Maintaining Financial Aid Eligibility

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress, mandates that institutions of higher education establish minimum standards of "satisfactory academic progress" (SAP) for students receiving federal financial aid. These standards apply to all Federal Title IV aid programs including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, TEACH Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans and Federal Work-Study. The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards apply to all students seeking federal Title IV financial aid, regardless of whether a student has received Title IV financial aid in the past. 

Process of Determining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP):

Each student will be measured for satisfactory academic progress annually in May after spring grade processing. This evaluation will determine if the student has sufficient progress to be eligible for future Federal Title IV funding. Students who have not met the minimum SAP requirements will be notified that they are not eligible for financial aid via email to their official MU email address as well as a message on MAX.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Measurements:   Students must meet all three requirements.

  1. Qualitative Measure (cumulative MU GPA):
    • Undergraduate students must achieve at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA after attempting 32.5 credits.
    • Graduate students must achieve at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  2. Quantitative Measure:
    • Completion Rate/Pace: Pace is calculated by dividing cumulative hours the student successfully completed by cumulative hours the student has attempted. This calculation includes all attempted credits, both at MU and those accepted in transfer; courses for which a student receives academic credit, withdraws, receives incomplete or repeat grades and/or fails are counted in the calculation of the completion rate/pace.
    • Students must successfully complete 67% of the total cumulative attempted credits. For example,  Student A has attempted 30 credits and earned 21 of them.  21 divided by 30 = 70% so Student A would be meeting this measure.  Student B has attempted 30 credits and earned 18 of them.  18 divided by 30 = 60% so Student B would not be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  3. Maximum Timeframe (completing program of study within 150% of program length):
    • Undergraduate students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree may receive aid for up to 180 cumulative credits attempted (includes both MU credits attempted and those accepted in transfer).  Students pursuing an Associate’s degree may receive aid for up to 90 credits attempted (includes both MU credits attempted and those accepted in transfer).  
    • Graduate students may receive aid for all credits attempted up to 150% of the specified number of credits required by their specific degree program.
    • Students who change majors are responsible for completing the degree requirements within the timeframe specified above. 


For assistance calculating your GPA, please visit The Office of Academic Advisement's website:

*** Please note that this calculation is, while accurate, only a estimation and should not be used to determine graduating GPA. Consult your DARS or the Registrar's Office for futher details ***

Special Grades and their Use in Satisfactory Academic Progress Determination:

  • I – Incomplete – Student will receive no credit for an “I” grade although the “I” is counted as attempted credit(s). If, however, the incomplete grade is resolved and a passing grade is received, the credits will be counted.
  • W – Withdrawal – No credit received; however counted as attempted credit.
  • AU – Audit – No credits received; not counted as attempted credit.
  • P – Pass – Student receives credit(s) but GPA is not affected.
  • Z – No grade given – No credits received; however counted as attempted credit. 

Repeat of Course:

The last grade earned is always used in calculating the GPA. If the student failed the course the first time but passes it the second time, the appropriate number of credits will be received after the second attempt. If, however, the student passed the course the first time, repeats it in an attempt to improve the GPA but receives a failing grade, the appropriate number of credits will be deducted from the cumulative credits earned total. Maximum hours earned for any course cannot exceed the number of credits listed for that course in the catalog.

Regaining Eligibility:

If a student fails to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards, but meets the standards later at some point, the student can once again be eligible to receive federal Title IV. In such cases, financial aid eligibility will begin with the academic semester after which the student re-establishes progress. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the MU Office of Financial Aid after completing coursework that allows the student to regain eligibility for financial aid.

If a student is taking coursework at another institution to regain SAP eligibility, students should be aware that:

  1. An Authorization to Transfer Credits Form must be completed (go to the Registrar’s webpage, select Student Forms Center, and select Transfer of Credit) prior to taking any courses elsewhere if the credits are to be transferred back to MU.
  2. Only “credits” transfer back to Millersville University, actual “grades” do not. If the student's deficiency is in GPA, taking courses at another institution will not resolve that deficiency. The Registrar’s Office must accept the transfer credits in order for those credits to be counted towards satisfactory academic progress.
  3. We recommend that the course(s) be taken as early as possible in the summer to allow time for the grade(s) to be transferred, reviewed, and updated at MU.  Be sure to request an official transcript to be sent to the MU Registrar from the other school.
  4. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid once grades have been transferred from another institution.  We cannot review financial aid eligibility until the credits appear on your transcript at Millersville.

Appeal Process:

A student whose financial aid eligibility has been suspended may “appeal” that status if they have experienced extenuating circumstances that affected their ability to meet the academic progress standards. In general, extenuating circumstances can include, but are not limited to, illness, injury, death of relative or friend, difficulties with accommodations for students with disabilities, and adversity due to unforeseen events. Students interested in appealing the suspension of financial aid eligibility can access the Academic Progress Appeal Form online.  The completed form and supporting documentation should be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid. The student must also address in the appeal why the student failed to make SAP and what has changed that will allow the student to make SAP in the next evaluation. The student will be notified via email of the Committee’s decision.

Academic Dismissal: 

A student who is dismissed from Millersville University for academic reasons will be eligible for financial aid only if they have met the prescribed number of credits for academic progress at the time of the student’s initial semester of re-entry to Millersville University.

State Grant Academic Progress: Academic progress requirements for state grant programs differ from the federal academic progress policy.  Generally, a full-time student must earn 24 new credits per academic year.  A student may receive the equivalent of 8 full-time PA State Grant payments.  Academic progress requirements for the Pennsylvania State Grant are communicated directly to recipients with their state grant notification by PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency); questions about appeals for Pennsylvania State Grant eligibility must be directed to PHEAA at 1-800-692-7392 or

Some notes regarding SAP

  • We recommend that a student contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine the number of credits s/he is short for receiving aid. Sometimes this calculation can be very difficult, so instead of trying to determine the number of credits needed on your own, you should verify it with the Office of Financial Aid by speaking to one of the counselors. We cannot give this information to anyone but the student, so please do not have your parents or anyone else call on your behalf – it must be given to the student only because it is so closely related to grades, which are protected under FERPA.

    You can view more information about FERPA from the U.S. Department of Education. Please note, the Authorization to Release Information Form completed for the Office of Financial Aid, does not authorize us to release this information to a parent or any other individual.

  • If a student appeals and the appeal is approved, his/her aid is not reinstated until the fall semester, meaning that if the student is taking courses over the summer, s/he will be required to pay for those him/herself or by using an Alternative Loan that does not require SAP.

  • If the student takes a course (or courses) over the summer at Millersville University, we are usually able to assist the student with his/her fall bill, either by having the aid reinstated and processed before the bills are ready or before they are due, as long as the student has take the course(s) in Summer 1 or 2. Generally, if the student takes a course during the Summer 3 session, we are unable to help the student with his/her fall bill because the grades are not posted for that summer session until after the due date and after the date where the Bursar’s Office drops student’s schedules for non-payment. It is the recommendation of the Office of Financial Aid that a student takes summer courses during Summer 1 or 2.

  • If the student uses the fall term at Millersville University as a make-up, we will automatically review grades once they are posted on the student’s account. It is still a good idea for the student to contact the Office of Financial Aid once they see grades posted to be sure the aid was reinstated and the amounts of the aid that can be credited towards his/her spring bill (if it has not already been paid).

    If the student does not plan return to Millersville University for the fall term, s/he needs to contact the Registrar’s Office about taking a Leave of Absence, so s/he can return for the spring semester. Please note: the student will still not receive any aid until the required number of new credits has been passed. If the student plans to take courses at another school during the fall term, those credits will have to be transferred to Millersville University and posted to his/her account before financial aid can be processed. In general, it takes about one week for grades to post at the other institution, then they must send an official transcript to Millersville University (be sure you have requested the transcript be sent from the other school), which then must be reviewed by the Registrar’s Office at Millersville University and then posted on your Millersville University account (through MAX). In total, we usually say it takes about 3-4 weeks from the end date of your course before the grade is posted on a student’s Millersville University account.

It is the responsibility of the student to contact the Office of Financial Aid once the grade has posted on his/her Millersville University account. Transfer credits are not automatically reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid.
If the student takes no credits during the fall term, s/he will still not receive aid for the spring term because s/he did not pass the required number of new credits.