Student Financial Services

Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires Xavier University to develop and enforce standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress prior to awarding any federal financial aid funds to students. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) was established to encourage students to successfully complete courses for which federal financial aid is received and to progress satisfactorily toward degree completion. The standards apply to Federal financial aid programs, including Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Parents, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, and Federal Teach Grant. These financial aid standards of academic progress are separate from, and in addition to, academic standards required by the University for continued enrollment.

The criteria used to determine SAP are cumulative grade point average, cumulative completion rate (or pace), and maximum time frame for completion of educational objective. At the end of the academic year, following the spring semester, the Office of Student Financial Services reviews the academic progress of all students who received any type of Title IV federal student aid at any point during the academic year. All periods of enrollment are reviewed, including semesters during which no financial aid was received.

Qualitative Requirement – Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA)

Undergraduates at the freshman level must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 1.750.

Undergraduates at the sophomore level and above must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000.

Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.800.

Grade levels are defined by the following metrics:

  • Freshmen - students who have earned 0 through 23.99 credit hours
  • Sophomores - students who have earned 24 through 54.99 credit hours
  • Juniors - students who have earned 55 through 89.99 credit hours
  • Seniors - students who have earned a minimum of 90 credit hours

Quantitative Requirement - Completion Rate (Pace)

Students must successfully complete a minimum of 67% (two-thirds) of cumulative credit hours attempted. Attempted hours are hours for which a charge was incurred, excluding audited hours. Transfer hours are included as both attempted and earned hours.

Maximum Time Frame for Completion of Educational Objective

Students must complete their degree program within 150% of the published length of their degree program in credit hours. For example, if a major requires 120 credit hours to graduate, a student cannot receive financial aid beyond 180 credits attempted, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received for those credits. The student becomes ineligible at the moment they can no longer mathematically complete their degree within the maximum time frame for their program.

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades are calculated as an "F" until the incomplete grade is changed to a complete grade.

A grade of “IP” (In Progress) will indicate the student is continuing a long-term project related to the course, and should only be used when such continuation is the expectation of the program. The grade of “IP” does not count toward the GPA.

Grades of “I” (Incomplete) may be granted only rarely and only for serious reasons. The grade “I” does not count toward the GPA. If the Incomplete is not resolved by the last day of the subsequent semester, the student will fail the course and “I” will be permanently changed to an “F.”

Grades of "W" for courses dropped after the add/drop period will count as hours attempted.


Pass/Fail grades at Xavier are recorded as S for Pass and U for Fail. Grades of S/Pass do not impact the student’s CGPA and therefore are not factored into the SAP calculation. Grades of U/Fail do impact the student’s CGPA as a failing grade and are therefore factored into the SAP calculation.

Grades of S and U both impact the student’s Completion Rate and Maximum Time Frame as hours attempted and hours earned (S) and unearned (U), and therefore are factored into the SAP calculation.

Repeated Coursework

Repeated courses affect academic progress as follows:

  • Cumulative Grade Point Average - Only the most recent grade counts in the student’s CGPA.
  • Cumulative Completion Rate - When a course is repeated it will be counted as attempted hours.
  • Maximum Time Frame - A course that is repeated will be counted as attempted hours.

Grade Changes

We are not required to recheck SAP or recalculate due to grade changes. Any changes to grades that occur during the academic year will be accounted for in the regularly scheduled SAP evaluation point that occurs after the grade has been changed.

Students on financial aid probation Academic Plans have their quantitative and qualitative progress checked at the end of each semester while on a Plan, and any grade changes for these students will be factored into the evaluation of their progress while on the Plan.

Remedial Coursework

Remedial courses and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses are treated the same as other courses for satisfactory academic progress purposes. If a student who was enrolled in remedial course work does not maintain the minimum academic standards and requests an appeal, the appeals committee will take into consideration the courses in which the student was enrolled.

Transfer Hours

Transfer hours accepted toward the student’s academic program count in the overall maximum time frame calculation and in the cumulative completion (pace) calculation. Transfer hours have no effect upon the cumulative grade point average.

Changes of Major/Degree Program

Students who change majors or change programs are still held to the 150% maximum time frame rule. All credits attempted from the first major/program will count as attempted hours for the new major/program. The 150% maximum limit will be measured based on the number of credits required for the new major/program.

Second Bachelor's Degree

Students who enroll in a second bachelor's degree program (non-ABSN) are still held to the 150% maximum time frame rule. However, only the credit hours from the first degree which apply to the second degree will be counted as attempted hours.

Students in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree must have a prior bachelor’s degree for admittance to the program. These students will be expected to complete their second bachelor’s degree within 150% of the length of the Xavier ABSN program.

Timing of Reviews

The standard academic year consists of two terms: fall and spring. Summer term is a header, so if a student is attending year-round, their academic year will be considered summer/fall/spring. All programs are offered in credit hours with terms.

All periods of enrollment for the academic year will be evaluated for SAP, including semesters during which no financial aid was received. Students who received any type of Title IV federal student aid at any point during the academic year will have their academic progress reviewed at the end of spring semester after all grades have been reported. Students not meeting one or more of the SAP components will be notified by email to their Xavier email account following the year-end review. The email will explain the SAP regulation and alert the student that they are not meeting the requirements. The notification will also provide a link to the appeal form, instructions on how to appeal their SAP standing, and the appeal deadline.

Because Summer term is the start of a new financial aid year, and begins immediately following the end of the previous aid year, prior to the annual SAP evaluation, students who enroll and receive federal aid for summer term, and then later are determined not to be meeting SAP, will no longer be eligible for their summer federal aid disbursements and will forfeit that aid unless they appeal their SAP standing and are approved.

New financial aid recipients (i.e., those students who had never previously applied for aid, or those returning after an absence from Xavier) will have their academic progress reviewed when the Office of Financial Aid receives the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students not meeting SAP standards will be ineligible for federal student aid unless they appeal their SAP standing and are approved.

Financial Aid Suspension

At the time of the review, students who are not meeting the minimum requirements for SAP will be placed on financial aid suspension. Students placed on financial aid suspension are ineligible for federal financial aid for subsequent enrollment periods. Students are notified of their aid suspension by email to their Xavier student account. During financial aid suspension students may be permitted to attend Xavier at their own expense to demonstrate academic progress. Financial aid suspension is separate from University suspension and only pertains to the student’s ability to receive federal financial aid funds.

Regaining Eligibility for Title IV Aid

A student not meeting the standards of SAP may re-establish eligibility by meeting the SAP requirements on his/her own or through the appeal process.

SAP Appeals

Appeal is a process by which a student, who is not meeting the institution's SAP standards for the receipt of federal student aid, petitions the institution for reconsideration of the student's eligibility for Title IV program assistance. A student on financial aid suspension may appeal the loss of aid if extenuating circumstances prevented the student from making satisfactory progress.

When the student is notified of failure to meet SAP requirements, they are offered the opportunity to appeal and are provided with the link to the appeal form and the appeal deadline. The appeal must include the signed appeal form and a written statement describing the extenuating circumstances that prevented the student from meeting SAP, and what has changed that will allow the student to meet SAP at the next evaluation.

SAP appeals are reviewed by the SAP program coordinator, who then communicates the decision and corrective action to the student.

Appeal circumstances can include but are not limited to:

  • The death of a relative
  • Physical injury or illness of the student
  • Struggles with anxiety, depression, or substance abuse
  • Family difficulties such as divorce or illness,
  • Interpersonal problems with family, friends, roommates, significant others
  • Difficulty balancing school and work, athletics, or family responsibilities
  • Financial difficulties.

A student may be required to provide supporting documentation, such as a statement from a physician, hospital, or therapist if necessary.

SAP Appeals may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis after the deadline has passed, but appeals are generally not considered after the second week of the semester for which the student is appealing reinstatement, unless there is an extenuating circumstance. SAP appeals are not retroactive. From the date the appeal is approved, aid can be reinstated going forward for the terms and conditions specified in the student's Academic Plan. Aid cannot be applied to a previous, completed semester for which no approved appeal is on file.

A student may appeal SAP more than once, but they must either present a new set of circumstances, or a new explanation of what steps they are taking to achieve the desired academic result. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for students with chronic, documented health conditions that may recur.

Approved Appeals

Students who successfully appeal their SAP standing will be placed directly on an Academic Plan for the terms specified by the Plan. The Academic Plan can be no more than 4 standard semesters in length, and will inform the student which SAP metrics they are not meeting and the corrective action required. Academic Plans are developed by the Financial Aid Office and are administered by Student Success Coaches (undergraduates) or the SAP program coordinator (graduate students). Approved students can continue to receive federal student aid while making progress on an Academic Plan. Students on Academic Plans will be evaluated by the Financial Aid Office SAP program coordinator at the end of each term for which a valid plan exists. Students must sign an Academic Plan contract and achieve specific academic benchmarks by the end of each semester on their Plan to continue receiving federal financial aid.

Students not meeting Maximum Time Frame will be expected to provide a Graduation Plan developed by their advisor indicating the remaining coursework necessary for graduation, which semesters the courses will be taken, and their expected graduation date. The student’s SAP appeal may be approved pending receipt of the Graduation Plan, but no federal aid can disburse until the Graduation Plan is received by the Financial Aid Office. The Graduation Plan will then form the basis for the student’s Academic Plan, and the student will need to follow it completely.

Students who do not meet the terms of their Academic Plan and fail to achieve stated term goals by the end-of-term evaluation points will be considered in violation of their Academic Plan and financial aid will be suspended for subsequent enrollment periods. A student may appeal their Academic Plan if new circumstances arose that impacted their ability to meet the Plan objectives. 

Denied Appeals/Unsubmitted Appeals

If an appeal is denied or not submitted, students not meeting the requirements of SAP may choose to attend Xavier while on financial aid suspension, at their own expense. If they achieve both the completion rate and CGPA requirements for SAP on their own prior to the official academic year-end review, they may appeal to have their eligibility for Title IV aid reinstated for any terms remaining in the academic year. Students who meet SAP requirements before the official evaluation point and appeal for eligibility reinstatement do not need to be placed on an Academic Plan.