Federal SAP Policy - Undergraduate

What is SAP?
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the process used to determine if a student is making acceptable progress toward a degree or certificate. A student's failure to meet any of the three of the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards (for all terms enrolled, not just those terms that aid was received) may result in loss of federal aid eligibility.  Click here for examples.

When is SAP reviewed?
SAP is reviewed at the end of each payment period (semester) after grades are officially posted. Below are approximate timeframes of when SAP is reviewed each semester.
  • Fall Semester: Late December/Early January for students that attended during fall.
  • J-Term: Late May/Early June for students that attended J-Term. J-Term is part of spring for financial aid processing although billed separately.
  • Spring Semester: Late May/Early June for students that attended during spring.
  • Summer Semester: Mid-August for students that attended summer
How are students notified?
An electronic notification detailing the student's SAP status will be sent to the student’s Buffalo State e-mail address, and a hard copy notification will be mailed to the permanent address on file.

What are the three SAP standards?
Below details each of the SAP standards. All standards must be met for continued federal aid eligibility.

Federal SAP Standards (all must be met)
1. Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) - Qualitative Component
  1.  A student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 (Buffalo State's GPA only).
2. Pace Rate for Attempted Credit Hours (formerly called completion rate) - Quantitative Component
  1. A student must complete at least two-thirds (66.67%) of all cumulative attempted credit hours.
    1. New freshmen are required to successfully complete at least half (50%) of the credits they attempt during their first two semesters. Starting with their third semester, they are then required to successfully complete two-thirds of their credits.

  2. The following designations are considered to be attempted credit hours but are not considered to be successfully completed: I, N, X, W, U, E, EV, IP and F grades and grades and courses removed through the academic clemency process. Effective Fall 2013, noncredit remedial courses will no longer be considered in the pace calculation.

  3. Transfer credit hours posted to the official transcript record are counted as attempted and earned credit hours.  

  4. All courses removed through the academic clemency process will be counted as attempted credit hours but not earned.
3. Maximum Timeframe: Degree Completion within 150% of the average Program Length - Quantitative Component
  1. Students must complete their first baccalaureate degree within 150 percent of the normal time required to complete a bachelor’s degree, not to exceed 180 attempted credit hours for a program with a published length of 120 credit hours.

  2. Federal financial aid eligibility will be terminated when the Financial Aid Office determines it is not mathematically possible for a student to complete his/her degree program within the maximum timeframe.
    1. The FAO manually reviews student records when they are one full-time semester away from graduation

  3. A student pursuing a double major or degree must earn his/her first bachelor’s degree within the 150 percent maximum time frame standard.

  4. A student that completed all coursework required for a major or degree is ineligible for a Pell grant even if an Application for Undergraduate Degree form is not on file.

Other Important Considerations
  • All students must be accepted into a major prior to completing 60 credit hours to continue to be eligible for federal aid.
  • Repeated Courses: Courses that are repeated to improve a grade are counted as attempted each time they are taken but are only counted as completed once. 
  • Readmission to the college after an absence does not automatically mean reinstatement of aid eligibility.

When a Student Fails to Meet the SAP Standards  top

Financial Aid Warning | One semester below standard
A student who fails to maintain the cumulative GPA or Pace requirements is placed on Financial Aid Warning as long as it is mathematically possible to recover in one payment period. There is no action required by the student; federal aid eligibility continues for one payment period/semester.  A student's warning semester is always their next semester of enrollment whether or not the student receives federal aid. 

Financial Aid Ineligible | 2 or more consecutive semesters below standard
If a student fails to meet all the SAP standards after the warning semester, their federal aid is terminated until they meet the standards.

Fedearl Aid Appeal Process | Special Circumstances
If the student is still not making satisfactory academic progress after the Financial Aid Warning semester, he or she is ineligible for federal financial aid until the required standard is achieved.  However, a student has a right to appeal the loss of federal financial aid eligibility if mitigating circumstances (events totally beyond the student’s control) existed). All SAP Appeals should be submitted to the Academic Standards Office, Twin Rise 100 , by the deadline indicated on the form. Incomplete appeals or those without supporting documentation will be denied. Students may seek help to complete the appeal form by calling Academic Standards at (716) 878-5222. A committee will review all federal SAP appeals notify the student in writing of the determination.

Financial Aid Probation | Approved Appeal
A student who fails to maintain the cumulative GPA and/or meet the Pace rate standard is placed on Financial Aid Probation only if the student has successfully appealed. The student will continue to receive federal financial aid for one payment period/semester. The student must meet SAP at the end of the probationary period or comply with the Academic Plan requirements (a contractual agreement designed to ensure that the student will make SAP by a specified point in time).

If the student is still not making Satisfactory Academic Progress or fails to meet the Academic Plan requirements after the probationary period, he/she will become ineligible for federal financial aid until all three SAP standards are successfully met.