Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require colleges and universities to monitor a student’s academic progress toward earning a degree. This monitoring policy is called Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Each student’s progress is reviewed at the end of each semester after grades are posted. SAP is monitored using quantitative, qualitative and maximum time frame measures.

Quantitative Measure

The Quantitative measure is the number of units a student completes each term. Students enrolled full-time are required to complete at least 24 units per year (12 units a term). Students enrolled less than full-time are required to complete all of the attempted units. For example, students enrolled three-quarter time (9 units) are required to complete 9 units for that term. If a student petitions to drop a class late and it is approved and removed from the academic transcript, this class still counts as a class attempted but not completed for SAP purposes and could affect a student’s financial aid eligibility.

Please note: In order to graduate within four-years (earn 124 units), full-time enrollment will need to average 15.5 units per semester (124/8 = 15.5).

Qualitative Measure

The Qualitative measure is the minimum cumulative GPA required. Every financial aid recipient must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to maintain federal financial aid eligibility. Please note that institutional merit scholarships may require a higher minimum GPA to maintain eligibility.

Maximum Time Frame for Completion (Time Limit)

Federal Aid

Maximum time frame limits also apply to a student’s eligibility. A student may not receive federal aid for more than 150% of the normal time required to complete a bachelor’s degree. Undergraduate students are limited to a maximum of 186 total units (including repeat courses and transferred units) or 12 full-time semesters, whichever comes first.

Institutional Aid

Students entering college for the first time are eligible for a maximum of four-years (eight semesters) of Vanguard aid (scholarships and grants) based on full time enrollment per term. Transfer students are eligible for a maximum of three-years (six semesters) of eligibility before eligibility is exhausted.


Grades of incomplete count as attempted but do not apply towards the earned credit determination. Incompletes are not counted towards meeting the minimum GPA or unit completion and may result in Financial Aid Warning or Suspension until the grade has been earned and posted.


Withdrawal from a semester in which financial aid is received still counts units attempted toward the maximum time limit for completion.

Evaluation Periods

The Office of Financial Aid reviews undergraduate day students for SAP at the end of each semester. After the Registrar posts semester grades the student’s entire academic history is evaluated for SAP; not just the semesters for which the student received financial aid.

Financial Aid Warning

Failure to meet minimum SAP standards for financial aid eligibility will result in placement on Financial Aid Warning for the following semester. Financial aid eligibility is retained while on Financial Aid Warning.  At the end of the warning semester the student is expected to meet the required academic standing in order to comply with minimum SAP financial aid requirements.

Financial Aid Suspension

Failure to meet minimum SAP standards for financial aid eligibility a second time results in financial aid being rescinded including all Federal, State and Institutional financial aid. In order to stay enrolled at Vanguard while on Financial Aid Suspension, the student must pay the full charges without the benefit of financial aid.

SAP Appeals

Placement on Financial Aid Suspension may be appealed.  Completion of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form, available from the Financial Aid Office, is required.  This form provides the opportunity to explain the reasons causing the failure to meet SAP requirements.  In addition, the student must provide a plan to meet SAP requirements during the next academic term. The student’s academic advisor must be involved to help develop a plan to achieve the desired academic results.

Financial Aid Reinstatement

The student’s financial aid is reinstated for the following term if the Financial Aid Committee approves the appeal. During the reinstatement term the student is placed on Financial Aid Probation. The Financial Aid Committee may require certain standards to be met before reinstatement will be granted beyond the initial semester. If the student successfully completes the semester while on Financial Aid Warning or Suspension AND meets both quantitative and qualitative SAP standards by the end of the semester, full eligibility for financial aid is regained beginning with the subsequent semester, however, maximum time limits still apply.