Satisfactory Academic Progress
Federal regulations require George Mason University to monitor the academic performance of its students for the purpose of verifying and maintaining their eligibility for federal financial aid. If you do not meet the standard of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), your federal financial aid will be suspended. State aid also requires that the same criteria be maintained for continued eligibility.
Mason scholarships may require SAP and additional standards to be met for renewal. Students are encouraged to review their scholarship letter for specific requirements. Please see our Scholarships Page for more information on renewal of Mason Scholarships.
Academic progress is measured in three ways:
- Quantitative Standard – This standard requires all students to complete at least 67% of the credits attempted. This is calculated by dividing the number of completed credits by the number of attempted credits. Attempted credits include both those earned at Mason and those transferred into Mason. For instance, if a student has attempted 70 credits and completed 62, the student is passing the quantitative standard (62/70 = 88.6%). If a student attempted 15 credits and passed only 6, the student has failed the quantitative standard (6/15 = 40%).
- Time Frame – All students must complete their program of study by attempting no more than 150% of the hours normally required for completion. For instance, if an undergraduate is expected to complete the degree requiring 120 credits, the student can attempt no more than 180 credits before they fail SAP for Time Frame. Please note, transfer credits brought into Mason count as attempted credits.
- Qualitative Standard - All students must meet minimum GPA standards, depending on their level (Undergraduate, Graduate, Law)
a. Starting with Fall 2022, undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.
b. Graduate and doctoral students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
c. Law students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.15.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Review
The Office of Student Financial Aid conducts a SAP review annually. For the majority of students, this occurs at the conclusion of Spring semester. Students in the fully online graduate programs taught in 8-week modules will have their progress reviewed at the end of Fall semester. Students who do not meet the requirement receive an email notification to their Mason email.
Students who request summer aid and appear to be in danger of failing SAP prior to the annual review will be subject to a “hold” on summer aid disbursement until their SAP status can be confirmed.
If you are not making Satisfactory Academic Progress due to an Incomplete grade, you may contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for a review of your status, once the Incomplete grade has been converted to a passing grade.
Financial Aid Suspension
Students who do not meet the SAP requirement are automatically placed on financial aid suspension (unless the student is approved for a SAP appeal, see below). During suspension, the student will not be eligible for financial aid. Students may continue to acquire external scholarships and private loans that do not take SAP into account. Eligibility for financial aid will be returned when the student meets the SAP standard. Students may contact the Office of Student Financial Aid if they meet the SAP standard prior to the annual review.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal
All students have the right to appeal the suspension of their financial aid if there were mitigating circumstances that caused failure to meet SAP standards. Students may appeal only once for each academic degree in most circumstances (an exception may be granted in the event of unexpected illness or injury). Students whose appeals are approved will be placed on conditional approval for one semester. If approved, the student will remain eligible for financial aid and will continue to receive financial assistance during the approved semester.
To be submit an appeal see the instructions below.
Students who meet the SAP standard at the end of their appeal approved semester will be restored to Good Standing status. Students who do not meet the SAP requirements at the end of the appeal approved semester will be placed on financial aid suspension (described above).
*To appeal the loss of a Mason scholarship, please see the Scholarships Page for information.
How to Submit Appeal - Instructions
Complete and submit the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form and Student Educational Plan (SEP) Form (academic advisor must sign form prior to submitting) located under the All Students section found on the Forms Page. Please submit all required forms and documentation for the appeal at one time. Note if an appeal is incomplete or missing documentation, no decision will be rendered. Instructions on how to submit forms via Mason Student Services Center is located on the Forms Page.
You must submit this form three weeks before the end of the semester for which you are requesting an appeal to allow for processing time. Federal regulation prevents federal financial aid from being offered after the term has closed. If an appeal is submitted after this time, our office cannot guarantee aid will be processed.
Review and Notification
The Office of Student Financial Aid will review your request and render a decision within 3 weeks of receipt of a complete appeal. The decision of the Office of Student Financial Aid is final.
Students will be notified of their appeal decision via Mason email.
Students who have questions about this process should contact the Office of Financial Aid.
Students who have questions about their grades or credits earned should contact the Office of the Registrar.