Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal financial aid funds are awarded with the understanding that students will make progress toward their chosen degree. The University of Cincinnati, as directed by the U.S. Department of Education, has established guidelines (Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress) to follow in order to meet this goal.

Students receiving or seeking aid are reviewed for complance with the standards at the end of each spring term (or end of each term for students in programs a year or less in length or when approved on appeal).

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) apply for the following types of federal financial aid: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), TEACH Grant, Federal Work-Study, Nursing Loan, Health Professions Loan, Federal Subsidized Loan, Federal Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Graduate PLUS Loan, and Federal Parent PLUS Loan.

Although the SAP policy is required for federal aid, it is also used as a standard for eligibility in receiving other aid sources including the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), tuition remission, many alternative educational loans, and other financial aid programs.

While the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is a minimum requirement to maintain financial aid eligibility, students are encouraged to work closely with academic advisers and college personnel to achieve their educational goals. Good financial planning includes selecting meaningful coursework, completing all registered classes with satisfactory grades, and seeking your degree in a timely, intentional manner.

SAP Policy Standards

The Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress measures three components. Students must meet all three components to maintain their financial aid eligibility.

  1. Grade Point Average: Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative university GPA. Graduate and professional students must always maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA or meet the GPA requirement for their program.

  2. Maximum Timeframe: Students are required to complete their degree within one-and-a-half times the length of their program’s published hour requirement (i.e., within 90 semester hours* for most associate degrees, 180 semester hours* for most bachelor’s degrees, 45 semester hours for most master's degrees**, and 135 semester hours for most doctorates**).

  3. Pace of Progress: To ensure that students earn a degree within the maximum timeframe allowed, students must show a minimum completion rate of 67% of classes attempted.


  • I's (incomplete), T's (audit), Y's or UW's (unofficial withdrawal), W's (official withdrawal), X's or WX's (non-attendance/participation), N's, NG's or blanks (no grade reported), U's (unsatisfactory), NP's (not proficient), IP's (in progress), UP's (unsatisfactory progress), I/F's (failed incomplete), IP/F's (failed in progress), and F's (failing grade) do not count toward meeting completion percentage.

  • All terms of attendance are reviewed including terms of remedial coursework or when no federal financial aid was received.

  • All hours through the initial bachelor’s degree are counted cumulatively including when changing majors, repeating coursework, receiving academic fresh start, and seeking a bachelor’s degree after pursuing an associate degree.

  • All hours accepted in as transfer credit will be used to calculate timeframe and pace measures.

  • Students in programs a year or less in length are reviewed each term.
  • Summer enrollment will normally be evaluated with the following spring annual review. However, it will be reviewed at the end of summer if your aid is approved on appeal or you are in a program a year or less in length.  

Re-Establishing Eligibility & SAP Appeal Procedures

At the end of spring term each year (or end of each term for students in programs a year or less in length or when approved on appeal), the academic records of all students who are receiving or applying for federal financial aid will be reviewed. Those students who fail to meet the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress will be notified that they are no longer eligible to receive financial aid funds.

Students have the following options available to restore their eligibility:

  1. Make up any deficient hours by raising your overall completion rate to at least 67% and/or bring up college GPA to a 2.0 without the use of federal funds or through grade changes.
  2. Complete a full-time equivalent term with a 2.0 GPA without the use of federal funds. A student may complete multiple part-time terms with a 2.0 GPA to total the full-time equivalency in credit hours.
  3. Submit a written appeal if failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress was due to extenuating circumstances (include details preventing progress and how the situation has changed to allow progress). Appeal should provide actions to be taken to bring the academic performance into compliance and any relevant supporting documentation. Any appeals not addressing these factors will be denied.

Written notification of completing options 1 or 2 or an appeal based on option 3 should be submitted to Academic Progress Appeals via the UC financial aid portal. Submissions should detail efforts in achieving options above or the extenuating circumstance and a specific plan to enhance future academic performance.

Following submission of notification or appeal, the student’s aid eligibility will once again be reviewed. If aid eligibility is reinstated, the student's record will then be reviewed each term to ensure specified requirements for retaining aid eligibility are being met or until the student has once again established eligibility in meeting all three components of the policy.

If a student fails to re-establish eligibility in an appeal, eligibility can be sought through options 1 and 2 above unless aid eligibility has been denied due to exceeding maximum timeframe for the academic program.


An appropriate policy in the College of Medicine defines Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid eligibility for medical (M.D.) students and addresses the unique academic measures and practices in the College of Medicine.

Students determined to have used up their maximum Federal Pell Grant eligibility (6 full-time equivalent years) or federal loan eligibility cannot have their eligibility extended in these programs even if approved on appeal.


* Prior to semester conversion in fall 2012, the timeframe limit was within 135 quarter hours for most associate degrees and 279 quarter hours for most bachelor’s degree programs.

** Master's and doctoral programs have the greatest variance on length of academic program; as is always the case, understand the average length of your program as published by your college to determine the 150% maximum timeframe.