Satisfactory Academic Progress
To be eligible to receive any federal and/or state need-based financial aid, students must adhere to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarship's (OSFAS) Policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress. This policy also includes Private Education Loans. The intent of this policy is to ensure that students who are receiving federal and state financial aid for their education are making measurable progress toward completion of a degree in a reasonable period of time.
Undergraduate students, in order to complete an undergraduate degree within the prescribed time allowed, would need to enroll for at least 15 credit hours per semester (fall and spring) not to exceed a total of 180 hours, and successfully earn (pass) 67 percent of all hours attempted at USC plus transfer hours attampted regarless of whether federal financial aid was received. A minimum of a 2.0 cumulative USC GPA is also required.
Graduate students are expected to earn 67 percent of all hours attempted at USC plus transfer hours attampted regarless of whether federal financial aid was received. Additionally, they must meet the academic standards of the Graduate School and their respective graduate program for continued enrollment.
Please review the following sections to understand USC's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
Undergraduate students are considered to be making satisfactory progress if they:
- Complete requirements for a degree within a reasonable length of time. The total number of hours attempted at any post-secondary institution does not exceed 180 hours of course work for a four-year degree regardless of whether federal financial aid was received.
- Earn (pass) 67 percent of all hours attempted at USC plus transfer hours attampted regarless of whether federal financial aid was received
- Maintain a cumulative USC Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0.
Failure to meet the above SAP standards will result in the loss of financial aid eligibility. Students deemed ineligible would need to submit a written appeal in order to have their eligibility reinstated. This determination applies without regard to any financial aid award letter that may have been sent or received prior to the time the determination is made.
Graduate students are considered to be making satisfactory academic progress if they:
- Earn 67 percent of all hours attempted at USC plus transfer hours attampted regarless of whether federal financial aid was received.
- Meet the University standards for continued enrollment as specified in the University of South Carolina Graduate Studies Bulletin.
Graduate degree-seeking students whose cumulative grade point average drops below 3.00 (B) will be placed on academic probation and allowed one calendar year in which to raise the grade point average to at least 3.00. In the case of conversion of grades of incomplete that cause a cumulative GPA to drop below 3.0, a degree-seeking student will be placed on academic probation at the end of the semester in which the grade is posted. Students whose cumulative GPA falls below the required minimum of 3.0 by receiving a grade for a course in which they received an Incomplete will, instead of a one year probationary period, be granted only one major semester of probation dating from the semester in which the grade is received by the registrar in which to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.0 or above. Students who do not reach a cumulative 3.00 grade point average during the probationary period will not be permitted to enroll for further graduate course work as a degree or non-degree student.
Students who fail to meet SAP standards will be ineligible to receive any federal, state or private educational loans financial aid funds. Students who are found ineligible may appeal this determination under specifically prescribed conditions.
Satisfactory academic progress is measured annually by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. This measurement occurs at the conclusion of each spring semester once grades are reported and recorded by Student Records. The measurement is for eligibility for the subsequent fall and spring semesters. However if a student attends summer school, they will also be reviewed at the end of the summer session(s).
Students whose records are not reviewed at the end of spring or summer, will be reviewed when they submit a FAFSA for the current year or upcoming year.
The academic year for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) eligibility determination is comprised of the fall, spring, and summer terms.
Appeals must be in writing and submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships (OSFAS). An appeal will be deemed successful, and a status of "Probation" will assigned if the appeal meets one of the two conditions below:
- The student should be able to meet the regular SAP standards after the next payment period or period of enrollment (semester or summer session).
- The student in conjunction with advisors in the OSFAS and academic counselors in the Student ACE Office develops an academic plan that, if followed, ensures that the student is able to meet SAP standards by a specific point in the future.
To regain eligibility at the end of the probationary semester, the student must either meet the regular SAP requirements, or be in compliance with the requirements of their academic plan, if one was developed.
If a student fails to either regain regular SAP eligibility or meet the conditions of their academic plan, the student is ineligible to receive aid. Specific instructions regarding the submission of appeals may be obtained in the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Deadline for receipt of appeals in the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is 14 calendar days prior to the end of the semester for which aid is requested.
Students who need to remain enrolled beyond their maximum time frame (180 attempted hours for undergraduates) due to a change of major will be required to submit an appeal.
The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy standards will not automatically apply to any hours forgiven under the University of South Carolina Academic Forgiveness Program. Students who have been granted academic forgiveness under this policy must contact OSFAS for further assessment.
Students who are completing a second degree will be required to appeal once they reach their maximum time frame. This appeal will require documentation from the student's academic department indicating the number of credit hours needed to complete their second degree. If the appeal is successful, the student's maximum attempted hours will be reset based on the information from the department.
In determining a student's SAP standing, classes in which a student receives a W, WF, I, U, NR, or F are counted as attempted hours but not hours earned. Only grades of A, B, C, D, S, and T are counted as attempted hours and hours earned. Students enrolled in audit courses (AUD) will not receive financial aid for these classes. Grades of W, NR, I, U, S, T and AUD are not used when computing GPA. Receiving grades of W, WF, I U, NR, or F can negatively impact the percentage of completion.
Repeated courses and transfer hours accepted by USC will be counted in both attempted hours and hours earned.
Federal Pell Grants
Federal Work-Study Program
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
Federal Perkins Loans
Federal Direct Loans, subsidized and unsubsidized
Federal Direct PLUS Loan
Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan
Nursing Student Loans and Scholarships
Health Professions Loans, Scholarships and Grants
Private Educational Loans
South Carolina Teachers Loan Program
South Carolina Career Changers Loan
South Carolina Need-Based Grant Program
Other federal or state programs as required
The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy for medical students is available from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.