Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Op5.08-5 Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid

This policy is effective beginning with the fall 2020 semester.

Federal regulations require Missouri State University to establish a satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy to ensure all students receiving financial aid are making reasonable progress towards completing their degree. Students who fail to make progress toward the completion of their education will be suspended from receiving financial aid.

Satisfactory academic progress is defined as passing a required number of hours and achieving a required grade point average (GPA) during a reasonable period of time. The academic records of all aid recipients are reviewed at the end of each semester in which the student is enrolled to determine compliance. Regulations require that a student’s entire academic history be considered, even if the student has never received financial aid. State and non-federal programs and scholarships may have different standards of satisfactory academic progress.

These standards apply only to a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid. Refer to the academic policies section of the MSU Policy Library for academic policies that apply to all students (regardless of whether they are receiving financial aid) and to the undergraduate and graduate catalogs for degree and major requirements.

Overall Grade Point Average Requirement

  • Undergraduate students must have an overall GPA of 2.00 after 24 attempted credit hours.
  • Graduate students must have an overall GPA of 3.00 after 9 attempted credit hours.


  • Pace is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credit hours completed by the cumulative number of credit hours attempted.
  • In order to graduate within the maximum timeframe allowed, all students must maintain a pace equal to 67% of their cumulative hours attempted.
  • Only courses for which the student receives credit count toward completed hours. Courses in which students receive “I” or “Z” grades do not count toward completed hours.

Maximum Timeframe Requirement

Students are no longer eligible to receive financial aid once they have attempted more than 150% of the credits required for the major in which they are currently enrolled. For example, if the typical bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours, the limit for maximum attempted hours would be 180.

  • To determine hours required for a specific program of study refer to the graduate and undergraduate catalogs.
  • The maximum timeframe is not increased for changes in major, double majors, or adding a minor in another subject area.
  • Students who have completed all the courses required for their degree or certificate but have not yet received the degree or certificate are no longer eligible for financial aid for that program.

Withdrawals, Repeats and Incomplete Grades

  • Courses dropped after the change of schedule period will count toward attempted hours.
  • Repeat courses for which the student has previously earned credit will not count toward hours completed. However, they will count toward hours attempted even if credit was not previously earned. The grade from the most recent attempt at the course will be the grade that counts in GPA calculations.
  • Credit hours for courses for which an incomplete or deferred grade is granted will not count as hours completed but will count as hours attempted.

Transfer Hours

Transfer courses accepted by Missouri State University are included when calculating pace, overall grade point average and maximum timeframe.

Academic Renewal

Any consideration allowed for academic renewal will not be applicable when reviewing academic progress for financial aid eligibility. This includes overall GPA requirements and academic pace.

Academic Suspension

Students under academic suspension are not eligible to receive financial aid and are not eligible to appeal until they have been reinstated to the university. Reinstatement to the university does not guarantee financial aid eligibility or appeal approval.

Financial Aid Warning Period

A financial aid warning period will be granted for students, who, upon first review, do not meet pace or GPA requirements. The financial aid warning period will extend through the end of the semester for which it is granted. If students are not in compliance with the pace and the required grade point average at the end of their financial aid warning period, financial aid eligibility will be terminated.

A financial aid warning period is not granted to students who do not meet maximum timeframe requirements. Financial aid eligibility for students exceeding 150% of the credits required for the major in which they are currently enrolled will be immediately terminated.

Automatic Termination of Aid Eligibility

Failure to meet special requirements of satisfactory progress imposed by the Financial Aid Appeal Committee (FAAC), default on a federally funded student loan or failure to repay a grant overpayment will result in automatic termination of aid eligibility.

Re-establishing Aid Eligibility

Students cannot reestablish aid eligibility only by remaining out for one or more semesters or by paying for one or more semesters on their own. Students can re-establish eligibility by enrolling for one or more semesters without the assistance of financial aid funds to meet the minimum standards required by the SAP policy.

Appeal Process

If academic deficiencies are the result of extenuating circumstances, a student may appeal to the Financial Aid Appeal Committee (FAAC) in accordance with the following guidelines.

  • Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to, the death of a family member, illness or injury, severe medical complications, or other circumstances beyond the student’s control. Appropriate documentation of the circumstance must be provided to the FAAC.
  • Appeals for the current semester must be submitted to the FAAC no later than the tenth week of classes (the fourth week of summer session). Late submissions may be accepted at the discretion of the FAAC Chair or Director, Financial Aid.
  • Appeals must be accompanied by an academic plan completed by the student and signed by the student’s advisor.
  • The appeal must include a statement as to why the student did not meet SAP and an explanation of what has changed to allow the student to meet SAP standards at the end of the next evaluation period.
  • Students who have reached the maximum timeframe due to switching majors, second majors or additional degrees will be evaluated on a case by case basis through the appeal process.
  • Incomplete appeals or appeals submitted past the deadline will not be reviewed.

Students will receive written notification of the FAAC’s decision. The decision of that committee is final. Students whose appeals are approved will be awarded aid conditionally based on their academic plan. The terms and conditions of the appeal approval will be included in an Appeal Approval Agreement that the student must sign before aid will be awarded.

The appeal procedure is administered by the Office of Financial Aid. Forms and information regarding the procedure are maintained on the website of that office.