Satisfactory academic progress
To be eligible to receive financial aid at VCU, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress. VCU’s SAP policy is based on federal criteria and applies to all financial aid recipients.
Need to make an SAP appeal?
A student whose eligibility for financial aid has been suspended may submit an appeal if special circumstances prevented the student from achieving satisfactory academic progress. The SAP appeal form should be submitted to the VCU Office of Financial Aid within 30 days after receiving the financial aid suspension letter. Fill out the SAP appeal form.
What determines SAP?
Undergraduates: Must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0
Graduate students: Must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0
Please visit the VCU Policy Library to see the university's official SAP Policy.
Pass/Fail grade considerations
Changing from a standard letter grade to a pass/fail grade will not impact a student's Title IV aid as long as the classes continue to count toward the student's degree completion requirements and the student continues to meet VCU's SAP rules.
Pass/Fail grade considered for pace and GPA (undergraduate students):
- Grade of pass (P) is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements equivalent to letter grades A-C. The grade of P is not included in the calculation of the GPA. Grade of P will satisfy the prerequisite to register for courses that require a minimum grade of C. Students should check with their academic departments and advisors to see if a grade of P will be accepted for courses with prerequisites of B or higher, as well as for program requirements that specify a minimum grade of B.
- Grade of F, W, AU, N, NR and I are counted toward the total hours attempted, but not successfully completed each term and will affect both the completion rate and GPA.
- Grade of P or CR in Pass/Fail courses will be counted in the completion rate calculation as both attempted and earned hours.
Pass/Fail grades considered for pace and GPA (graduate students):
- Grade of satisfactory (S) is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements equivalent to letter grades A-B. The grade of S is not included in the calculation of the GPA. The grade of S will satisfy course requirements of a minimum grade of B or higher to advance to another course.
- Grade of unsatisfactory (U) is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements equivalent to the letter grade C. The grade of U is not included in the calculation of the GPA.
- Grade of fail (F) is awarded for certain courses to denote not passing (earning a letter grade equivalent of a D or F) and is included in the calculation of the GPA.
Withdrawals, failing grades and incompletes
- Grades of F and W will count toward attempted hours and maximum timeframe.
- All incompletes (I) and withdrawals (W) will be considered failing grades (F) when calculating financial aid eligibility.
- SAP will be recalculated if the student earns a passing grade that replaces the incomplete or has a grade change after grades have posted. The student or department must notify Financial Aid to initiate the process of recalculating SAP when changes are made after final grades have been posted.
We will work with students on a case-by-case basis to ensure their academic success.
Students must complete at least 67 percent of their overall attempted hours at VCU. The completion rate is determined by dividing credits earned by the number of credits attempted. Transfer hours are included.
Credit hours attempted
Number of earned credits needed to meet completion rate
Students must not attempt more than 150 percent of the hours required for their degree program, including transfer and AP credit hours. For example, a student in a program that requires 120 credit hours will have eligibility for aid suspended after attempting more than 180 credit hours.
Special grades or coursework also can impact SAP, including:
- Incomplete grades
- Study abroad
- Audited courses
- Advanced Placement courses
- English as a Second Language courses
- Course withdrawal
- Military withdrawal
- Transfer credits
- Repeated courses
Under federal regulations, financial aid will pay for only one undergraduate bachelor’s degree or the equivalent of 120 credits at VCU. As part of a degree program, students select courses to complete major and general education requirements. Students may review their degree audit to determine how selected courses count in the 120 credits, including transfer credits, advanced placement (AP) or dual enrollment course credits and courses taken at VCU. Learn how changing your major or adding a second major may impact SAP.
Nondegree-seeking students are ineligible for federal or state financial aid. However, if a student later enrolls in a degree or certificate program, all attempted courses, including those taken while classified as a nondegree-seeking student, must be evaluated when determining SAP status.
Under federal regulations, any course that has been passed with a D or higher can only be taken one additional time. Repeated attempts after that will not be eligible for financial aid.
Medical, dental and pharmacy students at the professional level who are required by their academic deans to repeat a year are permitted to continue on financial aid for that year.
Suspension and probation
SAP is reviewed annually at the end of the spring semester. When students fail to meet established requirements, they receive a financial aid suspension letter, indicating the type of SAP violation.
Students may submit an appeal if mitigating circumstances prevented them from achieving SAP. If the appeal is granted, students will be assigned a probation status and will be eligible to receive federal financial aid for one semester. Students who fail to meet the established SAP requirements at the end of the semester will be placed on an academic plan with set deadlines, which must be met to receive federal financial aid for future semesters.