.

Standards for SAP

Students must meet the following standards to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress. These standards will be evaluated at the end of each academic term (including summer term, if applicable) and a student will be notified if the SAP evaluation affects his or her financial aid eligibility.

Qualitative standards

  • Graduate students (full or part time) are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Students enrolled in joint degree programs with Suffolk University Law School will be subject to the Law School SAP policy.

Quantitative standards

  • All students are required to have successfully completed at least 75% of cumulative attempted credit hours at each point when SAP is measured by the Office of Student Financial Services. Completed credits are calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours the student has earned by the cumulative number of hours the student has attempted. All credit hours attempted by Suffolk students will be considered when determining completion rates.
  • Graduate CAS students may retake a failed course for credit and each time a student enrolls in a course, it will count as attempted credits. When a CAS graduate student repeats a course, all grades appear on the academic transcript, and will be considered in the GPA. SBS graduate students may retake only one graduate course in his or her graduate program where an F grade has been received. The original F remains on the transcript, but is not included in the GPA. If a subsequent F is received, the grade will remain on the transcript and be included in the GPA.
  • Grades of I, W, L, NG, IP, NP, and AU count as attempted and unearned credits and are not counted toward a student’s cumulative GPA. Grades of F, F*, and Fail count as attempted and unearned credits and count toward a student’s cumulative GPA. Transfer hours accepted towards a Suffolk degree are treated as both credit hours attempted and credit hours earned. Transfer GPA is not considered, however, in calculating the minimum cumulative GPA required for SAP.
Maximum Timeframe for Completion

All students have a maximum time frame for which they have financial aid eligibility in an academic program. A student will not be considered to be making SAP if his or her enrollment exceeds a timeframe equal to 150% of the published minimum credit requirement of the academic program. Refer to the academic catalog for specific program lengths. Suffolk University measures a student’s timeframe in attempted credits. Students who change majors are subject to the same 150% maximum time frame. Additional degree programs, however, will be evaluated independently.

Evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress

  • The Office of Student Financial Services will review each student’s progress after each term (including the summer term, if applicable) and a student will be notified if the results of an evaluation impact his or her eligibility for financial aid.
  • All periods of enrollment at Suffolk University (including study abroad and consortium agreement terms) are considered when evaluating SAP. Periods in which the student did not receive financial aid funds will also be considered when determining SAP.
  • Only credit bearing coursework will be considered attempted credits for purposes of SAP evaluation.
  • Credits dropped during the add/drop period are excluded from SAP evaluation.

Failure to Maintain SAP – Automatic Warning Semester

Students not meeting the minimum SAP requirements are placed on financial aid warning and will receive a written warning indicating they have not met SAP standards. Financial aid warning lasts for one academic term. During financial aid warning, financial aid will be awarded and the student will be given one term to improve his/her academic standing and meet SAP requirements. No action is required of the student who is placed on warning status and no appeal of the decision to place a student on financial aid warning is permitted.

If at the close of financial aid warning the student has not met SAP standards, the student will be notified in writing that he/she is ineligible for financial aid for future terms. Students should be aware this includes all federal, state, institutional and many alternative loan aid programs. If a student is ineligible for financial aid due to the failure to make SAP during the warning term, he/she may request a review by submitting an appeal to the Office of Student Financial Services for a probationary semester.

Appeal for Probationary Semester

Students who fail to meet SAP requirements at the end of the warning semester may appeal in writing to the Office of Student Financial Services if extenuating circumstances existed which negatively impacted the student’s ability to make SAP.

Appeal Applications can be found on our download forms page

Examples of situations where appeals will be considered include serious illness, hospitalization, or death of a family member. A student’s appeal must address why the student failed to make SAP and what has changed that will now allow the student to satisfy academic progress requirements at the end of the next academic term. Appeals must also include supporting documentation (i.e. hospital records, doctor’s note, etc). Students who submit an appeal will be notified in writing of the outcome. In evaluating an SAP appeal, the Office of Student Financial Services considers both the extenuating circumstances that led to the failure to make SAP and whether the student will be able to meet SAP standards by (i) the end of the following academic term or (ii) a specific later date by adhering to an academic plan.

The Office of Student Financial Services will respond to all written appeals by mailing a letter of decision to the student’s permanent address on file with Suffolk University. If an SAP appeal is granted, the student will be placed on financial aid probation. Conditions may be imposed on the student’s continued eligibility through an academic plan, which is developed in conjunction with the Academic Deans Office in the appropriate school. An academic plan may include requirements such as a reduced course load or the taking of specific courses. At the end of the first financial aid probation term, the student must be either making SAP or successfully completing the conditions of the academic plan in order to be eligible for further financial aid.