All undergraduate students who file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are subject to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. Upon receipt of the results of your FAFSA, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will evaluate your SAP status before awarding you financial assistance. We evaluate your progress every year you apply for financial aid.

SAP requirements apply to state and federal financial aid programs.  In addition, if specified by the donor or program administrator, institutional grants and scholarships may be subject to this policy.  Generally, academic or performance-based merit aid, which has no need component, does not include a SAP requirement.

It is your responsibility to be aware of SAP requirements.

Explanation of Requirements

The university measures your academic performance based on three standards: grade point average (GPA), pace and maximum time. See below for a detailed description.

Pace: You must earn credit for at least 80% of the hours you attempt. This calculation is performed by dividing the number of credit hours earned by the number of credit hours attempted.

Maximum Time: You may not receive financial aid for more than 150 attempted hours. If your program requires more than 150 hours and you have reached the maximum time limit, please submit an appeal for review.

Grade Point Average: The minimum GPA requirement is based on the number of credit hours attempted. GPA standards mirror the university’s academic suspension policy. (see table below)

Credit hours attempted*
(includes transferred hours)
Minimum GPA requirement
(cumulative JMU GPA for financial aid)
1-27 1.500
28-44 1.650
45-59 1.750
60-74 1.850
75-89 1.900
90-104 1.994
105-119 1.999
120 or above 2.000

* To determine the GPA requirement, start by calculating your total attempted hours.  You will need to add:

    1. All hours attempted at JMU.
    2. Credit hours transferred to JMU.
    3. Credit hours earned by departmental exam and AP credit.
    4. Credit hours for courses taken on a credit (CR)/no credit (NC) basis (whether the final grade was CR or NC).

In the example below, a student has attempted 60 credit hours at JMU, received 30 credits for transfer work, and 2 hours of no credit work. The hours attempted at JMU plus the no credit and transfer hours place this student in the 92 credit hour category, even though the total number of hours earned is equal to 82. With a cumulative GPA of 1.991, the student does not meet SAP requirements.

JMU Hours Attempted 60
Transfer Hours 30
Non-Credit Hours 2
JMU Hours Earned 52
Cumulative Hours Earned 82
Total Hours Attempted 92
Cumulative Quality Points Earned 119.5
Cumulative GPA 1.991

Explanation of Attempted Hours

The financial aid office uses the university's academic suspension policy to evaluate your GPA. In compliance with federal regulations, financial aid developed procedures for evaluating pace and maximum time. The chart illustrates how we view attempted hours for each component.

Type GPA Pace Max time
Transfer/Transfer Equivalent Y Y Y
Dual Enrollment Y Y Y
Advanced Placement Y Y Y
International Baccalaureate Y Y Y
Withdrawal Y Y
Withdrawal while passing Y Y
Withdrawal while failing Y Y
Repeat/Forgiveness ** Y Y
Repeat Credit Y Y Y
Incomplete Y Y
Credit/No Credit Y Y Y
Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Y Y Y
College Level Examination Program Y Y Y
Departmental Exam Y Y Y

** For repeat forgiveness, your most recent grade and credit(s) count toward your GPA.

Note: Federal regulations require that we conduct an additional review of your GPA status after you have completed four semesters (including summer) of enrollment. If you met SAP requirements previously, but do not meet the GPA requirement after your fourth semester, you will lose eligibility for financial aid. You may request reconsideration by submitting an appeal form.

Opportunity to Appeal

If you were unable to meet the grade point average, pace, or maximum time requirements during your previous enrollment, we will send you an email message regarding this matter.  In addition, a reminder will appear on your “To Do List” in MyMadison.  (No information will appear in MyMadison regarding SAP until you have filed your FAFSA and received an email explaining that you are not eligible for financial aid.)

If extenuating circumstances led to your noncompliance with the SAP requirements, you may submit an appeal form for review.

Contact us if you have any questions.

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