Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Your eligibility of both Federal and private loans is dependent upon your continued registration, attendance and active participation in an eligible degree programme at Aberystwyth University.  If there is any change to your circumstances, e.g. temporary or permanent withdrawal, extensions.etc. you must immediately inform both the Students Records Office (Academic Registry) at our University, and If you leave the programme of study, even temporarily, you will have to repay part or all of your loan. US Federal regulations specify that the student must complete their programme within 150% of the published length of that programme.


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for the purposes of US Federal Loans will be defined by the relevant regulations of the University

Undergraduate Bachelors and Undergraduate Masters Students 

Postgraduate Taught Masters (MA/LLM/MSc/MRes) Students       See also Code of Practice for Taught Postgraduates

Postgraduate Research Masters (MPhil/LLM by Research) Students      See also Code of Practice for Research Postgraduates

Doctoral (PhD) Students              See also Code of Practice for Research Postgraduates


In all of the above cases, the student must demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress. If not, they may be placed on probation for financial aid. If progress is still not made, financial aid may be withdrawn. It should also be stressed that poor attendance will result in the University reporting to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), and may result  in the student's visa being revoked.

Any appeals against a decision to suspend financial aid have to be made in writing to Helen Hayes (Assistant Registrar - Postgraduate & Non-Standard Admissions) within 14 calendar days of notice. This will then be considered by a designated panel and a final response made within another 14 calendar days.

The relevant offices - Student Administration (Academic Registry), Helen Hayes (Postgraduate & Non-Standard Admissions) and the UKVI Compliance Office - should be notified of any change, or intention to change, the study details (e.g. academic progress, course, mode of study, temporary withdrawal, permanent withdrawal) as soon as possible in order to assess the impact on Satisfactory Academic Progress and the calculation for the Return of Title IV Funds (i.e. repayment of the portion of the loan that has not been earned to the Lender/Federal Government).

The length of courses/programmes for loan purposes, with implications for repayments, are as follows:

  • Bachelors: 3  or 4 academic years "Full-time" (e.g. September 2021 to June 2024 or 2025). Thereafter "Graduated" (i.e. completed course).
  • Masters: 1 calendar year "Full-time" (e.g.  September 2021 to September 2022. If not "Graduated" (i.e. completed course), then "Half-time" if still present in Aberystwyth writing up the dissertation (within limits of Tier 4 visa) and attendance can be verified; otherwise "Less than half-time". (N.B. Applicable to both taught Masters and MPhil students).
  • PhD: 3 calendar years "Full-time" (e.g.  September 2021 to September 2024). If not "Graduated" (i.e. completed course), then "Half-time" for the writing up-period (up to an additional year, within limits of Tier 4 visa) if attendance can be verified; otherwise "Less than half-time".

N.B. Receipt of loan funds is dependent upon satisfactory academic progress and satisfactory attendance (minimum 50% although Satisfactory Academic Progress as required by the University will require much higher attendance rates than this). Attendance will be assessed using the University's UKVI monitoring criteria. If you do not require a visa to study in the UK and thus not subject to UKVI monitoring, your attendance for US Federal Loan purposes must still be monitored and will be verified with the relevant department(s).



Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for US Federal Direct Loan at Aberystwyth University


All students enrolled at Aberystwyth University, regardless of nationality or source of funding must conform to the rules and requirements of progression as outlined within the University’s Rules & Regulations.


The United States Department of Education require that Aberystwyth University has a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy which shall be applicable to eligible students who wish to access US Federal Student Aid and have such aid administered by the Academic Registry at Aberystwyth University. Such students are required to progress in line with this policy.  This policy does not impose additional academic requirements upon recipients of US Federal Student Aid.



  1. In order to maintain eligibility for Financial Aid with the qualitative standard, a student must maintain the academic standing necessary to remain at Aberystwyth University.
  2. Students must achieve minimum standards as required by the university (40% pass rate for Undergraduates and 50% pass rate for Taught Postgraduates;  for Postgraduate Research students, progress will be checked with the student’s research supervisor). If a student on a taught course does not meet the relevant standards, they will put on probation until the next semester's module marks are confirmed.  Research students placed on probation will retain their probationary status in accordance with the specific terms as set by the relevant academic department and as appropriate for their individual case. At the end of the probationary period, if a student still does not meet the required standard, further Financial Aid will be suspended.
  3. The University will conduct a review at the end of each academic year to determine those students who are eligible to successfully progress towards obtaining a qualification by comparing individual student performance against University programme regulations.
  4. All students must also maintain a level of academic progression as specified in the University’s Rules & Regulations. Students who fail to maintain sufficient academic progress will be dismissed from the University.
  5. A student must ensure that they maintain sufficient academic progression (based on their individual programme regulations) regardless of their eligibility for or participation in the Title IV program.
  6. Termination of a student’s registration will follow policies and procedures agreed by Aberystwyth University. Students should note the University’s relevant appeals procedure: Academic Appeals




  1. All students must attend the appropriate classes as defined by the programme regulations.
  2. Failure to attend classes and/or other events as defined in programme regulations may result in expulsion from the University.
  3. The minimum attainment requirements for a student to successfully complete a degree programme are contained within the University’s Rules & Regulations.
  4. Students must progress through their programme at a pace which ensures that they will graduate within the maximum time-frame of 150% of the published time-frame of the course as measured in credits:
    • 5 years for a 3-year Undergraduate degree.
    • 2 years for a 1-year Masters degree and 3 years for 2-year Masters degree
    • 5 years for a 3-year PhD degree - Further funding beyond this period is not permitted, even if under University regulations the student is still in abeyance (writing-up thesis). If a PhD student submits their thesis, no further financial aid is available.)
  5. Periods when a student does not receive Title IV funds will be included in the maximum time-frame.
  6. Periods of temporary withdrawal from the course will not be included in the maximum time-frame.
  7. Aberystwyth University evaluates Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of each academic year.
  8. Students must complete all required modules/courses in order to be awarded their appropriate qualification.
  9. Students who achieve a pass grade may not repeat a module/year.
  10. Repeat/Re-sit module marks will be counted in the grade average and not the original marks.
  11. Any disbursements scheduled for the next academic year for students who are not making Satisfactory Academic Progress will be cancelled.
  12. Financial Aid will be disbursed at in the form of two payments, at the start and mid-point of the academic calendar as appropriate to the course undertaken (9 months in the case of undergraduate programmes and 12 months in the case of postgraduate programmes).
  13. Where a student withdraws within a payment period and after a disbursement of Financial Aid has occurred, a calculation will be made in order to determine eligibility to retain any part of the Financial Aid received based on the percentage of the payment period attended.   
  14. Withdrawing students who attend more than 60% of the payment period may retain all of their aid for that payment period. 


Transfer Students

  1. Transfer students’ transcripts will be evaluated by the relevant Admissions Office within the Academic Registry and the Programme Co-ordinator. Modules which are deemed applicable to the proposed Aberystwyth University degree will be accepted and will be used to award exemption from corresponding modules within the new programme.
  2. Only those grades earned at Aberystwyth University will be used to compute the qualitative requirement.


Change of Programme or Degree

Students who decide to change their qualification outcome will be evaluated similarly to Transfer Students with the exception that the grades previously earned at Aberystwyth University will be used to measure the qualitative requirements.


Concurrent Degrees

  1. Although it is unlikely to occur, students may pursue two graduate qualifications concurrently.
  2. Students will be charged the tuition for each programme and the Cost of Attendance for one degree.
  3. Students must meet the Satisfactory Progress requirements for both to retain eligibility.
  4. Loans will be processed to the maximum yearly eligibility for graduate students.


Additional Degrees

  1. Students who have completed a programme successfully and wish to pursue another must apply for admission to that programme as any other applicant would, and meet the admission requirements for the new programme. Should a student require a UK Student Visa to study in the UK, they should also be aware that UKVI Academic Progression rules.
  2. Federal loan eligibility will be limited to the aggregate programme maximums under Federal Regulations.


Appeals of SAP

  1. Students who are not making Satisfactory Academic Progress are not eligible to receive any future US Federal Direct loans.  They will be notified of this in writing.
  2. To regain eligibility students have 14 calendar days to submit an appeal to the Academic Registry, stating the reasons for failing SAP and informing about changes that will allow the student to make SAP at the next evaluation. Additional documentation/proof may be requested to support the appeal.
  3. A decision of the appeal will be given to the student in writing within 14 calendar days of submission.
  4. No US Federal Direct Loan disbursements will be made while an appeal is being processed.
  5. If the Academic Registry is not satisfied that student has met the SAP standards, then the student will be ineligible for further disbursements until they have met the SAP standards.
  6. Appeal documents should be submitted to Helen Hayes, Assistant Registrar (Postgraduate & Non-Standard Admissions)



  1. If the Academic Registry is satisfied that student has met the SAP standards, the student will be placed on probation.
  2. During the probation period, students can regain eligibility and continue receiving US Federal Direct Loan as long as they meet SAP standards.
  3. A student on probation may only receive Title IV funds for one payment period. The student’s progress will be reviewed at the end of the payment period to make sure they continue to meet the SAP standards.
  4. A student who fails SAP after a period of probation is ineligible to receive Title IV funds for the subsequent payment period.
  5. A student, who has lost their loan entitlement after an unsuccessful probationary period, but manages to meet the SAP at a later point in the academic year, will be entitled to regain a probationary status and apply for loans (in accordance with other eligibility criteria) for future years.


SAP appeal, probation and suspension are related to students’ eligibility to receive Title IV funds and will not affect their enrollment status, immigration status or tuition fee liability.




Last Reviewed: June 2021