Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Three components of your academic record determine whether you are maintaining satisfactory academic progress: (1) course completion, (2) grade point average (GPA) and (3) maximum eligibility. The requirements in each area vary according to your status as an undergraduate, graduate or professional student, your school/college of enrollment, and your enrollment status (full-time, halftime, or less than-half-time). This federal policy affects your eligibility for all forms of assistance, including but not limited to, the following aid programs:

  1. Federal: Federal Work-Study, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct PLUS Loan (Parent loan), Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Graduate PLUS Loans, Federal Family Education Loan Program, Federal Direct Loan Program (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), Nursing Student Loans and Health Professions Loans and Grants
  2. State: All State eligible programs, Alternate Loan Programs (that do not consider SAP to be a criterion), and Student Educational Loan Fund.
  3. Institutional: Departmental scholarships/grants, Howard University Student Employment Program (HUSEP), Graduate Remission or Assistantships.
  4. Private Loans: Students on SAP may only apply for private loans that do not seek a student's academic progression (or lack thereof) a necessary criterion. This is often done by conducting an internet search.

Satisfactory Academic Progress will now be evaluated on a per semester basis. It will no longer be evaluated on an annual basis. Once a student finds themselves as being on 'financial aid suspension' per email notification and by checking their BisonWeb account, they then are to initiate the appeal process. Once an appeal has been received, reviewed, and approved by members of the office's Professional Judgment Committee, students must also submit an Academic Plan (AP) to be electronically signed and acknowledged by their major advisor. The AP must have the advisor's signature on it to confirm they have approved the courses a student plans to take and successfully pass in the upcoming semester.

If AP's are not received within a timely manner, this will subsequently affect the disbursement of a student's aid for that particular semester. If a student changes their classes (by adding or dropping) within the same semester, they must resubmit their AP to the Office of Financial Aid noting the necessary changes and their academic advisor must e-sign those changes. At the conclusion of each semester, a student's performance will be assessed on the following criteria:

Completion Ratio

Your enrollment status is reviewed at the conclusion of each academic semester (fall and spring) to verify that you have earned the required minimum number of credits during fall and spring semesters. You are required to complete at least 70% of all attempted hours of coursework each academic semester. (E.g. If a student registers for 15 credit hours in the fall semester; 5 (3 credit) courses, they must pass each course with a letter grade of "C" or better.) Grades or indicators of ‘F’ (Fail), ‘I’ (Incomplete), ‘U’ (Unsatisfactory), ‘UW’ (Unofficial Withdrawal), ‘NR’ (Never Reported) all count against your completion ratio. Repeated coursework may not be used in the calculation of your completion ratio and is not covered by financial aid.

Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

As an undergraduate student, your per semester grade point average (GPA) will be reviewed. Freshmen students with a GPA lower than 2.0 at the conclusion of the fall semester will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. Regardless of the program of study, students who do not meet the required minimum GPA requirements (or academic standards) of the program are automatically SAP suspended.

Maximum Eligibility

A student will maintain financial aid eligibility for a specified period of time. Undergraduate students must complete their chosen academic program within 150 percent of the number of credit hours required for graduation or successful completion. (For example, an undergraduate student may attempt a maximum of 191 credit hours for a program requiring 127 hours for graduation.) Undergraduate students will be notified when they are within 24 credit hours of reaching the expiration of their financial aid eligibility. Students must continue their studies at their expense they have reached their maximum eligibility.

Financial Aid Probation

If at the end of the semester a student is listed as being on PROBATION of any kind (e.g. Probation for Credits, Probation for Grades and Probation for Grades/Credits), the student is still eligible to receive aid for the next semester. A student’s probationary status is a warning that he or she must meet all SAP criteria for any subsequent terms of attendance in order to maintain financial aid eligibility. A student does not do not need to appeal this status in order to receive aid. Financial aid probation will occur for a student’s next academic semester of attendance if he or she fails to earn the minimum number of credits and/or the GPA required. Such students may continue to receive financial aid while on financial aid probation.

Types of Financial Aid Suspension

Your financial aid eligibility will be suspended if you fail to earn the necessary credits or achieve the required GPA while on financial aid probation. At that time, you will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid to attend Howard University. To reinstate your financial aid eligibility, you must appeal to the Office of Financial Aid by the proposed deadline per semester. If a student's appeal is denied for whatever reason, they then may re-enroll and successfully complete the courses they have registered for at their own expense, at least for one semester. At the conclusion of that particular semester, students may then re-appeal to the Office of Financial Aid explaining in a detailed type-written narrative to then request to have their aid reinstated. Students cannot receive financial aid if they do not meet the necessary criteria. Students who have been suspended consecutively will be ineligible for aid reinstatement until they have covered the courses they have registered for at their own expense. Students are more than welcome to seek other sources of funding that include alternative loans that do not consider SAP to be a criterion.

Academic Suspension

You are not eligible to receive financial aid if you have been de-matriculated (academically suspended) from the University. When you have been readmitted by the University; a process students must complete with the Office of Admission, as a Former Student Returning, youmust complete the SAP appeal process. Your financial aid eligibility status will be determined based on the SAP criteria and a thorough a review of your academic transcript.


The following types of registration and grades cannot be used to fulfill probation, suspension or rematriculation requirements: credits by special exam, Advanced Placement or CLEP exams, distance education or correspondence courses for which you have not obtained prior approval, audit, withdrawal, incomplete and zero credit courses.

Appeal Process

You may appeal a financial aid suspension status by submitting a completed appeal packet to the Office of Financial Aid within 14 calendar days from the date of your notification. It is the responsibility of the student to follow up with their advisor as often as possible, throughout the semester, by checking their BisonWeb account for updates by checking their financial aid eligibility from one semester to the next, as well as their personal preferred email address for emails on pertinent deadlines and updates.

Types of suspension that CAN BE appealed by the appropriate deadline:

  1. Suspension from the University - Student is academically suspended from the University.*
  2. Suspension for Credits - Student did not earn at least 70% of the credit hours attempted in the previous two (2) academic years.
  3. Suspension for Grades** - Student did not earn minimum GPA required for ‘good standing‘ for previous two (2) years.

Types of suspension that CANNOT be appealed:

  1.  4 Year Undergraduate Suspension - Student has met or exceeded maximum degree timeframe (1.5 times the total minimum credit hours required for degree).
  2. 5 Year Undergraduate Suspension - Student has met or exceeded maximum degree timeframe (1.5 times the total minimum credit hours required for degree) OR has more than 12 hours of incomplete credits.

SAP Appeal forms are available to suspended students via BisonWeb.

If you have failed to achieve SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) because of mitigating circumstances, your appeal packet must consist of the following:

  1. SAP appeal form with type of suspension indicated per your BisonWeb account
  2. Detailed type-written narrative of what led to your suspension status, and explanation of what you intend to do to improve your plan of action, and
  3. Copies of all supporting documentation attached.

Once your appeal has been received and reviewed by the Appeals Committee, you will receive written notification of the committee's decision by email to the address you have provided in your appeal packet. You will also notice the appropriate changes made to your award package on your BisonWeb account. Note: All incomplete appeals will be denied. All appeal decisions are final and the submission of a SAP appeal does not guarantee reinstatement of aid eligibility. Students who are currently SAP suspended are strongly advised to create alternate financial plans in the event your appeal is denied.

Additional SAP Requirements

If you are listed as being SUSPENDED FROM THE UNIVERSITY, the appeal process is two-fold.

Step 1: You must appeal to your school/college as well as
Step 2: the Office of Financial Aid. It is your responsibility to stay abreast of deadlines. Stipulation letters do not ensure financial aid reinstatement and one is not contingent upon the other.
For further inquiries please contact the Office of Financial Aid at:

  1. Although you may not be receiving financial aid, you will be evaluated for financial aid eligibility on the same basis as students who receive federal and state aid. Should you apply for aid, your eligibility will be based on your prior academic performance at Howard University.
  2. If you are enrolled in a dual degree program, you may appeal for an extension of the maximum time frame provision of this policy.
  3. If you are an undergraduate student pursuing a second degree, you may attempt an additional 48 credit hours to complete your second degree program, including prerequisite courses. Graduate/professional students may attempt an additional 24 credit hours.
  4. If you are a transfer student, your maximum eligibility will be reduced by the number of transfer credits accepted by Howard University.
  5. Credits you have earned at foreign institutions will be included in your SAP evaluation provided they are applicable to the degree/program sought.
  6. Courses in which you receive a grade of ‘I’(incomplete) accompanied by a letter grade will be considered when evaluating your completion ratio, and will influence your term and cumulative GPA. All attempted and earned credits are considered in maximum eligibility determination.
  7. Courses in which you receive a grade of ‘W’ (withdrawal) do not earn credits or affect your GPA, but they will be considered when evaluating your maximum eligibility. You may retake courses from which you withdraw and those credits will count toward determining your enrollment status and completion ratio, provided you have not earned credit for the same course.
  8. If you are enrolled in undergraduate remedial courses, credits attempted/earned will count toward determining your enrollment status, minimum credits earned and maximum eligibility.
  9. If you take undergraduate courses while you are a graduate student, courses that are satisfactorily completed do not earn graduate credit or influence your graduate GPA, nor will they count toward determining your enrollment status or minimum credits earned at the graduate level.
  10. All undergraduate and prerequisite courses are evaluated in SAP Maximum Eligibility.
  11. If you are taking courses to earn professional licensure, you must be admitted to a degree program in order to receive financial aid. Students completing licensure courses and are not seeking a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree are not eligible for financial aid.
  12. The credits earned from repeated courses will count toward the determining your enrollment status and maximum eligibility. However, for purposes of financial aid satisfactory academic progress, only credits adding to the cumulative credits earned will be acceptable toward the required minimum number of credits earned per year.
  13. If you attend a summer session and wish those credits/grades to be considered with your fall and spring total, you must complete the appeal process at the end of the summer term. Summer credits will count toward determining your maximum eligibility.