Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Graduates

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is required to establish minimum academic standards that students must meet to be eligible or maintain eligibility for federal financial aid.

  • Students who are receiving financial aid or who seek financial aid in the future are required to meet these minimum standards.
  • Failure to meet these standards for two consecutive semesters (fall, spring, summer) means the student is no longer eligible to receive financial aid.

Qualitative Requirements

The qualitative requirements for graduate students are:

  • If you are a graduate student you must have a minimum cumulative University GPA of 3.0

Quantitative Requirements

The quantitative requirements for graduate students are based upon your enrollment status (full-time, part-time, half-time) at the end of drop and add week at the start of each semester. You must successfully complete the number of hours for which your financial aid was based.

Enrollment status and quantitative progress for graduate students is defined as follows:

  • Awarded as 1/2 time (4-5 hours) must complete a minimum of 4 hours
  • Awarded as 3/4 time (6-8 hours) must complete a minimum of 6 hours
  • Awarded as full-time (9 or more) must complete a minimum of 9 hours

Successful Completion of Courses

  • To be counted as successfully completed or earned hours, the student must receive a grade of A, B, C, D or CR.
  • Withdrawals (W), incompletes (I) or failures (F) are counted in the attempted hours but are NOT successfully completed or earned hours.

For example, at the end of drop and add week, a student was registered for 9 credit hours (full time). At the end of the semester, that student had an incomplete in one 3 credit course and withdrew from another 2 credit course. The student successfully completed 4 credit hours. Since the student was awarded for full-time status, he/she did not meet the minimum quantitative standards for progress.

Maximum Time Frame Requirement

Graduate students working on their Masters or Specialist degrees are eligible to receive financial aid up to 150% of the required program hours.

The credit hours attempted include transfer hours. They also include hours in which the student did or did not receive financial aid.

Example: MBA program that requires 30 credit hours for a degree -- 30 credits X 150% = 45 credit hours which will be funded.

Students will be suspended from financial aid eligibility the semester following the semester their attempted hours exceed 150%.There is no warning status semester.

Failing to meet the minimum standards of progress

If you failed to meet one or both (qualitative or quantitative) of the minimum standards for one semester you will be placed on financial aid warning status for the following semester. You will maintain financial aid eligibility and continue to receive financial aid during your semester of warning status. You will be notified via your UNK email account or in writing that you have been placed on warning status. That means you have the following semester to meet all of the minimum standards of academic progress.

If you fail to meet one or both of the standards again in the subsequent semester, you will be placed on financial aid suspension. That means you will no longer be eligible for any financial aid.

If you meet the minimum standards the subsequent semester you will be placed back in good standing.

Regaining eligibility

You can enroll for classes without financial aid and meet the minimum standards. We will check your academic standing after each semester. However you should notify the Office of Financial Aid in writing if you feel you have met the minimum standards and should be reinstated.


If you feel there were mitigating circumstances that impacted your ability to do well in the classroom, you can appeal the suspension. Mitigating circumstances include an illness or injury. Or they might include a personal struggle or family difficulty. When you are notified of your suspension you will be told about the right to appeal.

You will be given a date by which your appeal must be submitted in writing to the Office of Financial Aid Appeals Committee. Supporting documentation is highly recommended. This might include a letter from a physician or counselor, your academic advisor or a trusted faculty member.

Guidelines for writing an appeal letter

***Please note that completion of a Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Letter does not appeal an Academic Suspension. If you have been academically suspended, you will need to submit a separate appeal to the Office of Academic Affairs. For more information on completing an Academic Appeal, please visit

If you are planning to appeal a financial aid suspension, here are some guidelines for writing your appeal letter:

  1. First Paragraph: Explain your understanding of the reasons you have been suspended. Suspension occurs after two semesters of not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, so your appeal should address both semesters. If you are not sure why you went on warning status and then suspension, please contact our office so that you will be able to address the right circumstances and include the necessary documentation in your letter. Please keep in mind that circumstances such as not getting along with your professor or not liking the class are not valid reasons for appeal.

  2. Supporting Documentation: It is required that you provide documentation to support your appeal. Some examples of documentation include:
    • If you had an illness or injury, you must include a note from your doctor or copies of medical records. Keep in mind that obtaining medical records may take some time, so you'll want to plan ahead if you know you are going to submit an appeal.
    • If there was a death in your family, you must submit a copy of the obituary from the newspaper or a link to it on the Internet.
    • If you and your professor are in the process of having a grade changed, we will need documentation from that professor describing the circumstance.
  3. Second Paragraph: Explain, in detail, your plan for completing your college career and meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. Some examples of items you might include in your plan are:
    • Taking fewer hours so you have more time to concentrate on the classes you are taking.
    • Changing your major because you’ve found out it’s not for you.
  4. Document Your Plan For Success: Have your academic advisor or a faculty member confirm your plans to meet the standards of progress.

Please sign and date your appeal letter before submitting it to our office. Once complete, your appeal letter and supporting documentation should be addressed to the Office of Financial Aid Appeal Committee and can be dropped off at our office or sent to:

University of Nebraska Kearney
Financial Aid Office
2504 9th Avenue
Kearney, NE 68849

Fax: 308.865.8096

Note: Students needing to file a complaint that cannot be addressed by the appeals procedure may contact the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) - Private Postsecondary Career Schools at (402) 471-4825 or by submitting this form.

How to know if the appeal is approved

You will be notified in writing. The Office of Financial Aid will use the local or permanent address on the University’s computer system. It is critical that you ensure your address is correct with the University if you want to make sure any correspondence goes to the correct address. That is your responsibility. Updates to your address can be made by logging into MyBLUE.

Borrowing student loans and financial aid suspension

You cannot borrow any federally-guaranteed student loans if you are on financial aid suspension; this would include Federal Direct Loans. Additionally, you may be ineligible to borrow some types of Student Alternative Loans at the University of Nebraska at Kearney while you are on suspension.

How withdrawal from UNK affects Federal Financial Aid

Federal statute requires the return of a percentage of federal financial aid when an aid recipient withdraws from school. Federal financial aid is called Title IV Financial Aid. Listed below is the Title IV Financial Aid that is affected by this statute.

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan
  2. Federal Subsidized Federal Direct Loan
  3. Federal Perkins Loan
  4. Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
  5. Federal Pell Grant
  6. Federal Teach Grant
  7. Federal Supplemental Equal Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • This listing provides both the types of aid returned, and the order in which it is returned. Note that loans are returned first in order to reduce loan debt and retain more grant assistance.

The federal aid returned by UNK is based on the amount of federal financial aid received, the University charges incurred, and the date of withdrawal. We first calculate the amount of financial aid that is earned by the student. The amount of aid earned is determined on a pro rata basis. That is, if a student completed 30% of the semester, then the student has earned 30% of the financial aid received or scheduled to be received. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the semester all of the assistance is considered earned, and no aid will be returned.

The official date of withdrawal is the date indicated on UNK's official withdrawal form at the Office of Registration and Records. We will use this withdrawal date in the return of aid calculation.

If a student does not officially withdraw, remains enrolled but stops attending classes, and therefore fails to pass any classes, the calculation must be done in accordance with federal statute. Failing to officially withdraw does not result in the waiving of the requirement to return Title IV Financial Aid. In these cases, at least 50% of the financial aid will have to be returned. A student who fails all of their classes, but attended the majority of the semester, should contact the financial aid office to determine if the need to return aid can be avoided.

If a student's University charges are reduced as a result of withdrawal, and that withdrawal generates a refund, this refund will be used to repay the federal financial aid programs as determined by the calculation. Grant dollars that have to be returned will go back to the individual grant program, while loan funds that are returned will be sent to the student's lender, reducing the student's loan debt. If the refund does not cover the entire amount due back to the aid programs, the student will be billed the difference. If the student must return funding to the Federal Pell or Federal SEOG programs, the student has 45 days to make repayment to the University or be reported to the U.S. Department of Education as a student who owes an overpayment. Owing an overpayment means that student will no longer be eligible for financial aid.

Below is an Example of the Return of Title IV Funds Calculation.

  • John is a student who withdraws on 9/24/2014.
  • John received $2,668 in Title IV financial aid
  • John's bill was $1,276
  1. Establish the withdrawal date and calculate the percentage of aid the student may retain.

    * 9/24/2014 is 29 days into the semester, which is 116 days long. Therefore, he has completed 25% of the semester.

    * This means that he may keep 25% of the aid awarded to him, however 75% must go back to the aid programs. (If the percentage of aid a student may retain is at 60% or more, all aid is retained.)
  2. Calculate the percentage of unearned aid that has to be returned.

    *75% of $2,668 in financial aid must be returned: $2,001.
  3. Calculate the maximum percentage of financial aid applied to cost that the school has to return.

    *75% of the cost, $1276, is $957.

    * The school must then return the lesser of $957 (percentage of cost) or $2,001 (percent of unearned financial aid) to the aid programs.

    *The school returns $957 on John's behalf.
  4. Aid the student must personally return.

    *John's grant aid is returned on his behalf by the school and therefore becomes part of the bill that must be repaid to the school. Failure to pay this would result in reporting to the Department of Education as an overpayment. Reporting is done 45 days after the calculation if the repayment has not been made to the school.

    *The balance of John's loan not paid by the school will go into repayment after the 6 month grace period in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.