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 BOSAR (Board on Student Academic Review) are independent of Title IV (Federal) SAP appeal decisions.   View the University's general standards for satisfactory academic progress here.


Undergraduate SAP Guidelines for Financial Aid Renewal

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

  • SJU Grants & Scholarships:  Full-time undergraduates must complete at least 24 credit hours per academic year.  Additionally, students must maintain the minimum, cumulative GPA requirement as stated in their scholarship letter.  The cumulative GPA is the calculation of all grades received while an undergraduate student at Saint Joseph’s University.  Should a student’s cumulative GPA fall below the stipulated requirement, the following adjustments are made to SJU merit scholarships awarded:
  • 20% reduction for the next academic year

Should a student continue to fall below at the end of the next academic year:

  • an additional 5% totaling 25% reduction for the next academic year, but never going lower than 75% of original amount.

Should a student obtain the required year-end cumulative GPA, the original scholarship will be reinstated for the next full academic year (i.e.-beginning with fall semester).   

  • PHEAA State Grants: Successful completion of 24 credits for every two semesters of full-time PHEAA State Grant aid received (12 credits/year for part-time students).
  • Title IV/Federal Financial Aid (Pell Grants, Federal Direct Student Loans, SEOG Grants, Federal Work Study and Federal Direct PLUS Loans).


Title IV (Federal Aid) Satisfactory Academic Progress

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 12 semesters for a four-year bachelor’s degree student attending on a full-time basis.  See chart below).  The University has the authority to set its own SAP standards; however, the standards must include both qualitative and quantitative standards. Students must meet both standards.  SAP is measured at the end of each academic year, once spring grades are posted, 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 Undergraduates is as follows:

Quantitative Standard

Successful completion of 70% of all attempted credits* for prior academic year.  See definition of Earned Credits and Attempted Credits below.

Example: If a student attempts 30 total credits in an academic year, he/she must minimally successfully pass (no F grades) 21 credits for that given academic year. 21/30=70%

Qualitative Standard

  • Less than 60 credits completed toward degree: 1.8 cumulative GPA
  • 60 or more cumulative credits completed toward degree:  2.0 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 an undergraduate program, 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
Bachelor's 120 credits 180 credits

*Earned Credits:  Credits earned toward degree completion. This includes transfer credits, advanced standing and advanced placement 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 (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 Appeals/Academic Recovery Plans

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, staff from the Advising Center, PASS/Rebound mentor or Success Center Staff member.  Submit your Academic Recovery Plan online, via the Academic Recovery Plan Service Request.

The appropriate Associate Dean/Program Director will review the submitted form to determine if the Academic Recovery Plan has been 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.  Typically, 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 traditional semester for which the student is requesting federal aid.

The Associate Dean or designee is responsible for collecting the documentation and approving the Academic Recovery Plan.  Approved appeals/plans, and all supporting documentation, must be sent by the Associate Dean and/or designee 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

  • As expressed in years: students are normally expected to complete an undergraduate degree by the end of 4 years of full-time study. Therefore, students will forfeit their eligibility to participate in Title IV (federal) financial aid programs after 6 years of full time enrollment (4 x 150% = 6).
  • Credits successfully completed from the preceding 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 time frame.
  • 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 time frame to complete the degree or certificate. Transfer credits are not counted toward a student’s SJU cumulative GPA.
  • Double Majors and/or Minors: Students who are pursuing a double major or minor will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 180 attempted hours.
  • Change in Majors: Students who change their majors will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 180 attempted hours.
  • 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.