Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations require that all students who receive federal student aid funds must 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. Western Governors University (WGU) evaluates these measures 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 the published length of the program measured in competency units.

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 provided the new program is in the same credential level as the old program. Students who are requesting re-entry into the university will return with the SAP status calculated at the time of withdrawal. The university will include coursework taken by the student for enrollment in other majors or programs when calculating Cumulative SAP.

However, if the credential level of the new program is different from the old program (e.g. Bachelor’s degree program into Master’s degree program or vice versa), the student will begin as a first term student with a new SAP history.

Multiple Programs at WGU

Student graduates and enrolls into another program

A student who graduates (receiving an Institutional Graduate or IG status) and requests an admission into a different program will have the SAP status reset and will begin as a first term student with a new SAP history.

Student withdraws and matriculates into the same program credential level

A student who withdraws and later readmits into the same or different program at the same program credential level (whether or not he/she completes the same or similar degree program at another institution), returns as a continuing student with the same SAP status calculated at the end of the abandoned program of study.

Student withdraws and matriculates into a different program credential level

A student who withdraws and enrolls into another program at different program credential level, returns as a first term student with a new SAP history.

Stacked degree and credential programs

The university offers stacked credential programs built into the stacked degree programs. The stacked credentials may be offered as a stand-alone program option. However, if a student matriculates into a stacked degree program and withdraws once the stacked credential program has been earned, a Withdrawn Graduate (WG) status will be given to the student. Subsequently, if the student returns to finish the stacked degree program, SAP status will not be reset and will continue with the status at the time of withdrawal.

On the other hand, if a student matriculates and completes the stacked credential program, the status is “IG” and SAP will be reset if the student decides to take another program, including a new stacked degree program.

The following are the stacked degree programs and their corresponding stacked credentials:

Stacked Degree programs Stacked Credentials within stacked degree programs
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation
Master of Science Nursing-Education (RN to MSN) Bachelor of Science Nursing (Prelicensure)
Master of Arts English Language Learning/English as a Second Language (MA ELL/ESL) Endorsement Preparation, English Language Learning (PreK-12)

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 Student Accounting office.

Financial Aid Disqualification and Appeal Instructions

Students who are placed on financial aid disqualification 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 how 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. The student will submit the Academic Appeal first if s/he is completing both an Academic Appeal and a Financial Aid Appeal.

Financial Aid Probation

Students who are granted an appeal will be placed on financial aid probation status (Academic Plan or AP status in Banner) 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 Student Accounting 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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