Satisfactory academic progress

To be eligible to receive financial aid at VCU, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress. VCU’s SAP policy is based on federal criteria and applies to all financial aid recipients.

SAP requirements

SAP for undergraduate and graduate students is measured by:

GPA

  • Undergraduates: Must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 
  • Graduate students: Must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0

Please visit the VCU Policy Library to see the university's official SAP Policy

Pass/Fail grade considerations

Changing from a standard letter grade to a pass/fail grade will not impact a student's Title IV aid as long as the classes continue to count toward the student's degree completion requirements and the student continues to meet VCU's SAP rules.

Pass/Fail grade considered for pace and GPA (undergraduate students):

  • Grade of pass (P) is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements equivalent to letter grades A-C. The grade of P is not included in the calculation of the GPA. Grade of P will satisfy the prerequisite to register for courses that require a minimum grade of C. Students should check with their academic departments and advisors to see if a grade of P will be accepted for courses with prerequisites of B or higher, as well as for program requirements that specify a minimum grade of B.
  • Grade of F, W, AU, N, NR and I are counted toward the total hours attempted, but not successfully completed each term and will affect both the completion rate and GPA.
  • Grade of P or CR in Pass/Fail courses will be counted in the completion rate calculation as both attempted and earned hours.

Pass/Fail grades considered for pace and GPA (graduate students):

  • Grade of satisfactory (S) is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements equivalent to letter grades A-B. The grade of S is not included in the calculation of the GPA. The grade of S will satisfy course requirements of a minimum grade of B or higher to advance to another course.
  • Grade of unsatisfactory (U) is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements equivalent to the letter grade C. The grade of U is not included in the calculation of the GPA.
  • Grade of fail (F) is awarded for certain courses to denote not passing (earning a letter grade equivalent of a D or F) and is included in the calculation of the GPA.

Withdrawals, failing grades and incompletes:

  • Grades of F and W will count toward attempted hours and maximum timeframe.
  • All incompletes (I) and withdrawals (W) will be considered failing grades (F) when calculating financial aid eligibility.
  • SAP will be recalculated if the student earns a passing grade that replaces the incomplete or has a grade change after grades have posted. The student or department must notify Financial Aid to initiate the process of recalculating SAP when changes are made after final grades have been posted.

We will work with students on a case-by-case basis to ensure their academic success.

Completion rate

Students must complete at least 67 percent of their overall attempted hours at VCU. Transfer hours are included.

Grade level

Credit hours attempted

Number of earned credits needed to meet completion rate

Freshman

23

16

Sophomore

53

36

Junior

84

57

Maximum credits of eligibility

Students must not attempt more than 150 percent of the hours required for their degree program, including transfer and AP credit hours. For example, a student in a program that requires 120 credit hours will have eligibility for aid suspended after attempting more than 180 credit hours.

Nondegree-seeking students

Nondegree-seeking students are ineligible for federal or state financial aid. However, if a student later enrolls in a degree or certificate program, all attempted courses, including those taken while classified as a nondegree-seeking student, must be evaluated when determining SAP status.

Repeat coursework

Under federal regulations, any course that has been passed with a “D” or higher can only be taken one additional time. Repeated attempts after that will not be eligible for financial aid.

Medical, dental and pharmacy students at the professional level who are required by their academic deans to repeat a year are permitted to continue on financial aid for that year.

Suspension and probation

SAP is reviewed annually at the end of the spring semester. When students fail to meet established requirements, they receive a financial aid suspension letter, indicating the type of SAP violation.

Students may submit an appeal if mitigating circumstances prevented them from achieving SAP. If the appeal is granted, students will be assigned a probation status and will be eligible to receive federal financial aid for one semester. Students who fail to meet the established SAP requirements at the end of the semester will be placed on an academic plan with set deadlines, which must be met in order to receive federal financial aid for future semesters.