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Satisfactory Academic Progress


​Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards are measures schools use to ensure you are progressing towards earning your degree. To be eligible for financial aid, students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards. It's important to understand the measures to ensure you are able to meet them. If at any point you are not meeting SAP Standards and learn you are not eligible for financial aid, you may use the information on this webpage to help understand your next steps.


How we evaluate your progress

When we evaluate your SAP status, we review all coursework within your career (undergraduate/graduate). The evaluation includes courses taken for current or previous major(s) at all campuses of the University of Colorado. We review all students progress, regardless of if a student has applied for financial aid. You may learn more by reviewing the  Satisfactory Academic Progress  Policy on our policies webpage.


Measurement methods

We use three measures when evaluating Satisfactory Academic Progress. The measures include grade point average (GPA), course completion rate (pace), and maximum time frame. Additional details for each measurement are included below.

Grade point average (GPA)

  • Undergraduates must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of a 2.0.
  • Graduate and professional students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.0.

Course completion rate (pace)
To be in good standing, you must complete 67% of the courses you attempt.

  • Letter grades of A through D-, P (passing) and IP grades contribute positively towards your completion rate.
  • Letter grades of F, W, I and IW contribute negatively towards your completion rate.
  • Repeated courses and credits transferred to the university both count towards your completion rate.
      • If you take a course and receive a grade higher than an "F", you may receive financial aid to retake the course one time. If you take a passed course a third time, the course will not count towards your enrollment for financial aid. Unless grades are forgiven under the CU Denver Grade Forgiveness Policy, we count all grades for repeat courses in your GPA for SAP.

Maximum time frame
The number of credits you attempt in your time as a student is also measured. To be in good standing, you must complete a degree or certificate prior to attempting 150% of the credits needed for the program.

  • Undergraduates enrolled in a 120 credit hour degree program are exceeding the maximum timeframe of their program once they have attempted 180 credits.
  • Graduates enrolled in a 60 credit hour degree program are exceeding the maximum timeframe of their program once they have attempted 90 credits.


What happens if you are not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress

If you are not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress, we will notify you by university email after the final grade date for the term. Final grade dates are available on the Office of the Registrar’s academic calendar.

Financial aid warning
If you are not meeting the minimum GPA or completion rate, you will be placed on financial aid warning status for one term.

  • You are eligible for financial aid while on warning status.
  • If you raise you GPA or completion rate back to the minimum requirements after your term of warning, you will be in good standing and eligible for financial aid.
Financial aid suspension

If you are not meeting the minimum GPA and completion rate after the warning term, you will be placed on financial aid suspension. If you exceed the maximum timeframe of your program, you will be placed on financial aid suspension and will not have a term of warning.

  • While on suspension, you are not eligible for financial aid.
  • If extenuating circumstances prevented you from meeting the minimum requirements, we encourage you to complete an appeal with our office. The appeal will allow you to be considered for financial aid while not meeting SAP standards.

Types of aid impacted
If your financial aid has been suspended, you will not be eligible for the following types of aid.

  • Federal Student Aid (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal TEACH grant, Federal Work-study, Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Parent & Graduate PLUS Loans)
  • State aid (Colorado Student Grant, Colorado Graduate Grant, and Colorado Work-study)
  • Institutional need-based aid
  • Most institutional scholarships
  • Most outside scholarships
  • Most alternative student loans

How to receive financial aid after it has been suspended

Students placed on suspension have two ways to receive financial aid again:

  1. Meet SAP standards while not receiving financial aid, or
  2. Successfully appeal the suspension by completing a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal. The appeal will document the extenuating circumstances that prevented you from meeting SAP standards and include a plan of success for the future.

How to appeal

We recognize life circumstances may interfere with your academic performance. A successful appeal will include the following information:

  1. A completed and signed Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form, available within the appeals section of our forms webpage.
  2. A typed statement explaining the extenuating circumstances you faced and the steps you are taking to meet SAP standards in the future. Examples of extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to illness, injury, and deaths of those close to you.
  3. Supporting documentation is required to help us understand your extenuating circumstances and your plan for success. Examples of documentation include a physician’s letter to document medical circumstances, court documentation, death certificates, and letters on letter head from established members of the community that are familiar with your circumstances. Ensure documentation includes support for both the extenuating circumstance and for your plan for success in the future.
  4. Appeals for maximum time frame require certification from your academic advisor to verify the remaining courses required for you to complete your degree. The certification, known as a SAP Academic Plan, is available within the appeals section of our forms webpage.


After submitting an appeal

After you submit your appeal, our office will review the documentation you provide and consider you for financial aid. There are three possible outcomes when you submit the appeal.

  1. The appeal is approved. If your appeal is approved, we will update your financial aid status from suspension to probation. Your probation status will grant you one term to raise your GPA or completion rate to the minimum required thresholds.
  2. The appeal is incomplete. If your appeal is incomplete, we were not able to approve the appeal with the documents provided. Please contact our office if you have questions about documents we request.
  3. An Academic Plan is requested. If we feel your appeal is strong, but that it would be difficult for you to get back into good standing in one term, we will request that you complete a SAP Academic Plan. The plan will outline multiple terms of coursework and provide more than one term for you to get back into good standing.
  4. The appeal is denied. If your appeal is denied, your financial aid status will stay as suspended and you will not be eligible for financial aid. You may appeal to the SAP Committee. If you chose to appeal to the SAP Committee, it is similar to asking for a second review. The decision of the committee is final. If denied, you take courses without financial aid and once meeting SAP standards again, be considered for financial aid.


Appeal limits and deadlines

Appeal limits
CU Denver has a maximum appeal limit of 5 appeals during a student’s undergraduate career at the university, and a limit of 3 appeals during a graduate/professional career.


Grant Aid
To be considered for the reinstatement of grants, we must receive a complete appeal no later than one month after the Census Date for the term. Students who have had an appeal approved must still be enrolled to have aid awarded. Grants other than the Federal Pell Grant are not guaranteed for appeals received after this timeframe or appeals determine to be incomplete. A complete appeal will include the appeal form, personal statement, supporting documentation, and if required, a SAP Academic Plan. We encourage students to submit appeals prior to the deadline to allow time to submit additional documents if required.


Federal Direct Loans

A student will be considered for loans if a complete SAP Appeal is received no later than 30 days prior to the last day of the term for which a student is appealing and still enrolled at least half-time. While the office will review appeals received within 30 days of the last day of the term, it is not guaranteed loans will be able to be offered within this timeframe. A complete appeal will include the appeal form, personal statement, supporting documentation, and if required, a SAP Academic Plan. We encourage students to submit appeals prior to the deadline to allow time to submit additional documents if required.


To learn more about Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards, review our Satisfactory Academic Progress  Policy on our policies webpage.