Note:  Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for financial aid purposes vary from the Saint Joseph’s University General Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress, as well as those standards set by individual academic programs. Additionally, academic decisions/appeals approved by the academic department, program director or Dean are independent of Title IV (Federal financial aid) SAP appeal decisions.  SAP is measured annually after the spring semester. Generally, this will consist of two semesters of academic credit (prior fall and spring semesters), but may include a preceding summer as well.  The General University Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for:

  • Graduate College of Arts and Science students can be found here.
  • Graduate Erivan K. Haub School of Business can be found here.


Graduate SAP Guidelines for Financial Aid Renewal

SAP guidelines for financial aid renewal vary depending upon the type of financial aid.

  • SJU Scholarships: Refer to specific GPA/enrollment guidelines outlined in scholarship notification letter for any merit scholarships offered.
  • Title IV (Federal) Financial Aid: See Title IV SAP policy below for renewal requirements for federal financial aid (Federal Direct Stafford Loans, GradPLUS Loans).


Title IV (Federal) Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Saint Joseph’s University is required, by federal guidelines, to monitor students’ satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward completion of their degree.  Students cannot receive federal aid for a timeframe greater than 150% of the standard required time it typically takes to complete the degree (example:  Maximum of 9 semesters for a two-year master’s degree student attending on a fall/spring/summer basis).  The University has the authority to set its own SAP standards; however, the standards must include both qualitative and quantitative standards. Students receiving Title IV (federal) financial aid must meet both standards to continue to receive federal aid (Federal Direct Stafford Loans and Federal Direct GradPLUS Loans).  SAP is measured at the end of each academic year, once spring grades are posted, and must be reviewed in order for federal financial aid to be renewed the following semester/academic year.  Credits from the preceding summer may count toward SAP.  SJU does have the authority to evaluate and grant a reprieve, on a case-by-case basis, to students who are not meeting the standards.

The Saint Joseph’s University Title IV SAP Policy for Graduate Degree and Certificate Students is as follows:

Quantitative Standard

  • Successful completion of 50% of all attempted credits* for prior academic year. See definition of Earned Credits and Attempted Credits below.

Example: If a student attempts 18 total credits in an academic year, he/she must minimally successfully pass (no F grades) 9 credits for that given academic year. 9/18=50%

Qualitative Standard

  • 3.0 cumulative GPA

Maximum Hours to Earn Degree: To quantify academic progress, a school must set a maximum time frame in which a student is expected to complete a program. For a graduate student, the maximum time frame cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the program measured in credit hours attempted.

Degree Program Credits Required Maximum Credits Allowed
Certificate 18 credits 27 credits
Master's 30 credits 45 credits


*Earned Credits:  Credits earned toward degree completion. This includes transfer credits and repeat courses. It does not include courses assigned a grade of: F, FA, I, W, X (audited) courses.

*Attempted Credits: Includes all transfer credits that apply toward one’s degree program, English as a Second Language (ESL) and SJU-registered credits, including Pass/No Penalty courses and courses from which a student enrolled but subsequently withdrew (courses for which a student is registered for at the conclusion of the formal drop/add period do count toward attempted credits). Does not include audited (non-credit) courses. Repeat courses count in attempted and earned credits.

Measurement of Academic Progress

Academic Progress measurement includes all semesters and is measured at the end of the spring semester. Students beginning their program in the spring semester will be evaluated based on their academic performance during their first spring semester and at the end of each subsequent spring semester. Also, the satisfactory progress standards are cumulative and will include all semesters of the student’s enrollment, even those for which the student did not receive financial aid.

Failures and withdrawals do count as “attempted credits”, not “earned credits”. Incompletes are not counted toward credits completed until after the coursework is successfully completed and a grade is posted by the Registrar’s Office. Repeat courses will be evaluated for satisfactory academic progress.

When Minimum Standards of Academic Progress are Not Achieved

Students who fail to meet either the quantitative or qualitative standard of the Title IV SAP policy will be notified via email by the Financial Aid Office after information on academic progress becomes available at the end of the academic year (typically late May/early June). Students who fail to meet either the quantitative or qualitative standard will not be eligible for Title IV (federal) financial aid until all requirements have been met. This academic progress determination will supersede any financial aid package for the upcoming year which may have been offered to the student at that point. Under no circumstances will financial aid be awarded retroactively to the semester(s) in which the SAP requirements were not met.

While credits completed in a preceding summer may count toward SAP, keep in mind, credits completed at another college/university are not counted toward one’s SJU GPA.  It is the student's responsibility to ensure official transcripts reflecting the grades and credits completed have been properly submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Also, if the courses are taken outside of Saint Joseph’s University, a Permission to Take Courses Elsewhere Form (available at, must be submitted prior to enrolling in the course.

SAP Appeal:  Academic Recovery Plan

If a student has not met Title IV SAP standards and receives Title IV (federal) financial aid, the student must submit an Academic Recovery Plan which should be formulated with input from both the student and his/her academic advisor, Dean or program director.  To access the Academic Recovery Plan form, click here.

The Associate Dean for the respective program will review the submitted form to determine if the Academic Recovery Plan will be approved.  If approved, those students receiving federal financial aid will be placed on federal financial aid “probation” and will be permitted to continue receiving federal financial aid for the upcoming academic year.  Students approved for “federal financial aid probation” will be notified by the Office of Financial Aid via email.  Generally, no more than two Academic Recovery Plans are approved in a student’s SJU career, and, generally, subsequent, consecutive academic year appeals are not approved unless highly extenuating circumstances exist.  For a student’s Academic Recovery Plan to be considered, it must be submitted by the first day of classes of the semester for which the student is requesting federal aid.

The Associate Dean for the respective program will review the submitted form to determine if the Academic Recovery Plan will be approved.  Approved appeals/plans, and all supporting documentation, must be sent by the academic advisor, Dean or program director to the Financial Aid Office to be scanned into the student’s permanent record.

Please note: The mere passage of time will not automatically restore Title IV aid eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory progress.

Also, students who have been academically dismissed from the university but who are subsequently given permission to re-enroll are not automatically eligible to continue to receive Title IV aid. Re-admission decisions are completely separate from Title IV financial aid determinations.

Important Academic Progress Reminders

  • Credits successfully completed from the preceding or following summer can count toward the quantitative standard measurement.
  • Withdrawals/Administrative Withdrawals: Grades of W and WA are counted as courses attempted and count toward the maximum timeframe.
  • Audited Courses: Students do not earn any academic credits for audited courses. They do not count in the calculation of "attempted credits."
  • Pass/No Penalty Courses: These credits do count in the calculation of “attempted credits” and “earned credits.”
  • Transfer credits accepted for the student's academic degree or certificate program are counted when measuring the maximum timeframe to complete the degree or certificate. Transfer credits are not counted toward a student’s SJU cumulative GPA.
  • Change in Majors: Students who change their majors will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching the 150% credit limit.
  • Attempted credits are those hours for which students were still officially registered at the conclusion of each semester's Add/Drop period. Withdrawals are counted as “attempted credits” when reviewing student’s satisfactory academic progress.