Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal Regulations require all students receiving Financial Aid to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to maintain eligibility for Financial Aid. Eligibility is reviewed for all financial aid recipients at the end of each term.

When evaluating Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), all terms of enrollment will be evaluated regardless of whether the student received Financial Aid during those terms or not. For transfer students, only those credits that are transferred to NMSU, and all credits attempted while attending NMSU, will be counted toward the time frame.

All the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards for students applying for and receiving Federal Financial Aid, excluding academic suspensions, is established and monitored by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services. Academic suspension standards are established and monitored by the University Registrar.

Elements of Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement (Qualitative)

  • Undergraduate students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA or greater on all hours attempted at NMSU.
  • Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA or greater.

Completion Rate Requirement (Quantitative)- Pace of Progression to ensure completion within the maximum time frame

  • Students must complete 70% of all hours attempted.

Maximum Time Frame- Pace of Progression

  • Must complete program of study within an established time frame. The maximum time frame is 150% of the published length of the academic program or certificate (to include all transfer credit hours). Limited developmental coursework will not be counted in the maximum time frame.
    • Example: Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies = 128 hours x 150%= 192 hours (192 hours is the maximum number of hours allowed by financial aid.)

What happens if I don’t meet Satisfactory Academic Progress?

In the following provisions, “warning” or “suspension” means Financial Aid warning or suspension, not academic warning or suspension.

  1. Financial Aid Suspension – If, after being placed on Financial Aid warning status, a student fails to meet the SAP standards of a cumulative 2.0 GPA and 70% completion rate, he or she will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will immediately lose Financial Aid eligibility.
  2. Financial Aid Probation – When a student fails to make SAP and who has successfully appealed and has had eligibility for Financial Aid reinstated with an academic plan (W-Stips).
  3. Maximum Time Frame Suspension (Pace of Progression) – Undergraduate students must attain their degree on or before 150% of the published credits needed for an associate or bachelor degree. Graduate students must also attain their degree on or before 150% of the published credits required for the degree they are seeking. If a student fails to meet the Maximum Time Frame standards, he or she will be placed on Maximum Time Frame Suspension and will immediately lose Financial Aid eligibility.

Failure to meet one or more of the established Financial Aid standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress will make a student ineligible for Financial Aid. Students who have their Financial Aid revoked due to the failure to meet the SAP standards will remain ineligible until such time that they are able to meet the cumulative Financial Aid SAP standards. Those students will be responsible for payments of their own tuition and fees.

Notes of Importance

  • Federal Regulations do not allow rounding of Financial Aid SAP standards.
  • The Financial Aid SAP standards are not the same as NMSU’s Academic Standards of Progress criteria. Financial aid students must maintain a higher completion rate (70%).


Appeal Process

Students that fall below NMSU’s Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements have the right to appeal their ineligibility for Federal Financial Aid. All appeals are reviewed for extenuating circumstances by the student’s Financial Aid Advisor or the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. Financial Aid Appeals must contain the following documentation:

  1. The student must complete the Appeal for Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Form, describing all extenuating circumstance(s) that prevented the student from meeting the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for the most recent semester. If the student’s academic transcript indicates that the student had more than one difficult semester, the student must address the circumstance(s) for each semester.
  2. Students should attach any documentation that is relevant to their circumstance. For example, if the student had an illness that prevented them from attending classes, the student should provide a doctor’s note or medical billing statement as verification of illness.
  3. Section C of the appeal form, Academic Plan Information, needs to be completed by the student’s Academic Advisor in their academic department. Students can contact the Academic Advisor in their respective college by clicking one of the following links:

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Services Academic Programs

College of Arts and Science Advising Center

College of Business Advising Center

College of Education Advising Center

College of Engineering

College of Health and Social Services

Appeal Deadlines

Fall 2015 Deadline: October 14

Spring 2016 Deadline: March 16

Summer 2016 Deadline: TBA

All appeals, including relevant documentation, must be submitted by the semester deadline based on the current semester of enrollment. Appeals need to be date stamped by the Financial Aid Office or postmarked by this deadline. No exceptions will be considered. If the Financial Aid Office receives an appeal after the semester deadline, the appeal will be considered for regaining eligibility for the next term of enrollment.

Appeals may be submitted by email, fax or taken directly to the Financial Aid Office.

Appeals may not be approved for reasons such as:

  • Withdrawing from a class to maintain a higher grade point average
  • Withdrawing from or failing classes because of the student’s job requirements
  • Being previously ineligible for financial aid and returning to school after an absence
  • Adjusted Credit Option – ACO
  • Several semesters of low grades because of an ongoing illness or other situations
  • Conflict with a professor
  • Classes were not what was expected
  • Not being prepared for college

Once a decision has been made based on the appeal and the documentation provided, the student will be notified of the outcome via NMSU email.

Academic Plan

Students who have had an appeal approved will be required to visit with their Financial Aid Advisor to review their personalized Academic Plan. Students must come into the Financial Aid office to sign their Academic Plan by April 1, 2016. The Academic Plan may include the following requirements:

  • Earn grades that increase cumulative GPA to the minimum requirement
  • Must complete semester with no W’s, I’s, F’s, U’s, and RR’s
  • Final semester receiving financial aid
  • Attend one workshop hosted by NMSU Student Success Center
  • Complete NMSU Student Success Center’s Online Academic Plan Workshop
  • Complete NMSU Student Succcess Center’s Academic Success Plan
  • TRIO students must meet with TRIO services

The Academic Plan Agreement will be re-evaluated by the Financial Aid Advisor at the end of each semester. Students may regain eligibility to receive Financial Aid for the next semester of enrollment by either:

  1. Completing the semester with grades that bring the student into compliance with Financial Aid policies; OR
  2. Completing the specific requirements of the Academic Plan Agreement.

If the student fails to meet the requirements of the Academic Plan at the end of the semester, they will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

Maximum Time Frame (Pace of Progression)

Students who have exceeded the maximum time frame for their declared program of study, must submit the Appeal for Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Form. Appeals need to be submitted to the Financial Aid office. Credit remedial courses, up to 30 credits, may be deducted from the total number of credits attempted when calculating time frame since they do not count as credit toward a degree, but may be required and taken within an eligible program.

Maximum allowable Attempted Credit Hours:


Maximum Allowable Attempted Credit Hours

Average Required Credit Hours for Degrees

Certificate 36 credit hours

24 credit hours(150%)=36

Associate’s Degree 99 credit hours

66 credit hours(150%)=99

Bachelor’s Degree 192 credit hours

128 credit hours(150%)=192

Master’s Degree 48 credit hours

32 credit hours(150%)=48

Doctoral Degree 108 credit hours

72 credit hours(150%)=108

Important Note:  The maximum allowable credit hours for a degree will include all of the student’s attempted and transferred credit hours.

Second Degree Students

Students who have completed a pace of progression and have earned an Associate’s Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree, or a Master’s Degree, and wish to attempt a second degree of the same level, e.g. two bachelor’s degrees, will need to submit the Second Degree Check Form completed by the student’s Academic Advisor. The Financial Aid Advisor will review the form and determine the total number of maximum allowable attempted credit hours for the student’s second-degree program.

Students moving from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree that transfer credits may encounter a time frame issue and will be required to submit an appeal explaining the circumstances that caused the time frame issue.

Second Degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students will need to maintain a 2.0 or 3.0 cumulative GPA, respectively. Both must maintain a 70% completion rate.

Adjusted Credit Option

Students granted the Adjusted Credit Option (ACO) by NMSU will have their SAP separately calculated for Time Frame, Completion Rate, and GPA. Federal Regulations do not allow a student’s SAP to be calculated based on adjusted GPA, time frame or completion rate if Academic Amnesty has been applied to the student’s records.
When evaluating a student with an ACO, the Advisor must calculate their completion rate as would be done for any other student (all credits completed divided by all credits attempted). Time frame will be evaluated by adding all credits attempted at NMSU plus any transfer credits accepted at NMSU. For GPA, the actual non-adjusted cumulative GPA must be determined without any consideration of the ACO and the non-adjusted cumulative GPA must be used for purposes of evaluating SAP requirements. These students will be coded U-ACO until reviewed.

SAP codes for Banner:

Academic Problem Area Identifying Codes
Unsatisfactory, GPA, Completion, Time Frame U-All
Unsatisfactory, GPA & Completion U-GPCO
Unsatisfactory, GPA & Time Frame U-GPMX
Unsatisfactory, Completion & Time U-COMX
Unsatisfactory, GPA U-GPA
Unsatisfactory, Completion U-COMP
Unsatisfactory, Time Frame U-MAX
Conditional/Warning Status
Conditional/Warning status is to make students aware that although they are meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress they are close to the minimum SAP requirements.
Conditional/Warning, GPA, Completion, Time Frame C-ALL
Conditional/Warning, GPA & Completion C-GPCO
Conditional/Warning, GPA & Time Frame C-GPMX
Conditional/Warning, Completion & Time C-COMX
Conditional/Warning, GPA C-GPA
Conditional/Warning, Completion C-COMP
Conditional/Warning, Time Frame C-MAX
Student in good standing G-Good
Approved appeal with stipulations W-STIP
Appeal reviewed and denied APDN
Adjusted credit option needs review U-ACO