Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)

Federal regulations require all schools participating in Title IV Federal Financial Aid Programs to have a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. The requirements of this policy apply to all students seeking a baccalaureate degree as one determinant of eligibility for financial aid.

The SAP policy must measure a student’s progress both qualitatively (cumulative grade-point average (GPA) and quantitatively (Completion Ratio). In addition, students are also required to complete their degree requirements within a certain period of time (Maximum Time Limit). This requirement applies to all applicants and recipients of financial aid. Financial Aid is defined as all federal, state, and institutional aid.

For SAP purposes, student academic records are evaluated by the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid at the end of each semester. Students will receive one of three SAP conditions: Good, Warning or Canceled. If aid is canceled, the student may appeal. If the appeal is granted, the status will be moved to Probation. The Office of Admissions & Financial Aid will send notification of eligibility to students via email.

Note: Students who are suspended or dismissed from the institution will immediately become ineligible for financial aid. Students who have withdrawn from all courses in more than two consecutive semesters while receiving financial aid will not be eligible for reinstatement based on appeal. In such cases, the student will be expected to successfully complete a full-time semester of coursework before appealing for reinstatement.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Undergraduates

Cumulative Grade Point Average (Qualitative Measure)

Undergraduate students cumulative and semester GPA must be at least 2.0. Some institutional scholarships or grants may require a higher academic achievement than those defined by the Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria. Private aid offered by agencies outside the university is not subject to the conditions of this policy but will be administered according to donor specifications.

Completion Ratio (Quantitative Measure)

UNC Asheville recommends students earn at least 30 semester hours per academic year in order to graduate in four years. To remain eligible for financial aid, students must earn a minimum of 67% of the total cumulative hours attempted. Attempted hours include all credits accepted in transfer as well as those attempted at UNC Asheville. Students must receive grades of A, B, C, D (including “+/-”), or S to earn hours.

The following are not included as part of the cumulative earned hours at UNC Asheville; however, they are included in attempted hours:

  • Grades of F, I, IP, U, W or X/Y (audit) do not earn hours.
  • Audited courses (X/Y) count toward attempted hours but not toward earned hours. Therefore, auditing classes may negatively affect the student’s ability to earn the required number of hours.
  • If a student repeats a course, the total attempted hours will increase with each repeat, but the student will only earn hours for a successfully completed course once. Repeating courses may negatively affect the student’s ability to satisfy the Completion Ratio standard.
  • Incomplete grades (I) count toward attempted hours but will not count toward earned hours until the Incomplete (I) grade is replaced by a grade that contributes to earned hours.
  • In-Progress grades (IP) count toward attempted hours but will not count toward earned hours until the IP grade is replaced by a grade that contributes to earned hours.

Federal regulations have amended the definition of a full-time student to allow repeated coursework to count toward enrollment status in term-based programs. Students may repeat a previously passed course once and be paid with Title IV aid accordingly. Students may also repeat a failed course until it is passed and be paid. However, as stated above, grades of “F” do not count as earned hours. Repeating any coursework may ultimately impact a student’s maximum time limit, GPA and completion ratio as it relates to Title IV eligibility.

Maximum Time Limit Measure

To remain eligible for financial aid, undergraduate students seeking their first baccalaureate degree must complete their requirements within 150% of the published length of their academic program. This includes students who are seeking more than one major or minor.  Therefore, students seeking a first baccalaureate degree must complete their requirements within 180 attempted hours to remain eligible for financial aid. However, because most UNC Asheville programs require no more than 120 hours to complete, students are not eligible to receive additional Title IV aid once they have fulfilled requirements to graduate.  If a student elects to postpone taking required courses to avoid graduation, while continuing to take courses not required for their program, they will no longer be eligible for aid.

Student records are evaluated at the end of each semester for Satisfactory Academic Progress. If the SAP review shows that the student who has surpassed the 120-hour minimum requirement (100%), cannot complete his or her program within 180 credits (150%), the student will no longer be eligible for Title IV aid.

Exceptions to 180 Credit Hour Max:

  • Students seeking a second undergraduate degree must complete their requirements within 230 cumulative attempted hours.
  • Students in the Mechatronics or Teacher Licensure programs must complete their degree or certificate in 192 cumulative attempted hours.
  • Students seeking a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree must complete their degree in 188 cumulative attempted hours.
  • Students pursuing a graduate degree in the Master of Liberal Arts program must complete their degree in 54 cumulative attempted hours.

Financial Aid Warning

Financial Aid Warning Status will be assigned at the end of the semester to students who fail to make SAP. Students under Warning Status may continue to receive Title IV aid for one payment period. No appeal is required.

If at the end of the one payment period the student is still not making SAP, then their financial aid will move to a canceled status. An appeal will be required if they would like to be considered for reinstatement. The appeal must be approved by the SAP Appeal Committee in order for the student to continue to receive Title IV Aid. Students should be prepared to pay until the appeal is considered and a decision rendered.

Financial Aid Cancellation

Failure to achieve the required GPA and/or completed credit hours while on Financial Aid Warning will result in Financial Aid Cancelation. Students are no longer eligible to receive financial aid while on Financial Aid Cancellation. To regain eligibility to receive financial assistance, students must improve their GPA to the minimum requirements of a cumulative 2.0 and/or complete 67% of the cumulative credit hours attempted. Students may have experienced unusual circumstances and if so they may submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form. Some students may be eligible to be accepted into the university’s Academic Success Program (ASP) by invitation only.

All “F” Grades or Zero GPA

Students receiving all F grades, or having a zero GPA in one semester, will have their status moved directly to CANCELED without a semester of WARNING.  Until the required hours are earned or the GPA requirement is met, the student is responsible for all charges due to the university.

If a student unofficially withdraws, aid for that semester is subject to the R2T4 Federal Calculation of repayment, and state refund calculation.

Regaining Eligibility for Financial Aid

If students lose eligibility to receive financial aid because they do not meet the qualitative and/or quantitative measures, they can regain eligibility by:

  • Raising their cumulative GPA by taking courses and earning hours at UNC Asheville. These courses cannot be taken at other institutions.
  • Successfully completing a minimum of 67% of the attempted coursework at UNC Asheville.

Please be advised that re-admittance to the University does not guarantee financial aid eligibility.

Once the Maximum Time Limit has been exceeded, students are not eligible for federal, state or institutional aid, even if they have not graduated.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Other Students


Students seeking a second undergraduate degree are subject to the same SAP requirements as listed above for students seeking their initial baccalaureate degree. Students seeking a second undergraduate degree must complete their requirements within 230 cumulative attempted hours.

Teacher Licensure

Teacher Licensure students are required to follow the same SAP Policy as an undergraduate student.

Certificate of Major

Students seeking a Certificate of Major are not eligible for any financial assistance and therefore are not required to follow a Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Study Abroad

Students who participate in study abroad during any term will be evaluated for SAP at the end of the term. If transcripts are not received by the end of the term, students will be placed on WARNING status for one semester. If transcripts are still not received by the review time for the following term, aid will be CANCELED. If this happens, students will be required to follow the SAP appeal process to have aid reinstated. Students must complete at minimum 67% of the hours attempted.

Note: This policy became effective in the 2011-2012 academic year. Returning students who left UNC Asheville prior to the implementation of this policy will be reevaluated under the new policy.

Graduate Students

Graduate (MLAS) students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better and may not fail or withdraw from any classes to remain eligible for financial aid. Graduate students do not receive a Warning period.