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Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date enacted or revised: 
Summer 2005; Revised May 2016


The Code of Federal Regulations Section 34 Parts 668.16(e) and 668.34 and the University of Louisiana System Policy and Procedures Memorandum S-II.XXIV.-1 require the monitoring of academic progress of students who receive or intend on receiving federal financial aid. To comply with these regulations, the University has established Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards.


For federal financial aid, academic progress is measured by a student’s overall grade point average (GPA) and progress through the educational program to ensure completion of the program within the specified timeframe (referred to as pace of completion).
To be eligible for federal financial assistance, a student must meet minimum SAP standards each term – fall, spring, and summer. SAP requirements apply to all students, including transfer, continuing, and re-entry students, participating in federal aid programs.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Minimum GPA:  An undergraduate student must maintain an overall GPA of at least 2.00. A graduate student must maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.00.
Minimum Pace:  A student must earn a specified number of credit hours per term based on the student’s classification at the beginning of the term and the total hours attempted for that term.
Minimum Pace Per Term*
Classification at Beginning of Term Total Hours Attempted Minimum Hours that Must be Earned
Freshman 5 or less credit hours All attempted
6 to 8 credit hours 3 credit hours
9 to 11 credit hours 6 credit hours
12 or more credit hours 9 credit hours
Sophomore, Junior, or Senior 5 or less credit hours All attempted
6 to 8 credit hours 6 credit hours
9 to 11 credit hours 9 credit hours
12 or more credit hours 12 credit hours
Graduate 5 or less credit hours All attempted
6 to 8 credit hours 6 credit hours
9 or more credit hours 9 credit hours
*The pace percentage (earned vs. attempted credit hours) for each term can vary from 37.5% to 100% depending on the student’s enrollment status.
Maximum Timeframe for Program Completion:  A student must complete his or her degree or certificate program within the maximum timeframe allowed. The maximum timeframe allowed is 150% of the time normally required for completion of the degree or certificate program. A student who fails to complete his or her program within the maximum timeframe is ineligible to receive federal financial assistance, even if the student did not receive federal financial aid each term of enrollment.
Maximum Timeframe
Degree/Certificate Program Maximum Attempted Credit Hours Allowed
Associate Degree 90 attempted credit hours allowed
Bachelor Degree 180 attempted credit hours allowed*
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (initial teacher certification) 60 attempted credit hours allowed
Master’s Degree 50 attempted credit hours allowed**
Education Specialist Degree 50 attempted credit hours allowed
2nd Associate Degree 135 attempted credit hours allowed
2nd Bachelor Degree 270 attempted credit hours allowed
2nd Master’s Degree 80 attempted credit hours allowed
*Based on a 120-hour bachelor degree plan.
**Based on a 33-hour master's degree plan.
Students with bachelor and master’s degree programs requiring more hours may appeal for extended periods of entitlement.
Other Considerations Relevant to Academic Courses:
  • Remedial or developmental courses are included in attempted and earned credit hours when calculating maximum timeframe for completion.
  • Courses with withdrawal grades (W, WM, WN, WX, WZ) are included in attempted hours, but not earned hours, and do not affect grade point averages.
  • Courses with grades of incomplete (I, IN, IP, IPC) or not reported (NR) are included in attempted hours, but not in earned hours or GPA calculations until changed to grades other than incomplete, not reported, or withdrawn.
  • Once a grade change has occurred, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine the impact to financial aid eligibility.
  • Federal financial aid may be paid for repeated coursework but may not include more than one repetition of a previously passed course. For example, if a student passes a course with a grade of D or better, federal financial aid can pay for only one more attempt of the same course.
  • For financial aid eligibility purposes, credit hours dismissed through academic bankruptcy are included in attempted hours only; however, in the case of a transfer student, all credit hours and grades are also included in the calculation of the GPA.
  • Transfer students must be in good standing at all previous institutions attended, must have a 2.0 term GPA for the last period of enrollment, and must meet the earned hour requirements specified in the McNeese Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards to be eligible for financial aid. Entering transfer students are not eligible for a financial aid warning term. All previous hours attempted are considered in establishing total remaining federal financial aid eligibility.

Failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress and Appeal for Continuing Eligibility

Satisfactory Academic Progress is assessed at the end of every term – fall, spring, and summer – after final grades are posted. Email notifications are sent to the student’s McNeese email address if the student does not meet SAP standards. The email notification includes instructions to appeal for continuation of financial aid.
Financial Aid Warning:  A student, other than a transfer student, who fails to meet SAP is placed on Financial Aid Warning. A student on Financial Aid Warning may receive federal financial aid for the next term of enrollment without appeal.
Financial Aid Suspension:  A student who fails to meet SAP while on Financial Aid Warning is placed on Financial Aid Suspension and is not eligible to receive federal financial aid. The student may appeal to request continuation of federal financial aid.
  1. A successful appeal allows continuation of eligibility of federal financial for the next term.
  2. If the appeal is unsuccessful and the student wishes to reestablish eligibility for federal financial aid, the student must enroll, cover tuition and fees from sources other than federal financial aid, and meet SAP standards.
Appeal Procedures: A student with extenuating circumstances which negatively impacted academic progress may appeal the financial aid suspension. Examples of extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to, prolonged personal illness or illness of a dependent, serious accident, or death of an immediate family member.
  1. Federal Financial Aid SAP and academic suspension appeals are combined into a single process.  
  2. Appeal information and instructions are located at, and the appeal process may be accessed through Banner Self-Service or the MyMcNeese Portal.
  3. Appeals must be submitted electronically by deadlines published by the Office of Financial Aid.
  4. Academic personnel review submissions for appeal and make one of the following decisions:
    1. Granted, Placed on Financial Aid Probation;
    2. Granted, Academic Plan Approved for One Term;
    3. Granted, Academic Plan Approved for Two Terms;
    4. Granted, Academic Plan Approved for Three Terms;
    5. Granted, Change of Major Required; or
    6. Denied.
  5. Students placed on an academic plan must meet plan requirements. If a student fails to earn a 2.0 term GPA while on an academic plan, the academic plan will be revoked and the student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.
  6. Committee appeal decisions are final, are communicated to the student via email, and are uploaded into the student’s record in the financial aid component of the student information system.


This information is communicated through the Administrative Advisory Council, the Academic Advisory Council, the University Policy webpage, the Financial Aid webpages, and the Academic Catalog.