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Learn more about Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

A page within Financial Aid

 Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (Effective Spring 2015)

Federal Law mandates that post-secondary institutions participating in Federal Financial Aid Programs have in place and monitor an academic progress policy for financial aid. The components to the UW-La Crosse Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for financial aid are as follows: Grade point average (GPA), Pace (67% Rule), and Maximum Time Frame (150% Rule).

Grade Point Average (GPA)

All undergraduate students receiving financial aid must maintain a 2.0 UWL cumulative GPA, while graduate students receiving financial aid must maintain a UWL cumulative GPA of 3.0. Note that this GPA requirement is different from the Academic Warning, Probation and Suspension requirements listed in the Undergraduate catalog. Students receiving financial aid must follow both. Transfer credits are not included in the UWL cumulative GPA calculation. Grades of W and P are not factored into this calculation once a cumulative GPA is established. Students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate courses must meet the requirements of the degree seeking career, while students seeking a certificate will be required to follow the undergraduate GPA requirements.

Pace (67% Rule)

All full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students at UW-La Crosse who receive financial aid must stay on pace to graduate on time. Pace is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credits a student successfully completed by the cumulative number of credits they have attempted. (See note regarding completed and attempted credits). When this calculation falls below 67%, a student is no longer on pace to graduate on time. Transfer credits that count toward a student's program are considered within this calculation as credits attempted and credits earned.

Maximum Time Frame (150% Rule)

An eligible undergraduate, graduate, or 2nd degree seeking student can receive Federal financial aid while attempting up to, but not exceeding, 150% of the published normal completion length of the student's program, regardless of enrollment status. For example, a student seeking a degree which requires 120 credit hours could receive financial aid while attempting 180 credit hours (120 X 150% = 180). Credits transferred to UW-La Crosse, and any credits attempted at UWL, with or without the benefit of student financial aid, must be taken into consideration. Financial aid will be suspended when our office determines that a student cannot mathematically complete their degree within this timeframe.


Payment Period - Fall semester/Spring semester/Summer (if attended)
Warning Status - assigned to one payment period, to a student who fails to make SAP after any payment period.
Suspension - assigned to a student who fails to meet SAP in the payment period after being placed on Warning Status. Student must complete appeal process to reinstate financial aid eligibility.
Probation Status - assigned for one payment period, to a student who has appealed and has had eligibility for financial aid reinstated. Specific terms are given to students with this status. For example, student may have to complete a certain percentage of credits attempted in the next payment period.

Evaluation Process

These components are evaluated every payment period (Fall/Spring/Summer) after grades are posted. The first time that a student does not meet the GPA, Pace, or Maximum Time Frame requirement, they will be notified via campus email that they are being automatically placed on Warning Status for one payment period. By the next evaluation, the student must be meeting all components of SAP to be placed back in good standing. If not, the student will be placed on financial aid suspension, and they must complete a financial aid appeal for Financial Aid Reinstatement and explain why they failed to meet SAP and what has changed that will allow them to meet SAP by the next evaluation. The appeal form is an e-form that can be accessed in the student’s WINGS account on their to do list as long as the student has completed a FAFSA for the current year. Students can complete the appeal online, and the SAP appeal committee will review it within 30 days. If the appeal is approved, the student is placed on Academic Plan Status for one payment period, after which the student must be meeting SAP or be following their approved academic plan. If the student is not meeting SAP or following their approved academic plan at the next evaluation, they will be suspended again and could become ineligible to receive financial aid until they are in compliance.

Appeal Process

Students with extenuating circumstances that prevented them from making SAP have the right to appeal their situation. Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to, student injury or illness, death of a student's relative or other reasons resulting in undue hardship to the student. Students must complete the financial aid appeal and have it approved in order to receive aid after being placed on financial aid suspension. The deadline to appeal is the first day of the last month in the term (December 1st for Fall terms, May 1st for Spring terms, and August 1st for Summer terms). Exceptions can be made at the discretion of the SAP appeal committee to consider appeals completed after the deadline. The link to the appeal form can be found in the student’s WINGS account on their to do list as long as a FAFSA has been completed for the year. Students need to complete a statement explaining what prevented them from meeting the requirements of the SAP policy, and what has changed so that what prevented them from being successful before will not hinder them moving forward. Per federal regulations, an appeal may only be approved if the student shows that they will be able to meet SAP at the next evaluation, or the appeal committee develops a plan for the student that, if followed, will ensure the student is able to meet all components of the SAP policy by a specific point in time. Incomplete or inaccurate appeals will not be approved. A committee of financial aid staff will act on the appeal and notify the student with the decision of the committee and the terms of their probation, if approved, via campus email. All decisions are final. There is no limit on the number of appeals allowed; however, students requesting numerous appeals may be denied. If a financial aid appeal is denied, the student may attend UWL without the benefit of federal financial aid. When all components of the SAP policy are being met again, the student will automatically become eligible for federal student aid again.

Credits Completed: The successful completion of a credit attempted is credit for which a grade of A, AB, B, BC, C, D, S, or P is received. The grade of D for a graduate student is not considered as successful completion of the credit(s) attempted.

Attempted Credits: The grades of A, AB, B, BC, C, D, S, P, U, F, I, W, WP, WF, EP, EF, NA, and NR are considered credits attempted. Attempted credits are calculated after the 100% adjustment to tuition and fees period (typically the 10th day of classes).

Any credit drop after the 100% adjustment to tuition and fees, without an equal number of credits being added the same date of the drop, or at a later date, will count as credit(s) attempted and credit(s) not earned. Credit drops affect the Pace and Maximum Timeframe components.

Withdrawal from the University (All classes) as of the first day of classes will count as credit(s) attempted and credits(s) not earned unless all aid is cancelled and returned. A withdrawal affects the Pace and Maximum Timeframe components. The GPA component is affected if the withdrawal is in the student's first term.

Incomplete Grades:
Count as credit(s) attempted and credit(s) not earned until a passing grade is posted. It is the student's responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of any change in grade using an Appeal for Financial Aid Reinstatement Form and attaching a copy of the student's most recent, unofficial UWL transcript. If the incomplete appeal results in the student being eligible for financial aid again, eligibility will be reinstated as of the date the appeal is approved. No action from the student will result in the student's new pace and GPA to not be evaluated until the end of the payment period in which the incomplete grade was converted. Incomplete grades affect the Pace and Maximum Timeframe components.

Repeated Credits: Counted as attempted credits as many times as the course is repeated. Repeating credits apply to GPA, Pace, and Maximum Timeframe Components. *Please note that this is different from UWL's Repeat Credit Policy.

Remedial Credits: Counted in Pace and Maximum Timeframe. Grades of F are calculated into GPA.

Test Credits: Counted in Pace and Maximum Timeframe. These include AP, CLEP, DANTES, DSST, and IB test credits.

Audited Courses: Not funded by financial aid and not considered under any aspect of the SAP Policy unless a student changes their course to Audit after the 100% adjustment to tuition and fee period. This would affect Pace and Maximum Timeframe.

Consortium Agreements:
Credits count in the Pace and Maximum Timeframe components.

Double Major: Students pursuing a 1st and 2nd major at the same time will only be allowed 150% of the credits needed towards their first major. This could result in needing to appeal Maximum Timeframe.

Winter Intersession: Courses taken during the Winter Intersession period will be evaluated along with the student’s spring courses at the end of the spring payment period. Students can not be placed back in good standing or placed on financial aid suspension as the result of a course taken in the Winter Intersession.

For help calculating UWL cumulative GPA, see the following website. Remember to only include UWL credits in your GPA calculation. You can also work with your advisor or Dean’s Office for help with your GPA calculation.