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University of the Cumberlands students talking in a hallway about how to apply for financial aid.

Undergraduate SAP Policy

SAP Appeal Instructions    SAP Appeal Tutorial    SAP Appeal Outlines

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require that all students who receive federal or state financial aid make progress toward a degree.  All colleges must have policies that ensure students are making this progress both qualitatively (GPA) and quantitatively (hours attempted versus hours earned and time frame). At Cumberlands,  we have established the following  Satisfactory  Academic  Progress  (SAP)  Policy for all types of financial aid  (federal,  state,  and institutional) that will be reviewed each semester, including the summer term.


Students must have at least 12 credit hours each semester to be considered full-time.  Students with 9 to 11 credit hours are considered¾ time, and students with 6-8 hours are ½ time. Any student with less than 6 hours is considered less-than ½ time. Enrollment status is determined at 5:00 p.m. on the last day to register for a class. This is called our “Census Date.” Most types of financial aid are dependent on enrollment status. For example, the student must be full-time to receive institutional scholarship. Enrollment status will not change after the Census Date for that term, but dropping or withdrawing from classes can cause problems with maintaining SAP. Transfer credit counts as both attempted and earned hours.  Repeating classes can affect SAP.


The maximum time frame in which as student must complete their degree cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the students major. All undergraduate majors at Cumberlands require a minimum of 120 hours to complete the degree. Students can therefore attempt a maximum of 180 hours (120 x 150%) and remain eligible. Any student who attempts hours beyond this mark is ineligible for financial aid. All semesters and credit hours attempted are used toward the maximum time frame allowance regardless of whether the student received financial aid.  All repeated courses, failed courses, withdrawals, courses taken from a change in major, and transferred hours will count as credit hours attempted toward the maximum time frame.

In order to complete the necessary number of credit hours within the allowable time frame, all students must earn credits in 67% of all hours they attempt. Grades of W, I, F, and transfer hours are counted as attempted hours; however, grades of W, I, and F will NOT count as earned hours.  Below are some examples:

Fall Hours Attempted  Spring Hours Attempted  Total Hours Attempted    Student Must Earn
12 12 24 x .67 16
9 9 18 x .67 12
6 6 12 x .67 8



  • Students must also earn a certain cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) to maintain SAP.
  • 1 – 29 hours attempted must have at least a 1.60 GPA
  • 30-61 hours attempted must have at least a 1.80 GPA
  • 62+ hours attempted must have and maintain a 2.00 GPA


After each semester, a review will be made of all enrolled students to determine if they meet this policy. If the student fails to meet SAP after one semester, they will be automatically placed on “Financial Aid Warning.” The student will be eligible to receive aid for one semester. At the end of the warning semester, the student will be evaluated again. If they regain SAP, there is no further action, and they remain eligible for financial aid. For those students who fail to regain SAP, they will be placed in “SAP Suspension” and be ineligible to receive financial aid.


Students placed on Financial Aid Suspension that wish to regain eligibility for Federal, State and institutional aid have the option to appeal. We understand that there are situations that could contribute to a student not meeting SAP.  For example, the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or special circumstances are information that will tell us why you failed to make SAP. In the appeal, you must also tell us what has changed and demonstrate you can make SAP in the next evaluation. Students will be placed in “Financial Aid Probation” for one semester if the appeal is approved. At the end of the next semester, the student must be making SAP or successfully following an SAP Appeals Committee plan or become ineligible to receive financial aid. 

SAP Appeal Instructions