Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards

Basic Requirements

Students receiving federal financial aid are expected to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward completing their degree. Miami's SAP policy applies to the following federal financial aid programs:

  • Federal Direct Loan Program (Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS)
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Federal Work Study

To measure progress, the Office of Student Financial Assistance will evaluate a student’s academic record each year when the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is received. Records are reviewed in accordance with current academic standards of the University.

1. Credit Hours Attempted vs. Earned

Students must pass at least 67% of the cumulative institutional credit hours attempted at Miami to ensure the degree is earned within the maximum time frame allowed for the degree they are attempting.

2. Grades/Grade Point Average (GPA)

Undergraduate students must achieve a 2.00 cumulative GPA or greater after attending Miami for four semesters regardless of enrollment status. Graduate students must maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA at all times.

Students must meet the academic requirements necessary to remain at Miami as a student as outlined in the Miami Bulletin, General Edition (MiamiOH.edu/bulletin).

3. Maximum Time Frame for Completion of Degree Program

Federal regulations require Miami to establish a maximum time frame for a student to complete a degree. For undergraduate students, we define this as 150% of the length of an academic program. For graduate students, we define this as five years from the acceptance into a Master’s program and 10 years from the acceptance into a Doctoral program. As a federal aid recipient, degrees must be completed within this time frame. The maximum time frame includes all prior terms of attendance at Miami, including part-time attendance and any other college or university, whether or not federal aid was received. The maximum time frame also includes all periods of attendance at Miami, whether or not a student received federal aid. Repeated coursework will count as additional attempted hours.

Please note: For the purposes of SAP, hours attempted are hours taken at Miami to earn credit. If an academic fresh start is received, all hours attempted prior to the fresh start are considered in the SAP calculation. Additionally, students pursuing a second degree are expected to maintain each standard of SAP, and progress will be monitored annually, per Miami’s academic progress review.


1Miami’s Standards of SAP Policy is reviewed annually by members of management within the Office of Student Financial Assistance. The policy is reviewed by comparing it to the Miami Bulletin, as well as any federal updates related to SAP. After review of the policy, it is then posted on Miami’s website for prospective and current student access. The policy is also referenced in Miami’s financial aid publication for prospective students, Your Guide to Financial Aid.


Published Program Length for Maximum Time Frame Requirements

Maximum time frame calculations are based on published program lengths as defined in the Miami Bulletin, General Edition.

Type of Degree Maximum Attempted Hours
Associate Degree 96 credit hours
Bachelor's Degree 192 credit hours
Master's Degree 5 years
Doctoral Degree 10 years

Annual Academic Progress Review

Progress is reviewed each academic year by dividing the cumulative number of credit hours earned at Miami by the total number of credit hours attempted at Miami. Progress is also reviewed by ensuring that the student has not exceeded the maximum time frame for the degree the student is obtaining. If a minimum of 67% of the cumulative credit hours attempted are earned, progress is satisfactory. If less than 67% of the cumulative credit hours attempted are earned, progress is unsatisfactory. The GPA requirement and the maximum time frame will also be verified. The review process occurs at the end of spring semester for those students who have submitted a FAFSA. This review is based on the entire enrollment history at Miami and includes all transfer hours accepted. Transfer hours will also count toward maximum time frame.

Appeal Process

Students may appeal the suspension or termination of federal aid if they have a reason(s) that prevented them from meeting SAP.

Common reasons for an appeal include:

  • Personal illness or injury that needed a lengthy recovery time.
  • Death or illness of a family member.
  • Trauma that impaired emotional and/or physical health.
  • COVID-19 related circumstances2.

Common reasons for denial of an appeal include:

  • Poor academic performance due to being homesick.
  • Having a hard time adjusting to college, or the freedom of college life.
  • Being unhappy with classes or with an instructor.

Appeals should be filed within three weeks of the date of notification that aid is suspended or terminated. Appeals must be submitted by the published deadline for the term in which the student is appealing to receive federal aid. Appeals are reviewed by a committee consisting of staff members from the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Students will be notified of the appeal outcome via postal mail approximately three weeks after receiving the complete appeal.

 

2Appeals related to COVID-19 may be reviewed with more leniency per legislation and guidance from the Department of Education.


Additional Information Regarding SAP:

Change of Major

A student’s change of major can be considered as part of an SAP Appeal if the student is appealing as part of the Maximum Time Frame requirement. A change of major is not an automatic appeal approval.

Credit/No Credit Grade Option

Credit/No Credit courses do not affect a student’s grade point average (GPA) and are not factored into the GPA component of the SAP calculation, but the courses do count toward the pace of progression.

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades ('I', 'IG', ‘IU’, 'IGY', ‘IUY’, or 'S') count as attempted hours and will negatively impact academic progress. Notify the One Stop if a grade is changed. Eligibility for aid could be recalculated based on an increase in earned hours. This would include having a non-passing grade changed to a passing grade.

Non-Federal Financial Aid

SAP does not affect eligibility for private loans or Miami scholarships.

Re-Establishing Eligibility

Students may re-establish eligibility for federal student aid by taking classes to raise their cumulative GPA to 2.00 or higher and/or raising their completion rate to 67% or higher without the use of federal funds or through grade changes. Students should submit the SAP Appeal Form and a statement explaining that they have raised their GPA and/or completion rate to meet the SAP Standards and wish to have their federal aid reinstated. If a student is not able to re-establish eligibility by making up deficient hours, they may submit an SAP Appeal. Taking a semester off without enrollment or paying for coursework without aid for a semester will not be, in and of itself, sufficient for reinstatement of federal aid eligibility.

Remedial Courses

Students can receive federal financial aid for up to 30 credit hours of remedial coursework. Once 30 credit hours of remedial coursework is reached, federal aid will no longer be offered for additional remedial courses. Further, students can only retake remedial courses twice while receiving federal financial aid. Remedial courses and any repeated remedial courses will be included in the SAP calculation.

Repeated Coursework

Repeat course hours will be included as additional attempted hours. In addition, students can only take a specific course and receive a passing grade twice and still receive federal aid.

Withdrawal from a Course(s)

When a student officially drops a course during the first 20% of the course, no grade or other designation will appear on the official transcript. If a course is officially dropped after the first 20% of the course, the grade report and transcript will show a grade of W. Grades of W or F (and other negative grade marks) can affect aid for future semesters or years, because those hours will count as hours attempted but not earned. See Miami’s Academic calendar for official deadline dates.

Withdrawal from Miami

When students receive aid from federal programs but officially withdraw during a semester, a percentage of aid may be used to pay the bill for the portion of the semester attended. Since the semester was not completed, 100% of federal aid may not have been earned. A federal calculation will be done to determine if any aid will be returned to the U.S. Department of Education. If aid is returned,the student will owe Miami for any unpaid charges. In addition, the student may jeopardize future federal financial aid. To understand the possible impact on federal financial aid, please consult with the Student Success Center at 513-529-0007 or studentsuccess@MiamiOH.edu prior to withdrawing from Miami.

For more information about withdrawing from Miami, please visit the MiamiOH.edu/Withdrawal webpage.


SAP Terminology

Federal Financial Aid Advisory

Students maintaining SAP but approaching financial aid suspension will receive written notification. The following guidelines are developed to notify students early of possible financial aid suspension or termination:

Undergraduate Degree Program Guidelines for an “Advisory” notice:

  • Cumulative GPA is below 2.00 and the student has attended Miami fewer than four semesters
  • Completion percentage is between 67% and 75%
  • The student has attempted 80 hours and has not completed an associate degree (if the student is seeking an associate degree)
  • The student has attempted 160 hours and has not completed a bachelor’s degree (if the student is seeking a bachelor’s degree)

Federal Financial Aid Probation

If the student’s progress is unsatisfactory but an SAP Appeal was approved, federal aid will be reinstated for one semester and reviewed each semester of attendance until progress is satisfactory. Students must complete at least 67% of the courses attempted and achieve the GPA required as part of the academic plan if the current cumulative GPA is less than 2.00. If SAP is not made during the probationary semester, federal aid eligibility will be suspended again.

Federal Financial Aid Suspension

A student’s pace, cumulative GPA, and whether the degree can be completed within the maximum time frame are reviewed annually by the Office of Student Financial Assistance with an automated process after official grades are posted. A notation is entered in the student’s electronic record to indicate that the student is meeting SAP standards.

If a student’s progress toward degree completion is unsatisfactory, federal aid eligibility will be suspended. The Office of Student Financial Assistance will send written notification of the suspension and information on appealing the suspension to the student. The notification includes an explanation of Miami’s policy on SAP Standards and the form for students to appeal their financial aid suspension. Submitting an appeal is not a guarantee of aid reinstatement. If an appeal is not submitted or an appeal is denied, the student must complete coursework at their own expense until they are once again meeting the Standards of SAP. Denied appeals may be reviewed by the Director for reinstatement prior to meeting SAP Standards.

The student may complete coursework at Miami or at another institution, provided the credits can be transferred to Miami. Any credits earned and transferred to Miami must have been earned after the Miami term(s) in which federal aid was denied.

Federal Financial Aid Termination

If it is determined that a student will not be able to complete their degree within the maximum time frame allotted, federal aid will be terminated. The Office of Student Financial Assistance will send written notification of the termination and information on appealing the termination to the student. Submitting an appeal is not a guarantee of aid reinstatement. If an appeal is not submitted or if an appeal is denied, the student must complete their degree program without the benefit of federal aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal

A student who is not meeting one or more of Miami’s SAP Standards as outlined may submit an SAP Appeal Form for reconsideration of eligibility for federal aid. Students that are not meeting SAP will receive a copy of the SAP Appeal Form as part of the notification of failure to maintain SAP standards. While there is no limit to the number of times a student may appeal, the review for subsequent appeals will be less lenient. Appeals should include a statement from the student explaining the circumstances that prevented them from being able to maintain the SAP Standards, as well as any corrective action taken by the student to improve their progress. Documentation of the reason(s) for not meeting SAP should also be submitted as part of the appeal. Incomplete appeals will be denied and the student will receive a letter explaining that they may appeal again with complete information.