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Graduate Financial Aid

Eligibility & Policies

Satisfactory Academic Progress

In order continue receiving financial aid, you must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The policy detailed below is effective July 1, 2011.

Federal regulations require us to monitor the academic progress of all graduate students--including PhD students--receiving financial aid toward the completion of their degree. (Please note: this policy pertains only to financial aid and is separate from other academic policies published by the institution.) SAP is monitored on a yearly basis one or two weeks after professors are required to have grades reported for the spring term. Certificate program students are an exception; their SAP is monitored at the end of every term. As a financial aid recipient, you must maintain the following minimum standards to continue receiving financial aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Minimum Standards
  • Maintain a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0 (77 for Graduate Tax students). You must maintain a minimum CGPA of at least 3.0. Find out how GPAs are calculated through the Office of the Registrar. Incompletes that are not completed within one year are calculated as "F" in the GPA. All grades for repeated courses are included in determining the GPA.
  • Complete your degree requirements within 150% of the minimum credits required to graduate. This standard is known as Maximum Time Frame (MTF). For example, you may attempt a maximum of 135 credits in order to complete a degree that requires 90 credits. In the case of a class taken more than once, both courses will be counted toward the MTF. The courses used to calculate the MTF will be courses you were enrolled in after the 100% add/drop period. Once you have reached the MTF limit, or at the point we determine it will be exceeded once required courses are completed, you are no longer eligible for federal, state, or institutional aid.
  • Complete and pass a minimum of 66.67% of all courses attempted. This is known as the Cumulative Completion Rate (CCR) and is required for you to finish your degree within the Maximum Time Frame. The courses used to calculate the CCR will be courses you were enrolled in at the end of the 100% add/drop period. (Find specific dates for the 100% add/drop period through the Office of the Registrar.) Successful completion of a course of study requires a grade of "Pass" or D or above. Grades of W, NC, NP, WF, F, Audit, or Incomplete do not constitute successful completion of a course. All accepted transfer credits are counted toward this rate, with the exception of transfer credits completed while you are not meeting DU SAP requirements. Remedial coursework is accepted if the credit hours earned apply toward your degree or certificate program.
Financial Aid Suspension and Probation

If you fail to meet either the CGPA or CCR requirements, you will be placed on financial aid suspension and will not receive your disbursement of federal, state, or institutional financial aid, or be able to use your work-study, until a SAP Probation Contract is completed. (Please note that financial aid suspension and probation pertains only to financial aid and is separate from any academic suspension or probation you may have.) To complete this contract, please make an appointment with a financial aid advisor. You will have one term to complete a SAP Probation Contract, which will always be the fall term, or the term immediately following the failure to meet SAP standards for certificate students. If a SAP Probation Contract is not signed, you will no longer be eligible for federal, state or institutional financial aid, unless an appeal is submitted and approved (as stated below).

Once you complete a SAP Probation Contract, you will be able to receive federal or state aid for a probationary period of three quarters to make up the deficit, as long as you are maintaining progress throughout those quarters. We will review your progress prior to the next payment period and if you are not maintaining progress, you will be asked to submit an appeal for the remaining terms. Certificate students, however, have a probationary period of one quarter. You must meet both the CGPA and CCR standards by the end of the probationary period or you will no longer be eligible for federal financial aid. (Please note that we cannot accept any transfer credit completed during the SAP probationary period as a means to change SAP status.)

If you fail to meet the SAP standards by the end of the probationary term outlined in the contract, you will lose your eligibility to receive all forms of financial aid including, but not limited to, work-study and loans during subsequent terms. Should circumstances arise during the school year which you feel will cause you to violate the terms of your contract, contact us immediately. We recommend that you work closely with your academic advisor to help determine appropriate coursework and grade objectives for your degree.

You will be suspended from financial aid if you reach the MTF limit, unless an appeal is submitted and approved (as stated below).

Appeal Process

If you are failing to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards and have extenuating circumstances surrounding this failure, you may appeal your status to the Office of Financial Aid.

Examples of a possible appeal include:

  • a student who exceeds his or her MTF limit due to a change in degree program
  • a student who does not meet the CCR requirement, but subsequently changes his or her degree program
  • a student who had extenuating personal/medical circumstances that have since been resolved

To appeal a financial aid suspension, please submit the following documentation:

  • A written statement that includes your program of study, anticipated completion date, a list of required courses left to complete the program, and the reason for the appeal.
  • If appropriate, third party documentation surrounding the reason for the appeal.

Each appeal request is reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Special Circumstances Committee. Appeal decisions are emailed to you within 3-5 weeks after submission. If the Special Circumstances Committee needs additional information regarding the SAP appeal to make a decision, an advisor will coordinate this effort and the time frame to make a decision will be delayed. In some cases, an advisor may require a SAP Probation Contract. Appeal decisions are final.

If you have questions regarding this policy, please contact us.