Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) - Financial Aid

The Department of Education and Kentucky Commonwealth each require students to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements in order to maintain eligibility for federal and state loans and grants. Failure to meet the standards as discussed below could lead to loss of eligibility for both federal and state financial assistance.

This policy applies to all students even if the student is not receiving financial aid for the period currently being monitored.

Effective July 1, 2016 for the 2016-2017 aid year.

Students who are not meeting the Financial Aid Policy will be notified via Murray State University email and can review their status on their myGate account.

NOTE: The Admissions, Bursar, and Housing appeals are separate application processes. Decisions of these appeals are independent of each other.

How SAP is Determined

Qualitative and Quantitative requirements for SAP include:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA (earned at Murray State University and all transferred credits)
  • A maximum amount of time allowed to complete all degree requirements
  • A minimum percentage of completed hours earned

Qualitative Standard

Minimum GPA

The minimum GPA requirements for Murray State University (as shown in the chart below) are determined by the number of credit hours the student has attempted. Once the Academic probationary period leads to Academic suspension, you will also be suspended for Financial Aid.

GPA Hours Attempted Cumulative GPA required
1 - 32 1.5
33 - 64 1.7
65 - 79 1.9
80 + 2.0

Quantitative Standard

Maximum Timeframe

The longest time you can take to complete your degree is 1½ times the length of the published program length as shown below:

Degree type Published Program Length Maximum Attempted Hours
Associate 60 90
Baccalaureate 120 180
Post-Baccalaureate seeking an Associate* 180 270
Post-Baccalaureate seeking a Baccalaureate* 240 360
Graduate/Masters 36 54
Doctoral 79 119

* - These hours reflect first Baccalaureate attempted hours


Completion Rate

You must earn a minimum of 67% of the total number of hours you have attempted during your respective undergraduate and/or graduate career. To determine if you are meeting this requirement, multiply the total cumulative hours you have attempted times .67.

Example: 95 cumulative hours x .67 = requirement of 64 hours earned

Actions impacting course completion when calculating attempted and earned hours: 

 Action Counts toward Attempted Counts toward Earned 
 Audited, Withdrawn or Incomplete course  Yes  No
 Transfer, or Remedial course  Yes  Yes
 Repeat or Non-degree related course  Yes  Yes - but only the last time attempted


Semester Withdrawal

More than two (2) official academic and/or administrative withdrawals from a semester while attending Murray State University will prevent you from meeting SAP.

Additional Information


  • Completion requirements remain the same if major is changed.
  • Financial Aid reviews SAP at the end of each spring semester and covers the preceding summer, fall, and spring terms.
  • Financial Aid SAP requirements are not the same as Academic suspension – each requires a separate appeal process.  Refer to the Office of the Registrar website for the academic Suspension Academic Policy.
  • You may review your SAP status on your myGate account.

Impact of not Meeting SAP

Failure to meet any of the SAP requirements will result in a Financial Aid suspension and make you ineligible to receive any additional federal or state financial aid.

Official notice of suspension will be sent to you via your Murray State University email address.


What to do if you are Suspended

If you receive a financial aid suspension, you may want to consider filing an appeal if you believe you have mitigating circumstances.

To initiate a Financial Aid SAP appeal, you must complete a SAP Financial Aid appeal form and provide supporting documentation as outlined below. The form may be obtained from within your myGate account under the Financial Aid link.

Appeals may fall into one of the following categories and appropriate supporting documentation must be provided:


  • Broken bone
  • Cancer
  • Catastrophic health or mental illness 

    Documentation needed 

  • Official documentation from medical provider reflecting confirmed diagnosis and dates of illness or injury
  • If recurring illness or other health issue, please provide a statement explaining what has changed to enable you to perform better going forward.
  • Provide additional documentation if there is a change in medication for recurring illness which addresses your ability to improve performance.

Severe personal or family problems

  • Death of immediate family member (parent/guardian, sibling, child, spouse)
  • Divorce
  • Accident
  • Incarceration 

   Documentation needed (depending upon circumstance)

  • Death certificate or copy of obituary and documentation reflecting family connection
  • Divorce decree or letter confirming separation from objective third party (representative of the court, pastor, counselor, social worker, etc.)
  • Copy of police report
  • If accident resulting in injury, official documentation from medical provider reflecting confirmed diagnosis and dates of illness or injury
  • Court documentation reflecting period of incarceration for self or immediate family member and documentation reflecting family connection
  • If court documentation is unavailable, must provide other documentation substantiating arrest and/or period of incarceration. 

 Academically Related

  • Seeking additional degree
  • Change of major

    Documentation needed

 Extenuating Circumstances

  • Work conflict
  • Military Obligations 

    Documentation needed

  • Letter from employer on company letterhead verifying termination of employment or reduced work hours
  • Statement explaining what has changed financially to enable you to perform better going forward
  • Official documentation from the military organization verifying time frame of required training and/or deployment
  • Other supporting documentation depending on situation. 

* Please note that additional supporting documentation may be requested after initial review.*


Next Steps

Once a completed appeal and all supporting documentation is received by the Financial Aid Department, a review of your individual circumstance will be conducted and a determination will be made.

Decisions will fall into one of four potential categories.

  1. Approved without Academic Plan
  2. Approved with Academic Plan
  3. Denied
  4. Administratively Denied 

Decisions will be communicated to the student via their Murray State University email. All decisions are final.

If your appeal is approved, you will be placed on probation for a minimum of one (1) semester or for the length of the academic plan. At the end of the probationary term, you must meet all requirements of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

If your appeal is denied, you may continue enrollment without federal financial aid assistance and attempt to meet all requirements and regain eligibility.  You may also seek a private loan to fund educational costs.


General Information

If you do not meet SAP requirements, to allow consideration for financial aid in future terms, you must still complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in a timely manner.

  • The Admissions, Academic Standing, Bursar, and Housing appeals are separate application processes. Decisions of these appeals are independent of each other.
  • If you have additional questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 500 Sparks Hall, 270-809-2546 or 800-272-4678 option 3, or


Article ID: 92737
Tue 11/19/19 3:40 PM