Federal regulations require that all students who receive federal student aid funds maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). It is a measure of student progress toward the completion of a degree and is assessed by qualitative (grade-based) and quantitative (time-based) measures. Western Governors University (WGU or The University) evaluates these measures at the end of each completed payment period or term in the student's academic program and at the time of withdrawal from the university.
The University defines demonstrating a competency (a grade of "pass") as a grade equivalent to a “B” or better (3.0 on a 4-point scale). Students receive a mark of "pass" or "not passed" on their permanent academic record for any courses for which they enroll in a term, regardless of whether they attempt an assessment. A grade of "not passed" is counted as failed course and is counted against SAP.
A quantitative measure is the completion of 66.67 percent of all competency units attempted. This percentage is determined by dividing the number of competency units completed by the total number of units for which a student enrolled cumulatively over the student's academic career at WGU. Completing at least 66.67 percent of all competencies means the student is on track to complete the program within the required 150% of the published length of the program measured in competency units.
Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress
To maintain good standing for SAP, students must achieve an overall minimum cumulative pass rate of 66.67 percent for all competency units attempted and completed.
The Higher Education Act requires a specific qualitative review at the end of the student's second academic year. Students enrolled in a program of more than two academic years must have at least a “C” or its equivalent, or have an academic standing consistent with WGU’s graduation requirements. In addition, a student is ineligible when it becomes mathematically impossible for him to complete his program within 150% of the length of the program.
Transfer Credits from Other Institutions
Students who are granted transfer credits to WGU that count toward the student's current program of study are included in both attempted and completed when measuring SAP.
First-Term Critical Actions
Effective January 1, 2019, new students at WGU who do not complete one of the defined "first-term critical actions" within 45 days from the first term start date will be administratively withdrawn.
These actions include:
The incomplete first-term critical action is excluded from both attempted and completed when measuring SAP.
A change in program of study will not affect a student's SAP standing provided the new program is in the same credential level as the old program. Students requesting re-entry into the University will return with the SAP status calculated at the time of withdrawal. The University will include coursework taken by the student for enrollment in other majors or programs when calculating cumulative SAP. However, if the credential level of the new program is different from the old program (e.g. Bachelor's degree program into Master's degree program or vice versa), the student will begin as a first term student with a new SAP history.
Multiple Programs at WGU
Students who graduate (receiving an Institutional Graduate or IG status) and request admission into a different program will have SAP status reset and will begin as a first term student with a new SAP history.
Students who withdraw and later readmit into the same or a different program, at the same program credential level (whether or not they complete the same or similar degree program at another institution), return as a continuing student with the same SAP status calculated at the end of their abandoned program of study. However, the SAP status may change if the number of transfer credits for the new program at WGU is different from the original program or the student returns into a different college at WGU.
Students who withdraw and enroll into another program at different program credential level, return as a first term student with a new SAP history.
Stacked degree and credential programs
The University offers stacked credential programs built into the stacked degree programs. Stacked credentials may be offered as a stand-alone program option. However, if a student matriculates into a stacked degree program and withdraws once the stacked credential program has been earned, a Withdrawn Graduate (WG) status will be given to the student. Subsequently, if the student returns to finish the stacked degree program, SAP status will not be reset and will continue with the status at the time of withdrawal.
On the other hand, if a student matriculates and completes the stacked credential program, the status is IG and SAP will be reset if the student decides to take another program, including a new stacked degree program.
The following are the stacked degree programs and their corresponding stacked credentials:
Stacked Degree programs
Stacked Credentials within stacked degree programs
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation (PB)
Master of Science Nursing-Education (RN to MSN)
Bachelor of Science Nursing (Pre licensure)
Master of Arts English Language Learning/English as a Second Language (MA ELL/ESL)
Endorsement Preparation, English Language Learning (PreK-12)
Financial Aid Warning
Students who fail to maintain SAP are placed on warning and may be terminated from financial aid eligibility according to the following criteria:
First Term Students*
*Note: First term students include WGU graduates in the first term of an additional degree.
**Note: Continuing students are those that are enrolled beyond the first term.
Students who are terminated from financial aid eligibility may continue their studies at WGU but are required to self-pay and make payment arrangements through the Student Accounts office.
Financial Aid Termination and Appeal Instructions
Students terminated from financial aid eligibility for not meeting satisfactory academic progress (SAP) and who have extenuating circumstances may appeal to reestablish their eligibility for federal student aid. Students who wish to make an appeal must be current on all financial obligations. Students may not use financial aid to make retroactive tuition and fee(s) payments.
Appeals must be based on extenuating circumstances that prevented a student from meeting requirements of the satisfactory academic progress policy. Circumstances may include extreme medical issues, a death in the immediate family, employment related hardship, and/or military mobilization. Students must explain how the timing of their unusual circumstance(s) directly hindered them from meeting the SAP standards and what has changed in their situation that would allow them to make SAP at the next evaluation.
To complete a SAP appeal request, students must submit the following:
The Financial Aid Appeal committee will evaluate the merits of the appeal by reviewing the SAP Appeal Web form and documentation submitted to WGU. The committee may request additional information or documentation as needed and will advise students of the final determination.
The Financial Aid Appeal process is separate from the WGU Academic Progress appeal process. Students completing both an Academic Appeal and a Financial Aid Appeal need to submit their Academic Appeal first.
Financial Aid Probation
Students granted an appeal are placed on financial aid probation status (Academic Plan or AP status in Banner) and will have their financial aid eligibility reinstated based on their appeal. If all other eligibility requirements are met, WGU will disburse FSA funds to students placed on financial aid probation status for one probationary payment period or term. The University reviews student progress at the end of the probationary payment period. To maintain good standing for SAP, students must achieve an overall minimum cumulative pass rate of 66.67 percent for all competency units attempted and completed.
Financial Aid Reinstatement
Students terminated from financial aid may seek reinstatement once they meet the following eligibility requirements and will be eligible for FSA funds at the start of the payment period following the period of ineligibility:
The University notifies students of the results of any SAP evaluation affecting the eligibility for FSA funds for the entire payment period.
Scholarship and Grant Recipients
Most scholarships and grants do not allow for a warning term. Failure to meet SAP in any given term can result in termination of scholarship or grant funds. Refer to your scholarship or grant materials, or contact the scholarship department at email@example.com for additional information.
Article Number: 20390, 1031