Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for St. Mary’s Graduate Students

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress, requires that institutions of higher education establish and monitor the academic progress of students who receive federal financial aid. Our institution has established the following minimum standards and practices for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), allowing students to continue receiving financial aid.

At the end of each semester, the Office of Financial Assistance reviews each student’s progress based on the completion of a Qualitative Standard and a Quantitative Standard which is defined below:

  • The Qualitative Standard for SAP requires after the first academic year of attendance at St. Mary’s, a graduate student must have a cumulative B (3.0 or better) average or its equivalent or have academic standing at that point in the program that is consistent with the university’s requirement for graduation.
  • The Quantitative Standard for SAP, also referred to as the Pace of Progression, considers the number of credit hours a student successfully completes in comparison to the number of credit hours attempted. A full-time graduate students at St. Mary’s is expected to complete 67 percent of all hours attempted with a minimum 9 hours completed each semester (see chart below). Remember, repeat courses or those a student receives a grade of incomplete (I) will not count against a student’s GPA, but will be factored into his/her completion rate.
SAP Requirements for Graduate Students at St. Mary’s University
Requirement TypeYear 1Year 2Year 3
Required Hours183648
Cumulative GPA3.03.03.0
SAP Requirements for Ph.D. Students at St. Mary’s University
Requirement TypeYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Required Hours18365678
Cumulative GPA3.

In addition to the qualitative and quantitative standards, to be eligible for financial aid, a student must not exceed 150% of the required program hours to graduate from any one degree program. A student who exceeds the maximum hours is ineligible for financial aid. For example, a student enrolled in a program requiring 36 hours to graduate may not attempt more than 54 hours and still receive financial aid.

The University awards federal funds annually to eligible students and at the completion of each semester, the Office of Financial Assistance reviews each student’s academic progress according to the following policy. A student meeting ALL the above standards receives a SAP status of GOOD STANDING GRADUATE and will continue financial aid eligibility.
If a student fails to meet one or more of the above standards, he/she is placed on one of three financial aid SAP statuses, as described below and receives a notification from the Office of Financial Assistance.

  • SAP Warning: A student who does not meet SAP will be placed under a SAP WARNING status for one semester. This status indicates a student is being warned that he/she is not meeting the SAP eligibility and has one semester to meet the eligibility requirement before being placed on PROBATION GRADUATE. During the SAP warning designation, a student will continue to receive financial aid. Warning status does not need to be appealed because a student is still eligible to receive financial assistance.
  • Probation Graduate: A student placed on financial aid suspension has the option of appealing the suspension through the SAP appeal process. If after the review process, an appeal is granted, a student will be placed on PROBATION GRADUATE for the next semester, and a student must bring his/her SAP eligibility to GOOD STANDING GRADUATE status during the semester or be placed on SUSPENSION GRADUATE. While on PROBATION GRADUATE, a student may continue to receive financial assistance as long as a student is otherwise eligible.
  • Suspension Graduate: A student with a previous SAP status of SAP WARNING or PROBATION GRADUATE and fails to meet SAP eligibility during the next semester will be assigned SAP status of SUSPENSION GRADUATE and will NOT be eligible for financial assistance during the next semester he/she attends the university. A student under the SUSPENSION GRADUATE may appeal this decision through the appeal process.

A student who is placed under the SAP status of suspension for not maintaining the required cumulative GPA, pace of progression, or having not met the program completion time period and reaches the maximum number of hours or time frame to complete his/her degree, must complete courses at his/her own expense.

Students who withdrew or who have been out for a semester or more must reapply for admission to St. Mary’s University.

  • Questions?

    For any questions you or your family may have, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to support you.

    Office of Graduate Admission
    Chaminade Tower

    Office of Financial Assistance
    St. Louis Hall, Room 301

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