What does SAP stand for?

In accordance with Title IV Financial Aid federal regulation 34 CFR 668.34, the University of Massachusetts Lowell has established the following policy for evaluating the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) of Title IV financial aid recipients. This policy extends to university and state financial aid programs.

SAP Process and Evaluation


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the measurement of a student’s academic progress toward their degree. SAP evaluates three components to determine eligibility for financial aid: qualitative measure (cumulative grade point average), quantitative measure (percentage of coursework completed) and maximum time frame allowed for degree completion.

The review of a student’s SAP status is based on the entire academic record, even if the student did not receive financial aid for previous semesters of enrollment. In order to be eligible for financial aid, students must satisfy all three components.

Undergraduate students must meet each of the following SAP criteria:

  • Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.000
  • Minimum completion rate of 70% (total earned credits divided by total attempted credits)
  • Maximum time frame allowed is 150% of defined program length

Graduate students must meet the following SAP criteria:

  • Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.000
  • Minimum completion rate of 70% (total earned credits divided by total attempted credits)
  • Maximum Time Frame allowed is 150% of defined program length

Completion rate is calculated by dividing total earned credits by total attempted credits.

Earned Credits include successfully completed courses and transfer credits. Audited coursework not included.

Attempted Credits include successfully completed courses, non-passing grades, incomplete, withdrawn courses, administrative withdrawals, transfer credits and repeated courses.

Maximum Time Frame Allowed is calculated by multiplying the published program length by 150 percent. Example: published program length of 120 credits * 150% = 180 maximum time frame allowed to complete degree requirements.

The impact to GPA for incomplete grades, withdrawn courses, transfer credits and repeated courses is outlined in the University’s grading policy maintained by the University Registrar.

Evaluation-NotificationEvaluations & Notifications

The Financial Aid Office evaluates SAP annually at the end of each spring term for undergraduates and graduates, or upon re-enrollment into the university. Students enrolled in a certificate program are evaluated at the end of each term. SAP is also reviewed at the end of each probationary period, if applicable to student. Financial aid applicants not meeting SAP standards will be deemed ineligible to receive financial aid and will be sent written notification to their university student email account.

Fin-Aid-TerminationFinancial Aid Termination

Students who do not meet the university SAP standards are not eligible to receive financial aid. Financial aid applicants not meeting SAP standards will be sent written notification to their university student email account. SAP status applies to financial aid eligibility and does not impact registration or academic standing.

SAP-Appeal-ProcessAppeal Process 

Students who do not meet the minimum SAP requirements for continuance of financial aid have the right to appeal when special circumstances exist. Conditions when a student may appeal include death of a relative, injury or illness of the student or other extenuating circumstances.

To appeal, a student must complete the following four steps:

  1. Student must log into the UMass Lowell Financial Aid Portal and enter their S.A.P. appeal statement directly into the webform. The student statement must include why the student failed to meet S.A.P. and what has changed to allow student to meet S.A.P. at the end of next evaluation.
  2. After entering the appeal statement into the webform the UMass Lowell Financial Aid Portal will automatically request supporting documentation. Examples of circumstances and suggested supporting documentation are:
    • Medical Circumstances: Medical or hospital record containing student’s name and date of service; or signed and dated letter from physician or counselor on official letterhead indicating the dates student was under their care
    • Divorce or Separation: Divorce decree, signed letter from attorney (on letterhead), or signed statement from counselor or therapist
    • Legal Matters: Accident report; police record; or court documents
    • Military Leave: Copy of military orders
    • Death of immediate family: death certificate, obituary, or funeral notice of immediate family member
    • Readmission following suspension or under the UMass Lowell FRESH START program: Submit a letter explaining in detail the nature and dates of student suspension / withdrawal and the life circumstances at the time that led to the suspension or withdrawal.
    • Completing a second degree or program: Explanation of programs and progress, including academic goals and remaining credits to program completion.
    • Other: Signed and date letter from a neutral third-party that has detailed knowledge of student's extenuating circumstances.
      • Note: neutral third-party does NOT include family and close friends.
  3. Meet with academic advisor and develop an SAP Academic Plan. Both student and advisor must complete the SAP Academic Plan DocuSign form.
  4. Once the student has completed the appeal statement, uploaded supporting documentation, and uploaded the completed, signed SAP Academic Plan into the Financial Aid Portal, student must click the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the page to complete the appeal.

The Financial Aid Office cannot review the appeal until all steps are completed.

Appeals and supporting documentation should be submitted by the last day of add/drop for each term. Late appeals may not be considered. Incomplete appeals will not be considered.

All appeals are reviewed by representatives of the Financial Aid Office, with input from academic administrators when appropriate.

If the Financial Aid Office representative finds an appeal does not meet the criteria of extenuating circumstances and believes the appeal should be denied, the appeal is brought to the SAP Committee, consisting of other members of the Financial Aid office to make a determination.

Approved appeals will result in the student being placed on Financial Aid Probation. Written notification will be sent to the student's university email account.

Denied appeals will deem the student being ineligible for financial aid. The student may enroll in coursework, but will not receive aid. Written notification will be sent to the student's university email account.

Appeal decisions are final.

probationSAP-ProbationFinancial Aid Probation

A student who fails to meet SAP and who has successfully appealed with the Financial Aid office will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one semester. During the Financial Aid Probation period, the student is considered eligible for financial aid. At the end of the Probation period, the Financial Aid Office will evaluate the student's academic record to determine SAP status.

Re-Establishing-EligibilityRe-Establishing Financial Aid Eligibility

A student may regain financial aid eligibility by successfully meeting the university's SAP policy requirements.

All information is subject to change based on changes to federal law, regulation, or university policy and procedure. If changes are made, students must abide by the new policy.