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Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard for Federal Financial Aid Programs (for degree-seeking undergraduate students)

Undergraduate students must make satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of your degree in order to remain eligible for state and federal financial aid.


·         Minimum GPA – To be in good academic standing a student must earn a minimum GPA based on attempted credits as follows:

minimum gpa


·         Maximum Time-frame — A student may not attempt more than 150% of the credits normally required for completion of the degree. For example: if the
credits needed for the degree is 120, you can attempt no more than 180 credits. 

·         Pace of Progression – A student must successfully complete a certain percentage of the total number of credits/units based upon the number of
attempted credits/units, according to the following table:

CUNY’s Title IV Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard

* Attempted credits are courses you registered for and did not drop before the last official withdrawal date.

All undergraduate students (whether aid recipients or not) will be measured against each of the three SAP components at the end of the Spring term to determine eligibility for receipt of Title IV aid.

Determining Attempted Credits and Accumulated Credits

Attempted credits, as defined in this section, pertain to the courses and credits that must be included in the quantitative measure of progress to calculate pace of progression and maximum timeframe. The accumulation of attempted credits usually reflects the semester course enrollment maintained in a student’s permanent record at the college and will usually reflect a student’s enrollment as of the financial aid census date. Accumulated credits should reflect credits that the student has earned towards the completion of the degree program in which the student is enrolled. 

In applying the Federal SAP standard, the college must address how the following types of courses, situations, and procedures may affect a student’s GPA and pace of progression: 

·         Remedial Courses
Since remedial courses and the remedial component of developmental and compensatory courses do not carry degree credit, the non-credit component of these courses is not included in the total cumulative attempted credits or accumulated credits for determining pace of progression. However, the credit-bearing portion of compensatory or developmental courses would be included in the cumulative earned and/or attempted credit totals for determining pace. 

·         Withdrawals
Since the financial aid census date usually reflects a student’s course load for the term, net of program adjustments, withdrawals as part of the program adjustment period (i.e., “drops”) will not be included as cumulative attempted credits. Withdrawals which are recorded on a student’s permanent record will be included as cumulative attempted credits and will have an adverse effect on a student’s ability to meet the pace of progression standard. “Starting the 2021 aid year, The City University of New York will be excluding WN grades from the attempted unit calculation for quantitative measurement (pace and time-frame)”. NOTE: Retroactive “non-punitive” administrative withdrawal activity may result in the requirement for the student to repay any assistance received as a result of the student’s enrollment at the time of receipt of the student assistance funds.

Academic Penalty Removal for WU grade Effective Fall 2021
As part of CUNY’s updated grading policy, the WU grade will no longer have a punitive impact on a student’s GPA. However, the WU grade will continue to impact students’ SAP measure for Maximum Timeframe and Pace of Progression

 Incomplete Grades
Courses with incomplete grades are included as cumulative attempted credits. However, these courses cannot be used as credits accumulated toward the degree since successful completion is the criterion for positive credit accumulation. If the student fails to meet the pace of progression standard due to the lack of successful completion grades for incomplete courses, the recording of successful completion grades within a term which brings the accumulated credit level to the appropriate standard will restore eligibility for the term and subsequent terms within the academic year.

 Repeated Courses
Successfully completed courses can generally be accepted toward degree requirements once. However, each time a student attempts a course, even if that course is part of a forgiveness or amnesty policy whereby credits attempted and grades earned in prior semesters are excluded from the GPA, it must be included as part of the cumulative attempted credit record for the measuring of pace of progression. Therefore, repeated courses, regardless of the prior grade, reduce a student’s capacity to meet the pace of progression standard.

 NOTE:  The regulations allow students to receive Title IV aid for one-time repeat of a previously passed course as long as the student is again receiving credit for the course. Should a student subsequently fail a previously passed course, any additional attempt of that course cannot be included in the student’s enrollment status for Title IV assistance. There is no regulatory limit on the number of times a student may be paid to retake a failed course, unless the student has also previously passed that course.

Transfer of Credit
Transfer students from colleges inside and outside of CUNY shall have their pace of progression status initialized for purposes of SAP measurement by using the number of credits determined to be acceptable toward the degree as both cumulative attempted credits and cumulative credits earned. For example: a student who completed 60 credits at another institution, but the new institution only accepts 40 of those credits upon completion of the transfer evaluation, the student would initialize their pace of progression at 40 credits.

Financial Aid Suspension
Undergraduate students who do not meet the minimum undergraduate standards and graduate students who do not meet the minimum graduate standards are placed on financial aid suspension and lose their eligibility to receive assistance from all federal student aid programs. Students on financial aid suspension will remain ineligible for Title IV federal student assistance until they take actions that once again bring them into compliance with the appropriate progress standard.