Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

​Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards are measures schools use to ensure you are progressing towards earning your degree. To be eligible for financial aid, students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards. It's important to understand the measures to ensure you are able to meet them. If at any point you are not meeting SAP Standards and learn you are not eligible for financial aid, you may use the information on this webpage to help understand your next steps.

How We Evaluate Your Progress

When we evaluate your SAP status, we review all coursework within your career. The evaluation includes courses taken for current or previous majors at all campuses of the University of Colorado. We review all students progress, regardless of if a student has applied for financial aid.

We use three measures when evaluating Satisfactory Academic Progress. The measures include grade point average (GPA), course completion rate (pace), and maximum time frame. Additional details for each measurement are included below.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

  • Undergraduates must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of a 2.0.
  • Graduate and professional students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.0.

Course Completion Rate

To be in good standing, you must complete 67% of the courses you attempt.

  • Letter grades of A through D-, P (passing) and IP grades contribute positively towards your completion rate
  • Letter grades of F, W, I and IW contribute negatively towards your completion rate
  • Repeated courses and credits transferred to the university both count towards your completion rate
    • If you take a course and receive a grade higher than an "F", you may receive financial aid to retake the course one time
    • If you take a passed course a third time, the course will not count towards your enrollment for financial aid. All grades for repeat courses are counted in your GPA for SAP

Maximum Time Frame

The number of credits you attempt in your time as a student is also measured. To be in good standing, you must complete a degree or certificate prior to attempting 150% of the credits needed for the program.

  • Undergraduates enrolled in a 120 credit hour degree program are exceeding the maximum time frame of their program once they have attempted 180 credits
  • Graduates enrolled in a 60 credit hour degree program are exceeding the maximum time frame of their program once they have attempted 90 credits

If you are not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress, we will notify you by university email after the final grade date for the term. Final grade dates are available on the Office of the Registrar’s academic calendar.

Financial Aid Warning

If you are not meeting the minimum GPA or completion rate, you will be placed on financial aid warning status for one term.

  • You are eligible for financial aid while on warning status.

  • If you raise you GPA or completion rate back to the minimum requirements after your term of warning, you will be in good standing and eligible for financial aid.

Financial Aid Suspension

If you are not meeting the minimum GPA and completion rate after the warning term, you will be placed on financial aid suspension. If you exceed the maximum time frame of your program, you will be placed on financial aid suspension and will not have a term of warning.

  • While on suspension, you are not eligible for financial aid

  • If extenuating circumstances prevented you from meeting the minimum requirements, we encourage you to complete an appeal with our office. The appeal will allow you to be considered for financial aid while not meeting SAP standard.

Types of Aid Impacted

If your financial aid has been suspended, you will not be eligible for the following types of aid.

  • Federal Student Aid (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal TEACH grant, Federal Work-study, Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Parent & Graduate PLUS Loans)

  • State aid (Colorado Student Grant, Colorado Graduate Grant, and Colorado Work-study)

  • Institutional need-based aid

  • Most institutional scholarships

  • Most outside scholarships

Students placed on suspension have two ways to receive financial aid again:

  1. Meet SAP standards while not receiving financial aid, or

  2. Successfully appeal the suspension by completing a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal. The appeal will document the extenuating circumstances that prevented you from meeting SAP standards and include a plan of success for the future.

We recognize life circumstances may interfere with your academic performance. A successful appeal will include the following information:

  1. A completed and signed Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP Appeal Form)

  2. A typed statement explaining the extenuating circumstances you faced and the steps you are taking to meet SAP standards in the future. Examples of extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to illness, injury, and deaths of those close to you. Subsequent appeals of the same nature or for the same reason are not permitted. Note: Lack of awareness of withdrawal policies or requirements for satisfactory academic progress are not acceptable reasons for an appeal. The threshold for circumstances and documentation will increase for each subsequent appeal.

  3. Supporting documentation is required to help us understand your extenuating circumstances and your plan for success. Examples of documentation include a physician’s letter to document medical circumstances, court documentation, death certificates, and letters on letter head from established members of the community that are familiar with your circumstances. Ensure documentation includes support for both the extenuating circumstance and for your plan for success in the future

  4. Appeals for maximum time frame require certification from your academic advisor to verify the remaining courses required for you to complete your degree

After you submit your appeal, our office will review the documentation you provide and consider you for financial aid. There are three possible outcomes when you submit the appeal.

  1. The appeal is approved. If your appeal is approved, we will update your financial aid status from suspension to probation. Your probation status will grant you one term to raise your GPA or completion rate to the minimum required thresholds.

  2. The appeal is incomplete. If your appeal is incomplete, we were not able to approve the appeal with the documents provided. Please contact our office if you have questions about documents we request.

  3. An Academic Plan is required. If we feel your appeal is strong, but that it would be difficult for you to meet the GPA and/or completion rate requirement in one term, we will create a SAP Academic Plan and request it be signed and submitted. An Academic Plan may also be required if you have exceeded the maximum timeframe for your program.

  4. The appeal is denied. If your appeal is denied, your financial aid status will stay as suspended and you will not be eligible for financial aid. You may appeal to the SAP Committee. If you chose to appeal to the SAP Committee, it is similar to asking for a second review. The decision of the committee is final. If denied, you take courses without financial aid and once meeting SAP standards again, be considered for financial aid.

Appeal Limits

CU Denver has a maximum appeal limit of five appeals during a student’s undergraduate career at the university, and a limit of three appeals during a graduate/professional career.


The Financial Aid & Scholarships Office (FASO) will make every effort to meet these deadlines for initial review. A decision may be delayed for incomplete submission.

  • Fall semester: SAP Appeals received 30 days before the Fall term will be reviewed by census. Complete appeals will have a decision by census.
  • Spring and Summer: SAP Appeals received no later than the first day of the term will be reviewed by term census. Complete appeals will have a decision by the census date.
  • Appeals received later than 30 days prior to the last day of the term may not be reviewed in time for aid to be offered.
  • Some awarded grants, work-study, and/or scholarships may be cancelled if the appeal is submitted after the first day of the term. At least half-time enrollment is required for loans.
  • Note: Late fees will not be waived for appeals submitted after the first day of the term.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Located in Lynx Central

CU Denver

Student Commons Building

1201 Larimer Street


Denver, CO 80204


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