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Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Higher Education Amendment Act of 1965, as amended, mandates institutions of higher education to establish a minimum standard of “Satisfactory Academic Progress” for students receiving federal financial aid. Delaware State University makes its standard applicable to all federal, state and institutional funds.  The satisfactory academic progress applies to all terms regardless of whether financial aid was received.  Satisfactory academic progress will be evaluated for all students (full- or part-time) annually (at the end of the spring semester and each summer session, as applicable).  Students re-admitted must also meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards to receive financial aid.  


Satisfactory Academic Progress, SAP, is a process to review a federal aid recipient’s academic record and compare it to defined criteria. The following defines when the review occurs, the criteria of the review, how the review occurs, and consequences of the review. 

When SAP is Reviewed

The academic records of all Title IV aid recipients are reviewed annually at the end of the spring semester and each summer session, as applicable, which is a payment period, to determine compliance with the qualitative (GPA) and quantitative (# of credits earned) components of satisfactory academic progress regulations. Any student who is not making satisfactory academic progress at the annual review will not be eligible for aid during the next enrolled payment period. For example, a student not making satisfactory academic progress at the end of the first summer session will not be eligible for Title IV aid for the second summer session that immediately follows the first summer session where academic progress was reviewed. This requirement is different from a non-Title IV recipient who may enroll in the next summer session or semester without intervention of an appeal.


Grade Point Average Requirement

Undergraduate students must meet the minimum cumulative DSU grade point average (excludes transfer work) (see below chart of required hours and GPA). Please note, any student who has been enrolled for four semesters, whether the enrollment is consecutive or not, must obtain a 2.0 cumulative GPA at the end of the fourth semester. All grades except “W” grades are counted in the cumulative GPA calculation except a repeat course. In the repeated course, only the higher grade will be factored into the cumulative GPA.  Please note that Title IV aid restricts recipients from receiving funds for the same course more than twice.

GPA Chart
Hours Attempted Cumulative Grade Point Average
1-29 1.70, but 2.0 after 4 semesters
30-59 1.80, but 2.0 after 4 semesters
60-89 2.00
90-120 2.00

Delaware State University’s SAP calculation will include all hours attempted.

Undergraduate students must strive to complete all of their attempted starting credit hours each academic year.  Students are required to earn 24 credits each academic year for full-time status, 12 credits for half-time status and 6 for less than half-time status.

Graduate students must meet the minimum cumulative DSU grade point average (excludes transfer work) requirement of 3.00 by the end of their second full semester. In addition, all graduate students must earn 67% of their hours attempted, and must not exceed 150% of the hours required for degree completion. There is a one-time only appeal procedure for the graduate student. A formal written letter of explanation must be written to the Office of Academic Enrichment no later than the drop for non-payment date for the semester in which the student is applying for Federal Financial Aid. Graduate students must attain a 3.0 at the end of that semester to remain eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid preceding the appeal. 

The following types of grades cannot be used to fulfill financial aid probation, suspension, or re-matriculation requirements: credits by audit or special examination, grades earned from advanced placement or CLEP exams for which prior approval was not obtained; withdrawal or incomplete grades; and grades earned with zero credit.

SAP Hours Completion Criteria

Students must progress toward their education goal by earning credits at Delaware State University at the minimum rate. Courses in which students receive an “F”, “W” or “FW” grade do not count as earned hours but will count in the attempted hours as well as repeated courses. Only courses in which students receive grades of “A,” “B,” “C,” or “D” count as earned hours.  Audit course work does not count. Prior to receiving a disbursement of financial aid for the semester numbered in the first column of the chart, the student’s cumulative credits earned at Delaware State University must total at least the number listed in the column marked Full Time which describes the enrollment status for the semester prior to the current semester. For example, if a student is entering in the fall semester after completing one academic year prior and was enrolled full time for that prior semester, then the student is entering his or her 3rd semester. The chart below details the number of credits required to have complete after the semester listed in column one. If you are not meeting the minimum required, you are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress progression requirements and would be required to submit an appeal with an explanation of why you are not meeting the progression requirements and what you will do in the next semester to meet the requirements.

Progress Chart
Number of Completed Semesters Minimum Number of Credit Hours That Must Be Earned Percentage Completion Rate Per Semester Attempted Number of Credit Hours Per Semester
1 - Year 1 9 60% 15
2 18 60% 30
3 - Year 2 27 60% 45
4 36 60% 60
5 - Year 3 53 70% 75
6 63 70% 90
7- Year 4 74 70% 105
8 84 70% 120
9 - Year 5 95 70% 135
10 105 70% 150
11 - Year 6 116 70% 165
12 126 70% 180

SAP Maximum Hours Limitation Criteria

Students may only receive aid until they reach the maximum hours limit.  The limit is 150% of the hours required for the program of study.  For example, if the typical bachelor’s degree requires 125 credit hours, the limit for maximum attempted hours would be 187.5. Hours accepted by DSU in transfer are included in the maximum hour limit.  Required hours for a specific program of study are found in the Undergraduate or Graduate Catalogs.  Students who have completed all the course work for their degree or certificate but have not yet received the degree or certificate are no longer eligible for financial aid for that program. Students with dual majors or students who change their majors are subject to the same hours limit; there are no exceptions.

How SAP Review Occurs

Students will be put on probation at the end of the spring semester, upon annual review, if they fail to meet the minimum number of credit hours or the required GPA. The probationary period will extend until the student meets the required SAP standards. Students are not eligible for aid during the probationary period, unless an approved appeal exists.

Automatic Termination of Aid Eligibility

Failure to meet special requirements of satisfactory progress imposed by the SAP Review Committee, Probation Contract and or Academic Success Plan, default on a federally funded student loan or failure to repay a grant overpayment will result in automatic termination of aid eligibility. Students who withdraw and/or are suspended from the University two consecutive semesters of attendance will have their aid eligibility terminated.

Re-Establishing Aid Eligibility

Before aid eligibility can be re-established, students must complete the minimum requirements outlined above in their attempted coursework, have a 2.0 GPA and be removed from University academic probation, which is different than the Title IV probation.  Financial aid will not be available during this period.  It is the responsibility of the student to inform the Financial Aid Office when reinstatement requirements are completed.

Repeat Courses

Title IV aid restricts recipients from receiving funds for the same course more than twice. Students who have withdrawn or failed a course more than twice must include within the appeal process a written explanation of why they must repeat a course.

SAP Appeal Procedure

Students may appeal the SAP decision regarding financial aid probation or suspension status by submitting a completed Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility to the Office of Financial Aid. Students may appeal one times over the course of completing their degree.

  • Students placed on financial aid suspension must submit: the Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility form. 
  • The Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility form should contain an explanation of what caused the progress issue, an outline of future goals and any supporting documentation of extenuating circumstances attached.
  • The Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility form appeal must be submitted by the deadline contained within the denial letter to the Office of Financial Aid. Late appeals will be reviewed on a case by case basis and may be held until the next semester for approval. The Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility form can be found by accessing the DSU web site.   
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form​.

**Extenuating circumstances would include extreme illness or injury, family crisis, or additional credits earned from incomplete courses.

Examples of the SAP calculation:
Grade Scale:
“W”, “F”, “I” count with no letter grade

Hours for classification:
0-29 Freshman
30-59 Sophomore
60-89 Junior
90-120 Senior

Student A

Fall Semester – Takes 12 Hours
3 Hours A (4) x 3 = 12
3 Hours D (1) x 3 = 3
3 Hours C (2) x 3 = 6
3 Hours B (3) x 3 = 9
12 Quantitative Hours 30 Qualitative Points

Divide 30 by 12 = 2.50 GPA; Student is making SAP

Student B: (Two year Review)

Fall Semester – Takes 12 Hours
3 Hours D (1) x 3 = 3
3 Hours D (1) x 3 = 3
3 Hours C (2) x 3 = 6
3 Hours B (3) x 3 = 9
12 Quantitative Hours 21 Qualitative Points

Divide 21 by 12 = 1.75 GPA

Spring Semester – Takes 12 Hours
3 Hours A (4) x 3 = 12
3 Hours F (0) x 3 = 0
3 Hours D (1) x 3 = 3
3 Hours D (1) x 3 = 3
Attempt 12 hrs/earned 9 18 Qualitative Points

Divide 18 by 9 = 1.50 GPA

For the year – student attempted 24 hrs/earned 21 hours w/ 1.62 cumulative GPA

SAP status at end of year one is not meeting SAP since the GPA is not at least a 1.70 but earned credits is greater than 18. 

This student is not making SAP at the end of the first year and would be on academic probation according to University academic standing policy going into the third semester. Student would be required to submit an appeal, be approved to receive aid for the third semester.

Year Two - Third Semester

Fall Semester – Takes 12 Hours
3 Hours F (0) x 3 = 0
3 Hours D (1) x 3 = 3
3 Hours C (2) x 3 = 6
3 Hours F (0) x 3 = 0
Attempt 12 hrs/earned 6 9 Qualitative Points

Divide 9 by 6 = 1.33 GPA

This student’s cumulative GPA would be a 1.33 which would put the student into a suspension status and require them to request reinstatement into the spring semester. Since the student is suspended, the student would need to request an appeal to receive aid for the spring semester if the University granted them enrollment. Student is below the GPA requirement but progression is within requirements.

Spring Semester – Takes 12 Hours
3 Hours A (4) x 3 = 12
3 Hours D (1) x 3 = 3
3 Hours C (2) x 3 = 6
3 Hours B (3) x 3 = 9
Attempt 12 hrs/earned 12 30 Qualitative Points

Divide 30 by 12 = 2.50 GPA
Cumulative GPA:  Divide 78 Qualitative points by 48 attempted hrs = 1.69 GPA

This student has attempted 48 hours, completed 39 hours which is within the progression chart.   However, the GPA earned by this student of 1.62 is below the 1.8 cumulative GPA required as indicated on the GPA chart. In addition, the student has also been enrolled for (4) four semesters and is below the 2.0 cumulative GPA requirements; therefore, this student would not make SAP for this semester. Student would need appeal to receive aid but this student would be recorded as not making SAP twice and if an appeal is granted, the student only has eligibility for one more appeal as an undergraduate. The student could attend without the benefit of Title IV aid and once meeting the SAP requirements would be eligible for aid.

Any of the students above who are not making SAP can appeal but must be able to provide evidence of mitigating circumstances in their appeal to regain eligibility; or these students must obtain a 2.0 GPA before they regain their federal aid eligibility.