Financial Aid and Scholarships

Understanding SAP

To remain eligible for financial aid money — grants, work-study funds and student loans — students must meet certain standards in the classroom. In financial aid speak, those standards are called satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for financial aid applicants.

As a student, it is not only important to know what this is, but to also be aware of how it can affect you. Below is an overview of SAP at Cal Poly Pomona and how to appeal if you’re not meeting the required standards.

Always remember that if you need help or feel as though you are unable to meet the SAP Standards there may be resources at Cal Poly Pomona and within the community that can assist you in improving your situation.

You need to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in order to continue receiving federal student aid, California State aid, and Cal Poly Pomona Institutional aid. In other words, you have to make good enough grades, and complete enough classes (credits/units), to keep moving toward successfully completing your degree or certificate in a specified time period.

  • SAP is measured for any student at Cal Poly Pomona who applies for financial aid.
  • SAP monitors your academic work in three categories: GPA, Pace (units completed vs.  units attempted), and Maximum Time Frame (overall units taken towards your degree)
  • SAP is monitored at the end of every semester, once the Registrar's Office has completed their grading and semester-end process.
  • Your SAP status is calculated using your entire academic record from all schools attended, even if you did not receive financial aid.
  • The first time you fail to meet either the Pace or GPA Standard, you will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for your next semester of enrollment. This warning status still allows you to receive aid for that next semester of enrollment, while attempting to correct the deficiency in your GPA and/or Pace.
  • If you fail to meet the standards for two consecutive semesters (Pace and/or GPA), you will be considered Financial Aid Disqualified. You can appeal the loss of eligibility, but approval is not guaranteed.
  • A SAP / Financial Aid Disqualification has no impact on your ability to register. You may still enroll in classes and pay out-of-pocket or with private loans. 
  • You may regain financial aid eligibility after a SAP / Financial Aid Disqualification by either meeting the standards through your academic work in future semesters OR by having an approved SAP appeal. 
  • Failing to meet the Maximum Time Frame Standard results in an immediate loss of further aid eligibility. You can appeal the loss of eligibility, but approval is not guaranteed. 

SAP monitors your academic progress in three categories: GPA, Pace of Progress and Maximum Time Frame. SAP is evaluated at the end of every semester, once grades have been finalized and posted. 

 The minimum SAP requirements are listed in the chart below. 

SAP Standards Information 

SAP Standards Information
Academic Objective (Degree) Minimum Cumulative GPA  Minimum Cumulative Pace of Progress  Maximum Time Frame of Aid Eligibility for Degree Completion
Undergraduate (1st Bachelors)  2.0  67%  150% of published degree length – measured in attempted units  
Teaching Credential, Certificate, Additional Bachelors’ Degree  3.0  67%  150% of published degree length – measured in attempted units 
Graduate Degree (Master’s, Doctorate)  3.0  67%  150% of published degree length – measured in attempted units

Cumulative GPA

Includes all courses transferred into the university and taken at Cal Poly Pomona 

Pace of Progress

Measured by comparing the total number of units that you have completed by the total number of units attempted. If your Pace percentage is below 67%, you will be considered to not meet the Pace of Progress. 

  • Completed Units include the following grades: A, B, C, D, RP, or CR 
  • Attempted Units include the following grades: W, WU, WX, F, I, NC, and RD (audits, military credit, and test credits are not included)

The first time you fail to meet any either the Pace or GPA Standard, you will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for your next semester of enrollment. This warning status still allows you to receive aid for that next semester of enrollment, while attempting to correct the deficiency in your GPA and/or Pace.

Maximum Time Frame

A student is eligible to receive financial aid for a maximum number of overall attempted credits for their primary program of study.  

Exclusions to Maximum Time Frame: Remedial / pre-baccalaureate coursework, test credits 

  • Please note: a maximum of 70 units of transferable credit from a 2-year institution may be accepted by Cal Poly Pomona.   Any units in excess of 70 (from a 2-year institution only) will be excluded from the Maximum Time Frame calculation.

Changing Majors and Impact of Additional Academic Objectives 

If you change majors, the units you earn under all majors will still be included in all three SAP Standards. 

  • Changing majors does not “re-set” your SAP. All coursework from your original major continues to apply to the SAP Standards.
  • The pursuit of additional academic objectives (majors, minors, certificates) and the receipt of financial aid must be completed within the units allowed for your ‘primary’ academic objective (major).    

Credits and Coursework that is NOT INCLUDED in the SAP Maximum Time Frame Calculation 

Not all credit posted to student’s academic record can count toward the degree program requirements. As a result, the following exclusions/adjustments are made with regards to the Maximum Time Frame Calculation 

  • Remedial / Pre-Baccalaureate coursework is excluded as it does not carry baccalaureate credit. 
  • Test credit (AP, IB, etc) and Military credit are excluded from the Maximum Time Frame and Pace calculations.  
  • A maximum of 70 units of transferable credit from a 2-year institution is included in the Maximum Time Frame Calculation based on CSU and Cal Poly Pomona policy. Any units from a 2-year institution that are in excess of 70 units will be excluded from the Maximum Time Frame calculation only. 
  • Students with additional transfer credit not already excluded in the initial calculation may submit a request to have the credit(s) excluded if it cannot be used to meet any Cal Poly Pomona degree requirement including general electives.   

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Changing Majors 

If you change majors, the units you earn under all majors will be included in your GPA calculation, your Pace calculation, as well as your Maximum Time Frame attempted units.  Changing majors does not “re-set” your SAP.  

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Impact of Additional Academic Objectives on Maximum Time Frame  

The Maximum Time Frame Standard is not increased to allow for the pursuit of additional objectives with the baccalaureate degree.   

Undergraduate students can pursue additional academic objectives (majors, minors, certificates) and receive financial aid; however they must complete all coursework within the units allowed for the ‘primary’ academic major   

Dual Academic Objective 

For students that are officially pursuing a financial aid eligible credential or certificate concurrently with a Master’s Degree program, the Maximum Time Frame Standard will be based on the combined sum of the minimum units required of each program you are officially pursuing and multiplied by 150% to determine your new Maximum Time Frame. 

Impact of Lower Division (1000 – 2000 Level Courses) on SAP 

Students who are pursuing a Credential, Certificate, Additional Bachelor’s Degree, or a Graduate Degree may be required to complete lower division coursework to resolve pre-requisites or other necessary activities to complete their program of study. These lower division courses impact the three SAP Standards in the following ways: 

GPA

Your GPA is calculated based upon 3000-level or higher coursework taken after completion of your bachelor’s degree. Lower division coursework will not be factored into your cumulative GPA. 

Pace of Progress

Any courses attempted at the 1000 or 2000 level will be considered attempted units, but not completed (irrespective of your final grade, as only 3000 level and higher coursework are considered for degree credit). This will negatively impact your PACE measurement. 

Maximum Time Frame Standard

The Maximum Time Frame is calculated using the published minimum degree requirements. If lower division coursework (1000 or 2000 level courses) is required to complete your program of study it is expected that it will be accomplished within the 150% maximum timeframe. 

NOTE: To receive financial aid in any term, you must be enrolled at least half-time in courses required to meet their degree or credential requirements as specified in the catalog.  

SAP is monitored at the end of every semester, once grades have been finalized and posted. You will receive an email notification after each evaluation, notifying you of the results and your SAP Status. 

SAP Statuses Information 

SAP Statuses Information
SAP Status  Description  Action Options  Impact on Aid Eligibility
Meets SAP  You meet all SAP Standards  No Action Required  Eligible for Aid
Warning  You did not meet one or more of the SAP Standards (GPA or Pace) after a semester of Meets SAP.  No Action Required -  

Warning Status is for next semester of enrollment
 
Eligible for Aid
Not Meets SAP  
(Financial Aid Disqualified)
You did not meet one or more of the SAP Standards (GPA, Pace) after a Warning Semester OR You have exceed the Maximum Time Frame  Submit an Appeal OR Continue to enroll without aid & work to improve SAP Status through academic work    Not Eligible for Aid
Probation 
(Financial Aid Probation)
SAP Appeal Approved  Probation status is for next semester of enrollment   Eligible for Aid
Not Meets SAP 
(After Probation Semester) 
You did not meet one or more of the SAP Standards (GPA, Pace) after your Probation Semester  Submit an Appeal – which must include an Academic Plan OR  Continue to enroll without aid & work to improve SAP Status through academic work   Not Eligible for Aid
Probation 
(Financial Aid Probation with Academic Plan) 
SAP Appeal with Academic Plan Approved  Probation status is for next semester of enrollment; you must follow Academic Plan requirements  Eligible for Aid
Meets SAP (with Academic Plan)  You are on an Approved Academic Plan as part of your last SAP Appeal.  Although not meeting the SAP Standards, you are adhering to the terms of your Plan.  Follow Academic Plan requirements  Eligible for Aid
Not Meets SAP 
(Did not Adhere to Academic Plan) 
You were on an Approved Academic Plan as part of your last SAP Appeal.  You did not follow the requirements of the Academic Plan and are not meeting the SAP standards.  Continue to enroll without aid & work to improve SAP Status through academic work  Not Eligible for Aid

A student that fails to meet the SAP requirements and has a SAP Status of "Not Meets SAP," will have financial aid eligibility reinstated when he or she meets all three SAP standards, or submits a SAP Appeal that is successfully approved. 

Paying out of pocket for classes or sitting out a semester is not grounds for reinstatement of aid. Students must bring their academic progress back into compliance or have an appeal approved to have aid eligibility reinstated.   

SAP and Financial Aid Disqualification has no impact on your ability to register.  You may still enroll in classes and pay out-of-pocket or with private loans.   

You may regain financial aid eligibility after a SAP Disqualification by either meeting the standards through your academic work in future semesters OR by having an approved SAP appeal. 

Students with a status of Not Meets may appeal their status to the Cal Poly Pomona Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships.  An appeal must be based on extenuating circumstances.   Supporting documentation may be requested and/or required as part of your appeal (depending on your circumstances).  Appeals are available through the Financial Aid Student Forms Portal, and will also appear on your To Do List. 

Students with a status of Not Meets SAP may appeal their status to the Cal Poly Pomona Office of  Financial Aid  & Scholarships.

An appeal must be based on extenuating circumstances. Supporting documentation may be requested and/or required as part of your appeal (depending on your circumstances).  Circumstances for appeals include, but are not limited to:  
  • Illness, accident, or injury experienced by you or a significant person in your life.   
  • Death of a family member or significant person in your life.   
  • Divorce experienced by you or parent.   
  • Significant trauma in your life that impaired your emotional and/or physical health.   
  • Other significant unexpected and documented circumstances beyond  your control.

Changes in major and double majors are not viewed as extenuating circumstances, since the standard is quite generous in the time frame allowed to complete a degree. 

To appeal your failure to meet SAP due to any of these or similar personal issues, submit the Cal Poly Pomona SAP Appeal form assigned to you in the Financial Aid Student Forms Portal. Appeals must be received within 4 weeks of the date of being notified about not meeting standards.   

In your appeal, you must:  

  • Explain how the circumstances prevented you from meeting SAP.   
  • Explain what has changed in your situation that would allow you to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation. This includes detailing any action you are taking to ensure you will meet SAP standards.   

If your appeal is approved, you will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for the next semester of enrollment. If your aid was previously cancelled, it will be reinstated based on funds available at that time. Therefore, your best interest is served by submitting an appeal as soon as you receive your suspension notice.  

Approved Appeals 

If your appeal is approved, you will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for your next semester of enrollment. At the conclusion of your Financial Aid Probation term, you must be meeting Cal Poly Pomona’s SAP standards in order to remain eligible for further financial aid.  

NOTE:  Receiving a grade of F, W, WU, WX, I, NC or RD during your Financial Aid Probation semester   will most likely cause you to not meet the SAP Standards at the end of your Probation term.   

Denied Appeals 

If your appeal is denied, you will not be eligible for financial aid until you are able to meet the SAP Standards  your academic work in future semesters.  

Appeal of Denial  (2nd Level Appeal) 

If you wish to challenge the denial of your appeal:  

  • Your challenge must be submitted in writing to the Associate Director of Financial Aid  
  • You must provide a clear written rationale for your challenge of the denial   
  • Your challenge must be submitted within two weeks of when you were notified of the appeal denial  

The Associate Director of Financial Aid will consult with the Director of Financial Aid, as well as the  Associate Vice Presidents of Enrollment Services, Academic Affairs, and/or Student Services, as appropriate in evaluating, and responding to, your challenge.  

There are times when your appeal may require the submission of an Academic Plan.  This generally occurs for the following: 

  • If you are appealing your status after failing to meet SAP during your SAP Probation semester. 
  • If, when reviewing your appeal, it is determined that even if your appeal is approved you will not be able to meet the GPA or the Pace Standard at the end of your Probation semester. 

Following this plan successfully allows you to either regain aid eligibility by meeting SAP standards or by continuing to follow your plan through completion of your program of study. 

While on an academic plan, you must: 

  • Maintain a minimum Term GPA of: 
    • 2.0 for Undergraduate Degree Students 
    • 3.0 for Credential, Certificate, or Additional Bachelor Degree Students 
    • 3.0 for Graduate Degree Students 
  • Only take courses listed on your Academic Plan for each semester 
  • Successfully complete ALL Courses attempted each semester (no F, W, WU, WX, Incomplete, NC, etc.) 

Progress is reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships at the end of each semester. If, at the end of the semester, you make progress as stipulated in your academic plan, your new SAP status will be Meets SAP (based on your adherence to your academic plan). 

If you are not making progress as stipulated in your academic plan, your new SAP status will change to Not Meets SAP (did not adhere to plan). Your aid eligibility will be suspended immediately, and you will not have an opportunity to appeal your status. Once you have failed to meet the terms of your Plan, you can regain eligibility for financial aid only by meeting the standards through your academic work in future semesters 

The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships encourages any student experiencing academic difficulties to utilize academic services available at Cal Poly Pomona. These are valuable resources that can assist you if you are struggling to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. 

Repeat Coursework

If you repeat a course, credit hours for each registration will be added to a student’s attempted credit hours total. However, only the most recent grade received in the course will be included in the calculation of the cumulative GPA/qualitative measure.

Note:  Federal Financial Aid will pay for only one repeat of a previously passed course.

Withdrawal from Courses (W)

If a student withdraws from a course during the semester, after the add/drop period (when a grade of W begins to be assigned), the course credit hours will be added to his attempted credit hours total.

Unofficial Withdrawal from Courses (WU)

If a student unofficially withdraws from a course during the semester, the course credit hours will be added to his attempted credit hours total. Additionally, per CPP academic policy, the grade of WU is included in the calculation of the students GPA (as the equivalent of an F).

Retroactive Withdrawals (WX)

Courses with a Grade of WX are included in the SAP calculation; however, course withdrawals for extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control (illness or other problems or a serious nature beyond the student’s control) can be excluded – if requested & documented in the student’s SAP Appeal.   

Remedial (or Pre-Baccalaureatte) Courses

Credit hours for each remedial course a student takes are included in the calculation of attempted credit hours total in determining pace. Remedial courses are not included in the calculation of the GPA nor the Maximum Time Frame standards. 

Incomplete Courses

Credit hours for incomplete courses are included in the calculation of a student’s attempted credit hours total, but not in the calculation of her GPA. When a grade is updated, it will be included in the GPA calculation and passing grades will be counted as completed hours.

Transfer Credits

Credit hours transferred from other schools that are accepted toward completion of the Cal Poly Pomona program count as hours attempted and hours completed. These are also factored into the Maximum Time Frame.

A maximum of 70 units of transferable credit from a 2-year institution will be counted based on CSU and CPP Policy.

Units from a 4 year institution are not limited to 70; however, transfer credit may be excluded by request if it cannot be used to meet any CPP Degree requirements (including general electives).

Audited Courses

Credits are not earned for audited courses. Therefore they are not included in the calculation of a student’s attempted credit hours total or the GPA Standard.

Pass/Fail Courses

Credit hours for pass/fail courses are included in the calculation of a student’s attempted credit hours total, but not in the calculation of the GPA.

Report In Progress

The "RP" symbol is used in connection with courses that extend beyond one academic semester. The symbol indicates that work in progress has been evaluated as satisfactory to date but that the assignment of a precise grade must await the completion of additional coursework. 

Courses with a grade of RP will be treated as units attempted and completed in the student’s Pace Standard, but not in the calculation of the GPA.

Report Delayed

The "RD" symbol may be used where a delay in the reporting of a grade is due to circumstances beyond the control of the student. The symbol may be assigned by the Registrar's Office only and, if assigned, shall be replaced by a substantive grading symbol as soon as possible upon submission of a Grade Change Form.

Since no evaluation has been done as to the status of the coursework (satisfactory vs. unsatisfactory), courses with a grade of RD will be included in the calculation of a student’s attempted credit hours total (attempted but not completed), but not in the calculation of the GPA.

Undergraduate Courses at the Graduate Level

Undergraduate courses taken by graduate students do not earn graduate credit, and therefore, they are not included in the calculation of the GPA.  However, credit hours for the courses are included in the calculation of the student’s attempted credit hours total (counted as attempted but not completed).

Changing Majors

If a student changes majors, the credit hours taken under all majors will be included in the calculation of the attempted credit hours total, the GPA calculation and the maximum timeframe for degree completion.

To review Cal Poly Pomona’s Official SAP Policy, please go to our Financial Aid Policies page.