Federal regulations require that all students make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in a program of study to maintain eligibility for financial aid. SAP includes meeting the minimum GPA requirement for your career, school, college, and/or program; completing 67% of all attempted course work, and completing your degree within 150% of the standard program length.
To see how the SAP policy works, watch our SAP video.
Students must maintain a University GPA consistent with their academic program requirement. The University GPA is the official GPA on the student transcript. It is a cumulative GPA from all the campuses of the University of Colorado for the student’s current career (undergraduate or graduate). Grades of I or IP are not included in the GPA calculation. SAP is recalculated for changes to GPA after I or IP grades are updated to a letter grade. Incompletes (I) are changed to F’s if not completed within one year.
Each program has different policies on whether or not courses can be repeated. Please contact your academic advisor for academic policy regarding repeat coursework. The Office of Financial Aid will recalculate SAP eligibility based on your current cumulative GPA if you repeat coursework.
|Undergraduate - Engineering||2.25|
|Undergraduate - Journalism||2.25|
|All Other Undergraduate||2.00|
All students must progress at a pace that allows the student to complete their program within the maximum allotted timeframe.
The pace is calculated by dividing the number of successfully completed credits by the number of attempted credits. Students must pass at least 67% of all attempted credit hours with a grade of D- or better or Pass (P).
Non-passing grades are: F (failing), I (Incomplete), or W (withdraw).
Attempted credit hours are: all hours for current career (undergraduate, graduate or law) including CU hours (all campuses and continuing education) regardless of grade received, study abroad credit hours, transfer hours accepted at CU from any other college or university, and AP or IB college credits (undergraduate only). Repeated and non-passing grades will also count as attempted credit hours even if the grade is no longer calculated in the GPA.
For graduate students, IP (in progress) grades are considered satisfactory and will not affect the completion rate.
Students have up to 150% of their program length to complete their degree before they become ineligible to receive financial aid (including federal Direct and PLUS loans).
Refer to the chart below to review the maximum timeframe by degree type:
|Degree Type||Maximum Timeframe|
|Undergraduate||180 credit hours|
|Undergraduate - Engineering||192 credit hours|
|Law||133 credit hours|
|Graduate (Master's)||10 semesters|
Undergraduate and Law students maximum timeframe is determined by credit hours. The maximum credit hours are all attempted hours for current career (undergraduate or law) including CU hours (all campuses and continuing education) regardless of grade received, study abroad credit hours, transfer hours accepted at CU from any other college or university, and AP or IB college credits (undergraduate only). Repeated coursework and courses with non-passing grades are also included in maximum credit hours. All coursework is counted whether or not the student received financial aid.
For undergraduates, the maximum timeframe is intended for a student to complete all undergraduate coursework including changes in majors or degrees, a second bachelor's degree, or a teaching certificate.
Graduate Master’s and Doctoral student maximum timeframe is calculated by terms. Any term that the student has attempted credit hour enrollment will count towards maximum timeframe including summer and terms for graduate coursework at other CU campuses. Terms are counted toward maximum timeframe if the student receives grades of F, I, or IP; or the student withdraws for the term with grades of W. The number of terms is not extended for less than full-time enrollment. All terms are counted whether or not the student received financial aid.
Note: For dual degree programs, students will be allowed to complete both degrees based on the program with the highest maximum timeframe allowed. For example, if a student is enrolled in a Master's and PhD program, they will be given a total of 18 semesters to complete both degrees.
SAP is evaluated at the end of every semester, including summer, whether or not the student receives financial aid for the semester. The first violation results in the student receiving a warning. The second violation results in loss of financial aid eligibility. All notifications will be sent to the student's official university email address.
Students are only given one warming for their entire career at CU Boulder, even if they did not receive financial aid during the semester they did not meet the minimum academic requirements.
Students currently receiving financial aid will receive notification of their warning or violation status, to their official university email address, when they are below their required GPA, or get close to meeting their completion rate and/or maximum timeframe.
If an undergraduate student has 60 or more non-passing credit hours (64 or more for engineering students), a review will also be done to determine if they can complete their program within the maximum timeframe. If it is determined that a student cannot complete their program within the maximum timeframe they will be automatically suspended from receiving financial aid without a warning letter.
If a student has extenuating circumstances that prevent them from making academic progress toward a degree, an appeal may be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) as soon as the student receives official notification or 3 weeks before the end of the semester. OFA will review and consider appeals for extenuating circumstances such as a death in the family, a serious medical illness (personal or immediate family), accident, house fire, or other special circumstance.
A complete appeal will include the following:
To expedite your appeal, submit all documents together and be as detailed as possible in your personal statement.
CU Boulder has a responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. Please be aware that if the appeal references sexual misconduct or protected class discrimination or harassment, OFA is obligated to report allegations of this nature to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) in addition to considering the appeal on these grounds. OIEC may contact the student appealing in this case, but the student is not required to respond.
Each appeal will be reviewed by a committee. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on probation and will be eligible to receive financial aid for a period of one term and will be issued an academic plan by email. The academic plan will provide conditions the student is required to meet for that term.
If an appeal is denied or suspended after probation, the student may request a second review by the committee if the student can provide new information and documentation that may have been omitted from the initial appeal. Decisions on second appeals are final. Third appeals are not accepted.
A student can regain financial aid eligibility by meeting the SAP standards or the conditions set forth in their academic plan.
Scholarship recipients are also expected to meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP). In addition to SAP, a scholarship may have more rigorous requirements and/or a separate appeal process. Refer to your original scholarship award notification or contact the scholarship donor for specific requirements.
In the event a student fails to meet the SAP requirements, Scholarship Services will contact either the private scholarship donor or the university department to notify them. It is then their decision to determine if the student is still eligible for the scholarship. If the scholarship is cancelled, the student may appeal directly to the donor or department.
Please note that graduate funding, such as tuition waivers or fellowships which are paid directly to the student bill or through the payroll system, will not be impacted by SAP suspension.
The following definitions apply to the terms used in this section: