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Financial Aid >FAQ >SAP

- Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid Eligibility -


Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress
Policy for Law Students
Effective July 1, 2011 (Commencing Fall 2011)


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to define successful completion of coursework to maintain eligibility for financial aid. Catholic University is required by federal and state regulations and institutional policy to determine whether a student is meeting SAP requirements. SAP evaluation for law students occurs once a year at the conclusion of spring semester.    

The student’s entire academic career history must be considered when determining SAP status regardless of whether or not the student received financial aid during each period of enrollment.



The following components are measured to determine whether the student is meeting SAP standards: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Maximum Timeframe.


Qualitative (Grade Point Average)

The qualitative component is measuring the quality of the student’s SAP by conducting a review of the student’s cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA). To meet the qualitative requirement, the student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least a 2.25. 

Specific federal, state, and institutional scholarships and grants may require a higher GPA for continued eligibility. This is a separate and distinct factor in renewing or continuing eligibility for these specific financial aid funds. The GPA for specific scholarships and grants supersedes the GPA requirements referenced above. Information about the terms and conditions of specific student aid programs that have GPA requirements are provided to the student at the time the award is offered. 

The following grades and their values are used in computing your semester and cumulative GPA for SAP purposes:


Grade Point Value**



























*Other grades such as (W) and (P) are not included in the GPA.

**Only the grade(s) of record for a repeated course will be used to determine your cumulative GPA.  The grade of record is determined and maintained by the Registrar.




















Quantitative Measure (Calculating Pace or Completion Ratio)

The quantitative component is measuring the pace at which the student must progress through his or her program of study to ensure completion within the maximum timeframe permitted and provides for the measurement of the student’s progress at the time of the evaluation. Pace or completion ratio is calculated by determining the cumulative number of credit hours the student has successfully completed divided by the number of cumulative credit hours the student has attempted. Credits accepted from other schools that are applied to a Catholic University degree are counted in the calculation as both attempted and completed hours. To meet the quantitative requirement, the student’s completion ratio must be 67% or higher. 

For financial aid purposes, the following definitions and conditions apply:

To earn hours at CUA, one must receive a grade of  A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D or P.  All other grades, including F, F*, I and W do not earn credit hours.

Audited courses count as attempted but not earned hours. Therefore, auditing classes will negatively affect a student’s ability to satisfy the hours earned standard.  Accepted transfer credit will count as both attempted and earned hours, but will have no effect on cumulative GPA.


Maximum Timeframe Measure

To meet the maximum timeframe requirements, the following rules apply:


Professional Student Pursing a Juris Doctor


 Student Pursuing a LLM.

Not to exceed 116 attempted credit hours


 Not to exceed 36 attempted credit hours


A student who completes the academic requirements for a program but does not yet have the degree or certificate is not eligible for further additional federal student aid funds for that program.




Effects of Pre-Requisite and Repeated Courses

Pre-requisites (or preparatory courses) do not count toward the student’s degree requirements; however, they are counted as earned hours and are used to determine a student’s academic grade level or classification. Pre-requisite courses are classified as undergraduate, thus, for SAP purposes credit hours earned and attempted and grades are evaluated in accordance with the Financial Aid SAP Policy for Undergraduate Students. 

If the student repeats a course, those credits and grades are used when measuring the qualitative standard.  When a student repeats a course, the total attempted hours will increase with each repeat, but the student may only earn hours for a successfully completed course once.  Therefore, repeating courses negatively affects the student’s ability to satisfy Quantitative and Maximum Timeframe measures.


Effects of Withdrawal and Incomplete Grades

If the student withdraws from a course after the drop/add period for any given semester (e.g., student receives a grade of W for the course), the course credits are included in the count of attempted credit hours. Thus, withdrawn courses are calculated in the Quantitative and Maximum Timeframe measures. 

 Credits for an incomplete course (e.g., student receives a grade of “I” for the course) are counted as credits attempted for quantitative and maximum timeframe measures but only included in the credits completed when the “I” grade is replaced with a passing grade.  The “I” grade is treated as an “F” in the qualitative measure (i.e., cumulative GPA calculation) until the incomplete grade is replaced with a passing grade.


Additional degrees

If a student successfully completes a degree and enrolls in a subsequent degree program at the University, that student’s SAP eligibility will be “reset” and reviews of SAP for the subsequent degree will only count coursework completed towards the additional degree.  This reset provision does not pertain to a change in program.