Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

To be eligible for financial aid at Carolina, you must maintain SAP – this means Satisfactory Academic Progress.

To meet SAP standards:

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
  • Successfully complete at least 2/3 of all credit hours you have attempted at Carolina from Fall 2010 forward. All classes dropped after the census date are considered withdrawals, even if retroactive actions are taken to display an effective date that is prior to the census date.
  • Complete degree requirements within 150% of the length of your academic program.
  • Complete a minimum number of credit hours per term. (Part-time students are excluded from this standard.)
    After 1 full-time semester 9 academic hours
    After 2 full-time semesters 24 academic hours
    After 3 full-time semesters 36 academic hours
    After 4 full-time semesters 51 academic hours
    After 5 full-time semesters 63 academic hours
    After 6 full-time semesters 78 academic hours
    After 7 full-time semesters 93 academic hours

How is SAP evaluated:

  • Your SAP status is reviewed at the end of each academic year, which begins with the fall and ends with the last summer session. If you are not meeting SAP standards, UNC will notify you at your UNC email address within two weeks of the end of the second summer session.
  • According to federal guidance, you may appeal the suspension of financial aid on the basis of a personal injury or illness, death of a relative, or other special circumstances.
  • You can reestablish SAP (and thereby aid eligibility) by completing additional coursework without aid funding. You may also choose to leave the University for a period of time and reestablish eligibility upon readmission.
  • If your eligibility is restored at the end of a fall semester, you are eligible for aid during the spring semester. If you believe you have restored your eligibility, and your SAP status has not been updated in ConnectCarolina, you can request a SAP review.

Instructions for checking your SAP status in ConnectCarolina can be found here.

Submitting an Appeal

Before submitting an appeal, please review the Appeal Resource Guide provided by the Office of Undergraduate Retention.

If you are returning to UNC after withdrawal or time away, submit your appeal using the online form here.

If you are enrolled at UNC in the current academic year, see instructions here for submitting your appeal via your ConnectCarolina Student Center.

Please review and redact your medical records so you are providing only what is necessary.

If you prefer a paper process, please reach out to request one from our office.

Appeal Deadlines

Term: Priority Deadline:
Spring 2020 December 19, 2019
Summer I 2020 April 30, 2020
Summer II 2020 June 5, 2020
Fall 2020 July 24, 2020

Appeal Decisions

Appeal decisions are delivered to your UNC email address as quickly as possible, given the volume of work within the aid office. Submission of an appeal does not guarantee approval. Decisions of the appeals committee are final and cannot be appealed outside the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

Understanding SAP

The below glossary terms will help you to understand SAP and how it applies to your courses.

In keeping with Federal Student Aid policy, attempted hours include all those in which you are enrolled as of the end of the second week of each fall or spring term (the 10th day of the term, also known as the “census date.”) The summer schedule is determined according to the summer calendar.

Courses you successfully complete with a passing grade are ‘completed hours.’ Undergraduate degrees generally require 120 completed credit hours, and the maximum timeframe to complete most programs is 180 attempted credit hours. In addition to credits attempted at Carolina, this includes all transfer, test and “other” hours on your academic record.

Courses dropped prior to the census date are not considered attempted hours, though courses withdrawn after the census date are considered attempted hours. Retroactively dropped courses do not remove attempted hours from the SAP calculation. Please contact us if you believe a cancellation is impacting your SAP calculation.

In response to COVID-19 an emergency grading policy has been implemented for classes dropped during Spring 2020. The University will create a new grade of ‘CV’ as an alternative to the Incomplete (‘IN’) grade for you if you are an undergraduate student who was adversely affected by the public health emergency. This grade will also be used to identify courses that may need to extend past the Spring semester.  ‘CV’ grades will not be included in your GPA calculation, will not count towards your credits earned, will not satisfy graduation requirements, and will not be calculated as a 0.00 GPA for eligibility and financial aid (SAP) processing.  You can read more on the registrar’s website about the Emergency Grading Accommodation Policy.

A failed course counts as attempted hours but not completed hours. This is reflected in your GPA and adversely affects your completion rate.

Repeated courses affect both your GPA and your completion rate.

These grades affect your GPA. A grade of IN (incomplete) or AB (absent from final exam) is calculated as an F until a permanent grade is assigned. Grades of IN or AB will negatively affect your completion rate, counting as attempted hours but not completed hours. If a grade of IN or AB is converted to a passing grade, your GPA and completion rate will be recalculated at the end of the next enrollment period. If this occurs before the end of a semester, you can request a SAP review.

Transfer hours do not affect your GPA. Transfer hours are added to both completed hours and attempted hours in the completion rate calculation and count as attempted hours in the Maximum Timeframe calculation.

Withdrawals, medical or otherwise, do not affect your GPA, but they will adversely affect your completion rate. Please note that all classes dropped after the census date are considered withdrawals, even if retroactive actions are taken to display an effective date prior to the census date.


If your review shows you fail to meet SAP standards, you will be notified of suspension. This notification explains which standards have not been met and offers an opportunity to appeal for probation. If you are suspended from receiving aid, you are ineligible until otherwise notified. Future decisions of enrollment should be under the assumption that financial aid is not available and that tuition payments are your obligation.

Standard probation means your appeal has been approved, and you can receive financial aid for one semester (fall, spring or summer). At the end of the semester your progress will be reviewed again, and if you are not meeting SAP standards, you revert to suspension and will be ineligible for aid. You can appeal again if you have experienced additional special circumstances.

In very limited circumstances, you may be granted more than one semester of probation. In these cases, you will be offered an academic plan including more than one probationary semester. The plan will include appropriate and specific checkpoints and milestones to meet in the short-term, with the long-term goal of meeting all requirements at a specified future point in time.

Responsible Employees

Members of the appeals committee are considered Responsible Employees. When someone discloses an incident of discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, interpersonal violence, or stalking to a Responsible Employee, that employee must share that information with a staff member in the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office. If you have questions or concerns about sharing your information contact us.

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