Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a standard used to measure a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a degree. CUNY SPH is required by Financial Aid federal regulation to establish a satisfactory academic progress policy to determine whether an eligible student is making SAP in their educational program. Students who are found to be in violation of the parameters set forth by the SAP policy are ineligible to receive most forms of federal financial aid.

All students (whether aid recipients or not) will be measured against the Title IV Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards at the end of each academic year (spring semester), in order to determine eligibility for the upcoming year.

Those who fail to meet the academic standards will have their federal aid automatically suspended until they meet the minimum standards that are listed below.

NOTE: Private scholarships, tuition waivers, and departmental scholarships are not subject to SAP standards. Merit scholarships have their own set of academic standards.

Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard

Your total academic record will be measured against each of the three progress components at the end of every spring term to determine whether or not you meet the standard of progress. All courses that appear on your permanent academic record count towards the pace of progression and maximum time-frame requirement even if you received no federal financial aid for those courses.

A) Minimum GPA – Students who fail to earn the minimum requirements will be considered as not making satisfactory academic progress and all financial assistance will be terminated or suspended until the student regains minimum satisfactory academic progress standards.

You must successfully meet the minimum cumulative GPA as shown below:

Minimum Cumulative GPA
Masters            3.0
DPH                  3.0
PHD                  3.0

B) Maximum time-frame – All students are expected to complete their respective educational programs within a specified timeframe. Once this timeframe has elapsed, students are no longer eligible to receive most forms of financial aid.

Master’s Degree: All requirements for the degree must be completed within 5 matriculated years.
DPH Degree: All requirements for the degree must be completed within 8 matriculated years
PHD Degree:  All requirement for the degree must be completed within 7 matriculated years

C) Pace of Progression – Student must meet Pace and progress toward graduation by successfully completing 2/3 of the cumulative units attempted.

Pace = Cumulative number of hours (credit hours) that you have successfully completed / Cumulative number of hours (credit hours) that you have attempted

For all students, attempted hours is defined as all courses in which they are enrolled after the drop/add period has ended for the term and for which academic credit will be earned. This means that courses the student drops after the drop/add period has ended will be considered as attempted credit hours. All attempted hours will be counted regardless of whether financial aid was received.

Credit-hours that are transferred into SPH and successfully articulated towards the completion of their degree will be counted as both earned and attempted hours for the purpose of this standard. Courses that are listed as Incomplete (I) or Withdrawal (W) will be counted as attempted but not earned. Repeated courses will always be treated as attempted hours.

Academic Programs Total Credits Required to Graduate

MS in Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences 39
MPH in Community Health Education 42
MPH in Environmental & Occupational Health Science 42
MPH in Health Policy & Management 42
MPH in Public Health Nutrition 42
MPH in Public Health Geographic Information Science 42
MS in Global and Migrant Health Policy 33
MS in Population Health Informatics 39
DPH in Community, Society, and Health 48
DPH in Environmental and Occupational Health 48
DPH in Epidemiology 48
DPH in Health Policy and Management 48
PHD in Community Health and Policy 42
PHD in Environmental and Planetary Health Science 42
PHD in Epidemiology 42

Readmitted Students

Upon readmission after any period of non-enrollment, your satisfactory progress standing remains as it was at the end of your last semester of attendance. If you were making satisfactory academic progress in your last semester of attendance, your eligibility to receive federal financial aid will not be affected when you return. If you return after an academic probation or dismissal, your financial aid will be in suspended status and you will have to file an appeal to have your eligibility for federal aid restored. Any action you took during your period of absence that would have brought you back into compliance with the progress standard (such as successfully completing transferable courses at another institution) is factored into the evaluation.

Frequency of SAP Evaluation

SPH will evaluate SAP on an annual basis following the completion of the spring semester. In general, students who are in violation of the parameters set forth by the SAP policy upon an evaluation are not eligible to receive most forms of financial aid during subsequent payment periods. Students who are deemed ineligible upon an evaluation are designated with a status of “Not Meet” and are notified immediately by email upon the status being assigned

Delay of Disbursements Due to Satisfactory Academic Progress

Financial aid may not be disbursed to a student’s account until SAP has been evaluated. The Financial Aid Office cannot complete the SAP evaluation until prior semester grades have been officially posted by the Office of the Registrar. An otherwise eligible student may experience a delayed financial aid disbursement if grades are not made official before the beginning of the subsequent semester.

Notification of Satisfactory Academic Progress Status

Students who have met Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements will not receive a SAP communication. The Financial Aid Office will notify any student who does not meet SAP requirements via email at the SPH student’s email address. Students who are notified that they are SAP ineligible for financial aid should consult their academic advisers and the financial aid office.

There are no Financial Aid SAP Warning Periods for graduate/professional students who are evaluated annually.

SAP Appeal

If you have been placed on financial aid suspension, you may appeal to the Committee on Academic Standing to be allowed to receive federal student aid for future semesters (SAP waiver). You may find the form on the Financial Aid Forms and Links page.

Your appeal must be based on excusable circumstances resulting from events in your life such as personal illness or injury, illness or death of a family member, loss of employment, or changes in your academic program. Your appeal must include an explanation of how these circumstances caused you to fail to make satisfactory progress and what changes have you made that would allow you to meet the appropriate progress standard in a future evaluation.

Appeals are reviewed on a case by case basis, regulations dictate that the appeal should be granted for a one-time failure to meet SAP. Once you regain eligibility, you will be awarded financial aid for the following academic year subject to your financial aid eligibility and the availability of funds. A student can only receive a SAP waiver once. Student must meet all SAP requirements by the next evaluation period.

If your appeal is denied, the SAP Appeal Committee may permit you to re-submit the appeal with additional documentation. You may continue to submit appeals each time you are found not to be making satisfactory progress, but approval of your appeal is at the discretion of the SAP Appeal Committee

Please note that submission of a SAP Appeal does not guarantee its approval and you should not assume aid eligibility until your appeal has been approved. If you withdraw before your SAP Appeal is reviewed and an approval is received, you will be responsible for all costs associated with your enrollment.