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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The Clemson University Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy evaluates both the quality (grade-point average) and quantity (credit hours completed) of the student’s academic work. Students are evaluated at the end of each term (fall, spring and summer).

There are three requirements that must be met to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress – MCGPA, maximum time frame, and pace of completion.

  • Minimum Cumulative Grade-Point Average (MCGPA)

    The Clemson University Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy evaluates both the quality (grade-point average) and quantity (credit hours completed) of the student’s academic work. Students are evaluated at the end of each term (fall, spring and summer).

    The student must earn a minimum cumulative grade-point average (MCGPA) that meets the requirements for continuing enrollment and graduation as defined in the University Announcements.

    Total Credit Hour Level

    MCGPA

    Up to 29

    1.75

    30-59

    1.85

    60-89

    1.95

    90 and above

    2.00

    Graduate/Ph.D. candidate

    3.00

  • Maximum Timeframe

    Students must complete their degree in 150 percent of the timeframe published in the University Announcements and at a completion rate of 67 percent. The maximum timeframe at Clemson University for an undergraduate degree (or degrees) is measured by the average number of credit hours required to complete a degree (126) multiplied by 150 percent. This is the maximum number of credit hours a student can attempt to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Advance standing hours (e.g., transfer, AP, IB) count in the maximum timeframe.

    Example:
    Hours needed for degree =126
    126 x 150% = 189
    Maximum hours attempted for satisfactory progress = 189

    For the student who is working on a master's or Ph.D. degree, the maximum timeframe is measured by number of years rather than number of credit hours as published in the graduate University Announcements. Therefore we have calculated the maximum time frame for a graduate/professional degree is at an average of five years which is 90 hours (graduate level full-time status of 9 hours per semester multiplied by 2 semesters per year is 18 x 5 years = 90 credit hours). If your program requires more than 90 credit hours to complete the degree requirements, you may need to contact our office directly to find what additional steps are required to receive additional federal aid.

  • Pace of Completion

    In addition, students must complete 67 percent of the cumulative credit hours in which they are enrolled after the last day to drop without a “W.” Credit hours earned divided by credit hours attempted is the student’s pace of completion, which must equal or exceed 67 percent. Advance standing hours (e.g., transfer, AP, IB) that are accepted for credit are counted in both the hours attempted and hours earned. Incompletes and withdrawals are attempted but not earned credit hours and will decrease a student’s pace of completion. Former redemption hours, forgiveness classes, and duplicate credits are counted as earned credit hours only once and will also decrease a student’s pace of completion.

    Example:      
    Hours attempted after last day to drop without a “W” = 18
    18 x 67% = 12.06 (round up to next whole number)
    Minimum hours earned for satisfactory progress = 13

    Pace of completion is measured cumulatively.

    Example:
    Transfer hours accepted = 30
    Hours attempted Fall 2012 = 18
    Hours attempted Spring 2013 = 12
    Hours attempted Summer 2013 = 6
    Hours attempted Fall 2013 = 14
    Total hours attempted = 80
    80 x 67% = 53.6 (round up to next whole number)
    Minimum hours earned for satisfactory progress = 54

Undergraduate students are evaluated on satisfactory academic progress (minimum cumulative GPA, maximum timeframe and pace of completion) at the end of each term (fall, spring and summer). Students who are not maintaining satisfactory academic progress for the first time will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. Students under Financial Aid Warning can receive student financial aid without submitting an appeal for one term. At the end of the term, the student must meet the criteria for satisfactory academic progress. If not, the student is placed on Unsatisfactory Academic Progress.

Students on Unsatisfactory Academic Progress are ineligible for student financial aid unless they submit an appeal and the appeal is granted. To be considered, an appeal must explain why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress and what has changed in his/her situation that will allow him/her to make satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation. If a student’s appeal is granted and it is reasonable for the student to meet SAP standards in one semester, he/she is placed on Financial Aid Probation and can receive student financial aid for one term. At the end of the term, the student must meet the criteria for satisfactory academic progress. If not, the student is once again placed on Unsatisfactory Academic Progress and is ineligible for aid. The student can appeal again, but the latter appeal must be based on a different reason from the first appeal.

If it is not mathematically possible for a student who is appealing to reach satisfactory academic progress by the end of the next term, the student can be placed on an Academic Plan for a specific number of terms. The Academic Plan will be used to evaluate the student’s satisfactory academic progress until it expires. As part of this type of appeal process, our office may request for that student to provide an academic/graduation plan signed by his/her academic adviser in addition to an appeal letter.

Academic Renewal is not considered when evaluating a student’s maximum timeframe and pace of completion. The student’s enrollment history prior to Academic Renewal must still be counted in credit hours attempted.

  • SAP Calculators
  • Definitions

    Academic Plan – A customized plan to measure a student’s academic progress when he/she cannot reach the standard criteria by the end of the next term. An Academic Plan is granted by appeal on a case-by-case basis and may require the joint approval of the financial aid office and the student’s academic advisor.

    Credit Hours Attempted – The number of credit hours in which a student is enrolled after the last day to drop without a “W” including “W” (withdrawal), “P/F” (pass/fail), duplicate, redemption, and forgiven credits, plus advanced standing credits such as transfer, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. 

    Credit Hours Completed – The number of credit hours for which a student successfully earns credit by transfer, examination or completion. Duplicate and redeemed courses receive credit one time only. Forgiven courses will not be counted in hours completed.

    Financial Aid Probation – The status of a student who is not maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress after one term on Financial Aid Warning. The student has successfully appealed and is eligible to receive aid for one term.

    Financial Aid Warning – The status of a student who is not maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress for the first time. The student is eligible to continue to receive aid for one term.

    Maximum Timeframe – The number of credit hours a student can attempt to complete his/her degree, not to exceed 150 percent of the published time measured in credit hours. Clemson University uses the average number of credit hours required to complete an undergraduate degree: 126 x 150% = 189.  Student pursuing a graduate/professional degree are given five years: 18 credit hours/year x 5 years = 90.

    Minimum Cumulative Grade-Point Average (MCGPA) – The grade-point average required for continuing enrollment or graduation.

    Pace of Completion – The percentage of credit hours a student completed of the credit hours in which he/she was enrolled after the last day to drop without a “W.”

    Satisfactory Academic Progress – The status of a student whose GPA meets or exceeds the MCGPA required for continuing enrollment and graduation, and who has attempted less that 150 percent of the credit hours required to complete his/her degree, and who has completed 67 percent or more of his/her attempted hours.

    Unsatisfactory Academic Progress – The status of a student who is not maintaining satisfactory academic progress (MCGPA, maximum timeframe and/or pace of completion), who is not eligible for the status of Financial Aid Warning, and who has not successfully appealed to gain the status of Financial Aid Probation.

Please review the frequently asked questions about Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) here.