Financial Aid-Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal and state regulations require institutions to establish minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress for students receiving federal, state and/or institutional financial aid. These standards include “qualitative” as well as “quantitative” components. Students must maintain a certain cumulative grade point average (qualitative) and successfully earn minimal numbers of degree credits at each evaluation (quantitative). In determining satisfactory academic progress, all course work is considered, whether or not the student received financial aid at the time the work was completed. 

Academic progress is measured annually after spring grades are posted. Students who do not meet the standards of satisfactory academic progress are notified by the Office of Financial Aid. 

The quantitative component measures the pace at which the student must progress through his/her program of study to ensure completion within the maximum timeframe allowed. Pace is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credit hours the student successfully completed by the number of cumulative credit hours the student has attempted. The completion ratio must be 67% or greater. 

For example, a student attempted 12 credit hours in the fall semester and earned 8 credits and in the spring semester s/he attempted 14 credits and earned 11. 8 credits + 11 credits = 19 credits earned. 

12 credits + 14 credits =26 credits attempted. 19/26 = 73% which is greater than the completion ratio of 67%. 

Transfer Credits: Credits accepted by NJCU from prior institution(s) are totaled and divided by 15. The result, which is rounded down to the nearest whole semester, is the official measurement of the number of semesters spent at other institution(s). Transfer credits accepted toward the student’s educational program are counted as both attempted and completed hours. 

Incomplete and Withdrawals: Incomplete and withdrawn grades do not earn credits to meet the academic year minimum or influence the GPA in the term the course was attempted, but the credits are counted for timeframe determination. Repeated courses count toward determination of enrollment status and maximum timeframe. 

The maximum timeframe a student may attend and continue financial aid eligibility cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the student’s academic program measured in academic years. The published length of a four-year undergraduate program is eight semesters; therefore a full-time student has a maximum of twelve semesters to complete the program. The length of a graduate program is based on the published length for each individual program; in no case will the graduate student’s enrollment exceed the 150% point in time. If a student enrolls part time, the semester will be prorated accordingly. When the student’s enrollment exceeds the 150% point, the student is no longer eligible for financial aid. 

The qualitative component measures the student’s cumulative grade point average (CGPA). 

Consistent with the University’s academic standing policy; undergraduate students must achieve the stated CGPA as follows: 

  • 1.60 CGPA after a minimum of 13 credits hours attempted. 
  • 1.75 CGPA after a minimum of 24 credit hours attempted. 
  • 1.85 CGPA after a minimum of 48 credit hours attempted. 
  • 2.0 CGPA after a minimum of 72 credit hours attempted. 

Consistent with the general academic requirements of the Graduate School, graduate students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 to retain their eligibility for financial aid. 


A student notified of their failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress is no longer eligible for federal, state or institutional financial aid. The student may appeal for additional eligibility by completing a SAP appeal form. As part of the appeal the student must explain:

  • Why they failed to make academic progress, and
  • What has changed that will allow the student to make SAP during the upcoming academic year.

All appeals are submitted to the Office of Financial Aid and reviewed by a committee.

If an appeal is granted the student will be placed on a status of Financial Aid Probation and given an academic plan. The Probation status will last for one term. At the end of that term the student will again be evaluated to determine either:

  • The student is now making SAP; or
  • The student is making progress under the specified academic plan.