Statement of Policies
Satisfactory Academic Progress
As a condition of participating in the federal student aid programs, Stanford is required to evaluate the academic progress of applicants for financial aid. Stanford’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for undergraduate financial aid applicants is provided below. The effective date of this policy is September 1, 2021.
The information on this page applies to all undergraduate students (new and continuing students) who are requesting federal and/or state student aid funds. Federal and state student aid programs for undergraduate students include Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Cal Grants, Federal Work-Study, Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Parent Loans. For Direct PLUS Parent Loans, the parent borrower's eligibility to receive loan funds is dependent on the student's SAP Status.
Stanford's federal student aid SAP policies for undergraduate students are similar, but not identical, to the university's policies for minimum academic progress. Students should review both sets of policies and ask for clarification as needed. Questions about federal student aid SAP policies should be directed to the Financial Aid Office; questions about the university's minimum academic progress policies should be directed to Academic Advising at email@example.com.
Conditions for Making Satisfactory Academic Progress
In order to maintain full eligibility for federal student aid funds authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, undergraduate students at Stanford must meet the following five conditions for each quarter of enrollment:
Minimum Earned Units Per Quarter: 9
Students must successfully earn at least nine course units per quarter. Successful completion means obtaining a passing grade. Students who are in Financial Aid Warning status or Financial Aid Probation status must earn at least twelve units per quarter. The minimum units requirement does not apply to Summer Quarter.
Minimum Earned Units Over Three Quarters: 36
Students must successfully earn at least 36 course units over the most recent three quarters of enrollment, not including Summer Quarter. This requirement can be waived, at the discretion of the Financial Aid Office, in the following situations:
- The student has an academic status of Probation, Provisional Registration, and/or Deferred Suspension for one or more of the three quarters, and the student has met the progress requirements associated with the assigned status;
- The student has received a waiver of academic review by the office of Academic Advising for one or more of the three quarters due to certain medical or personal circumstances;
- The student has completed an academic suspension and has been approved by Academic Advising to re-enroll.
Pace of progression is defined as total earned course units divided by total attempted course units during all quarters of enrollment at Stanford. Transfer units and test units that count toward the Stanford degree program are included as both attempted and earned units in the pace calculation.
Example: Student A has attended Stanford for three quarters. During that time, Student A attempted 45 units and earned 36 units. She also has earned 15 units of credit toward her Stanford degree from AP tests. For purposes of the pace calculation, her total earned units would be 36 + 15 = 51. Her total attempted units would be 45 + 15 = 60. Therefore, her cumulative pace of progression would be 51/60 = 85%. Since her pace is at or above 60%, she meets the cumulative pace of progression condition for SAP.
Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA): 2.00
Transfer units and test units are not included in the GPA calculation. For purposes of this policy, the GPA is determined using the General University GPA rules.
Maximum Quarters of Enrollment: 18
Undergraduate students cannot receive federal student aid funds after the equivalent of 18 total quarters of enrollment in any undergraduate program at any institution, including Stanford. Semesters generally are counted as 1.5 quarters. Partially earned quarters are included in the total number of quarters. Quarters are counted even if a student earns zero units. Note: A student who has earned the equivalent of 18 quarters is assigned an SAP Status of Financial Aid Ineligible, with no appeal possible.
Consequences of Failure to Make Satisfactory Academic Progress
The Financial Aid Office (FAO) measures SAP at the end of each quarter. If the student meets all five of the conditions listed above, they remain eligible to receive federal student aid funds in the next quarter of enrollment. Otherwise, one of the following SAP Status designations will be assigned to the student.
SAP Status: Financial Aid Warning
If a student without an existing SAP Status fails to meet any or all of the five SAP conditions, the student will enter Financial Aid Warning status for their next quarter of enrollment. The student will be notified of this status by email from the FAO after the end of the quarter. The student will continue to be eligible to receive federal student aid funds while in Financial Aid Warning status. No action is required on the part of the student to continue to receive federal student aid funds while in Financial Aid Warning status. Students in Financial Aid Warning status are subject to an increased Minimum Earned Units Per Quarter condition: the student must earn at least 12 units.
Financial Aid Warning is a one-time status. If a student has been in Financial Aid Warning status in the past, and fails to meet any or all of the five SAP conditions for the current quarter, the student's status will be changed to Financial Aid Ineligible, bypassing Financial Aid Warning.
SAP Status: Financial Aid Ineligible
If a student in Financial Aid Warning status fails to meet any or all of the five SAP conditions at the end of the Financial Aid Warning quarter, their status will change to Financial Aid Ineligible. A student in this status is ineligible for federal student aid funds. The student will be notified of Financial Aid Ineligible status by email from the FAO after the end of the quarter. In some cases, federal student aid funds for the next quarter may have been disbursed to the student before the notification of Financial Aid Ineligible status is made; when this situation arises, the federal student aid disbursements will be removed from the student's account, which may result in a balance due to the University.
Students in Financial Aid Ineligible status may appeal the loss of eligibility by meeting with Academic Advising to develop an academic plan. Once the academic plan has been approved by Academic Advising, the FAO will change the student's status to Financial Aid Probation and will notify the student by email. To schedule a meeting with Academic Advising, call (650) 723-2426 or stop by the first floor of Sweet Hall.
SAP Status: Financial Aid Probation
A student in Financial Aid Probation status is eligible to receive federal student aid funds. If aid funds had already been disbursed to the student, then were reversed when the student entered Financial Aid Ineligible status, the funds will be re-disbursed to the student. If a student in Financial Aid Probation status meets all five conditions for SAP at the next evaluation point, the student's Financial Aid Probation status is removed, and the student regains full eligibility for federal student aid funds for the subsequent quarter. If a student in Financial Aid Probation status does not meet all five conditions for SAP, the student returns to Financial Aid Ineligible status for the subsequent quarter and must appeal again in order to return to Financial Aid Probation status.
A student whose financial aid package does not include federal or state aid funds at the time that the SAP status is calculated may not receive notification of their status under the SAP policy unless and until the student requests additional aid funds. SAP status will be calculated retroactively when the request for additional funds is being considered. Non-receipt of status notification is not a sufficient basis for appealing a student’s current status.
Drops and Withdrawals
If a student drops a course or reduces their number of enrolled units prior to the Final Study List deadline for the quarter, the dropped units are not included as attempted units in the SAP Status calculation. If a student withdraws from a course after the Final Study List deadline, they will receive a notation of "W" for the course, and the units for the course will be included as attempted units in the SAP Status calculation.
The units for a course in which the student has received a grade of Incomplete are included in the SAP Status calculation as attempted units but not as earned units.
Reduced Course Load
If a student has received approval from the Office of Accessible Education to enroll for a reduced course load, the Minimum Earned Units Per Quarter and Minimum Earned Units Over Three Quarters conditions may be reduced to 8 and 24 units, respectively. The student remains subject to the standard Minimum Cumulative Pace of Progression, Minimum Cumulative GPA and Maximum Quarters of Enrollment conditions.
A student may repeat a course in order to earn a higher grade. When a student repeats a course for the first time ("first repeat"), the units for this course count as attempted units in the SAP status calculation, and count as earned units if a passing grade is obtained. In certain circumstances a student may be given permission by Academic Advising to repeat a course for a second time ("second repeat"). However, "second repeat" units are not included as attempted or earned units in the SAP status calculation.
Summer is a non-standard quarter for undergraduate students at Stanford. For students who wish to receive federal student aid funds for Summer Quarter, the Financial Aid Office will calculate their SAP status as of the end of Spring Quarter, and this status will determine whether the student may receive federal student aid funds for Summer.
The Minimum Earned Units Per Quarter condition does not apply to Summer Quarter enrollment. Students may enroll for any number of Summer units (or none at all) without impacting their eligibility to receive federal student aid funds for subsequent enrollment. Similarly, the Minimum Earned Units Over Three Quarters condition does not apply to Summer enrollment. However, Summer Quarter units will be included in the evaluation of Minimum Cumulative Pace of Progression, Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average, and Maximum Quarters of Enrollment when determining eligibility for subsequent quarters.Updated on August 24, 2021 9:28 AM