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Federal Aid Standards

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

In order to remain eligible for federal and state aid programs, students must satisfy minimum academic standards.

At the end of each semester, our office evaluates whether students satisfy both federal and state standards. If a student fails any of these standards, our office forwards the student a letter and may be required to cancel all financial aid for which the student is ineligible.

The student may be responsible for any outstanding balance resulting from this cancellation. For example, if a student has a $1,000 Pell award and loses eligibility due to unsatisfactory academic progress, our office will cancel this award and the student may be responsible for paying a $1,000 balance.

While the standards described below appear complicated, students only need to remember these general guidelines:

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 at Plattsburgh
  • Complete at least 12 credits of non-repeat courses required for graduation each semester
  • Do not withdraw from too many courses
  • Declare a major before earning 57 credits
  • Graduate within four to six years (eight to twelve semesters)
  • Consult with the Financial Aid Office for exceptions to these guidelines

Federal Eligibility Standards

Students must satisfy minimum academic standards in order to remain eligible for federal and state aid programs. Financial Aid evaluates whether students satisfy these standards at the end of each semester. Once the evaluation is complete, FAO assigns each student a satisfactory academic progress (SAP) status for the upcoming semester.

The standards for federal aid programs depend upon the number of academic years completed by the student (see table below). For example, a student who has completed two years must have an earned to attempted ratio of at least 66.7%, have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 at Plattsburgh, and has four years of eligibility remaining.

Upon request from the student, the number of years remaining will be adjusted for students who have graduated and are working on their second degree.  The calculation of years remaining will exclude credits attempted by the student in the old major that do not apply toward the new major.

Federal Standard for Financial Aid Eligibility

Years Completed Minimum Earned to Attempted Credits Minimum Plattsburgh Cumulative GPA Years Remaining
0.5 50.0% 1.6 5.5
1.0 66.7% 2.0 5.0
1.5 66.7% 2.0 4.5
2.0 66.7% 2.0 4.0
2.5 66.7% 2.0 3.5
3.0 66.7% 2.0 3.0
3.5 66.7% 2.0 2.5
4.0 66.7% 2.0 2.0
4.5 66.7% 2.0 1.5
5.0 66.7% 2.0 1.0
5.5 66.7% 2.0 0.5
6.0 66.7% 2.0 0

The first time a student fails a federal standard, the student is automatically assigned a warning semester and continues to receive federal aid during this warning semester. Students may only receive aid one time on warning.

If students on warning do not satisfy all standards by the end of the semester, the student becomes ineligible for federal aid the following semester.  Note that failure (E) and pass (P) grades are considered completed credits, although the following are not: incomplete (I), withdrawal (W), withdrawal failing (WE), unknown (UK), non-credit (NC), non-available (N), proficiency (PR), and audit (U).  Repeat coursework may be allowed for financial aid eligibility, under certain Federal and State regulations.  Students should contact the Financial Aid office for advisement of aid eligibility if planning to repeat a course.  

If ineligible for federal aid, students may continue to attend without federal aid or appeal for a probation term.

Appeal for a Probation Term

If students have not exceeded the maximum timeframe for federal aid or maximum TAP points, students can regain eligibility through two options.

First, students can attend without federal and state aid while addressing all of the failed standards. Students will become eligible again once all the minimum standards are satisfied again. In this situation, students could consider using an alternative loan to help fund educational expenses.

Second, students may appeal for a probation term. Appeals are warranted under extraordinary and unusual circumstances beyond the control of the student that had an inevitable impact on academic performance. Examples may involve an unexpected acute physical illness, unforeseen acute psychological condition, or unanticipated catastrophic event experienced by the student, parent, spouse or partner.

The student must thoroughly and comprehensively document the circumstances in writing from credible sources. There must also be a reasonable expectation that the student will meet all future requirements. In general, students may only receive one appeal in their academic career. An appeal is only valid for one semester of probation. By the end of this semester, students must satisfy all of the academic standards in order to regain eligibility.

The form is available in the directory of forms.  Students may not appeal the maximum timeframe for federal aid or maximum TAP points for state aid.

Contact Information

For more information about Financial Aid at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Financial Aid Office
Location: Kehoe Administration Building, Suite 401-410
Phone: (518) 564-2072
Toll-Free Phone: (877) 768-5976
Fax: (518)564-4079

Our mailing address:

Financial Aid Office
SUNY Plattsburgh
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901-12681