Federal Regulations require that all institutions participating in Title IV Student Financial Aid Programs establish, publish, and apply standards for measuring a student’s progress towards earning a degree. 




To receive federal financial aid, students must meet certain academic requirements.  Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements apply to all students (including those not currently receiving federal financial aid) and are monitored after grades are posted at the end of each semester (including summer term).   Students who do not meet SAP are notified, given the reason for not meeting SAP and appeal options.




SAP standards are evaluated in the following three categories:

Grade Point Average (GPA):  Undergraduate students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA and term GPA.   For purposes of determining financial aid eligibility, cumulative GPA calculations include transfer credits.   Graduate students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the conclusion of each semester.


Completion of Attempted Credits: Student must successfully complete a minimum of 66.667% of the credits attempted each term and cumulatively.  Attempted credits include any credits students are enrolled in as of each term’s last day to drop at a 100% refund (the census date). This percentage is determined by dividing the total number of successfully completed credits by the total number of credits the student was registered for on the census date.  


The credits calculation includes all credits attempted even if they do not pertain to the student’s current degree. Successfully completed credit hours include grades of A, B, C, D. P or S. Credit hours that are NOT considered successfully completed include unreported/blank grades, F (Fail), W (Withdrawal), U (Unsatisfactory) and I (Incomplete). Both successful and unsuccessful credit hours are included as attempted hours.


Maximum Time Frame:  Students must successfully complete their degree within 150% of the published number of credits needed to complete their program of study. The maximum number of credits includes all prior credits attempted at Valley City State University and other institutions whether federal financial aid was received. Students who are approaching the maximum attempted credits will receive notice to warn them they are nearing the limit. These individuals will then need to submit a Plan of Study (list of remaining required courses) to the Financial Aid Office.




If a student is not meeting SAP requirements:

Students who do not meet SAP requirements for GPA or completion of attempted credits will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for their next term of enrollment. Financial aid may be received during the term while the student in on Warning.  Students who meet the SAP requirements during their next semester of enrollment will automatically be removed from Warning at the end of that term. Students who do not meet SAP requirements at the end of their semester of Warning will be placed on Financial Aid Disqualification. Students exceeding Maximum Time Frame limits will have an INFO status and require a Plan of Study be submitted.


Financial Aid Warning (WARN)

During the term of enrollment that the student has a Warning indicator on their account the student may receive federal financial aid. The student must meet all SAP requirements at the end of the warning term. If they do not, the student will lose eligibility for federal financial aid and will be placed on Financial Aid Disqualification (DISQ).


Financial Aid Disqualification (DISQ)

The student has failed to maintain the minimum SAP standards. The student is no longer eligible to receive federal financial aid. Financial Aid Disqualification does not prevent a student from enrolling. Financial Aid Disqualification stays in place until the student either completed additional coursework to bring their academic record into compliance with the standards required or until an appeal has been approved.


Financial Aid Probation (PROB)

The student has submitted an appeal and been approved. Students on Probation are eligible for federal financial aid. If the student fails to meet SAP at the end of their probation term, they will return to Disqualification.


Financial Aid Information (INFO)

The student is nearing the maximum number of credits allowed for the current degree they are pursuing. A Financial Aid INFO indicator is placed on the student. Students are then required to submit a Plan of Study (list of remaining required courses for their degree) approved by their academic advisor.  All federal financial aid will be placed on hold until this is completed. After the completion of that submission, their indicator will be changed to POS (Plan of Study).


Unofficial Withdrawal

The student has received all Failing (F) grades or Incomplete (I) grades in a term. The student is placed on Financial Aid Disqualification without a Warning period. Additionally, federal regulations require that federal aid eligibility be recalculated who have unofficially withdrawn and stopped attending (receive FN grades).


Type of aid affected by Disqualification:

Financial Aid programs subject to SAP standards include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal TEACH Grant, Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, ND State Grant, ND Indian Scholarship, some alternative loan programs and institutional waivers.



Reestablishing Eligibility for Financial Aid/Appeal Process:

By successfully completing coursework without federal financial aid to bring their cumulative GPA or rate of completion to the minimum required standards, a student can reestablish eligibility.

Students who have been placed on Disqualification may appeal their status if they have had an extenuating circumstance that negatively impacted their academic performance.   

A student must submit their appeal for the semester by the end of the third day of class. They need to have their VCSU account paid in full prior to submitting their appeal. The submission must also include an approved class schedule for the semester by their academic advisor.

Submitting an appeal does not guarantee approval to reinstate eligibility.  Students will receive notification via VCSU email or the SAP appeal decision.  



Sponsored by: Vice President for Academic Affairs 

Reviewed: Winter, 1996

Reviewed Summer, 2005

Revised Number: February 2010

Reviewed Spring 2022