Satisfactory Academic Progress

Educational institutions that participate in federal financial aid programs are required to define and enforce Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for those students receiving financial aid.


The standards used for financial aid recipients must be at least as rigorous as those applied to the general University population. These standards assure that completion of a degree will occur, and within an established time frame.

The standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress measure a student’s academic progress both qualitatively and quantitatively.Therefore, in addition to minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) requirements, the federally-established standards include requirements that students progress in their academic program by successfully completing the majority of courses for which they enroll and place a limitation on the maximum period of time that students can receive federal financial aid while pursuing a degree at an educational institution. In addition, certain types of courses are limited or excluded from eligibility.

The federal standards apply to all federal, state, and institutional need-based financial aid programs administered by the office of financial aid. These standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress are required to maintain eligibility for financial aid. Policies differ depending on program type.

It is important to note that separate from the policy outlined here for financial aid purposes, the Office of Academic Affairs conducts reviews of student academic performance in accordance with university standards. Please refer to the newest academic catalog for details about academic watch and academic probation.

The requirements for merit-based institutional scholarships are separate.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements:

• Maintain the required cumulative grade point average of 2.0 for undergraduate students and 3.0 for graduate students,
• Maintain a successful course completion rate (pace) of at least 67%,
• Complete an academic program within the maximum timeframe (MTF) of 150% of the published length of program (undergraduates) or within the number of credits established by the Registrar's Office for the program (graduate students), and
• Meet requirements set forth by the Office of Academic Affairs

Qualitative measure

Grade point average (GPA): maintenance of a minimum cumulative grade point average.

Quantitative measures

Pace/Progress: This measure assesses the pace at which a student progresses toward attainment of her/his degree. The calculation to determine the pace is to identify the number of credit hours completed toward the program and divide it by the number of credit hours attempted. To ensure quantitative progress, students are required to complete a minimum required percentage of all attempted courses.

Maximum Timeframe (MTF):Federal law requires a Maximum Timeframe (MTF) be established during which a student receiving federal financial aid must complete their educational program. The MTF for an undergraduate program may be no longer than 150 percent of the published length of the educational program measured in academic years, semesters or credit hours attempted. The MTF for a graduate program may be no longer than the number of credits established by the Registrar’s Office for the program of study. All courses taken while pursuing a bachelor’s degree count towards the MTF. If a student moves on to pursue a master’s degree, the MTF would reset for the graduate level program. If a student completes one degree and decided to earn a second degree, the MTF would reset.


Credits counted in the MTF are all attempted credits at Notre Dame (even when not a financial aid recipient) and all transfer credits accepted toward their academic program (at the time of SAP Review). At the point that all required coursework for an academic program has been completed, financial aid eligibility will be suspended even if the student does not apply to graduate.

The maximum timeframe for Notre Dame merit-based and need-based funding is 8 semesters for students who started as first-year students and 6 semesters for students who started as transfers.

Academic Probation: Students who are placed on academic probation by the Office of Academic Affairs are considered to be failing SAP standards (even if the GPA, Pace, and MTF requirements are being met).

Frequency of Review

The Office of Financial Aid will review the status of all financial aid applicants annually, when grades are available. Winterim credits will be reviewed with spring semester credits. The review consists of the cumulative record of all prior semesters (including semesters when a student may not have received financial aid funding), including transfer credits accepted toward an academic program at the time of the SAP Review. All elements of satisfactory academic progress will be evaluated: cumulative grade point average, maximum timeframe, pace/progress rate, and academic probation.