Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

To receive funds administered by the Office of Financial Aid (excluding private loans), students must make measurable progress towards completion of an eligible degree within a reasonable length of time. Federal regulations require evaluation of both qualitative and quantitative academic progress as well as completion of the degree within an established maximum time frame. This evaluation is called Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Each student's progress is reviewed at the end of each semester, usually after the deadline for grades to be posted. Once the Registrar has posted the grades following the conclusion of a semester, the Office of Financial Aid will evaluate the student's entire academic history for SAP, not just the semesters in which the student received financial aid.


The academic year at Dominican consists of Fall, Spring, and Summer enrollment periods. Fall begins the academic year and summer concludes it for most programs. The measurement of SAP is made at the end of each enrollment period and the status is effective with the next enrollment period. If a student changes majors or academic programs, all units reflected on their transcript will be included in the qualitative and quantitative measurements.

Qualitative Standard

The qualitative component measures the quality of academic progress through a semester review of the student's cumulative GPA. University policy requires that undergraduates maintain a cumulative 2.00 throughout all grade levels to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. Graduate students must maintain a 3.00 or equivalent passing grades to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.

Please Note: Merit Scholarships have different GPA requirements for renewal which supersedes the GPA requirements listed above.  Please see Scholarship and Grants for more information.

Quantitative Standard

Students must meet a quantitative standard of academic progress measured by completion rate. All students must successfully complete at least 67% of all units attempted. Course grades of I, F, UF, PR and W represent units attempted, but do not count towards the measure of units satisfactorily completed.

Example A: If a student attempted 32 units and successfully completed 26 of those units, dropped 3 units and failed 3 units, the completion rate will be 26 units earned divided by 32 attempted = 81.2 percent completion rate therefore meeting the measurable progress component of this requirement.

Example B: If a student attempted 32 units and successfully completed 20 of those units, and dropped, failed, repeated, had an incomplete in, or withdrew from the other 12 units, the completion rate would be 20 divided by 32 = 62.5 percent completion rate and therefore not meet the measurable progress component of this requirement and would not be eligible for financial aid assistance.

Maximum Time Frame For Completion (Time Limit)

At Dominican, reasonable length of time for the completion of a degree program is generally defined as no more than 150 percent of the normal time required to complete a degree program. Coursework that transfers into a degree program will adjust the time frame accordingly.

Example A: If the degree requires that completion of 124 credit hours, the reasonable length of time will be 124 hours X 150% = 186. Students will be within their reasonable length of time during their first 180 hours of attempted course work.

Example B: If the degree requires that completion of 124 credit hours and the student transferred in 54 hours, the reasonable length of time will be 124 - 54 transfer hours = 70 times 150% = 105. They will be within their reasonable length of time during your first 105 hours of course work attempted at Dominican.

Repeat Coursework

The financial aid course repeat policy is different than the Dominican course repeat policy. If a student has received a passing grade for a particular course, federal aid can be applied to the payment of that course only one additional term with the exception of certain required dissertation and thesis courses. Repeated courses beyond the initial retake will be excluded from the enrollment calculation and will not be paid for with federal financial aid (this includes Stafford Loans and Parent PLUS Loans). Additionally, repeated courses will be counted as hours attempted but not earned when calculating percentage of courses completed. Again, this is different from the Dominican course repeat policy, which may be found in the Dominican Catalog.

All repeated courses will affect the qualitative, quantitative, and time frame measures even if they are not eligible courses to establish financial aid enrollment status. Only coursework taken at Dominican will be looked at under this policy.

Incomplete Courses

For purposes of evaluating SAP, grades of incomplete count as attempted credits, but not earned credits.  Therefore, it will not be counted toward meeting the minimum GPA or credit completion and may qualify the student for Financial Aid Warning or Suspension until the grade has been posted.

Failure to Meet Federal Satisfactory Progress

A continuing Dominican student meeting standards who fails to meet GPA and Completion Ratio standards (excluding maximum time frame) will be automatically placed on “Warning” status for the next enrollment period. During the warning enrollment period, the student may receive federal financial aid despite the determination that the student is not meeting SAP standards. The student must meet SAP standards at the end of the warning period. If not, financial aid eligibility will be suspended until the student meets the SAP standards.

The student may appeal if there were extenuating circumstances. (See appeal process below) An appeal does not ensure that federal financial aid eligibility will be reinstated. For denied appeals, the student must pay for any additional enrollment after the warning period through personal or private funds until the SAP policy standards are met.

Dominican chooses to also issue a Warning notification to students who have reached 125% (175% for MSCP) of the maximum timeframe. A warning is issued for students who have reached this threshold and who it appears will be able to complete their programs within the 150% mark.

Re-establishing Financial Aid Eligibility

A student may re-establish their financial aid eligibility. Students who did not meet the minimum GPA requirement for their program can have their financial aid reinstated once their cumulative GPA does meet the the requirement. The minimum GPA for an undergraduate student is a cumulative 2.0 and for a graduate student is a cumulative 3.0.

Students who did not meet the completed courses requirement will need to do so to be reinstated. Students must complete at least 67% out of the total number of units attempted in order to meet this requirement.

SAP Appeals

If a student has been placed on Financial Aid Suspension, students have the ability to appeal the decision and maintain their financial aid eligibility.  In order to do this, a Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form must be completed.  This form can be picked up at the Office of Financial Aid. This form asks the student to explain the circumstances in which SAP was not able to be met and what the plan is for the future to ensure that SAP will be met.  Students must meet with their Academic/Faculty/Staff Advisor to sign off on the appeal and provide other information to the Office of Financial Aid.

Financial Aid Reinstatement Following An Appeal

If the Financial Aid Committee approves an appeal, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and their financial aid will be reinstated for the following semester.  The Financial Aid Committee may require benchmarks that are to be met before reinstatement will be granted beyond the initial semester.  In all cases, if a student successfully completes a semester while on Financial Aid Warning or Suspension AND meets both quantitative and qualitative SAP standards at the end of the semester, the student will regain full eligibility for  financial aid beginning with the subsequent semester (maximum time limits still apply).  Since a Financial Aid Warning had been determined in a prior semester, only one insufficient semester, following a reinstatement, will put the student back on Financial Aid Suspension.

Financial aid satisfactory progress appeal decisions are within the jurisdiction of the Financial Aid Office and are final.