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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)


Like all schools that offer federal financial aid, UCR Financial Aid uses Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards to measure acceptable progress toward degree completion.

  • When you meet SAP standards, you are eligible for federal financial aid.
  • When you don’t meet SAP standards, you are no longer eligible for federal financial aid.

UCR Financial Aid evaluates your academic record at the end of Spring quarter to determine if you are meeting SAP standards (and whether or not you are eligible for financial aid the following quarter). 

We know that extenuating circumstances can sometimes prevent you from meeting SAP standards. If you are an undergraduate student, you may submit a SAP appeal to explain why you didn’t meet SAP standards and have your eligibility reconsidered. If you are a graduate student, you may submit a paper SAP appeal to explain why you didn’t meet SAP standards and have your eligibility reconsidered. Have a backup plan in case your SAP appeal is denied though, and research alternative funding early. Learn more about submitting a SAP appeal in the “How to Submit a SAP Appeal” section below.

SAP Appeal deadlines for 2022-2023:
Summer 2022 deadline: July 8, 2022
Fall 2022 deadline: October 31, 2022
Winter 2023 deadline: February 1, 2023
Spring 2023 deadline: April 3, 2023
Summer 2023 deadline: July 8, 2023
Fall 2023 deadline: October 31, 2023
There is no SAP appeal process for the Summer 2022 term for students who have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) below 2.00. Students who meet this criteria will be able to submit an online SAP appeal for the Fall 2022 term beginning July 8 2022.

SAP standards are as strict (or more strict) than the standards for students who do not receive federal financial aid. 

You Must Meet These SAP Standards

  • Maximum Time Frame

    You can only get federal financial aid for so many quarters. 

    For Undergraduate Students:

    • Most bachelor's degrees at UCR require 180 units of academic work.
    • The maximum time frame you can get financial aid is limited to 270 attempted units, which is 150% of 180 units. 
    • If your "units attempted" exceed 150% of the published length of your degree program, you will no longer be eligible for financial aid. Students who have a change of academic major, or pursue a double major or minor, do not have additional financial aid eligibility beyond the maximum timeframe established in this policy. 
    • Applicable transfer coursework and AP units count toward the maximum time frame. 
    • For bachelor's degres with a program length that exceeds 180 units of academic work, multiply the required units by 150% to calculate your maximum time frame. Look up your major. 
    • Contact us to get help with your specific situation. 

    For Graduate Students:

    • Your maximum time frame is 150% of the time required to complete your program.
    • The published length of graduate degrees fluctuate from program to program. 
    • If it takes you longer than 150% of the published time length of your program to get your degree, you will no longer be eligible for financial aid.
    • Find more information about the length of specific graduate programs here.
    • Contact us to get help with your specific situation. 
  • Pace
    • To get federal financial aid, you have to pass 67% of the classes you take (undergrads) or 75% of the classes you take (grad students).
    • You must progress towards your degree in a way that ensures that you will complete it within the maximum timeframe.
    • Pace percentage is the total number of units completed, divided by the total number of units attempted.
    • Undergraduate Students must maintain a cumulative pace of 67%
    • Graduate Students must maintain a cumulative pace of 75%
    • To “complete” units, you must earn a grade of A, B, C, D or S.
    • Grades of F, NR, NC, F, I, IP and W do not count as “completed” units.
    • Coursework attempted is defined by the number of units you are enrolled in on the Friday of the third week of the quarter.
    • SAP standards apply to all coursework attempted including units for which you did not receive financial aid.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA)
    • You have to maintain a certain cumulative GPA to get federal financial aid.
    • Undergraduate students (including teaching credential students) must maintain a cumulative institutional GPA of 2.00.
    • Graduate students must maintain a cumulative institutional GPA of 3.00.

SAP Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I submit a SAP appeal if I had extenuating circumstances?

    You may submit an appeal by following the instructions provided in the email you received.

    You will be asked to provide:

    • A full explanation of the circumstances that led to your inability to meet SAP standards.
    • Documentation supporting your extenuating circumstances. You may either submit documentation to UCR Financial Aid in person at the Highlander One-Stop Shop (HOSS) or via email by sending PDFs to finaid@ucr.edu.
    • Evidence that you have sought assistance from on- and off-campus resources to eliminate your deficiencies and establish a realistic plan towards graduation.
    • A comprehensive academic plan identifying the different strategies and resources you will utilize to help ensure your academic success going forward.

    Submit your appeal by the deadline specified on your suspension email (for priority consideration) and no later than the last day of the term for which you are appealing to have aid reinstated. Appeals are not considered retroactively for past quarters.

    If you are approved for an appeal, you will be placed on probation status and may need to complete a SAP contract stipulating the minimum academic requirements you must maintain in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

  • How do I submit a secondary appeal if I was denied?

    If your appeal is denied, you may submit a secondary appeal. You must provide additional supporting documentation to clarify the circumstances that prevented you from maintaining SAP standards in person at the Highlander One-Stop Shop (HOSS) or via email to finaid@ucr.edu. You will be notified of the decision via email. The decision of a secondary appeal is final.

  • I'm back on track. How do I reinstate?

    If you have brought yourself back into compliance with SAP standards, you must inform the SAP coordinator in our Financial Aid Office to review your progress, either in person or through email (finaid@ucr.edu). If you have exceeded the maximum time frame, you cannot reinstate your eligibility. Contact us now if you are back in compliance.

  • What is a SAP contract?

    If you are on probation, it is likely you will have a SAP contract. When we evaluate your academic progress at the end of every spring payment period, you must meet all of the minimum requirements on your SAP contract in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

  • I'm a grad student. How do I submit a SAP appeal?

    Complete this grad student appeal form, have your advisor approve and sign it, and return it to us. 

  • How and when will I be evaluated for SAP?

    The Financial Aid Office will evaluate your Satisfactory Academic Progress annually at the end of the spring payment period. All student records are reviewed to ensure students are meeting the minimum requirements for SAP and financial aid eligibility.

  • How will I know if I'm not meeting SAP standards?

    If you are flagged for SAP, you will get an email explaining the reason you were flagged, the impact on your financial aid eligibility and your options going forward.  The notification will outline the appeal process, reinstatement steps, alternative payment options and upcoming deadlines to help guide you throughout each step.  

    If you are placed on a SAP academic contract, you will receive a notification from the Financial Aid Office at the end of the term confirming if you met or failed your contract requirements.

  • Where does SAP come from?

    The UCR Financial Aid Office establishes standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to measure students’ progress toward degree completion using both qualitative and quantitative methods in accordance with federal regulations. Financial aid programs affected by SAP include federal, state and institutional funds, as well as most scholarship opportunities.

  • How does SAP affect Federal Work-Study?

    If you have been awarded Federal Work-Study and have been flagged for SAP, you are no longer eligible to participate in the Federal Work-Study program. You must self-report your status by notifying your employer that you are no longer eligible to work under the Federal Work-Study program.

  • What do I do if I lose my financial aid?

    If you lose your aid, you do have a way back through the reinstatement process. Please see “I’m back on track. How do I reinstate?” above for details on how to reinstate your financial aid eligibility.

    Alternative private loans are available for students who do not have resources to fund their educational expenses. You should allow at least two to three weeks for processing, if you are approved. Additional information on the alternative private loan details and application process can be found in the loan section of our website.

    The Deferred Payment Plan may also be an option in your case if you can afford monthly payments during the term. Learn more about the process at the Student Business Services website.

  • How do I make sure I graduate in four years?

    To earn your degree in four years or less, you must register for at least 15 units per quarter.

Special Circumstances

See  how certain units impact your pace, GPA and more:

Coursework Considerations for Attempted Units
Transfer/AP Units Coursework accepted for transfer/AP credit count as both units attempted and completed, but have no effect on GPA, unless coursework is transferred from a UC campus or UCR Extension.

Remedial Units

Remedial coursework recognized by the Office of the Registrar counts as units attempted, but does not count toward cumulative GPA.

Repeated Units

Repeated courses and GPA are treated in accordance with the UCR’s academic policy as outlined in the general catalog. If the Office of the Registrar counts repeated coursework as attempted/completed, it will also count toward SAP.

UCR Summer Session 

All summer units attempted count as units attempted and toward cumulative GPA.


Withdrawals after the term begins will count as units attempted. The calculation is based on the enrollment at the time of withdrawal.


Cancellation of registration on or before the first day of classes will not count as units attempted.