Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

To be eligible to receive federal and state financial aid, you must be maintaining progress toward a specific degree or credential. Maintaining academic progress at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) means you must: 1) meet the minimum cumulative grade point average standard, 2) meet the "pace" requirement by completing at least 66.67% of your cumulative units attempted, and 3) complete your educational program within the maximum time-frame. Your SAP will be evaluated annually, at the end of every spring semester. You will be notified via email in June if you are not meeting SAP. If you are meeting SAP, you are eligible for financial aid for the following academic year. If you are not meeting SAP, you are ineligible for financial aid for the next term and subsequent terms, until you meet SAP standards and regain eligibility. 


How Many Units Must I Enroll In & Complete To Maintain Eligibility For Aid?

The Office of Financial Aid does not impose a minimum number of units each semester, although most financial aid programs require at least 6 units per semester (half-time status) to receive funds. Therefore, you may decide each semester how many units you will attempt. In deciding, consider such factors as employment, course difficulty, family responsibilities, academic probation, etc.

What Is CSUF's Definition Of "Completed Units"?

You complete a course when you earn credit by receiving a passing grade. The following grades do not count toward your completed units (however, they do count toward attempted units): F, NC, W, WU, AU, I, IC, U, WF, SP, RD, RP.

Do Remedial & Repeated Courses Count For Financial Aid?

Up to 30 units of remedial coursework are allowed under financial aid regulations as long as you earn a grade of "CR" for the course. A grade of "SP" or "NC" does not count as credit earned. If you repeat a course for which you previously received unit credit (e.g., a grade of D or higher), you may receive financial aid for one retake of the course. Note that this financial aid policy differs from the academic policy governing repeated courses.

What Are The GPA Requirements?

GPA requirements based on the student's terms
Terms Cumulative GPA Requirement
At the end, of the 2nd term 1.5
At the end, of the 3rd term 1.7
At the end, of the 4th term, Juniors, Seniors and all other undergraduates beyond the 5th term 2.0
2nd BA 2.0
Credential 2.5
Graduate 3.0

A student enrolled in an educational program of more than two academic years, at the end of the second academic year the student must have a GPA of at least a "C"; which is equivalent to a 2.0.

What Is the Pace Requirement?

At the end of the spring semester, we total your cumulative completed units and divide that by the cumulative attempted units(all units on transcript, including transfer units). You must earn at least 66.6.7% of  your cumulative attempted units to meet the Pace requirement.

What Happens If I Earn Less Than 66.67% or Fail to Meet the Minimum GPA?

If you earn less than 66.67% of your cumulative attempted units and/ or do not meet the minimum GPA, your eligibility is terminated until you meet SAP standards.

How Do I Re-qualify If My Eligibility Is Terminated?

You must earn at least 66.67% of your cumulative attempted units and meet the minimum GPA requirements, in order to requalify for financial aid.

How Can I Monitor My Own SAP Status?

At the end of every term, check your cumulative GPA and cumulative completed versus cumulative attempted units on your transcripts. For example, to calculate your Pace, if you have attempted 45 units and earned 40 of those units, your completion rate would be 40/45 = 88.8%

How Does CSUF Calculate the Maximum Time-Frame or "Unit Cap"?

Federal regulations require that you complete your academic programs within 150% of the standard time frame for your program. At CSUF, we use 120 units as the standard undergraduate program, with 180 attempted units* as the maximum time frame or"unit cap" for undergraduate students and 30 attempted units as the unit cap for graduate students. Unit cap totals for programs requiring more than the standard number of units are listed hereOpens in new window . The standard unit cap for graduates and post-baccalaureate students is based on the number of units required for your academic program. Courses numbered 500 or higher are considered "graduate courses" and are weighted at 1.5 times their unit value. The unit cap is 150% of the minimum required units after weighting of required graduate units in the program. All units are counted even if you did not receive financial aid and even if the units do not count for unit credit toward graduation. Once you reach the unit cap for your program, you are ineligible to receive financial aid.


If you add a major or change majors, your unit cap will not be adjusted. You will still need to complete your program within 150% of the minimum required to complete the degree. If you complete your program and enroll in another at a higher level (i.e., complete bachelor’s degree and enroll in a graduate or credential program) your unit cap will automatically be reset to the new program. If you are enrolling in a second graduate program, you will need to submit an appeal.


*The calculation of attempted units includes all coursework completed at CSUF as well as all other transferable course-work completed at other institutions.

May I Appeal If I Do Not Meet SAP Requirements?

You have the right to appeal a financial aid SAP or unit cap termination by presenting a written appeal with a personal statement and documentation of mitigating circumstances. Examples of mitigating circumstances include illness, hospitalization, death in the family, or other circumstances beyond your control. Appeal forms are available for download in the "Forms Bank" on the Financial Aid homepage or may be obtained in person from the Office of Financial Aid. Follow the instructions on the appeal form to document your special circumstances. The SAP Appeals Committee evaluates all SAP appeals considering such factors as your personal statement, your academic history, your documented extenuating circumstances and your ability to achieve academic progress in the future. Allow 4-6 weeks for the committee to evaluate and respond to your appeal.

  • If you file an appeal and it is approved before the end of fall term, you will be eligible to receive aid for the fall term. We will review your grades at the end of fall to determine whether you meet the minimum GPA and pace (completing a minimum of 66.67% of cumulative attempted units) requirements. Your spring disbursement will be held until the review is complete.
  • If you file an appeal and it is approved before the end of spring term, you will be eligible to receive aid for the spring term. We will evaluate you at the end of spring to determine whether you meet the minimum GPA and pace (completing a minimum of 66.67% of cumulative attempted units) requirements.

If I Am On Probation & Fail To Meet SAP, May I File Another Appeal?

You were placed on probation because you had an appeal approved which enabled you to receive financial aid while you implemented the changes necessary for you to meet the SAP standards. As a financial aid recipient, you are required to make satisfactory academic progress toward your degree attainment. Second appeals within the same academic year are generally not accepted if you fail to make progress, unless you have serious documented extenuating circumstances such as a death in the immediate family.