Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress

In order to maintain eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid, a student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress towards the completion of a degree or its equivalent. This satisfactory academic progress is measured both qualitatively and quantitatively.



All undergraduate students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 while pursuing a degree.  This GPA is calculated only using those classes taken at NDNU – it does not include transfer GPA if the student enrolls at NDNU subsequent to studies at another institution.


Graduate students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative NDNU GPA of 3.0.


Course Completion Standard

Students are expected to successfully complete the courses in which they enroll within a satisfactory quantity/percentage as defined below.


  • Full-time: 12 – credit hours enrolled.Successful completion of a minimum of 21 credit hours for the fall/spring semesters combined. If the student attends only the Fall or the Spring semester, completion of at least 10.5 credit hours is required.
  • Part Time: less than 12 credit hours enrolled.Successful completion of a cumulative percentage of at least 67% of credits attempted.


  • Successful completion of a cumulative percentage of at least 75% of credits attempted
Maximum time Frame Standard

Students are expected to complete their academic program within a maximum time frame which encompasses all credits attempted within the duration of the students’ studies at NDNU.  The standard set for this maximum time frame is 150% of the credit hours required to complete the degree or its equivalent.  Thus, for example, a program that requires 120 credit hours to earn a degree should require no more than 180 credit hours attempted to complete.

Definitions of Successful Course Completion

Only graded units of A, B, C, and D, and P are considered as completed units.

  1. F, NP, W, IP, AW and I grades are not considered as units completed. Students who receive I or IP grades must notify the OFA with verification when hours have been completed.
  2. A student may repeat a course for which a grade of C, D, or F is received but repeats are limited to the number of times specified in the University Catalog. Students may repeat only courses designated as repeatable in the Catalog. Independent Study may not be used to repeat a course. These classes will be included in enrollment status and must be taken for a letter grade.
  3. Consortium Agreement units taken at other institutions under a ‘Consortium Agreement’ will be considered transfer units and will be part of the SAP calculation.
  4. Study Abroad courses approved by NDNU for academic credit toward a student’s degree taken in a study abroad program are counted as attempted and completed units.
  5. Incomplete courses are not considered successfully completed. An incomplete grade will count as credit/s attempted and credit/s not earned until the grades have been changed to a passing grade.

Consequences of Failure to Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress

NDNU evaluates students following Spring Semester in regards to satisfactory academic progress.

Once this evaluation is completed, the process for students failing to maintain satisfactory academic progress:

  1. The student is immediately disqualified from consideration for all forms of federal, state and institutional student aid for any future semester(s) of enrollment at NDNU.
  2. This disqualification status is communicated to the student in writing by the NDNU Office of Financial Aid.
  3. The disqualified student considers whether to appeal the SAP disqualification if the student has not previously appealed.

If the student decides to appeal, the appeal process consists of these steps:

  1. Student submits a letter of appeal to the Financial Aid SAP Appeal Committee explaining the circumstances which led to the failure to achieve SAP and how the student’s academic performance will improve in the future.
  2. Student submits any supporting documentation as to why SAP standards were not met to the Committee.
  3. The Committee reviews the student’s appeal and renders one of the following decisions:
    • Approve unconditional – the student is reinstated on probation without a specific remediation plan.
    • Approve conditional – the student is reinstated on probation with a specific remediation plan.
    • Deny – the student’s disqualification status remains with no further opportunity for appeal.
    • Hold – the student will receive a letter stating that the student’s appeal requires further documentation to render a decision.  Once the student has submitted the required documentation, the student’s appeal will be reviewed by the Committee and a decision will be rendered.

NDNU students are allowed one appeal per degree level during their enrollment at NDNU.

Probation Status Review

Students placed on probation status will be reviewed at the end of the student’s next semester of enrollment at NDNU.  It is expected that at the end of this next semester of enrollment the student will have met all standards required for SAP.  At the end of this next semester of enrollment, the NDNU Office of Financial Aid will place the student in one of the following statuses:

  • SAP Qualified – probation status is removed.
  • SAP Disqualified – student is no longer eligible for federal aid and does not have the right to further appeal.

If a student has been placed on a study plan following a successful appeal, it may be determined that the student needs more than one semester to achieve a satisfactory SAP level. Also, there may be occasions in which the student has made excellent academic progress during a given semester while on SAP probation, but still falls short of meeting the cumulative SAP standard(s) required. In these cases, the following status is assigned:

  • Probation Continued – student has met remediation plan goals or has otherwise demonstrated improvement, but still falls short of cumulative SAP standards.

The results of this probationary evaluation will be communicated to the student in writing by the NDNU Office of Financial Aid.

Reestablishing SAP Eligibility After Losing SAP Eligibility

Once a student has lost eligibility due to non-achievement of SAP standards, the student can regain eligibility by attending NDNU without federal financial aid. The student could then regain SAP eligibility by attaining the cumulative standards required by the student’s level of study.