Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

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.  This policy affects federal, state, and NMU institutional financial aid eligibility.  Students at Northern Michigan University must meet the following three standards:

  1. Credit Hour Pace:

Students must earn at least 67 percent of the credit hours which they attempt for each program level (undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate degree).

  • This calculation includes all accepted transfer credit hours as well as credit hours attempted at NMU.
  • This standard is measured at the conclusion of each semester.
  • Students who fail to meet this requirement will be put on financial aid warning status for their next academic semester of attendance.
  • Students on warning status will be notified of eligibility requirements.
  • Eligibility for financial aid will be terminated if the deficiency is not corrected by the end of the one semester warning period.
  • Students who have their eligibility terminated have the ability to appeal the decision based on circumstances beyond the student's control, see the Appeals/Reinstatement section below.
  1. Grade Point Average (GPA):

Undergraduate Students must maintain a 2.00 cumulative NMU grade point average. Graduate students must maintain a 3.00 cumulative NMU grade point average.

  • These standards are consistent with NMU graduation requirements.
  • Transfer credits are not included in the cumulative GPA.
  • This standard is measured at the conclusion of each semester.
  • Students who fail to meet this requirement will be put on financial aid warning status for their next academic semester of attendance.
  • Students on warning status will be notified of eligibility requirements.
  • Eligibility for financial aid will be terminated if the deficiency is not corrected by the end of the one semester warning period.
  • Students who have their eligibility terminated have the ability to appeal the decision based on circumstances beyond the student’s control, see the Appeals/Reinstatement section below.
  1. Maximum Credit Hours:

Students are limited to receiving aid for up to 150% of the attempted credit hours required for completion of their program of study.

  • Transfer credits are included in the Attempted Hours calculation.
    • For further definition of attempted credit hours, see the Attempted Hours section below.
  • The Maximum Credit Hour standard is evaluated each semester.
    • When a student does not have a realistic chance to meet their graduation requirements by the calculated maximum hours, their financial aid eligibility will be terminated.
    • Students will be notified if their financial aid eligibility is to be terminated.
  • 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 is made for students changing from a bachelor's degree program to an associate, certificate, or diploma program.
    • These students will be eligible to receive aid for up to 150% of the credit hours required in their degree audit under their new program starting with the semester that the student changed programs (including any prior credit hours that apply towards the new program).  This provision may only be exercised once.
  • Post baccalaureate and teacher education certificate students will be evaluated when they are admitted and will be eligible for 150% of the credit hours required to complete their individual program.
  • After completion of a first Graduate-level degree, a Graduate or Doctoral student's eligibility is renewed for a second or subsequent degree.
  • Students who have their eligibility terminated have the ability to appeal the decision based on circumstances beyond the student's control, see the Appeals/Reinstatement section below.

Attempted Hours

Attempted hours include credit hours successfully completed as well as credit hours for which students receive non-passing grades (F or U), credit hours from which students withdraw (W), and credit hours that are not yet finished (I, X, MG). 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 and English Language Institute classes count in both attempted and earned hours calculations even though the credits may not apply toward the completion of their degree requirement.  Transfer credit hours that are accepted toward a student’s educational program count as both attempted and earned credit hours.

Appeals/Reinstatement

Students who regain financial aid eligibility by meeting the appropriate standards (meeting or exceeding 67% completion standard and attaining academic good standing) should notify the Financial Aid Office. In these cases, the student will not be required to file an appeal to the Financial Aid Office to have their eligibility reinstated.  Also, if the Financial Aid Office identifies that a student is again meeting the standards, no appeal will be necessary.

If extenuating circumstances such as illness, injury, the death of a family member, or other events prevent the student from meeting these requirements, the termination of eligibility can be appealed to the SAP Appeal Committee.

As part of the appeal process, students will be required to explain why they have failed to meet SAP, and what has changed in the student’s situation that would allow the student to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards in the future.  Supporting documentation of circumstances must be included with appeals. Appeal approvals are not applied retroactively after a semester has concluded. 

Appeal approvals may include financial aid probation or require an academic plan to place the student on track for successful program completion.  Financial aid probation appeal approvals will allow students one more semester of financial aid eligibility, while academic plans would be required if the student is conditionally approved for subsequent academic periods.  Failure to meet the conditions of an SAP approval will result in the loss of financial aid eligibility.

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