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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Cal Poly is required by federal and state regulations to monitor and ensure that all students are making Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FA SAP) toward completing their degree.


Requirements for Financial Aid Eligibility

Cal Poly performs an annual FA SAP review at the end of the spring quarter to determine if you are maintaining satisfactory progress toward the completion of your degree. All students are reviewed regardless of whether or not they are receiving financial aid. Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress is federally defined and does not necessarily mirror Cal Poly’s Academic probation or disqualification rules. Students who do not meet FA SAP standards may be disqualified from receiving financial aid.

You may continue receiving financial aid by meeting all of the following requirements:

Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

You must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 for undergraduate students and 3.0 for graduate students. Any courses that were not taken at Cal Poly as well as any Continuing Education courses that are degree applicable are also included in grade point average.

Cal Poly allows undergraduate students to repeat a maximum of 16 units for purposes of improving their GPA. If the repeat grade is higher than the first, then it replaces the first grade in the GPA computation. Courses may not be funded by financial aid more than twice unless it is a course that is repeated as part of program requirements (such as art or music studio classes.)

Minimum Cumulative Pace (Completion of Units)

You must successfully complete at least 67% of the units you attempt at Cal Poly or your transfer institution. Test credit units are calculated as units earned (completed).

We review the units you have attempted and completed as a whole instead of looking at each individual term. For example, if you enrolled in 12 units each term (Fall, Winter, Spring) over the last two years, you attempted 72 total units and must have completed at least 48 of those units in order to meet the SAP standards for your third year of enrollment. 

The following grades are not considered to be successfully completed units:

  • Grades of I, RP, F, WU, NC, AU, RD, W
  • Challenged course grades
  • Continuing Education courses not applicable to your degree, CEU
  • Non-Cal Poly courses

You are allowed to use financial aid for up to 36 units of remedial course work. Remedial courses are subject to the same completion rate requirements as other courses and subject to the maximum time frame requirements.

Maximum Time Frame

You must complete your program within 150% of the published time frame allowed for the degree. All periods of enrollment including those in which you don’t receive federal funds, summer enrollments, test credits, and transfer hours from other colleges count toward this limit. The maximum time frame counts all attempted units including any from which you withdrew or received an incomplete. Once you exceed the 150% time frame, you will not be able to receive financial aid in the future.

Maximum Terms Allowed Per Program

Terms are not pro-rated. Each term of enrollment (greater than 0 units) will count as a term, including summer. Failure to make Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress in any of these areas will result in financial aid disqualification. Additionally, students who fail to meet the academic standards of their college and are dismissed are also disqualified from financial aid at Cal Poly.

Undergraduate Programs (Entering as a First-Year Student)

Program Length Maximum Terms
All 4-year programs requiring 180 to 184 units 18
4-year programs requiring 185-194 units 19
4-year programs requiring 195-204 units 20
5-year programs requiring 215-224 units 22
5-year programs requiring 225-234 23

Undergraduate Programs (Entering with some College Units)

Program length, entering with some college units or test credit units Maximum terms
Entering with 1-44 units Same as first-year programs, above
Entering with 45-89 units Subtract 3 from maximum terms, above
Entering with 90 or more units Subtract 6 from maximum terms, above
Entering with a Bachelor's Degree 0

Credential Programs

All Credential Programs Maximum Terms
Single or Multiple subject, requiring 46-49 units 5

Graduate Programs

Program length Maximum Terms
Graduate programs requiring 45 units (12 units/qtr) 8
Graduate programs requiring 48-50 units (8 units/qtr) 8
Business Administration: 60 units 11
Public Policy: 60 units 12
Graduate programs requiring 72-74 units 14
Graduate programs requiring 90 units 17

FA SAP Status Review

We will monitor your GPA, unit completion and your progress toward degree completion in relation to the maximum term time frame eligibility annually after spring grades are posted. 

After spring grades are posted and the FA SAP review is complete. If you did not meet FA SAP requirements, your future financial aid will be canceled, and you will see a negative Service Indicator uner Holds and Warnings in your My Cal Poly Portal explaining this. You will lose your eligibility to receive aid for the summer term (if you're enrolled) and the next academic year. When FA SAP is reviewed the following spring, if you are once again making financial aid satisfactory progress, your financial aid can be reinstated for the next academic year.


Regaining Aid Eligibility

Appealing Your FA SAP Status

If your failure to meet FA SAP was due to an extenuating circumstance, you can submit an appeal and if approved, receive financial aid on a probationary status.

Regaining Eligibility Through Additional Course Work

You can regain financial aid eligibility by taking additional courses that improve your GPA and/or cumulative unit completion percentage to meet the standards. Both standards must be met in order to have financial aid eligibility reinstated the quarter after you've successfully met the standards. If you regain both cumulative GPA and Unit Completion SAP standards at the end of the summer, fall, or winter quarter, you can notify the Financial Aid Office and request a review of your SAP status for future terms without an appeal.