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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

In accordance with regulations that govern federal and state financial aid programs, California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) is required to establish, publish, and consistently apply reasonable standards for measuring a student's academic progress. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students must include a qualitative component (e.g., GPA), a quantitative component referred to as the student’s Pace (e.g., percent of units completed), and maximum unit/time frame (e.g., 150% of the published length of the program). Each component must be cumulative in nature and must be evaluated by the University at least once per year to certify the student's SAP. However, CSUB has elected to evaluate SAP more often, which will be at the end of each term.

What are the requirements?

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards listed below apply to all aid applicants at CSUB, whether aid was received for prior coursework. In addition, all students, whether receiving aid or not, must meet CSUB academic standards. A student's eligibility for all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs is affected by this policy.

SAP Standards


CSUB GPA (total CSUB grade points earned divided by total CSUB grade points attempted)

PACE (cumulative units earned divided by cumulative units attempted)

MAXIMUM ATTEMPTED UNIT LIMIT (includes transfer units. Limit is 150% of the published length of the program)

Undergraduate (0 to 24 units)



180 units

Undergraduate (24.01 to 180 units)



180 units

2nd Bachelors



90 units

Teacher Credential



45 units




45 units




45 units

Note: Maximum Time limits for students may be greater than those listed above if a student’s program requires more than the typical 180 undergraduate units or 45 post-baccalaureate units to complete.

How do my transfer units effect my eligibility?
The government requires that all units accepted for transfer MUST be considered in determining Pace within the 150% maximum time frame, whether the student received prior financial aid and/or completed the coursework.

How do my grades effect my eligibility?
Grading: The quality of an aid recipient's coursework is monitored. Please refer to the University’s Course Grading System.

The following grades have zero (0) grade points associated with them, and therefore effect a student’s GPA and Pace:

  • Failing (F)
  • Incomplete Fail (IC)
  • Unauthorized Withdrawal (WU)

The following grades have no effect on GPA, but they do affect a student’s Pace and Maximum Time and/or Unit Limits:

  • Withdrawal (W)
  • Incomplete (I) - is not a passing grade for SAP purposes
  • No Credit (NC)
  • Report Delayed (RD) - is not a passing grade for SAP purposes
  • Audit (AU)
  • Report in Progress (RP) - is not a passing grade for SAP purposes

The following grades do not affect GPA or Pace, but they do affect Maximum Time and/or Unit Limits:

  • Credit (CR)

Note: Students who are academically disqualified from CSUB by the CSUB Admissions & Records Office (AR) are not eligible for financial aid.

What if I change my major?
When considering a change in major, it is the responsibility of the student to be aware of the financial aid Maximum Time and Unit Limits.

What happens if I repeat a course?
Federal student aid regulation limits the number of times a student may repeat a course and receive financial aid for that course.

  • A student may receive aid when repeating a course that was previously failed (received an F or NC), regardless of the number of times the course was attempted and failed.
  • A student may receive aid to repeat a previously passed course one additional time with aid. Regardless of the outcome of the second attempt (including withdrawal), no more financial aid will be given to repeat the course a third time.
  • If a student retakes a course that is not aid eligible, a recalculation of aid will be done to exclude the credits for the repeated course (this may result in a change to their award and the student being required to return financial aid funds already disbursed).
  • This rule applies whether the student received aid for earlier enrollments in the course.

Note: Federal regulations specify that students may not receive aid for repeating courses previously passed even if the student is required to retake those courses as part of a structured program. For example, a student fails a course in a term, but later repeats that course and earns a "D-" grade. The student may no longer receive aid for repeating the course again, even if they are required by their department or the University to retake the course (e.g., due to a course or program requirement of needing a higher grade).

Do remedial courses count in determining SAP?
Yes. All units will be counted toward the attempted and completed unit maximums but will not be used for the GPA calculation.

What happens if I withdraw from classes?
When a student withdraws from all courses for a term, they are subject to a pro-rata calculation of "earned" Title IV aid based on the number of calendar days they completed before withdrawing, divided by the number of calendar days in the term. Breaks in enrollment of five consecutive calendar days or more are excluded from the number of calendar days in the term. No repayment of Title IV funds will be required for withdrawals occurring after the 60% point of the term.

 When determining Satisfactory Academic Progress, a student's attempted units is determined by the institution as of Census Day. Therefore, a student's Pace will be negatively impacted if the student withdraws from classes after Census Day (i.e., they will have attempted units for the term, but no earned units).

Please Note: financial aid may be Suspended for students who exhibit a multi- term trend of receiving aid and then withdrawing prior to Census Day.

For more information on withdrawal calculations, please refer to our Withdrawal policy.

What happens if I fail to meet SAP?
At the time of each SAP evaluation, a student who has not achieved the required GPA, or who is not successfully completing his or her educational program at the required pace, will automatically be placed on Warning for the next term. This will allow the student one (1) term to get back into good SAP standing while continuing to receive their financial aid. If the student does not meet SAP the next term, their financial aid eligibility will be suspended.

Note: disbursement of financial aid will be placed on hold for students on Warning until their prior term official grades are posted and SAP is determined.

Requirements to Re-establish Financial Aid Eligibility: Students who have had their financial aid eligibility suspended due to insufficient Pace, low GPA, or excessive units, and do not appeal, or their appeal is denied, may generally reestablish eligibility as follows:

  • Complete enough units so that you meet the Minimum Pace (i.e., percentage of overall cumulative units earned with a passing grade, divided by your overall cumulative units attempted as of Census Day). The minimum Pace is: 67.0% for all levels. Deficient units may be completed at CSUB, or they may be completed through CSUB Extended University or another campus, if the coursework is transferable and satisfies their CSUB graduation requirements.
  • Increase your GPA so that you meet the Minimum CSUB GPA requirement for your grade level. Undergraduate students with 0 to 24 units completed must maintain a CSUB cumulative GPA of 1.8 or higher. Undergraduate students with more than 24 units completed and 2nd BA students must maintain a CSUB cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. Graduate, Credential and Doctoral students must maintain a minimum 3.0 CSUB cumulative GPA. Deficient GPA may only be improved through coursework completed at CSUB.
  • For maximum time/unit limit, aid eligibility is automatically renewed when you advance your degree objective.

If my aid is suspended, how do I appeal?
If the student has mitigating factors that have hindered their Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), including death of a relative, injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances, they may submit a SAP Appeal Form, with supporting documentation, to the OFA&S. Students who appeal must specify why they failed to make SAP and what has changed that will allow the student to get back into SAP within the next term.

Appeals are reviewed by the CSUB Financial Aid SAP Appeals Committee and determined on a case-by-case basis. The criteria for approving an appeal will be based on the student's circumstance, documentation, and a reasonable expectation that the student can reestablish progress toward a degree objective within one term or with an Academic Plan and regain academic standing that meets the requirements for graduation.

Students MUST submit their Appeals on, or before, the tenth business day of the start for the term for which they are appealing. Appeals submitted after this date will be denied. Typically, appeals are reviewed by the Committee within 3 business days of submission.

Petitions are approved on a conditional basis. An approved petition requires you to meet with a SAP Advisor in the Academic Advising & Retention Center (AARC).  Not all students will be eligible for an Academic Plan. If eligible, the plan will be created and it will detail a means of improving GPA and/or Pace to meet the SAP standards above or, if you are exceeding the Maximum Unit/Time limit the plan will outline only those courses required to complete your degree. Financial aid will disburse after a completed plan is received from the AARC. Completed Academic Plans will only be accepted from the Academic Advising and Resource Center (AARC). If the Office of Financial Aid does not receive the Academic Plan or you are deemed ineligible for a plan, your aid will be canceled. Students granted an Academic Plan will be placed on academic Probation for one term and may continue to receive financial aid. At the end of the term, the student must meet the institution's SAP standards and/or Academic Plan to qualify for further financial aid assistance. If the student does not meet the SAP standards and/or Academic Plan, their aid will be canceled, and they cannot re-appeal. Note: the only exception is if, while on an Academic Plan, the student has a circumstance beyond their control that has prevented them from attending class for a prolonged period (e.g., hospitalization, auto accident/loss of transportation). In this case, the student will be allowed to re-appeal ONE TIME to change/update their Academic Plan. The student must provide documentation of their circumstance, along with an explanation of what happened and how they will be able to make academic progress in the future.

Note: disbursement of financial aid for a term will be placed on hold for all students on Warning and Probation until their prior term official grades are posted and SAP is determined.

If the student's Appeal is denied by the Financial Aid SAP Appeals Committee, the student may either: (1) continue their enrollment and make personal payment arrangements with the Student Financial Services Office (until aid eligibility is regained); or (2) withdraw and submit an Appeal for Refund of Fees to the Student Financial Services Office based on FA SAP Appeal denial and lack of funds.

Important Note: The SAP Appeals Committee is the last level of appeal that a student can make.

Can I receive a Book Loan / Voucher if my SAP petition is approved?
If your SAP petition is approved, you may be eligible for a Book Loan / Voucher during the time you are waiting to meet with the SAP Advisor for your Academic Plan. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

9001 Stockdale Highway
Bakersfield, CA 93311-1022 

Phone: (661) 654-3016
Fax: (661) 654-6800

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Federal School Code: 007993

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