Undergraduate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards

(updated 01/06/11)

Students’ academic records are reviewed in January and May to determine compliance with the SAP Standards. Students who lose financial aid eligibility due to not meeting SAP requirements may:

  • earn the necessary GPA or semester hours to meet the minimum requirements while not receiving federal financial aid or
  • submit a SAP Appeal Form.


Minimum Grade-Point Average (GPA)

Undergraduate students must maintain at least a 2.0 UI GPA. Some scholarships may require a higher GPA than the minimum required to remain in good standing.


Minimum Pace Requirement

Use the formula below to determine your pace. The minimum pace requirement is 67%.

Completed Semester Hours (grades of A, B, C, D, S or P)

divided by

Attempted Semester Hours (completed hours plus hours with grades of F, N, U, W, O or I)


Fall Semester
Spring Semester
Hours Completed
Hours Attempted

16 ÷ 24 = .67 (67 %)


Duration of Eligibility

Federal guidelines limit financial aid eligibility to 150% of the semester hours of the intended degree program.  Transfer hours are included in the calculation of duration of eligibility. Nursing students are allowed five semesters of clinical rotation.

Prior to May 2011, duration of eligibility is also limited to 12 semesters of enrollment.  Semester withdrawals count toward the 12 semester limit.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
180 hours
Tippie College of Business
180 hours
College of Engineering
192 hours

Students who exhaust their duration of eligibility must file the SAP Appeal Form to be considered for extended eligibility.  If the appeal is accepted, each semester students must enroll in at least six semester hours of coursework required for the degree.


Eligibility After Completing First Bachelor's Degree Requirements

Based on federal financial aid regulations, students who have met all degree requirements for their first bachelor’s degree may no longer qualify for federal financial aid even if they have not officially applied for graduation. Information on this policy and answers to frequently asked questions are available on our Completed First Bachelor's Degree Requirements web page.


Second Bachelor's Degree or Teacher Certification

Students who are returning to earn a second undergraduate degree or teacher certification have already exhausted their duration of eligibility through their initial undergraduate degree. They must file the SAP Appeal Form to regain financial aid eligibility.

  • Students returning to earn only an additional major are not eligible for federal financial aid.
  • Each semester students must enroll in at least six semester hours of coursework required for the second degree or teacher certification.


Impact of Course Repeats, Withdrawals, Incompletes, Remedial, and ESL Courses


Email Satisfactory Academic Progress staff at finaid-sap@uiowa.edu if you have questions about course repeats (duplications), withdrawals, incompletes, remedial, or ESL courses.

Course Repeats:  Students receiving an F in a course may repeat that course and receive financial aid for it until the course is passed. Students receiving a passing grade (D- or better) and retaking the course may only receive financial aid for that course one additional time.

Withdrawals: View our Impact of Student Withdrawal web page.

Incompletes: An Incomplete will count as attempted hours but will not count as completed hours until a grade, passing or failing, is assigned. An incomplete may negatively affect a student's pace and aid eligibility. Students enrolled in Guided Independent Study (GIS) courses through the Division of Continuing Education may automatically receive an Incomplete if they do not finish the GIS course in the semester for which they paid tuition. While Continuing Education allows two semesters for course completion, for financial aid purposes, the course should be finished in one semester or the student's pace and aid eligibility may be negatively affected.


Remedial Courses:  Generally, remedial courses count as attempted hours and completed hours, but do not impact the GPA.  Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for additional information.

ESL Courses:  Some students may qualify for federal financial aid for ESL courses.  Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for additional information.