Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid

To be eligible for financial aid, you must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. The Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships has established guidelines (based on federal regulations) for evaluating your progress, taking into consideration your cumulative UNR GPA, the cumulative number of credits you have attempted and completed at UNR, and credits that have transferred from any other postsecondary institution.

Scholarships have a separate and distinct SAP standard. For information regarding SAP requirements for a specific scholarship, please consult the scholarship award criteria on your "Financial Aid Offer," which can be found in your communication center on MyNevada.

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

"Satisfactory Academic Progress" is the term used to signify a student's successful completion of coursework toward a degree or certificate. For federal, state, and institutional aid, the University is required to monitor the progress of each student toward degree/certificate completion. These academic standards apply for all periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not aid was received. Students who fall behind in their coursework, or do not achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completed credits, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state, and institutional aid administered by our office. Students who are not meeting standards will be notified via the email on file in MyNevada.

There are two components to the SAP standards: 1. Quantitative, which consists of pace and Maximum Time Frame, and 2. Qualitative, which consists of cumulative UNR GPA and Pass/Fail grades for remedial coursework. Failure to comply with any requirement will result in a loss of financial aid eligibility.

Pace Requirement

Pace is based on all college credits earned from UNR and all other post-secondary institutions, regardless of whether or not aid was received. A student must earn (complete with a passing grade) 70% of all attempted (enrolled) credits in order to meet the pace requirement. Pace is calculated as: (number of credits earned ÷ number of credits attempted) × 100. Courses that are assigned a grade of 'A', 'B', 'C', 'D', or 'S' are included as both credits earned and credits attempted. Course assigned grades of 'I', 'W', 'F', 'AD', 'AR', 'NR', 'R', and 'U' are not included as credits earned, but are included as credits attempted.

For example: A UNR student has attempted 80 credits. Out of those credits, this student has passed 66 credits. (66 ÷ 80) × 100 = 82.5%, so this student is meeting the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standard. But say this student has only passed 55 credits. In that case, this student would not be meeting the standard, because (55 ÷ 80) × 100 = 68.75%, which is less than the required 70%.

Maximum Time Frame

Federal regulations limit financial aid funding to no more than 150% of the average length of the program. All attempted (total enrolled) credits at UNR and at all other institutions are counted in this limit, regardless of whether or not aid was received.  The credit limit includes dual majors, changes in majors, and multiple degrees.

  • An undergraduate student maximum time frame is 180 attempted/total enrolled credits.
  • A graduate student maximum time frame is 70 attempted/total enrolled graduate credits.
  • A doctoral student maximum time frame is 140 attempted/total enrolled graduate credits, including all post-baccalaureate coursework.

Minimum University Grade Point Average (GPA)

In addition to the quantitative component for Satisfactory Academic Progress, federal regulations also require that a student must maintain a certain grade point average in order to receive financial aid.

The GPA requirement is based on grades earned at UNR, and does not include grades transferred from another institution

  • Undergraduate students are required to maintain a 2.0 or better cumulative UNR GPA.
  • Graduate students are required to maintain a 3.0 or better cumulative UNR GPA for graduate level coursework.

Students admitted into the professional degree in Education must maintain a UNR GPA tied to their required coursework (2.0 undergraduate and 3.0 graduate coursework).

Be aware that a grade of 'S' or 'U' will have no effect on GPA.

For example: A UNR student has attempted 84 credits. Out of those credits, this student has completed 75 credits. This student has completed 91% of coursework attempted ((77 ÷ 84) × 100 = 91%), but has a 1.8 GPA. This student is not meeting the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards because he or she has not maintained a 2.0 GPA.

Remedial Coursework

Remedial courses are assessed qualitatively with S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory) grades.  If a student receives a U grade for a remedial course taken at UNR more than once, the student will no longer be meeting SAP. Successfully passing the same remedial course, or completing core math/English requirements, as applicable, will remedy the deficiency. Remedial courses do not affect pace or Maximum Time Frame.

Enrollment Requirements and Information

All students will be packaged at full time status. You may reduce your enrollment to three-quarter time, half time, or less than half time, but be aware that this may cause you to have to repay funds if you change any time before the final add/drop date for the semester. If you reduce your course-load after the final add/drop date, a pace problem may result.

Repeated Coursework

Repeated courses affect total credits attempted and total credits completed. If you repeat a course, all grades for the same course will be averaged together, unless you file for a grade replacement, in which case only the most recent grade will be kept for GPA purposes.  Repeated coursework will be counted toward your semester enrollment if you have not previously passed the course, or if you have passed the course and are repeating it one time to improve your grade. If you are repeating a course that you have passed twice or more, it will not count towards your semester enrollment.

Dual Enrollment

You may only receive financial aid from one institution, even if you are concurrently enrolled at more than one. Your enrollment status at UNR only includes coursework that is listed in our semester class schedule. Exceptions may be approved in advance for students whose program requires courses that are never offered at this University or in other limited circumstances. Completed coursework at another institution may create or correct a pace problem.

100% Withdrawal from the University or Zero Credits Earned

If you completely withdraw or earn zero credits during a semester, you will be subject to the Return of Title IV Funds calculation. You may be required to pay back all or part of the financial aid disbursed.

Academic Renewal

UNR has an Academic Renewal policy through which a student can apply to have grades excluded from GPA, provided certain conditions are met.  There is no provision for "academic renewal" in which credits attempted and grades earned are excluded from your financial aid eligibility assessment.

Warning Semester

Students who have fallen below the minimum GPA or pace requirements, or have failed a remedial course more than once, will get a warning semester, during which time they will be permitted to receive financial aid while remedying the deficiency. If, after the warning semester, the GPA, pace, or remedial credit deficiency is not resolved, eligibility for financial aid will be lost. Students who do not meet Satisfactory Academic Standards after their warning semester must either appeal or remedy the deficiency by taking and paying for classes on their own. Each student will only be permitted to receive one warning semester at UNR, regardless of deficiency or combination of deficiencies, and whether or not aid was received during that warning semester. Graduate students are also eligible for a single warning semester at UNR as long as no prior warning semester was during any graduate career.

Transfer students who do not meet UNR pace requirements for financial aid will be permitted one warning semester during their first period of enrollment. If all deficiencies are not remedied after their first semester, they must appeal or remedy the deficiency by taking and paying for classes on their own.

Classes taken at UNR will affect both GPA and pace, whereas classes taken at other post-secondary institutions will only affect pace. Remedial credits taken at other institutions do not count against students, but may remedy deficiencies if passed. There is no warning semester for students who exceed the Maximum Time Frame credit limits.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals

If you do not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, you may submit an appeal. If you have a GPA, pace, or remedial coursework issue, you may submit the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal. If you have a maximum time frame issue, you may submit the Maximum Time Frame Appeal. These forms can be found on our website at All appeals must be received three weeks prior to the end of the term in order to be considered for aid in the current semester. Appeals received during the summer will only be considered for aid beginning in the subsequent fall semester.

In addition to submitting the appropriate appeal form, signed and dated, you must also submit the required supporting documentation, as listed on each form.

For a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal, your written narrative must be typed and signed. You may include any letters of support from professors, physicians, or other professionals familiar with your case in addition to the required supporting documentation.

Examples of Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals that may be considered are:

  • Death or serious illness of an immediate family member.
  • Prolonged hospitalization or confinement at home for reasons that resulted in required extended absences from classes.
  • A one-time emergency situation that impacted your ability to continue your education or affected your academic success for a short, specified period.
  • Situations for which you had no valid choice other than to interrupt your education.

Examples of Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals that WILL NOT be considered are:

  • Lack of knowledge or understanding of the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.
  • Medical appeals based on long-term or chronic conditions that were known and existed before financial aid was accepted and received.
  • Medical appeals for illness or hospitalization for dates that do not correspond to the semester(s) of sub-standard progress.
  • Any reason for which you have previously filed an appeal.
  • Discretionary decisions to withdraw from the University.

For a Maximum Time Frame Appeal, you must submit your Planner from MyNevada showing your planned enrollment until graduation. This is an opportunity to figure out with your advisor what courses you need to earn your degree, and if any required courses can be substituted or waived prior to graduation.  If your appeal is approved, any subsequent changes to declared major(s) or minor(s) will require that you submit a new appeal.

If your appeal is approved, you will be notified by email and shortly thereafter will be able to view your financial aid awards on MyNevada.

If your appeal is denied, you may submit additional documentation to amend your appeal. If your amended appeal is denied, and you feel there are circumstances not reflected in your supporting documentation, you may request an "in-person" appeal. Please contact the Financial Aid Office at 775-784-4666 to schedule an "in-person" appeal.

Decisions made by the appeals committee are final and are not subject to further review. If your final appeal is denied, you must take courses on your own until the issue is resolved. Courses must be taken at UNR to raise the GPA above the required minimum to resolve a GPA issue. Courses may be taken at UNR or taken elsewhere and transferred in to raise cumulative pace above 70% to resolve a pace issue. Remedial courses may be taken at UNR or taken elsewhere and transferred in to address a remedial coursework issue. There is no further aid eligibility for students whose Maximum Time Frame Appeals have been denied. Discontinuing attendance for any length of time will not resolve a SAP issue.