Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations require that all students who receive federal student aid funds maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). It is a measure of student progress toward the completion of a degree and is assessed by qualitative (grade-based) and quantitative (time-based) measures. These measures are evaluated at the end of each completed payment period or term in the student’s academic program and at the time of withdrawal from the university.

Qualitative Measure

The university defines demonstrating a competency (a grade of Pass) as a grade equivalent to a “B” or better (3.0 on a 4-point scale). Students receive a mark of "Pass" or "Not Passed" on their permanent academic record for any courses for which they enroll in a term, regardless of whether they attempt an assessment. A grade of "Not Passed" is counted as competency units that are failed and are counted against SAP.

Quantitative Measure

The quantitative measure is completing 66.67 percent of all competency units attempted. The percentage is determined by dividing the number of competency units completed by the total number of units for which a student enrolled cumulatively over the student's academic career at WGU. Completing at least 66.67 percent of all competencies means the student is on track to complete the program within the required 150% of normal time.

Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress

To maintain good standing for SAP, students must achieve an overall minimum cumulative pass rate of 66.67 percent for all competency units attempted and completed.

The Higher Education Act requires a specific qualitative review at the end of the student’s second academic year. Students enrolled in a program of more than two academic years must have at least a “C” or its equivalent, or have an academic standing consistent with WGU’s graduation requirements. In addition, a student is ineligible when it becomes mathematically impossible for him to complete his program within 150% of the length of the program.

Transfer Credits from Other Institutions

Students who are granted transfer credits to WGU that count toward the student’s current program of study are included in both attempted and completed when measuring SAP.

Program Change

A change in the program of study will not affect a student’s SAP standing. Students who are requesting re-entry into the university will return with the SAP status calculated at the time of withdrawal.

Multiple Programs at WGU

A student who graduated and requests an admission into a different program level will have the SAP status reset and will begin as a first term student with a new SAP history. However, a student who graduated and requests an admission into the same program level will return with the same SAP status calculated at the end of the completed program of study.

A. Scenarios when a continuing student transitions to the same program level:

  • A student who graduated with a graduate degree and enrolls in another graduate program of study will return as a continuing student. The SAP status will not reset and all courses in the completed program will be included in the cumulative SAP calculation for the new graduate program of study.
  • A student who graduated with an undergraduate degree and starts another undergraduate program will return as a continuing student. The SAP status will not reset and all courses in the completed program will be included in the cumulative SAP calculation for the new undergraduate program of study.

B. Scenarios when a continuing student transitions to a different program level:

  • A student who graduated with an undergraduate degree and advances into a graduate degree will begin as a first term student with a new SAP history.
  • A student who graduated with a graduate degree and begins an undergraduate program will begin as a first term student with a new SAP history.

Financial Aid Warning

Students who fail to maintain SAP are placed on “warning” and may be terminated from financial aid eligibility according to the following criteria:

First-Term Students*

  • First-term students who finish their first term with a cumulative SAP of less than 50% are automatically terminated from federal Financial Aid.
  • First-term students who complete at least 50% of attempted competency units, but fail to complete the 66.67% required for good standing for SAP are placed on warning for the following term and remain eligible for financial aid.

*Note: First-term students include WGU graduates in the first term of an additional degree.

Continuing Students**

  • Continuing students who begin a term in good standing whose cumulative SAP falls below 66.67% but not lower than 50% are placed on warning for the following term and remain eligible for financial aid.
  • Continuing students who begin a term in good standing whose cumulative SAP falls below 50% are automatically terminated from financial aid without a warning term.
  • Students in a warning term who achieve a cumulative completion rate of at least a 66.67% are returned to good academic standing.
  • Students in a warning term who end the warning term with a cumulative completion rate below 66.67% SAP are terminated from financial aid eligibility.

**Note: Continuing students are those that are enrolled beyond the first term.

Students who are terminated from financial aid eligibility may continue their studies at WGU but are required to self-pay and make payment arrangements through the Bursar’s office.

Financial Aid Termination and Appeal Instructions

Students who are terminated from financial aid eligibility for not meeting satisfactory academic progress (SAP) and who have extenuating circumstances may appeal to reestablish their eligibility for federal student aid. Students who wish to make an appeal must be current on all financial obligations. Students may not use financial aid to make retroactive tuition and fee(s) payments.

The appeal must be based on extenuating circumstances that prevented a student from meeting the requirements of the satisfactory academic progress policy. Circumstances may include extreme medical issues, a death in the immediate family, employment related hardship and/or military mobilization. Students must explain that the timing of their unusual circumstance(s) directly hindered them from meeting the SAP standards and what has changed in their situation that would allow them to make SAP at the next evaluation. As part of the appeal, the student must submit the following:

  • SAP Appeal Form
  • Signed Dated Letter (please refer to the form for further instructions)
  • Supporting Third-Party Documentation

Submit the SAP appeal packet via email to fadocs@wgu.edu or FAX to 801-907-7727. The Financial Aid Appeal Committee will evaluate the merits of the appeal by reviewing the letter of appeal and documentation submitted to WGU. The committee may request additional information or documentation as needed and will advise the student of the final determination.

The Financial Aid Appeal process is separate from the WGU Academic Progress appeal process. If you are completing both an Academic Appeal and a Financial Aid Appeal, please submit the Academic Appeal first.

Financial Aid Probation

Students who are granted an appeal will be placed on financial aid probation status and will have the financial aid eligibility reinstated based on the appeal. If all other eligibility requirements are met, the university will disburse FSA funds to students placed on financial aid probation status for one probationary payment period or term. The university will review the student’s progress at the end of the probationary payment period. To maintain good standing for SAP, students must achieve an overall minimum cumulative pass rate of 66.67 percent for all competency units attempted and completed.

Financial Aid Reinstatement

Students terminated from financial aid may seek reinstatement once they meet the following eligibility requirements and will be eligible for FSA funds at the start of the payment period following the period of ineligibility.

  • Successfully complete competency units so that cumulative SAP is at least 66.67%.
  • Fulfill all payment arrangements with the Bursar’s office.

Student Notification

The university will notify the students of the results of any SAP evaluation affecting the eligibility for FSA funds for the entire payment period.

Scholarship and Grant Recipients

Most scholarships and grants do not allow for a warning term. Failure to meet SAP in any given term can result in termination of scholarship or grant funds. Please refer to your scholarship or grant materials, or contact the scholarship department at scholarships@wgu.edu for additional information.

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