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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The University is required by US regulations to ensure that all students receiving Federal Aid (Stafford (subsidized, unsubsidized) and PLUS loans) are making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in order to remain eligible to receive US loan support.
The University expects all students to maintain satisfactory academic progress throughout their course of study in order to remain enrolled and to continue receiving aid.

For programs of study longer than one academic year, the University is required to evaluate SAP at least once annually. For programs of study that are one academic year or less in length, the University is required to evaluate SAP at the end of each payment period.

Undergraduate students: The SAP review will be conducted annually at the designated progression point which coincides with the timing of departmental Board of Examiners. Any student who does not meet the SAP standards at that point will lose federal loan eligibility.

Postgraduate students: SAP will be evaluated at the end of each term for taught students (i.e. three times per academic year) and at the mid-point and end point of the academic year for research students. Shortly before the end of each payment period the University will liaise with your Personal Tutor/Supervisor/Director of Studies to confirm that your progress to date is anticipated to be sufficient for you to obtain a pass when you undertake your assessments.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is assessed as follows:
Qualitative standard

Students must achieve minimum standards as required by their supervisor/tutor/Department/Faculty and academic standing consistent with graduation requirements equivalent at the very least to be sufficient to obtain a pass when taking their exams and assessments (the pass mark for undergraduate modules is 40 and for postgraduate is 50). Research students are required to undergo at least annual monitoring points and this is audited by the Graduate School. Research students are expected to be making steady progress as determined by their supervisor in accordance with Research Degree Regulations. Students who fail to meet required academic progress to continue study will be withdrawn from the federal aid programme.

At the June Board of Examiners, a student who is not permitted to proceed, but has achieved an average of at least 40, will be required to resit all failed required core modules in September before the next academic year starts. Additionally, such a candidate who has not achieved passes in whole modules weighted at a minimum of 80 credits, will be required to resit other failed modules, as directed by the Board of Examiners. Students who fail resit(s) will be required to withdraw and federal aid will be suspended for future periods.

In exceptional circumstances, the September Board of Examiners may permit a student to resit failed examinations in the following summer, without residence. Federal aid will be suspended during this period.

Quantitative standard

Students must progress through their program at a pace which ensures that they will graduate within the maximum timeframe. The maximum timeframe for completion is 150 % of the standard published timeframe as measured by credit hours to include transfer credits and attempted credits. For a three-year undergraduate degree student must complete the programme in no more than four and half years and for a one-year postgraduate taught degree in no more than one and a half years. This timeframe includes any previous periods of study at other institutions at the same learning level. The University uses the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) to express credit weightings for each unit of learning. The workload for a typical undergraduate year comprises 120 CATS and 150 CATS for a typical postgraduate year. There is no appeal for maximum timeframe limitation.

In order to meet the quantitative measure of SAP, a student will be measured at each evaluation period to ensure that they are meeting the minimum pace of completion of 66.7% credits in each year (i.e. 80 CATS for undergraduate and 100 CATS for postgraduate taught programme). Students should pass at least 66.7 % of courses they have attempted for the payment period or period of enrollment in order to meet the pace of completion component of FA SAP. Pace is determined by dividing the cumulative number of credits student have earned by the cumulative number of credits attempted.

For postgraduate research students, the programme length cannot exceed 150% of the normal length of the programme. This includes time for writing a thesis and viva examinations. Majority of the PhD programme at the University are three-year programmes and students should complete a three-year PhD in four and a half years at the most. This timeframe includes any previous period of study at other institutions for the same level programme. Please note the maximum registration length permitted for a PhD at the University is 4 years therefore in practice the requirement for SAP is less stringent and the expectation is that students must complete a PhD programme within 4 years of registration in order to graduate. Please note PhD student who has submitted thesis will be regarded as less than half-time therefore not eligible for federal aid from the date of submission.

Both the Qualitative and Quantitative SAP standards are reviewed at least annually at each evaluation point per explained above.

SAP Appeals Procedure

A student who fails to meet SAP standards will be notified that they are ineligible for further disbursements of US federal aid. Upon receiving notification, a student can regain their eligibility only by submitting a successful appeal to be placed on probation, or by taking action that brings them into compliance with SAP standards. A student may appeal due to extenuating circumstances beyond their control (e.g. injury, ill health, bereavement, or other special circumstances etc.) and state what has changed in their situation that will allow them to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress at the next evaluation date.


A student who fails to meet SAP standards must include the following in their submission appeal:

  • The circumstances for not meeting SAP requirements
  • What will change that will allow the student to satisfy SAP requirements in the future
  • Any other relevant information

All appeals must be received within ten days of receipt of the Notice of Suspension.

Note: This process is separate from any academic appeals process, see

Students should submit an appeal to: Student Finance (US Loans), Senate House, University of Warwick, CV4 7AL

An Appeal Panel will be convened consisting of at least two members of staff from the Academic Office. The Appeal Panel may require extra evidence, documentation or contributions from the student’s supervisor/tutor Department/Faculty. The decision made by the Appeal Panel will be sent to the student’s Warwick e-mail address. The appeal decision may be:

  • a reinstatement of eligibility of US federal aid
  • a financial probationary period with conditions, or
  • a denial of US federal aid

If the Appeal Panel determines that the student should be able to meet the SAP standards within a set limited timeframe (usually one term/payment period), the student will be placed on probation. Any conditions (including the requirements of an academic plan) relating to a financial probationary period will be detailed in the appeal decision e-mail. The student’s progress will be reviewed at the end of each payment period to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan. If the student is not meeting the required standards at any reviewing point, then they will not be eligible for further disbursements of US student loans until they are able to take action that brings them into compliance with the SAP standards.

If the Appeal Panel determines that the student will not be able to meet SAP standards, then the student will be ineligible for further disbursements of US federal aid until they are able to take action that brings them into compliance with the SAP standards.

Financial Aid Probation:

Any student who has been placed on probation and does not meet the progression requirements applicable to degree level will be suspended and ineligible to receive aid until such a time as they achieve the required standard. A student can regain eligibility only by taking action that brings them into compliance with the SAP standards or submitting a successful appeal.

If a student has been placed on Financial Aid Probation and subsequently meets the SAP requirements in the next term they will be placed back into good Financial Aid Standing (SAP).

Students who transfer into a new academic program will also transfer with any SAP warning or sanction and will still need to meet the specified criteria in the new program before re-establishing eligibility to receive federal aid.

Other relevant policies and information:

Please note the University do not permit a Financial Aid Warning status, this means for a student who has failed to achieve satisfactory academic progress the aid will be discontinued.

Please note all students’ progression requirements are subject to the University’s degree regulations and classification on conventions, which can be found These requirements for progression may be different to what’s required by SAP for federal loan purpose. If you failed to achieve the SAP but have achieved what’s required by the University in order to progress, you may progress onto the next stage of study but you will not be eligible for federal aid.

Students’ attendance and progression are monitored by academic departments in keeping with the University’s Monitoring Student Attendance and Progression Guide. A course handbook is published for each academic programme by respective academic departments, which sets out course regulations including how it is taught and assessed.

The University’s regulation in relation to registration, attendance and progress and other aspect of the study can be accessed