Financial Aid - Satisfactory Progess Requirements

Federal law requires all students who receive financial aid to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward their degree. The intent of this policy is to ensure that students who are receiving federal financial aid for their education are making measurable progress toward completion of a degree in a reasonable period of time. Students at Northern Michigan University must meet the following requirements:

1. Credit Hours:

Students must earn at least 67 percent of the credit hours which they attempt at NMU on a cumulative basis. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be put on SAP warning status for their next academic year of attendance. Students put on warning status will be notified of what will be required to keep their eligibility. Eligibility for financial aid will be terminated if the deficiency is not corrected by the end of the warning period. For further definition of attempted credit hours, see the Attempted Hours section of this policy. This standard will be measured upon the conclusion of each winter semester.

2. Grade Point Average (GPA):

Students must meet the Academic Proficiency Standards as outlined in the NMU Undergraduate Bulletin or Academic and Retention Standards listed in the NMU Graduate Bulletin.

Undergraduate students with a cumulative NMU GPA below 2.00 will be placed on Academic Probation. Students on Academic Probation must meet specific GPA requirements listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Students in Good Standing or on Academic Probation are eligible for financial aid. Failure to meet the probationary requirements as outlined in the Academic Proficiency Standards will result in suspension or dismissal from NMU. Students on Academic Suspension (including Immediate Academic Suspension) or Academic Dismissal are not eligible for financial aid.

Graduate students with a cumulative NMU GPA below 3.00 will be placed on probation. Students in good standing or on probation are eligible for financial aid. Failure to meet probationary requirements as outlined in the Academic and Retention Standards will result in dismissal from the College of Graduate Studies. Dismissed students will no longer be eligible for financial aid.

Transfer credits will not be included in the cumulative GPA. This GPA standard will be measured upon the conclusion of each semester by the Admissions and Academic Policies Committee (AAPC) and the Graduate Program Committee (GPC).

3. Maximum Credit Hours:

Bachelor and associate degree students are limited to receiving aid for up to 150% of the credit hours required for their program of study. Students changing majors will be limited to financial aid for up to 150% of the number of credits required for their new program [including all previous credit hours attempted, regardless of the major declared at the time]. An exception will be made for students transferring from a bachelor’s degree to an associate degree or certificate program, who will be eligible to receive aid for up to 150% of the credit hours required in their degree audit; this provision may only be exercised once. Graduate students may receive aid in the first 60 credit hours they attempt in their first master’s degree; after graduating, they are eligible for another 60 hours if they pursue a second graduate degree. Post baccalaureate and teacher education certification students will be evaluated when they are admitted and will be eligible for 150% of the credit hours required to complete their individual program. Eligibility for certificate and diploma students is limited to 150% of the hours needed for their program. Transfer students will be evaluated by adding their transfer hours to attempted hours at NMU, allowing students to receive aid for the balance of the maximum length of their program. For further definition of attempted credit hours, see the Attempted Hours section below. This standard will be evaluated early each semester, and students will be notified if their eligibility for the following semester will be terminated.

In addition to the standards listed, the NMU Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee will use professional judgment to terminate eligibility. This will occur in circumstances such as when students fall significantly below a standard and do not have a realistic chance to meet the standard by the end of the warning period, or when students fail all of their courses in a semester.

Attempted Hours:

Attempted hours include credit hours successfully completed as well as credit hours that students receive non-passing grades (F or U), credit hours that are not yet finished (I, X, MG), and credit hours from which the students withdraws (W). Classes that a student passes and repeats count as earned only once, but all credit hours, including the repeated class, are considered as attempted. Remedial classes count in both attempted and earned hours calculation even though the credits may not apply toward the completion of their degree requirement.


If a student subsequently meets or exceeds the 67% minimum Credit Hours or Grade Point Average requirements as listed, they should contact the Financial Aid Office to see about reinstating their financial aid eligibility.

If special circumstances such as illness, injury, the death of a family member, or other extenuating circumstances prevent the student from meeting these requirements, the termination of eligibility can be appealed to the SAP Appeal Committee. Supporting documentation of circumstances must be included with appeals. Appeal approvals are not applied retroactively after a semester has concluded.

Appeals approved by AAPC or GPC for students suspended under the Grade Point Average standard will be accepted as approved for financial aid eligibility. If an undergraduate student returns to NMU after the conclusion of their one year suspension period, they must successfully appeal through the Financial Aid Office to again receive financial aid.