Satisfactory Academic Progress

The United States Department of Education (Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended) requires students to maintain satisfactory progress toward completing their degree in order to receive financial aid. Recipients of federal, state, institutional, and private resources, including grants, scholarships, work-study, and student and parent loans, are subject to these standards. Satisfactory academic progress requirements for financial aid recipients are not the same as the University’s requirements for academic good standing. The University of Notre Dame does not offer remedial courses. 

Satisfactory academic progress is reviewed annually after spring grades are posted by the Registrar’s Office to determine financial aid eligibility for the subsequent summer and academic year. Students returning to the University following a withdrawal or dismissal will be evaluated at the time of readmission. Students whose program is one academic year in length or shorter will be evaluated at the end of each enrolled term.

Students are required to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average, be on pace to graduate, and complete their degree within a maximum time frame as defined below. All semesters of enrollment are reviewed regardless of whether aid was received for those semesters.

Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

Students are required to meet the following minimum cumulative GPA requirements:

Classification Minimum Cumulative GPA
First Year Freshmen 1.75
Upperclass Students 2.00
Graduate/Professional Students Established by Academic Department

Pace to Graduate

Students are required to earn a minimum of 67% of cumulative hours attempted to stay on pace to graduate. Pace is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours earned by the cumulative number of hours attempted.

Maximum Time Frame

Students are required to complete their degree requirements within a maximum time frame. Students may only receive federal aid consideration for a maximum time frame measured by attempted credit hours equal to 150% of the published length of their degree program. Once students reach their total maximum time frame, or it has been determined they cannot complete their degree within this time frame, they are no longer eligible to receive federal aid. 

Graduate and professional programs vary considerably in length. Therefore, graduate students must complete their programs according to schedules established by their respective departments. The Financial Aid Office will be notified by the academic departments if a graduate student is not maintaining satisfactory academic progress.

University Aid Limitations

Based on an undergraduate student’s admitted class level, University scholarship, and state aid consideration is limited to the usual number of semesters needed to complete a first bachelor's degree (eight semesters for most programs; ten semesters for the architecture program and combination five-year engineering program with the College of Arts and Letters). Students needing additional time to complete their degree requirements due to a change in major, second major, dual degree, or retaking coursework are not eligible for University scholarships and should plan to fund the costs with federal and/or private loans.

Credits and Grades Used to Determine Pace and Maximum Time Frame

All coursework attempted, including repeated and withdrawn coursework recorded on the student’s academic record as of the seventh class day, is considered when calculating Pace and Maximum Time Frame and determining whether the student meets satisfactory academic progress.

Course/Grade Included Earned Credits Included Attempted Credits
AP (Advance Placement) Credits Yes Yes
Credits by Exam Yes Yes
Transfer Credits Yes Yes
Grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, P, S Yes Yes
Grades: F, F*, I, NR, U, V, W, X   Yes
Withdrawn courses after seventh class day   Yes

The University's Grade Scale is available through the Office of the Registrar.

Failure to Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress

Failure to maintain one or more of the requirements outlined above will result in financial aid ineligibility. Students will be notified via University email of their failure to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements and subsequent aid suspension.

Students can regain their financial aid eligibility once they have raised their cumulative GPA to 2.00 and have earned hours to put them back on pace to graduate (earned 67% of cumulative hours attempted) within the maximum time frame. Students can also regain financial aid eligibility if they have an appeal approved based on the process below.

Appeal Process

At the time of notification from the Office of Financial Aid regarding failure to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements. The appeal letter should include the following:

  • Mitigating circumstances that prevented the student from meeting the requirements of academic progress (e.g. death in the family, student illness or injury, other personal circumstances). Mitigating circumstances do not include: withdrawing from classes to avoid failing grades, pursuing a second major or degree, etc.
  • Documentation that supports the student’s basis for the appeal
  • Steps the student has taken/will take to ensure future academic success
  • Anticipated graduation date
  • If it is not possible for the student to achieve satisfactory academic progress within one successful probationary semester, the student must also submit an academic plan signed by their academic advisor. This plan should outline the student’s academic goals for each semester (e.g. number of credit hours and cumulative GPA) that will enable the student to meet the requirements of academic progress at a specified future point in time.

Upon receipt of all completed appeal materials, the student will be considered for a probationary semester of financial aid in order to reestablish satisfactory academic progress. Students whose appeal is approved will be placed on financial aid probation. Academic progress will be evaluated at the conclusion of each enrolled term for students on financial aid probation.

Students who fail to meet the requirements for academic progress for their probationary semester or do not complete the requirements of their academic plan will again be ineligible for financial aid and subject to the appeal process.

Students who meet the requirements for academic progress for their probationary semester will resume good standing and again be evaluated at the conclusion of the following spring semester.

To begin the appeal process, complete the appeal form on our website.

Denied Appeals/Students Who Choose Not to Appeal

If a student does not complete the appeal or if an appeal is denied, he/she will remain ineligible for financial assistance until satisfactory academic progress is reestablished. Students will be responsible for all charges on their University account. Financial aid will not be provided retroactively.