Decoding your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Letter

Did you receive a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) letter over the winter break? Did you understand it?  Here is a quick guide to decoding your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) letter and what it means.

First and foremost, the Financial Aid Office send Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) notices only to students who are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards (discussed below).  The Financial Aid Office sends a physical letter to your mailing address and an e-mail copy to your Washburn University e-mail address.  If you wish to view your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status, it is available by clicking ‘Progress’ located on the left-hand side of your Financial Services tab on your MyWashburn account.

What are the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards?

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards are applied to any student who received Federal Financial Aid such as the Federal Pell Grant or Federal Stafford Loans. There are three Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards which are measured: cumulative GPA, your pace to completion, and your maximum timeframe.

  • GPA: Cumulative grade point average of 2.00 for undergraduates, a cumulative GPA of 3.00 for graduate students, and a cumulative GPA of 2.00 for law students.  The cumulative GPA standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are the same standards for your academic standing at Washburn University.
  • Pace to Completion: Students must maintain pace to completion of greater than 67%. This means you must complete and successfully pass 67% of all courses.  This percentage is calculated using all courses attempted so if you have withdrawn, dropped, or failed to pass a course, this will drop your pace to completion rate.
  • Maximum Timeframe: This standard states the maximum number of hours attempted may not exceed 150% of the published length of your program.  The Financial Aid Office starts to notify you at 125% of the published length of your program so it is not a sudden surprise.

What if…this is your first bad semester? Do you lose your financial aid immediately?

No, the Financial Aid Office at Washburn University allows for a warning semester so you do not lose your financial aid immediately. You may only receive one warning semester so once you have received it, you do not get a second warning. The Financial Aid Office sends you a letter stating that you did not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards (see above) and you do not need to submit a formal request for financial reinstatement.  As long as your next semester is good, you will come off the warning semester.

Washburn University has over 100 different Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) statuses so it is impossible to discuss all of them but here are some pointers on the most prevalent:

  • Max Hours:  On your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Letter it would have stated that “…you have exceeded 125% of the hours required for your degree.  Your financial aid is on hold until:  1) you submit a degree completion plan prepared and signed by your academic advisor…”
    • What it means:  This type of status means that you are approaching your maximum timeframe for using Federal Financial aid and you and your academic advisor have to put together a degree plan which guides you to getting your degree in a timely manner. 
  • Pace: On your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Letter it would have stated that”…your pace is less than 67%. Your financial aid is on hold until you submit:  an academic plan prepared and signed by your academic advisor…”
    • What it means: This type of status means that your overall pace to completion is less than 67% and you need to meet with your academic advisor to discuss how you can improve your academic performance and what courses you should be taking to be successful over the next 2 semesters. Receiving F’s, incompletes, withdrawing, and repeating classes can hinder your pace.
  • Denied:  On your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Letter it would have stated “According to our Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy, you have not met our minimum standards of SAP.  Either your cumulative GPA is too low or you completed a total withdrawal of classes from a previous term…”
    • What it means:  This type of status means that you have not met the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards (outlined above), you have used your warning semester and have been denied financial aid for the following semester. You can appeal this decision if there were any extenuating circumstances which hindered your academic performance during the semester.

After reading your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Letter, you have determined that you want to appeal your denied status due to extenuating circumstance but what does it mean to appeal your financial aid decision?

When you appeal your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status you will need to discuss two items. 1) Explain what extenuating circumstance affected your ability to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. 2) Describe your action plan on how you plan to address the extenuating circumstances and how you plan to improve your academic performance.  Reinstatement Forms are available in our office and on our web page at under online forms.  If you need to provide any additional documentation, please state on your appeal that you are submitting supporting documentation and provide it to the Financial Aid Office. 

Please note, submitting a reinstatement request or academic plan does not guarantee that you will be reinstated. The committee that reviews the appeals and plans bases their decision on a variety of factors such as your current reinstatement requests, if you have appealed previously, and your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) history (just to name a few). The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy can be found at under Policies and Consumer Information.

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