Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) | Financial Aid

Federal regulations require financial aid recipients to maintain "satisfactory academic progress" (SAP) toward a recognized degree or certificate. Satisfactory academic progress applies to all undergraduate and graduate students who receive any type of financial assistance (institutional, state or federal) administered by the university and will be reviewed after every payment period (summer/fall/spring).

The university's satisfactory academic progress policy includes both qualitative and quantitative standards. These standards are defined below. All periods of a student's enrollment, whether or not the student received aid, are included. In addition, all credit hours transferred into Carroll are included and counted toward a student's maximum time frame and are reflected in the student's cumulative grade point average (CGPA).

Qualitative Standards

Minimum grade point average

In order to graduate from Carroll University, an undergraduate student must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Carroll's satisfactory academic progress policy requires that at each evaluation period a student has a CGPA of 2.0. In order to graduate from Carroll University, a graduate student must be in good academic standing within their graduate program. Detailed information pertaining to the minimum academic requirements of the University can be obtained by referring to the appropriate section of the University's graduate catalog; this includes both GPA expectations and the maximum length of time to complete a degree for graduate programs. The satisfactory academic progress policy is the same as that required to remain in good academic standing in the student's respective department.

Quantitative Standards

Maximum timeframe/150% Rule

Regulations state that a student must complete his/her program within 150 percent of the published credit length of his/her particular program. Students will not be eligible for financial aid for any credits that are attempted in excess of 150 percent of the published credit length. Credits transferred to Carroll shall be included in the calculation of attempted and earned credits for the purpose of determining the total 150 percent timeframe. The published length for an undergraduate degree is and 128 credits. Therefore, an undergraduate full-time student is allowed to attempt a maximum of 192 credits while pursuing his/her first degree.

Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree or teacher certification can receive aid for up to four additional full-time years (eight part-time). Therefore, the student would be allowed to attempt a maximum of 320 credits (192 + 128) and receive aid for 10 full-time years (including the first and second degree).

The maximum time frame allowed for graduate students varies based on the master's degree they are seeking. Graduate students should check with their department on the published length of their program. Graduate students, just like undergraduates, must complete their degree within 150 percent of the published length.

For example, the MBA program requires 33 credits—therefore a student must complete their degree by 49.5 credits (33cr x 150%).

Minimum rate of successful course completion

In order for an undergraduate student to successfully complete his/her program within the maximum credit hour time frame, s/he must successfully complete ("D" or better, or satisfactory "S") 67% of all attempted credits.

Treatment of Courses

The following is how specific courses are taken into account for the purpose of satisfactory academic progress:


Withdrawal credits will be counted as attempted but not earned.


Courses in which a student receives an incomplete will be counted as attempted but not as earned credits. Once an incomplete is resolved, a student can notify the Financial Aid Office to have their rate of completion reevaluated. It is the student's responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of any changes to previously reported incomplete grades.

Repeated courses

Courses that are repeated will show as credits attempted. However, only the last reported grade will be included in the student's GPA.

Prior work experience, CLEP and AP

Credits granted for prior work experience or examinations will be included in the student's cumulative earned hours. However, they do not show as attempted hours. Credits earned for previous work experience, CLEP and/or AP will be indicated on the student's transcript.

Audited courses

Audited courses do not count as attempted or earned.

Transfer credits and Transfer GPA

Transfer credits accepted from other schools will be counted toward completion of the degree program as both hours attempted and hours completed. Transfer GPA will be included in the cumulative GPA used for SAP purposes.

Remedial courses

Remedial courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned credits

ESL courses

Not applicable.

Failure to Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress

Financial aid warning status

Any student who does not meet satisfactory academic progress during a given semester or payment period will be put on financial aid warning status for the following semester. A student may receive financial aid while on warning. No appeal is necessary for students on warning status. A student will be notified in writing that his/her financial aid is now in a warning status and be instructed that they will have one additional semester/payment period to meet SAP standards.

Financial aid probation status

If after a semester of financial aid warning a student has not reestablished eligibility based on the qualitative or quantitative standards described above, the student has lost eligibility for financial aid. The student may submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Office (the appeal process is described below). This appeal will be reviewed by the SAP committee and, if approved, will allow the student to be placed on probation status (if denied, see Financial Aid Suspension Status below). If it is determined that a student cannot regain eligibility after one semester/payment period on probation, an academic plan may need to be established. Failure to adhere to the academic plan would result in the student being placed on a financial aid suspension status. A student will be notified in writing that his/her financial aid is now in a probationary status along with any conditions associated with this status.

Academic plan

Carroll's Academic plan will be developed on an individual basis which may include academic performance requirements, meets with academic advisors, meeting with the Director of Student Success, Learning Commons resources, etc. Failure to meet the requirements of Carroll's Academic Plan will result in ineligibility of financial aid.

Financial aid ineligible status

Any student who is failing the SAP standards and who does not appeal, has an appeal denied, or does not agree to adhere to an academic plan (if necessary) as part of their probationary status, will be placed on financial aid ineligibility. A student in ineligibility status has lost eligibility for financial aid. The process for re-establishing eligibility is outlined below. A student will be notified in writing that his/her financial aid is now in an ineligible status and how to reestablish financial aid eligibility.

Reestablishing financial aid eligibility

If a student is denied aid due to not meeting SAP standards or has reached the 150% of normal completion time, they will be ineligible for aid. Eligibility can be regained by raising the completion rate of credits attempted to 67% and CGPA to above 2.0 (unless the reason the student is ineligible is for exceeding the 150% of normal completion time). A student may reestablish their eligibility for financial aid at any point during the academic year and be given the same consideration for aid as other students who are maintaining SAP. If a student has reestablished himself or herself during the academic year they do not need to go through the appeal process. However, the student does need to notify in writing the Director of Financial Aid of their wish to be considered for aid. At this point, the Director will verify whether or not the student is meeting all SAP standards.

There is also an appeal process in which a student can appeal for additional terms of eligibility (see below).

Appeal process

Students are able to appeal the loss of financial aid eligibility due to their failure to meet satisfactory academic progress standards after a semester or payment period on financial aid warning status. Students are also able to appeal the 150% rule if they feel there are extenuating circumstances that prevented them from completing their program of study within this defined limit. Circumstances that may warrant an appeal include, but are not limited to, the following examples: medical reasons, full-time employment, or being out of school for a long period of time. Previous non-receipt of federal financial aid funds does not qualify as an extenuating circumstance.

Student's can download the SAP Appeal form (listed below). Appeals must include the form as well as an explanation in detail (1) the specific reason(s) which contributed to why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress standards (submit supporting documentation - i.e. letter from doctors, therapists, academic advisors, employer, etc.) and (2) what has changed in the student's situation that will allow them to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the end of his or her next semester or payment period, if reinstated. Failure to explain in detail or submit supporting documentation will not be reviewed. When/If approving an appeal, the school must determine that the student is able to make SAP standards by the end of the next payment period OR that the student will be placed on an academic plan that will ensure ability to meet SAP standards by end of next payment period.

Appeals need to be submitted in writing and addressed to the Director of Financial Aid. Appeals (which must include all supporting documentation) will be accepted at any time prior to the start of the next payment term. The Vice-President of Enrollment, Associate Director of Financial Aid, Director of Student Success and the Director of Financial Aid will review the appeal (the Registrar will also be asked to participate in academic related appeals). This committee will be responsible for reviewing the appeals and either reinstating eligibility for financial aid via the financial aid probationary status, or placing a student in financial aid suspension status. The student will be notified in writing of the decision within two weeks from the date that the appeal was received. The appeal decision is final.

Download the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form

Estimate your cost to attend Carroll

Panoramic View of campus