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Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Montclair State University Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy measures whether students are progressing at a reasonable rate towards completion of their degree program. Federal regulations require all students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate or certificate programs to maintain certain academic requirements to remain eligible for financial aid.

The University’s Student Academic Standing policy and suspension/dismissal appeal process is completely separate from those governing Satisfactory Academic Progress. Therefore, a student whose suspension/dismissal appeal is approved by the University’s Scholastic Appeals Committee may still be determined ineligible for financial aid funding under SAP.

Read the full Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

SAP Standing for Financial Aid

You must meet all of the following to be in good SAP standing for financial aid:

Undergraduate students who have attempted < 30 credits:

  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative Financial Aid GPA*.
  • Pass 60 percent of all attempted credits.

Undergraduate students who have attempted 30+ credits:

  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative Financial Aid GPA*.
  • Pass 67 percent completion rate of all attempted credits.
  • Graduate within 180 attempted credits or six academic years.

Graduate students:

  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative Financial Aid GPA*.
  • Pass 70 percent completion rate of all attempted credits.
  • Graduate within 150% of the normal time length of your program.

*From fall 2017 through spring 2023, the Financial Aid GPA included all grades earned at Montclair State University, including original grades for classes that were retaken. As of Fall 2023, the Financial Aid GPA will now align with the University’s Repeat Coursework Policy (revised spring 2022), factoring in only the highest grade earned. All earned and attempted credits for retaken courses are still included in the pace (%) and maximum timeframe calculations for SAP.

The Financial Aid Office conducts an annual SAP review of student academic records after spring grades are posted. Academic eligibility for financial aid in the summer term and upcoming academic year are assessed at that time. Students who have not met SAP standards are notified via Montclair State student email and NEST in June of each year. There is no ability to appeal for summer financial aid eligibility. However, appeal instructions for the approaching fall term are made available to impacted students on NEST annually.

2024-2025 Appeal Submission Deadline: June 28, 2024.

If you are not meeting SAP and are NOT taking classes in the fall, but will take classes in the spring, please contact our office once you have registered for the spring to have your SAP status evaluated.

No exceptions will be made for late appeals. Financial Aid Appeals Committee decisions are final. Please check NEST for updates.

Students not passing one or more of the above SAP standards will be sent appeal instructions via Montclair State University email and NEST. Appeals will only be accepted electronically through NEST > StudentForms. Appeals will NOT be accepted in person, by fax, postal mail or email otherwise.

  1. In detail, what factors contributed to you falling below satisfactory academic progress this past academic year?
  2. In detail, what changes have (or will occur) to ensure you meet SAP standards for the next academic year?
    • Please provide any necessary documentation to support the reasons in your appeal letter (ie: proof of hospitalization, doctor’s note, etc).
  3. Academic Plan – Students must complete an Academic Plan at the same time of the appeal submission, which will be evaluated by committee before an appeal decision is made.
    • Students will indicate whether or not they intend to enroll in each semester for the upcoming academic year.
    • Students must list the number of credit hours they plan to register for (credits must fulfill degree/graduation requirements).
      • Students should consult with their academic advisor(s) on Navigate, use DegreeWorks and/or their specialized advisor (Educational Opportunity Program, Athletics or other departments in which the student is affiliated) for assistance with course selection as needed.
    • The student will be held accountable for the credit hours they actually enrolled in; the Financial Aid Office will review a student’s adherence to the academic plan based on actual enrollment for the term(s) in question. If a student’s enrollment differs from what was originally indicated on the academic plan later, they do not need to submit an academic plan revision.

Readmitted/Re-enrolled Students

  • Any student readmitted or re-enrolled at Montclair State University after a period of non-attendance will have their Academic Progress evaluated to determine if they are eligible for aid based on the SAP policy.
  • If a student is not eligible for aid, they may file an appeal as stated above.

Approved Appeals

Students with successful appeal outcomes will receive the positive decision via Montclair State student email and NEST. Students must then follow their Academic Plan and pass all of their courses in the academic year in question.

  • The Academic Plan is a contract between the student and Montclair State University. Students must pass all listed courses on their academic plan with no failures, withdrawals or incomplete grades to stay eligible for financial aid. If a student does not follow the plan, their spring financial aid will be canceled and they lose all financial aid eligibility for the rest of the academic year, including the summer term.
  • Academic plans are only for one academic year. Students who require additional time or coursework to regain standards may have to file a SAP Appeal, subject to committee review, the following year.

Denied Appeals

Students who are denied a SAP appeal decision may stay enrolled (providing that they are not academically suspended or dismissed), but must finance the academic year without federal, state, and/or institutional aid. Other payment options include:

  • Out-of-pocket payment – Visit the Office of Student Accounts website for information on accepted payment methods, deadlines, monthly payment plans and more.
  • Private educational loan – Students can apply with a credit-worthy borrower, a cosigner or by themselves if they have established good credit history. The ELMselect website contains a list of lenders for your consideration. Once on the website:
    • Indicate you are a Montclair State University student (undergraduate or graduate),
    • Use the filter feature on the top right-hand side and indicate ‘Satisfactory Academic Progress: Not Required’.
  • Students are also able to borrow from a student loan lender not on the ELM list. It is vital to check each lender’s requirements to make sure they will allow a student who is not meeting SAP to borrow a loan with them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does My Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Status Follow Me Between Institutions?

No. SAP is calculated using your academic record at Montclair State University and includes your cumulative academic record here as well as any transfer credits. The transfer credits count in pace and maximum time frame measures but do not factor into the GPA for SAP purposes. Your lifetime eligibility for financial aid follows you between institutions. This consists of the total amount of federal and state financial aid you received at all institutions, and the Financial Aid office uses this history to ensure you are only given financial aid within the maximum limits permitted for each aid program accordingly.

Still complete the SAP appeal for 2024-2025 when instructions are posted to NEST in late May. Take care of any other outstanding financial aid tasks, including filing the 2024-2025 FAFSA on

Recently Graduated:

Your financial aid record will be updated shortly. Good luck in your future endeavors!

Will Not Return to Montclair State University in the 2024-2025 Academic Year:

Your financial aid record will be updated after Add/Drop; you may continue to receive financial aid related notices until that time. It is advisable for you to file the 2024-2025 FAFSA at; check HESAA’s NJFAMS system for all respective NJ state aid requirements) in case you return for the following academic year. If you do not take any classes for one full academic year (Fall/Spring or Spring/Fall), you will need to reapply to the University by the appropriate Admissions deadline. Please continue to monitor your NEST and MSU email. We look forward to assisting you if and when you return.

Are Not Meeting Sap and Wish to File an Appeal:

Appeal and academic plan instructions will be posted to NEST/StudentForms and sent to your Montclair State email inbox in late May. Monitor for updates.

Once you submit your appeal and academic plan, the committee will return decisions in August. Please monitor for details and in case anything further is needed from you for a decision to be issued.

Are Not on Academic Probation or Have Greater Than the 2.0 (Undergraduate) Or 3.0 (Graduate) GPA Requirement:

SAP standards for financial aid differ from the University’s policy on Academic standing. Our office must also ensure you are progressing in your degree by passing 67% (undergraduate) or 70% (graduate) of all attempted credits and that you are on track for graduating before reaching 180 attempted credits (undergraduate) or 150% of your published program length (graduate). You can check your Academic Progress under NEST > Financial Aid to see which categories you are not meeting at this time. File the SAP appeal by deadline, if applicable, to be reconsidered for financial aid.

Have Questions About Your Academic Standing:

Email the Center for Academic Success & Tutoring (CAST) at or schedule an appointment with your academic advisor on NEST > Navigate with any academic standing (probation, suspension, or dismissal) questions. Graduate students may contact the Graduate School with questions. Academic standing is different than SAP for financial aid purposes, and any appeal decisions and/or required steps you must take are separate as well.

Can I File a Summer SAP Appeal?:

No. There is no Summer SAP appeal. It is an optional term within the current academic year. If a student is failing SAP for Summer and not on a continued SAP academic plan, they may enroll in Summer without financial aid and make alternative payment arrangements.

If My Sap Appeal Is Approved, But I Have Been Academically Suspended Or Dismissed, What Happens?:

The SAP appeal decision only affects your ability to academically qualify for financial aid. It does not override or change a student’s academic standing in any way. If a student’s SAP appeal was approved, but then they are suspended or dismissed, they are no longer enrolled and are not eligible for financial aid.

Please contact the Center for Academic Success & Tutoring (undergraduate students) or the Graduate School (graduate students) with any academic standing questions.