Satisfactory Academic Progress

Pepperdine University is required by federal regulations (Sections 668.16(e), 668.32(f), and 668.34) to establish specific standards for measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students receiving financial assistance. Pursuant to federal law, the University’s SAP policy ensures that all students who receive University, state, private, and/or federal financial aid progress toward degree completion. The Financial Aid Office will monitor compliance with the SAP policy for each student. Students must meet the requirements of the SAP policy outlined below to be eligible to receive financial aid. Questions about SAP policy should be addressed to the Financial Aid Office.

The SAP standards consist of the following:

  • GPA Standard: Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative 3.000 GPA.
  • Pace Standard: students must maintain a 67 percent completion rate of all attempted units per term, which will be re-evaluated at the close of each term.

GPA Standard: This standard is a qualitative measure of progress as determined by the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA). Graduate students must meet the minimum GPA (3.000) required by their program.

Pace Standard: This standard is a quantitative measure of progress that calculates the pace at which a student is moving toward program completion by dividing the number of units completed by the number of units attempted. Graduate students must successfully complete for credit 67 percent of the units they attempt. For example, students who attempt 12 units during their fall term must pass 8 units or more to meet Pace Standard [(8/12) x 100 = 67%]. Please note the following regarding attempted units and completion rate (pace). • Students must complete at least 67% of all attempted units including transfer units if applicable. For example, if a student has attempted 9 units, the minimum earned hours must be 6. See the chart below for additional examples.

Credit Hours Attempted                                Minimum Earned Hours To Meet Pace
6                                                                    4
3                                                                    2

Classes with grades of A, B, C, and Cr (credit) are considered to have been completed. Classes with grades of D, F, NC (no credit), I (incomplete) and WD, W, WF (grade withheld) will not be considered as completed but will be calculated in the attempted units. • Courses graded as Incomplete, Failed, Not Passed, or Withdrawn count toward attempted units. • In the event that a student receives permission to repeat a previously passed course, only the first repeat will apply toward the completed unit count; subsequent repeats will not. Only the first repeat of a passed course may be covered using federal financial aid. Any second or subsequent repetition of a passed course may not be covered using federal financial aid funds. • Transfer units will be counted toward both the attempted and completed units that have been accepted by the University for degree credit.

Maximum Time Frame Standard: This standard is also a quantitative measure of progress; it determines whether a student is completing the academic program within a reasonable overall time frame, based on both units attempted and years enrolled. The maximum time frame is calculated by multiplying the units/time normally required to complete an academic program by 150 percent. Graduate students must complete all degree requirements within 150 percent of the maximum time frame described in the Academic Catalog and measured in attempted units.

Time Limit: All requirements for an M.S. or M.A. degree must be completed within seven calendar years from the date on which the student begins graduate work at Pepperdine University. All requirements for an Ed.D., Ph.D., or Psy.D degrees must be completed within eight calendar years from the date on which the student begins graduate work at Pepperdine University.

Transfer Students: Students at the master’s level may transfer as many as 6 semester units of previous graduate-level coursework to meet the requirements for the program, provided the transfer credit meets all equivalency requirements. Education and psychology doctoral students may transfer up to 9 semester units of doctoral-level courses. These units may be earned at Pepperdine University as well as at other regionally accredited colleges and universities. Courses to be transferred for master’s, doctoral, or credential programs must have been taken within the last seven years, and the student must have earned a grade of “B” (3.0) or better in each course.

Students presently enrolled in the EdD program or alumni of the program who graduated within the last seven years may transfer up to 39 semester units of courses taken in the EdD program to the PhD in Global Leadership and Change program.
Monitoring SAP Standards: The Financial Aid Office will monitor GPA, Pace, and Maximum Time Frame Standards for graduate students at the end of each fall, winter (for GRD2 career), spring, and summer term. Students who fail to meet SAP standards will be notified via email of the impact on their aid eligibility.

Warning Status: Students who fail to meet SAP for the first time (excluding students who have already exceeded their maximum number of units attempted or years enrolled) are placed on Warning Status for one term and are expected to meet SAP standards by the end of the following term of enrollment. Students who fail to meet SAP requirements the following term will be placed on financial aid suspension (FAS).

Financial Aid Suspension (FAS): Students on FAS are not eligible to receive financial assistance, and all aid (federal, state, and University) will be cancelled for future semesters unless the student successfully appeals the suspension and is placed on financial aid probation. Students may also gain future financial aid eligibility, subject to availability of funds, if they are allowed to enroll at their own expense and do well enough in their course work to regain SAP. Please note that this will only make students eligible for future aid once reinstated; it is not retroactive.

SAP Appeal Guidelines: If special circumstances cause a student to be placed on FAS as a result of failure to meet SAP standards, a written appeal may be submitted. Specific instructions for submitting a SAP appeal will be emailed to the student. Examples of special circumstances include, but are not limited to, death of an immediate family member, injury, or medical condition of the student. The SAP appeal must address and document these special circumstances and describe how those circumstances have changed to allow for the student to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation. The student is encouraged and may be required, to seek academic advisement as part of the appeal process. The student will be notified via email of the decision to approve or deny financial aid eligibility. SAP appeals must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office and must include the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form and supporting documentation. Incomplete SAP appeals or those missing adequate documentation will not be reviewed.

Financial Aid Probation: Students who have successfully appealed FAS are placed on probation status. Students on probation are eligible to receive financial aid for one term, subject to availability of funds, after which the student must meet SAP or the requirements of his/her academic plan approved by his/her academic advisor. Financial aid probation is for financial aid purposes only and is separate from academic or disciplinary policies for other University scholarships.