Satisfactory Academic Progress

Financial Aid Policies

Students who wish to receive financial aid must be in good academic standing and make satisfactory academic progress towards a degree or certificate program in addition to meeting other eligibility criteria. Graduate students are evaluated at the end of each term (fall, spring, and summer). The following minimum academic standards must be met:

Qualitative Measure

Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in order to be eligible for federal, state, and institutional funds. Exceptions are academic programs in Azusa Pacific Seminary (Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies) that have a 2.7 minimum cumulative GPA requirement.

Quantitative Measure for Graduate and Doctoral Programs

Students enrolled in a master’s degree or doctoral program must complete 50 percent of all units in which they originally enroll from the time of first attendance. This policy applies to cumulative units only. Thus, a student enrolled in a master’s degree program who successfully completes 24 units without withdrawing from any classes, and then enrolls in 9 units but withdraws from all units would still be making satisfactory progress. The student would have completed 24 out of 33 total units (24/33 total units = 73 percent), which is greater than 50 percent.

Quantitative Measure for Credential-only Programs

Students enrolled in a credential-only program are expected to complete a minimum of 67 percent of units in which they enroll from the beginning of their program. The policy applies to cumulative units only. Thus, a student in a credential-only program who successfully completes 18 units without withdrawing from any classes, and then enrolls in 6 units but withdraws from all units would still be making satisfactory progress. The student would have completed 18 out of 24 total units (18/24 total units = 75 percent), which is greater than 67 percent.

Time Limit for Graduate and Doctoral Programs for Receiving Federal Financial Aid

  • 5 years for School of Business Management degrees, or the School of Education’s School Counseling and Psychology programs
  • 10 years for the Master of Divinity degree
  • 8 years for all other master’s and doctoral degrees

The measurement begins from the date of initial enrollment in the degree program.

Time Limit for Credential-only Programs for Receiving Federal Financial Aid

All credential-only programs will be measured 150 percent of the total units in their program. This policy refers to all units in the student’s admitted credential-only program. For repeated courses, the credits from all attempts will be counted toward the maximum time frame.


The only grades that meet satisfactory academic progress completion standards are grades for which credit is awarded; A, B, C, P, and CR. (Some departments and/or schools require a higher minimum GPA in order for coursework to meet program requirements.) Withdrawal and incomplete grades are not passing grades. Challenge exams and audited courses are not considered.

Transfer Credits and Remedial Coursework

Transfer credits that have been officially accepted to complete program requirements will count for qualitative (GPA requirement) and quantitative (pace requirement) measures of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

A student may take one academic year’s worth of remedial courses for financial aid. Remedial coursework for students who are admitted into an eligible program and take it within that program will be counted toward all three progress measures for SAP.

New, Changed, or Added Programs

If a graduate student changes or adds programs, it will not “reset” the current qualitative (GPA) or quantitative (pace) measures of SAP. Cumulative GPA and completion rate will be used for all graduate programs that the student enrolls at APU. If the student changes or adds a program, the maximum time frame will be “reset” from the date of initial enrollment into the new degree program.

Repeated Courses

If a student repeats a failed or a previously passed class, it will replace the grade to recalculate into the new cumulative GPA. The units will still count toward the completion rate and maximum time frame. Students who passed a class and chooses to repeat for a higher grade may receive financial aid only once for that repeated class. Students may receive financial aid for a failed class that they repeat until they pass.

Financial Aid SAP Statuses

Students who fail to maintain SAP will be placed on Financial Aid Warning and will be given one term of financial aid eligibility to correct their SAP deficiencies. (Financial Aid Warning is not given to students who have reached their maximum time frame or students who have failed to meet SAP for 2 consecutive terms.) If the student does not make up their deficiencies in that one term, they will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will be ineligible for all financial aid (federal, state, and institutional). Finally, if the student appeals and is approved, they will be placed on Financial Aid Probation.


Students may appeal for reinstatement of financial aid if they, a spouse, or dependent children have experienced illness that prevented class attendance for an extended period of time; they have experienced a death in the immediate family (parents, siblings, spouse, or dependent children); or they have experienced some extraordinary situation that prevented them from meeting the minimum standards. Such a situation must be exceptional and nonrecurring in nature. The appeal for reinstatement must explain the cause of the academic difficulty and how the situation has been resolved.

A 2015-16 Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal (PDF) form is available online and in the Graduate and Professional Center, and must be submitted within 30 days of notification of financial aid ineligibility. The student must develop an academic plan if they cannot meet SAP within one term of probation. The academic plan that is submitted with the appeal should be created by the student and the academic advising staff or academic department representative. The appeal will be reviewed by a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee.

Regaining Eligibility

Student regains financial aid eligibility when they meet all three measures of progress for SAP. It is possible for students to be placed on a warning status multiple times in their academic career.

Azusa Pacific University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures. Appeal procedures exist for anyone who feels that a violation of the above has occurred. Contact the director of graduate student financial services for further information.