Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Special Update - COVID-19

The Financial Aid Office is here to help and understands the challenges that may be present during these difficult times. Although Financial Aid must still evaluate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), we are aware of the difficulties the COVID-19 outbreak has made to academic success.

All current SAP guidelines are still in place and must be followed.  However, for students whose activities are impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19), either directly because the student is ill or quarantined, or indirectly because the student was recalled from travel-abroad experiences, and can no longer participate in internships or clinical rotations, or because of temporarily suspended operations, flexibilities will be permissible.

If it becomes necessary, students are eligible to submit extenuating circumstances through the appeal process, as explained  below.

The Financial Aid Office wants to assure you that we will work with students on a case-by-case basis to ensure your academic success.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

PLEASE NOTE: For purposes of financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress, an Academic Year is defined as 2 semesters. Summer terms are considered one-half of an academic year for financial aid SAP purposes.

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is a term used to describe a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a degree or certificate. SAP is required to receive all federal and state financial aid.

Federal regulations require the Financial Aid Office to apply reasonable standards for measuring whether a student is making progress toward a degree. This is to ensure that students receiving funds are successfully progressing through their program of study.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements, you could lose your eligibility for financial aid.

(Revised August 10, 2015)

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Student academic progress is measured at the end of each semester against the following qualitative and quantitative standards:  cumulative grade point average (GPA), completion rate (pace), maximum time frame and meeting the academic standards of your school or college (e.g., the College of Engineering and Science, the School of Architecture, etc.).

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    Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

    2.0 for undergraduate and Dental (DDS) programs, 2.2 for Law programs, and 3.0 for graduate programs.  At any time that it becomes mathematically impossible for the student to meet the GPA requirement by the time the student would complete enough credit hours to graduate, the student becomes ineligible for federal aid.


    Completion Rate (Pace)

    At least 67% of all credit hours attempted must have passing grades that can be applied to the degree.  The 67% completion rate maintains a pace of progression toward the degree or certificate that ensures completion of the academic credential within the maximum time frame allowed.  The pace of progress is calculated by dividing cumulative hours that you have successfully completed by the cumulative hours you have attempted.  This includes hours attempted for which you do not receive credit, such as repeated courses which do not count toward your degree and classes taken prior to re-starting your degree program.

    PLEASE NOTE: Credit hours transferred from other schools that are accepted toward completion of a student’s Detroit Mercy program count as hours attempted and hours completed.  However, transfer credit hours are not included in the calculation of a student’s grade point average. Please refer to the "Grades and Credits" section of this policy for a list of attempted credit hours.


    Maximum Time Frame

    Students must complete a degree or certificate program in no more than 150% of the published length of the program in credit hours.  Examples:

    Undergraduate degrees that require 126 credit hours:

    • Attempted credit hours may not exceed 189 (126 credits x 150% = 189 credits).

    Master’s degrees that require 36 credit hours:

    • Attempted credit hours may not exceed 54 (36 credits x 150% = 54 credits).

    Professional and other degrees that require completion within a specific number of years from the start date:

    • Student must complete degree in no more than the maximum number of calendar years from the date s/he began the program AND student must complete at least 67% of credit hours attempted during any given semester AND attempted credit hours may not exceed 150% of the required credit hours for the student’s program of study.

    PLEASE NOTE:  If at any point it becomes mathematically impossible for the student to meet degree completion and/or grade point requirements prior to the maximum time frame, the student immediately becomes ineligible for future federal (and/or) state financial aid.



    Each aid recipient's record will be evaluated at the end of each semester to determine if the student is meeting the standards described above.  Students with classes that require more than one semester to receive a grade will be evaluated both on a semester basis for any classes graded at the end of the term, and at the completion of the class for multi-semester classes. If the student has reached the maximum number of scheduled hours or maximum years without earning a degree or it is mathematically impossible for the student to do so in the remaining number of hours or time frame, the student must be excluded from further participation in federal financial aid programs.


    Financial Aid Warning

    Students whose classes meet for two or more terms before a grade is given do not qualify for a warning semester.  Students in this category have their aid suspended at the end of the second semester of two-term classes during which they have not made SAP and must appeal for SAP probation to receive consideration for any further financial aid (see below).


    Financial Aid Probation

    Students will receive a "financial aid warning" letter electronically via their University email the first time they have experienced academic difficulty which results in not meeting the SAP standards.  The letter will remind them of the minimum academic requirements for their aid programs and strongly urge them to take advantage of the academic services that are available to students at Detroit Mercy.  Students will be required to meet with their academic advisor to discuss strategies for a successful semester and return the letter, endorsed by the academic advisor and the student. Students will be eligible to receive federal aid during this warning semester.  These students are notified that their records will be checked again at the end of the semester and that further action will be taken if the student does not meet SAP standards at that time.  Students will be sent a financial aid suspension letter if, at the end of the warning semester, they are not meeting SAP standards.  Students may only receive aid for only one semester under this "warning" status.

    Financial aid probation status will be assigned to students who have failed to meet SAP standards and have successfully appealed to have their aid eligibility reinstated.

    Students who are not meeting SAP standards after a semester with a warning status or who attend multi-term classes may appeal to have their aid eligibility reinstated.  If the appeal is approved the student will be offered a financial aid probation contract.  The contract will outline the academic requirements the student must meet in order to receive aid for the following semester.  This contract must be approved by an academic advisor in the student’s college or school and can be modified by the advisor to include any steps required by the college or school for the student to maintain good academic standing within that college or school.  If the student on financial aid probation meets the terms of the probation, he/she will be permitted to continue to participate in the federal student aid programs for a subsequent semester. Students who have been placed on probation shall be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress for the purposes of receiving financial aid as long as they continue to meet the academic requirements outlined in their probationary contract which may extend to one or more semesters.

    The Scholarship and Financial Aid Office will review the records of students who are on financial aid probation at the end of each semester to determine continued eligibility.

    If the student does not meet the terms of the probation, the student will forfeit eligibility for all federal and state financial aid programs.

    Federal regulations require that these standards apply to all students, even to first-time aid applicants who have previously enrolled at the University of Detroit Mercy, or to those who have not been formally placed on probation.


    Loss of eligibility due to lack of satisfactory progress

    A student who has lost eligibility to participate in federal or state student aid programs for reasons of academic progress can regain that eligibility by enrolling at his/her own expense and demonstrating that he/she is capable of completing a semester without any failures, incompletes or withdrawals and showing the ability to complete his/her degree requirements in a more regular fashion and by submitting an appeal for reinstatement.  The mere passage of time will not ordinarily restore eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory progress.

    Students who have been academically dismissed from the university but who are subsequently given permission to re-enroll are not automatically eligible to continue to participate in federal, state, or institutional aid programs.  Admissions decisions are totally separate from funding decisions.


    SAP Appeal

    The SAP appeal must include:

    • An explanation of your overall situation, including your entire academic history at Detroit Mercy, detailing the circumstances that contributed to your inability to meet the Financial Aid satisfactory Academic Progress Standards.
    • An explanation of circumstances that contributed to your most recent unsuccessful semester.
    • Demonstrate what you have done to correct the problems that have hindered your success.
    • Attach supporting documents, such as obituaries, medical notices, tutoring contracts, etc.

    Students should not assume that a SAP appeal will be approved and accept responsibility for paying their tuition and fees if the appeal is denied.


    Grades and Credits

    Attempted credit hours include the following whether or not paid for with financial aid:

    • Earned Hours (A-D)
    • Pass (P)
    • Satisfactory (S)
    • No Record (NR)
    • No Pass (NP)
    • Unsatisfactory (U)
    • Withdrawal (W)
    • Administrative Withdraw (AW)
    • Failure (F)
    • No Record Failure (XF)
    • Final Grade Postponed - Law School Only (X)
    • Incomplete (I)
    • Incomplete/Failing (I/F)
    • Numerical grades (0.0 - 4.0)
    • Transfer Credit

    Repeated Courses

    If a student repeats a course, credit hours for each registration in the course will be added to his/her attempted credit hours total. Only the most recent grade received in the course will be included in the calculation of the undergraduate student’s cumulative GPA.  All grades are included in the GPA calculation for graduate and professional students. 

    If a student is dismissed and then re-admitted as a new start, courses taken prior to the dismissal are counted for purposes of the 67% completion rate and the maximum time allowed.

    PLEASE NOTE: Federal financial aid will pay for only one repeat of a previously passed course.

    Withdrawal from Courses: If a student withdraws from a course after the drop/add period the course credit hours will be added to his/her attempted credit hours total.

    Remedial Courses: Credit hours for each remedial course a student takes are included in the calculation of his/her attempted credit hours total but not in the calculation of his/her GPA.

    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 his/her GPA.

    Audit Courses: Credit hours are not earned for audited courses; therefore, they are not included in the calculation of a student’s attempted credit hours total or GPA.

    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 his/her 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 students’  graduate GPA, or included in the calculation of the student’s attempted credit hours total for the graduate program.

    Change Majors Courses: For students who change 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 time frame for degree completion.


    Contact for more information

    Student Support Services:

    The Financial Aid Office encourages any student experiencing academic difficulties to utilize the resources available at University of Detroit Mercy. These are valuable resources to assist you if you are struggling to maintain satisfactory academic progress. You do not have to be on probation or in a warning status to use these resources!

    Student Support Services

    McNichols Library, Room 319

    The Writing Center

    McNichols Campus
    Briggs 135

    University Ministry

    McNichols Campus
    Student Center – Across from Bookstore

    Wellness Center

    McNichols Campus
    West Quad – Wellness Center Room 105
    313-578-0496 or 313-993-1170

    Law School Academic Support Services

    Renaissance Campus/Dowling Hall