The Policy

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress, mandates that institutions of higher education establish minimum standards of "Satisfactory Academic Progress" (SAP) for students receiving federal financial aid. These standards apply to all Federal Title IV aid programs including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, TEACH Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans and Federal Work-Study. The Satisfactory Academic Progress standards apply to all students seeking federal financial aid, regardless of whether a student has received federal financial aid in the past.

Federal Requirements

Each student will be measured for satisfactory academic progress after each semester after grades have been released. The first time a student fails to meet the cumulative minimum standards, they are given a warning semester to improve their academic performance.  If a student achieves the cumulative minimum academic progress standard at the close of the warning term, the student will be placed in good standing. Students who fail to meet the standard within their warning term will be ineligible for federal aid until they either meet the standard or submit a successful appeal.

Re-Establishing Eligibility 

Students may re-establish eligibility for financial aid in one of the following ways:

  1. The student takes classes and pays for tuition and other charges as applicable without the help of financial aid and does well enough in the coursework to satisfy SAP at the end of the subsequent semester(s).
  2. The student submits a successful appeal - see procedures listed below. Students who are beyond the maximum time frame to completion may regain financial aid eligibility on a semester-by-semester basis through the appeal process

Appeals Process

Students declared ineligible may appeal the decision under certain documentable circumstances. These circumstances may include sudden, severe illness; serious automobile or other accident; family tragedy or loss of a loved one; or another circumstance not listed here. It is the student’s responsibility to provide details with dates, forms or other paperwork, or any other information requested by the Office of Financial Aid in order to review the appeal.
A successful appeal depends on several factors, including the presence of mitigating circumstances that caused academic performance to fall below the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress, the successful resolution of those mitigating circumstances so that they will no longer affect academic performance, the potential to meet the minimum academic progress measures within one academic year, and proper appeal documentation. Proper documentation includes the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form and any third-party documentation corroborating the mitigating circumstance described in the appeal.

Students will also need an Academic Plan demonstrating how the student will achieve SAP by a specific point in time. The academic plan should reflect realistic and attainable goals and may include necessary courses to achieve satisfactory academic progress standards. The academic plan could take the student to completion of their program rather than meeting SAP standards at a specific point in time.

Once the appeal is reviewed, the student is informed of the decision through their Duquesne email account. Any approved appeal will necessitate the student adhering to a prescribed program plan during the probationary period. A student who declines to accept the prescribed academic plan but who is in good academic standing may continue without financial aid.
Students are assessed at the end of each term while ineligible for aid and are placed in good standing when the minimum academic progress standards for financial aid recipients are met.

Deadline to Submit Appeals
  • September 15 to receive aid in the fall
  • January 30 to receive aid in the spring

SAP Appeal Form

Minimum Academic Progress Standards

  • Qualitative (Grade point average): Undergraduate, Pharmacy and Law students are required to achieve and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. Graduate students are required to achieve and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. 
    Cumulative GPA is calculated as described in the university catalog.
  • Quantitative (Hours completed): Students are required to satisfactorily complete 67 percent of their cumulative hours attempted. Courses with grades of F, I, or W are attempted courses but are not considered satisfactorily completed.
  • Maximum Time Limits: All students are required to complete their degree program within 150 percent of the required credit hours.
    • If an undergraduate program requires 120 credit hours, students are expected to complete their program within 180 credit hours attempted, including transfer credits earned at other institutions.
    • Graduate students (including Law, 6th year Pharmacy, and 5th year Professional Health Sciences Majors) may receive aid for all credits attempted up to 150% of the specified number of credits required by their specific degree program.
    • Students who change majors are responsible for completing the degree requirements within the time frame specified above.

State Grant Requirements

Academic progress requirements for state grant programs can vary from the federal academic progress policy. As an example, academic progress requirements for the Pennsylvania State Grant are communicated directly to recipients with their state grant notification from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).


We are here to help!

Office of Financial Aid

Use the link for more contact information, call or email.

Academic Advising and Support

Use the link for academic support resources and student success coach contact information.