Academic Progress Policies

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress is monitored on attendance at all colleges, regardless of whether you received financial aid. Students who apply for either Federal or State aid (including loans) to attend SJSU are obligated to make satisfactory academic progress toward their degree.

Students who have applied for financial aid enter into a contract or agreement to attend classes, complete their assignments, seek tutorial assistance if necessary, prepare for exams, and complete courses with a passing grade.

Students are evaluated for maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of each grading period. Financial aid applicants must take responsibility and make every effort to ensure their educational success.

Two components make up Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy at SJSU:

  • Qualitative (Grade-Based): Students must maintain good academic standing with the university and have a minimum GPA of 2.0 by graduation. Students must also complete at least 75% of their cumulative attempted units in order to maintain their financial aid.
  • Quantitative (Time-Related): Students must complete their program of study within 150% of the units for the degree. For undergraduate degrees at SJSU, the maximum number of units that a student can receive financial aid for is 180 units. For second BA, Credential, or Graduate students, the maximum number of units that a student can receive financial aid for is 60 units.

Transfer units are also counted in total, whether or not SJSU has accepted those units toward the degree and whether or not financial aid was received for those units.

To avoid problems with your eligibility expiring before you graduate, take classes that meet your general education requirements or are required for your major.

Units Required to Receive Aid

Students are required to be enrolled at least half time in order to receive financial aid. The original award is based on full time enrollment. The following chart breaks down the number of units required to receive financial aid.

Enrollment Status Full Time 3/4 Time Half Time
Undergraduate 12 and over 9-11 6-8
Second B.A. 12 9-11 6-8
Credential 12 9-11 6-8
Graduate 8 7 4-6


Enrollment will be checked after the add/drop period has ended. If units are dropped without approval, a portion, or in some cases all financial aid must be repaid. A charge will be placed on the student's account, and is due and payable by the student.

The number of units needed to receive financial aid can be reduced in special circumstances. Students who have good reasons for not being full-time, such as illness or upcoming graduation, can petition the Appeals Committee to receive financial aid with fewer units. Submit the Student Information Update form for review by the Committee. If approved, financial aid may be reduced proportionately.

All students must be enrolled at least half-time (6 units for undergraduate, credential, and second BA, or 4 units 200-level equivalency for graduate) to receive financial aid, including loans, regardless of their situation.

Passable Grades

A student must earn a minimum number of credit hours each semester to complete requirements towards graduation. The following shall be considered as credits completed:

  • "A" through "D-" grades

The following shall not be considered as credits completed:

  • "F"
  • "W" or "WU" - Withdrawal
  • "I" or "IC" - Incomplete (may be counted after the "I" or "P" is changed to another letter grade).
  • Audit - No credit
  • "NC" - No credit

Warning Messages

Students who are close to exceeding their maximum number of units, 90 units for an Undergraduates and 50 units for Graduate students, a "warning" message is sent explaining to the student that they are close to exhausting their financial aid and to meet with their academic advisor.

Academic Disqualification

To regain eligibility for financial aid, students must submit a petition to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee after they have been officially reinstated and readmitted to the university.

Repeated Coursework

Classes that are repeated for grade improvement will count towards total units attempted. Students are advised to consult with a Financial Aid Counselor to determine if financial aid eligibility will be affected if a course must be repeated. Federal regulations limit the number of times students can receive financial aid (federal and state) for repeated coursework [pdf].

Petition and Appeal Process

If a student fails to complete 75% of their cumulative attempted units or reaches 180 undergraduate units or 60 graduate units, a hold is placed on the student's future financial aid. A student has the opportunity to submit a petition form and explain the reasons for not completing their attempted units or to explain why it has taken them more units to complete their program of study. 

Each petition has certain documentation that is required. Submit all required paperwork in order for the committee to make a complete evaluation of your situation. A student cannot have the same petition reason for two semesters in a row.

Petition forms are posted as a To-Do List item on a student's MySJSU. Follow the directions as outlined on the Academic Progress Petition Form and submit all required documentation immediately to the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office for the Appeals Committee to review. Petitions are evaluated in date order received, and should be submitted as soon as possible. Students  will be notified of the outcome within four weeks of submission. The decision of the committee is final.

A student whose appeal has been approved may receive financial aid but must meet the satisfactory academic policy in the future to continue receiving financial aid. Students will only be allowed three (3) petitions during their academic career, regardless of the situation.

To avoid problems with your eligibility expiring before you graduate, take classes that meet your general education requirements or are required for your major.

SAP Appeal Committee Schedule

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Committee meets weekly throughout the semesters to review appeals. Students will be notified through their MySJSU of the SAP Appeal Committee's decision. To be eligible for review, appeals must submit your petition by the indicated date on your To Do item.