SAP: Keeping students on track

Avoid Sticky SAP Situations – SFS Can Help

Frank McNeilly

In the world of financial aid, SAP isn’t that sticky stuff found on trees. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) keeps students on track to graduate.

These regulations help keep students in check each term to ensure that several qualifications are being met in order for students to maintain eligibility for federal, state and institutional financial aid.

How does a student become SAP deficient (ineligible for financial aid)?

The three ways students become SAP deficient: their grade-point average (GPA), pace-to-degree (PTD), and maximum time frame (MTF).

The GPA regulation of SAP requires students to maintain a cumulative GPA of a 2.0 or greater for undergrads and 3.0 for graduate students. If a student’s GPA falls below these requirements, the student is placed on SAP warning or possible disqualification.

The PTD regulation requires that students must complete at least 67 percent of the credits that they attempt per term, as well as 67 percent of their cumulative credits. If a student drops classes during a term, it may make them SAP deficient. If a student completes between 50 and 67 percent of the credits originally attempted, they will be placed on SAP warning for the first offense. If a student completes less than 50 percent of the credits attempted during a term, the student is placed in automatic SAP disqualification and they will need to complete a SAP appeal to receive future financial aid.

The PTD rule is one of the most common SAP situations that Student Financial Services (SFS) assists students with. Jason, an undergraduate student at WSU, is debating about withdrawing from a class this semester. He is enrolled in 12 credits, and is considering dropping one course to maintain a good GPA. If Jason completes and passes nine out of 12 credits, he will complete 75 percent of his attempted term credits. If Jason completes and passes eight out of 12 credits, he will complete 66 percent of his attempted credits, resulting in SAP probation or disqualification.

The MTF regulation pertains to students that have not completed their degree within the maximum time limit. All attempted college credits, including Running Start and transfer credits, count toward the total amount of credits attempted toward a degree.

If a student surpasses the maximum limit of credits for their program they are automatically placed on SAP disqualification and have to file a SAP appeal. When filing a SAP appeal for MTF a student will need to submit a letter from their academic adviser with their SAP appeal indicating their expected graduation date and which courses are still required to graduate.

Filing a SAP Appeal

Once it is determined that a student is SAP disqualified, the SAP appeal form is added to the student’s individual financial aid to-do list, and the appeal is accessible at The appeal allows a student to provide an explanation of the circumstances that prevented the student from maintaining the required SAP progress and to provide an explanation of the resolution of circumstances, along with an area to attach supporting documentation, if applicable.

If the SAP committee needs additional documentation, they will contact the student through WSU email and give the student two weeks to submit documents.

If a SAP appeal is approved, students will be sent an Academic plan to their WSU email that needs to be signed and returned to SFS before financial aid can disburse. Academic plans contract students to pass their classes, and if necessary, achieve a specific term GPA. For MTF students, a graduation date will be included.


There are several actions a student can take to avoid becoming SAP deficient at the end of a term or being disqualified for financial aid for a term:

-Talking with professors and academic advisers helps with support and planning out how to do well in a course.

-Tutoring resources are available within WSU academic departments and the Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC).

-The Student Financial Services website has an abundance of detailed SAP information and a SFS SAP Handbook that explains how the process works and how to go about the SAP appeal process.

-There are private education loan options that a student can consider if he/she wants to seek financial assistance for the term if their SAP appeal is not approved. A student can view these options at

SFS is here to help students move through the SAP process and answer their questions that arise. Students can call SFS at 509-335-9711 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., email [email protected] or visit their local SFS Office in person. Students should also visit and click on “Maintaining Eligibility” for more in-depth SAP information and guidelines.