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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 for.

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
  • Earn credits in at least two-thirds of all coursework (>66.6% earned to attempted ratio) 
  • 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)
  • Attempt less than 180 credits
  • Consult with the Financial Aid Office for exceptions to these guidelines

Federal Eligibility Standards

All matriculated students must meet the following standards to both establish and maintain eligibility for federal aid programs. Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards are evaluated at the end of each semester. SAP standards for federal aid programs include qualitative (GPA) and quantitative (pace) components, and maximum timeframe requirements.

Qualitative Measure (GPA). Students who have completed less than one year of academic pursuit must maintain a minimum Plattsburgh cumulative GPA of 1.6. At one year completed and beyond, a 2.0 minimum cumulative gpa is required. 

The cumulative GPA at Plattsburgh does not include transfer coursework, or the following grades: pass (P), incomplete (I), withdrawal (W), withdrawal from college (WC), non-credit (NC), non-available (N), proficiency (PR), and audit (U). The college’s Academic Amnesty Policy does not apply to the evaluation of satisfactory academic progress for financial aid. Grades removed under academic amnesty will continue to be counted in the SAP review.

Quantitative Measure (Pace). Students who have completed less than one year of academic pursuit must earn at least 50% of all credits attempted. At one year completed and beyond, 66.7% of all attempted credits must be earned. 

Transfer credits accepted at SUNY Plattsburgh count as both attempted and completed credits. Note that pass (P) grades are considered completed credits, although the following are not: failure (E), incomplete (I), withdrawal (W), withdrawal from college (WC), non-credit (NC), non-available (N), proficiency (PR), and audit (U).

Maximum Timeframe. Students must successfully complete their degree pursuit within 150% of the credits required for graduation. Generally, 150% is a maximum of 180 attempted credits. 

Upon request from the student, the number of years remaining will be adjusted for students who have graduated from Plattsburgh and are working on their second bachelor’s degree. 

Federal Standard for Financial Aid Eligibility

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

 * A Plattsburgh cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better is required for participation in the Federal TEACH Grant Program

Repeated Credits. Students may repeat coursework according to University academic policy, defined in the college catalog. Federal aid programs may only be used one time for retaking previously passed coursework. The most recent/last grade earned in repeat coursework will be used in the GPA computation and only courses taken and repeated at SUNY Plattsburgh (or through cross registration) will count toward a student’s GPA. Each course attempt is included in the quantitative and maximum timeframe components of SAP review.

Remedial and English as a Second Language (ESL) Credit Limitations. The maximum number of remedial and ESL credits attempted for which aid may be received is 30 credits. Students must attend in college-level coursework while taking remedial and ESL classes, earning at least 3 college-level credits in their first semester and at least 6 college-level credits in subsequent semesters.

Maximum Semesters for Pell Grants. Starting July 1, 2012 students may receive a maximum of 12 fulltime (or fulltime equivalent) semesters of Pell Grant awards. You can view your maximum Pell Grant lifetime eligibility used at Select Financial Aid Review for your financial aid history.  

Financial Aid Warning. The first time students fail a federal standard (other than maximum timeframe and maximum semesters for Pell), they are automatically assigned one-semester of warning and continue to receive federal aid during this warning semester. If students on warning do not satisfy all standards by the end of the warning semester, the student becomes ineligible for federal aid the following semester.  

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.  The form is available in the directory of forms.  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.

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
Email: [email protected]

Our mailing address:

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