Your browser does not support JavaScript! Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy - Financial Aid - Christopher Newport University
Skip navigation

Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy at Christopher Newport University applies to financial aid recipients only. The policy is based on federal guidelines that require each college and university to ensure that student aid recipients are progressing through their academic programs at an acceptable pace while maintaining an acceptable cumulative grade point average. This policy is separate and apart from other academic policies at the University.

The SAP Policy includes three standards that must be met in order for a student to receive aid from the financial aid programs listed below. SAP is calculated at the end of every academic year. Students who fail to meet one or more of the standards below will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

SAP Standards

Grade Point Average Standard:

Undergraduate students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of:

  • 1.61 or higher with up to 48 credits attempted
  • 2.0 or higher with 49 or more credits attempted

Graduate students are expected to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

Hours attempted include both CNU-attempted credit hours and transfer credit hours combined for purposes of reviewing the GPA guidelines outlined above.

Pace of Progression Standard:

Undergraduate and graduate students are expected to successfully complete at least 67 percent of all credits attempted. Grades of A, B, C or any derivative of these letters are satisfactory for financial aid purposes. This percentage can be negatively affected by incomplete, withdrawals and repetition of credits.*

Transfer credits accepted toward a Christopher Newport degree will count as both attempted and earned credits in calculating this completion rate.

The completion rate is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credit hours the student has successfully completed by the cumulative number of credit hours the student has attempted. This calculation is performed after final grades are posted by the Office of the Registrar at the end of the spring semester.

Maximum Time Frame Standard:

While a four-year timeframe for degree completion should be the goal, undergraduate students are required to have completed a bachelor’s degree from CNU within six years or once they have attempted 180 credits (includes transfer credits and represents 150 percent of bachelor’s degree 120 credit-hour requirement). 

Graduate students are required to have completed a master’s degree from Christopher Newport within three years or once they have attempted 150 percent of the credits (includes transfer credits) required for their academic program.**

*Repeated Courses: All repeated course work affects the SAP Pace of Progression and Maximum Time Frame Standards. A repeated course and the original attempt must be counted as attempted credit hours and will count toward the student’s maximum time frame. However, only the higher grade of a repeated course will be used in calculating the CGPA.

**Maximum Time Frame: A student may receive financial aid for attempted credits that do not exceed 150 percent of the published credit hours of the student’s academic program at the University (i.e., if a bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits for completion, the student must complete the program with no more than 180 attempted credit hours). This 150 percent rule applies consistently to students who have transferred, changed majors, repeated courses or who seek a dual major. While it also applies to students who come to Christopher Newport to seek a second degree, in such cases, the student’s transfer credits applied to the degree and required course credits at CNU will guide the determination of Maximum Time Frame.

Financial Aid Programs Affected by SAP Standards

  • Federal Pell Grant*
  • Federal SEOG
  • Federal Direct Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized)
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Federal Work Study
  • Alternative/Private Loan Programs
  • Virginia Guaranteed Access Program (VGAP)
  • Virginia Commonwealth Grant
  • Merit- and Need-Based Scholarships

*Pell Grant recipients are limited to 12 semesters of scheduled awards. Awards received will be tracked by the U.S. Department of Education and students are required to meet the financial aid SAP standards to receive other awards regardless of whether they have received the maximum number of scheduled Pell Grant awards.

SAP Review Process

After each academic year, after spring grades are posted, the Office of Financial Aid reviews the academic records of financial aid recipients before awarding aid to returning students for the upcoming academic year.

SAP Appeal

If extenuating circumstances exist which contributed to the student’s failure to meet one of the above SAP Standards, a written appeal may be submitted. Examples of extenuating circumstances which might be grounds for an appeal include, but are not limited to, a divorce in the family, unexpected death or major hospitalization of an immediate family member, or extended hospitalization or medical condition of the student.

Issues with instructors/courses, job conflicts, misuse of time management, transportation problems or child care conflicts do not constitute as unusual mitigating circumstances and will not be considered.

The appeal must address, and document where appropriate, these extenuating circumstances, describing:

  • Why the student failed to achieve SAP, and
  • What has changed that will allow the student to achieve SAP during the next academic term

Download the SAP and submit to the Office of Financial Aid (along with required supporting documentation) within two weeks of receiving a notification of failure to achieve SAP standards. Appeals that don’t address the stipulations above will be denied.

Questions regarding the SAP Policy requirements and/or process should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid via email at finaid@cnu.edu and/or by calling (757) 594-7170. Members of the financial aid staff are available to assist Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Download Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download Word File Viewer
Download Excel File Viewer

Back to top
Report a problem
Version 3.0