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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress

In accordance with regulations that govern federal and state financial aid programs, the University of California, Merced is required to establish, publish, and consistently apply reasonable standards for measuring a student's academic progress. Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students must include a:

  • Qualitative component (GPA),
  • Quantitative component (Pace). and
  • Maximum Time Frame

Each component must be cumulative in nature, and must be evaluated by the University at least once per year (at the end of spring term) to certify the student's SAP. Please be aware that these SAP standards are separate and distinct from UC Merced’s policy regarding academic progress set by the Office of the Registrar.  For example, while a student may meet the minimum GPA requirement for academic progress with the Office of the Registrar, they may not meet the financial aid SAP standards below.  Additionally, students who are academically dismissed and then reinstated by the Office of the Registrar, will not have their aid automatically reinstated.  The student will need to submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Office to request a reinstatement of their aid eligibility.


Beginning July 1, 2017, the Financial Aid SAP standards listed below apply to all aid applicants at UC Merced, whether or not they received aid for prior coursework. A student's eligibility for all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs is affected by this policy.


Cumulative GPA


Maximum Time Limit




12 semesters or 6 years of FTE enrollment




6 semesters or 3 years of FTE enrollment




15 semesters or 7.5 years of FTE enrollment


Note: More detailed information regarding SAP standards can be found in the UC Merced Catalog.

GPA Requirement

You must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative University of California grade point average (i.e., average of all terms combined). 

Pace Requirement

You must complete at least 70 percent of the units attempted each year to keep pace toward graduation.
Pace = UCM Completed Units + Accepted Transfer Units
            UCM Attempted Units + Accepted Transfer Units

Maximum Time Frame Requirement

Students are allowed up to six years of financial aid eligibility, depending on their class standing when they are admitted. The initial class level is assigned by the Office of Admissions, based on transfer credits accepted, including Advanced Placement units. Students will not be granted additional years of eligibility solely by reason of changing their field of study (major) or pursuing more than one major or a minor.

Units Accepted for Transfer at Entrance

Academic Year Standing

Years Needed to Complete Degree

Years of Remaining Eligibility




6 years




4.5 years




3 years




1.5 years


Failure to meet SAP standards

If you fail to maintain SAP, you will be notified that you are no longer eligible for financial aid beginning with the term immediately following the term the SAP requirements were not met.  SAP is monitored annually at the end of the spring term, and the first term of ineligibility will typically be the following summer or fall term.
Eligibility for continued financial aid will only be re-established if you subsequently meet the SAP requirements or successfully appeal your standing. Click here for more information about appealing your SAP standing.