Page Header

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Guidelines for Federal Financial Aid

P: 804-257-5882  F:804-257-5797  E:

The Higher Education Act requires recipients of Title IV funds which include the Federal PELL Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), Federal Direct Stafford Loan(s), and Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan for Undergraduate Students, to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress as they move forward in earning a degree. Satisfactory academic progress applies to all payment periods (Fall, Spring, and Summer) regardless of whether the student received financial aid.  All students are required to meet both Quantitative (PACE) and Qualitative (cumulative grade point average (Cum GPA) standards).  A review will be made at the end of each payment period to determine if the student meets the criteria. 


  1. Quantitative  (PACE)

In order to maintain financial aid eligibility, an undergraduate student must complete at least

67% of the total credit hours attempted cumulatively.  Courses that are accepted as transfer   

credits are added  into the cumulative total of successfully completed credits when calculating PACE.

Cumulative number of credits a student successfully completed

                              Cumulative number of credit hours a student attempted

  1. Qualitative (GPA)

In order to maintain financial aid eligibility, an undergraduate student is required to maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

                          Undergraduate hours completed   =  2.0 Cumulative GPA


                    Maximum Allowable Time (150% rule)

Students shall remain eligible for financial aid if they complete their program before attempting 150% of the total number of credits required for the program. A student pursuing an undergraduate degree at Virginia Union University (which requires at least 120 credit hours for completion) may register for a maximum of 180 credit hours or 150% of the length of the program during his /her tenure at the University. (150% X 120= 180). Transfer credit officially accepted as coursework for the program in which the student is enrolled shall be included in this calculation.


Failure to meet either Quantitative (PACE) and/or Qualitative (Cumulative GPA) will result in the student being non-compliant with the SAP Policy and ineligible for financial aid for future semesters. Removal from financial aid does not prevent students from enrolling at the university without financial aid if, based on their academic standing with the university, they are otherwise eligible to continue their enrollment.

However, in the event that a student is suspended or dismissed from the university for poor academic performance, his/her eligibility for financial aid is suspended until he/she is eligible to enroll again at the college.


Students who have their federal financial aid canceled for failure to make SAP may submit a formal appeal.  The appeal request will be considered if the student has suffered undue hardship such as death of an immediate family member, injury or illness, or other special circumstances as determined by the financial aid administrator or designee.  Students requesting an appeal must submit the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form with appropriate documentation to the Office of Financial Aid explaining the circumstances which affected the student’s academic performance.

All appeals should be submitted in writing with supporting documentation to the attention of the Director of Financial Aid, Virginia Union University, 1500 N Lombardy St., Richmond, VA 23220.  Appeal letters must be received by the Office of Financial Aid no later than July 15th for the Fall semester and January 3rd for the Spring semester. For Students attending Summer school, appeal letters must be submitted by May 15th.  In some instances, an interview may be scheduled for the student to address any questions concerning the appeal request.  The appeal request will be addressed by the Office of Financial Aid and all decisions are final.

The financial aid appeal letter should:

  • Include the student’s name, address, phone number, and student ID number
  • Include the appropriate documentation relating to the situation that caused the student not to meet the SAP guidelines (injury or illness, death of family member, or other special circumstances
  • State what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to demonstrate his/her ability to meet SAP in the next payment period
  • Detail what the student will do differently academically if they are granted an appeal to continue matriculation at VUU.

If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. During the student’s matriculation, the student will not be allowed to successfully appeal more than three (3) times.  Once a decision has been rendered, no further information will be considered.

As part of the appeal approval process, the student will required to develop an Academic Success Plan (ASP) that is completed between the student and his/her academic advisor.  If the appeal is granted, the signed ASP must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office prior to any aid being disbursed.


Only students whose appeals have been granted will be placed on Financial Aid Probation.  Financial Aid Probation is for the next enrolled payment period only unless it is determined by the academic plan that the student may need a longer probation period.    At the end of the next payment period, all enrolled students on probation will have their academic record reviewed to determine if they have met the requirements for SAP and/ or the requirements of their academic plan.


Students must meet the guidelines established for SAP as stated above in order to regain eligibility to receive Federal Financial Aid.

Cumulative grade point average can only be increased by completing courses at Virginia Union University.  Sitting out for a semester is not sufficient to re-establish aid eligibility.  Eligibility is only re-established when the student becomes compliant with the quantitative and qualitative measures required for Federal SAP guidelines.

WITHDRAWALS (W, WO, WF) and NA Grades which are recorded on the student’s transcript, will be included as credits attempted and will have an adverse effect on the student’s ability to maintain satisfactory academic progress.  

INCOMPLETE (I GRADES), which are recorded on the student’s transcript until removed, are processed in the SAP calculation as attempted courses and may affect eligibility.  If the Incomplete grade causes a student to lose financial aid eligibility, the student will not be awarded aid until the Incomplete grade is removed. A student who has incomplete grades must remove them within sixty (60) days of enrollment (i.e., if classes start on August 15, grades must be in Registrar’s Office by October 15) to be considered for financial aid eligibility for the year.  Work for the incomplete grade must be completed 60 days into the next term of residency or it will be converted to a grade of “F”.

The successful completion of a course is defined as receiving one of the following grades: A, B, C, or D. Courses with grades of F, FA, I, and W will not qualify in meeting the minimum standard.

REPEATED COURSES will be counted as attempted hours each time the course is taken and the student is receiving financial aid for that course. Financial aid recipients may repeat a failed course as many times as necessary to pass the course, but each course repeat will count as an attempted course in the quantitative calculation for SAP.  A financial aid recipient may repeat a passed course only once and receive financial aid for that repeated course.

CHANGE OF MAJOR – A student may change from one major to another during attendance at the University.  Students who change from one major to another are still expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress and complete the course work within the time frame or hour limitation stated unless an appeal is approved.

TRANSFER STUDENTS will be evaluated on the number of semester hours transferred in plus the hours and the GPA earned while in attendance at Virginia Union University.