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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations (HEA Sec. 484(c)) require that Central Michigan University monitor the satisfactory academic progress of all students regardless of whether they have received financial aid in previous semesters. These financial aid requirements are separate from students' academic requirements. To maintain eligibility for federal student aid, as well as most state and institutional student aid programs, there are three distinct criteria that must be monitored and met.

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

SAP will be monitored at the end of each semester. A student's eligibility for financial aid may be in jeopardy for the next semester if SAP is not met.

  • Qualitative standard: Undergraduate students must maintain a 2.00 cumulative GPA; a graduate or doctoral student must maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA. 
  • Quantitative standard: Must meet both Pace and Maximum time frame. 
    • Pace: Complete and pass a minimum of 67% of cumulative attempted hours. (Please note that 66.6% is rounded up to 67%).
    • Maximum time frame standard: The number of attempted credits in which a student is expected to finish a program cannot exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program (this includes credit hours transferred to CMU). Total credit hour limits apply whether or not the student has actually received financial aid for the entire time at CMU. (for example: if your program requires 124 credits minimum x 150% = 186 credit hours total attempted).

Pace measurement

Pace is measured by the following scale:

Pace = Cumulative number of hours (credit hours) that you have successfully completed/cumulative number of credit hours that you have attempted.

NOTE: All college-level attempted hours are included in the pace calculation to determine Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) including:

  • Successful completion of a course with a passing grade.
  • Repeated, incomplete (I, X, or Z grade), failed (E grade), and transfer credit hours.
  • Withdrawn credit hours (W grade).
  • Credit hours attempted for which the student did not receive financial aid.

Change of grade

Courses that were graded at the end of the semester, but which are changed later by the instructor due to an appeal or error may impact the GPA as well as the pace calculation. These grades will be reassessed at the next evaluation point of SAP, or the student can appeal their SAP status to be reviewed.

Courses that move from an incomplete status to completed will be reassessed at the next evaluation point of SAP, or the student can appeal their SAP status to be reviewed.

Audit courses receive no credit and do not influence grade point average.  They are not counted in attempted credits and are not eligible for financial aid. 

Additional considerations

If a student elects to double major, complete more than one degree and/or start a degree then change majors, all credits previously attempted will count towards SAP.

Transfer credits from a previous school count toward credit hour limits.  

Students pursuing teacher certifications are eligible for federal student loans until the required coursework to obtain or test for the certification has been completed or they reach their federal loan limits, whichever comes first.

Students in graduate programs may not receive financial aid if they have exceeded the published time limits as outlined in the CMU Graduate Bulletin for master, doctoral, or professional programs.  

Dropping or withdrawing from courses

Reducing a student's enrollment may have serious consequences.

  • Students who withdraw from all classes in a semester may be required to return some or all financial aid paid to their student account.
  • Dropping or withdrawing from classes after beginning participation will negatively impact the student's 67% completion rate and the credits will be included in total attempted hours.

If a student is considering dropping or withdrawing should contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to determine how this may impact their financial aid. 

Review procedures

The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid will review all SAP standards for all students at the end of each semester.  Students who received financial aid during the semester and do not meet one or more standard will be notified via their CMU email address. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status


  • The student met all standards for financial aid.
  • The student is eligible for financial aid. 


  • The first semester a student falls below with the 67% completion rate, or the 2.00 cumulative GPA for undergraduate or 3.00 for graduate students; and the overall attempted credits do not exceed 150% of the program length.
  • The student is eligible for financial aid, however, must meet SAP standards at the end of the following semester of warning. 


  • The student has not met one or more of the standards after being on a warning semester.
  • Is not eligible for financial aid.
  • May regain eligibility for financial aid if the student is either:
    • Able to bring their academic record within the standards (bring cumulative GPA to meet required standard, or is able to bring completion percentage over 67%) or
    • Files a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal, and that appeal is approved.  


  • The student has not met one of more of the standards for SAP and is not eligible for warning status; has filed an appeal which has been approved on the condition that all standards of SAP will be met by the end of the semester.
  • Student is eligible for financial aid for the semester of probation. 

Academic plan

  • The student has not met one or more of the standards and is not eligible for warning status; has filed an appeal which has been approved.
  • Student is eligible for financial aid for the semester in which the appeal was approved.
  • Will maintain eligibility for future semesters if the student meets the terms of the academic plan or meets the overall SAP standards by the end of the semester. 

Regaining financial aid eligibility

A student can regain eligibility by successfully completing the following with a semester(s) without the benefit of financial aid:

  1. Achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0 for undergraduates or 3.0 for graduates and
  2. Complete 67% of attempted cumulative credits.

Appeal process

If the student has received a financial aid denial notification, the student may appeal for reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility based on mitigating circumstances. 

Examples of appealable mitigating circumstances are: death or serious illness of an immediate family member, serious illness of the student, or other major family catastrophe.

All appeals must:

In most cases, a decision will be made within 15 business days of receiving an appeal letter and the appropriate documentation. Students are notified of appeal decisions in writing or through their CMU e-mail account.   

If an appeal for a student on Financial Aid Denial/Suspension status is approved, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one semester and may continue to receive federal student aid for one semester. If at the conclusion of the Financial Aid Probation semester, Satisfactory Academic Progress standards are not met, as outlined below or according to the student's academic plan, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Denial/Suspension and become ineligible for Federal Student Aid.

Students should be prepared to seek other funding options if the appeal is not approved. Students may regain federal aid eligibility by completing the requirements list under Regaining Financial Aid eligibility.

If for any reason the OSFA fails to provide an intended notification, this does not relieve the student from the obligation of continuing to maintain satisfactory academic progress or from any other requirements of the financial aid program.

Summer semester processing of satisfactory progress

If students are currently on financial aid warning, probation or denial and they request summer aid, their file is on HOLD until spring grades are posted and OSFA can confirm if the student has met the requirements to be cleared. If the student has not met the requirements they will go on denial (or remain on denial if already there), and not be eligible for summer federal aid.

Due to the timing of final grade posting for the spring semester, students currently on warning, probation or denial will not have their summer aid processed and paid out in time for the FIRST summer disbursement.

Please note: students who successfully complete Summer I term while on denial, are NOT eligible for federal aid for Summer II term – they are on denial for the entire Summer semester.