Financial Aid

Soaring Seahawk Statue

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Undergraduate students

Federal Regulations require UNCW to establish Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in the following three areas

  1. Cumulative GPA (qualitative)
  2. Hours earned (quantitative)
  3. Maximum time limit

The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) is responsible for establishing SAP standards and monitoring students' progress at UNCW.

Financial aid recipients must maintain satisfactory progress in all three areas whether or not aid was received in the past. This requirement applies to all financial aid applicants and assesses all students equally, regardless of enrollment hour status (full-time, part-time, etc.). It is the student's responsibility to stay informed of UNCW's SAP standards and to monitor their own progress. Graduate students should see SAP in the graduate catalogue.

  • Financial Aid Programs Affected by This Policy:
    Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (National SMART Grant), Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal PLUS Loans and Federal Work-Study. This also includes North Carolina's State Scholarship and Grant Programs and UNCW's scholarship and grant programs.
  • Frequency of Evaluation:
    Financial aid satisfactory academic progress is monitored at the conclusion of each term. If a student is academically suspended between monitoring periods, the student's eligibility for financial aid is suspended and must be reassessed by OSFA at the time the student is readmitted to UNCW.

Qualitative Measure Defined (Cumulative GPA)

The qualitative measure can be summarized as a student's cumulative grade point average (GPA) measured once a year at the completion of spring semester. Financial aid is suspended if the qualitative measurement is not met. The minimum GPA required is 2.0.

Quantitative Measure Defined: (Hours Earned Compared to Hours Attempted)

The quantitative measure for all students can be summarized as the total number of credit hours successfully completed divided by the total number of credit hours actually attempted. This includes grades of A, B, C, D, F, I, IP, W, WF, NR, Z and P.

Students must complete 67 percent of all attempted hours, including transfer hours.

It is recommended students attempt to earn at least 31 hours per academic year in order to graduate in four years.

Maximum Time Limit

A student is expected to complete a degree/certificate program within a prescribed time frame. There are maximum total accumulated attempted credit hour time frame restrictions to receiving financial aid. Financial aid is suspended if the maximum time frame for the student's program is exceeded.

The longer a student stays in school, the more likely the chances of not meeting the satisfactory academic progress policy because of maximum time limit.

To remain eligible for federal and state financial aid, undergraduate students must complete their degree requirements within 150 percent of the published length of their academic program. At UNCW, this means that students in programs requiring 124 hours for graduation are eligible for financial aid during the first 186 attempted hours as an undergraduate. All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received, or the course work was successfully completed. This also applies to students admitted under the five-year rule since their attempted hours include hours attempted during prior enrollment. Students who are attempting a double major are still required to complete one of the degrees within 186 hours. UNCW institutional aid is no longer available when the student has attempted 140 hours and the state surcharge is imposed.


Graduate Students

Federal regulations require that students receiving financial aid maintain satisfactory academic progress from both qualitative and quantitative measures--cumulative GPA, hours earned compared to hours attempted and maximum time limit. For graduate students, Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards regarding GPA are the same as the standards established by the UNCW Graduate School (see Retention Policy under Academic Regulations) for continued enrollment. To remain eligible for financial aid, graduate students must earn at least 75% of all attempted hours.

Satisfactory Academic Progress and eligibility for financial aid are determined
each academic year after spring semester grades are available.

Cumulative GPA Required for Graduate Students, 3.0, as described in Graduate Retention Policy