Academic Requirements

Your financial aid eligibility is based on your continued satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree. Please use this page to learn about the academic requirements for undergraduate and graduate students receiving federal or state awards. 

 

Federal Criteria for Satisfactory Academic Progress 

Federal regulations require students to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward a degree in order to receive any federal student aid, including federal loans. The University measures students’ SAP by reviewing their cumulative GPA and academic pace at the end of each spring semester. 

Students who are not making satisfactory academic progress will lose their eligibility for federal student aid. Students may appeal to the University if they feel there are special circumstances that affected their ability to make academic progress. 

A change in major has no impact on academic progress. All attempted and completed credits, as well as grades earned, will be counted when assessing your academic progress. Students who have completed all academic requirements for the degree they are pursuing cannot continue to receive federal aid. 

Please visit our Apply for Federal Financial Aid page for more information on available federal aid. 
 

Cumulative GPA Requirement 

Students must be in good academic standing to maintain their eligibility for federal financial aid.  

Note: Federal financial aid recipients who get all E, U, I, blank and Z grades for a semester are considered “unofficially withdrawn” and may be required to return all or a portion of their federal aid. Please visit the Financial Liability for Dropping Coursing or Withdrawing page for more information. 
 

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students must be in good academic standing — which includes a satisfactory cumulative GPA — to maintain their eligibility for federal financial aid.  

UAlbany’s academic standing requirements and retention standards are available on the Undergraduate Education website. They are also detailed in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Graduate Students

Graduate students must achieve and maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Students with a lower cumulative GPA at the end of their second year can only retain eligibility for financial aid if they meet the academic pace requirement detailed below and are otherwise allowed to continue studies at the University.

Academic Pace Requirement 

Students must demonstrate progression in their program by accumulating credits at the defined pace. 
 

Undergraduate Students 

Undergraduate students must complete 120 graduation credits to receive a bachelor’s degree. However, students can attempt 180 credits (up to 150% of the credits normally required to complete an undergraduate degree) and still maintain their federal financial aid eligibility. 

Students must successfully complete a specific percentage of the credits they attempt each year: 
 

Number of attempted credits

Percentage of credits that must be completed 

3-30

30%

31-60 

50%

61-90

60% 

91-120 

65% 

121-150 

70% 

151-180 

80% 

More than 180 

Ineligible 

 

Here are additional rules for calculating your federal SAP: 

Transfer Credits: Transfer credits accepted by UAlbany are considered attempted and completed credits for this purpose. 

Repeated Courses: Repeat course credits will be counted as attempted credits and, as appropriate, completed credits. If you have not previously passed the course at UAlbany, federal aid can be used to fund unlimited repeats of the course. However, if you have previously passed the course at UAlbany, federal aid can only be used to fund one repeat of the course.  

Course Withdrawals: Credits for courses with a grade of W will be counted as attempted credits but not counted as completed credits. 

Remedial Non-credit Coursework: Credits for remedial non-credit courses will not be counted as credits attempted and, if appropriate, completed credits. 

Incomplete Grades: Credits for courses with a grade of Incomplete will be counted as attempted credits but not counted as completed credits until the incomplete grade is changed to a passing grade. 

Graduate Students

Graduate students must successfully complete 75% of the total credits in order to be eligible for federal financial aid. Students have four semesters to achieve the 75% standard. 

The University defines the maximum expected timeframe for students to complete their educational program in the Graduate Bulletin.

Appeal Process 

Reasons to appeal may include a death in the student’s immediate family, the student suffering a serious injury or illness, or other mitigating circumstances. 

If you feel there are special circumstances that prevented you from meeting SAP requirements, please follow this link to request a waiver. You’ll need to sign in (or create an account) and complete a SAP Appeal form. We recommend you use Google Chrome. 

If your appeal is approved, you will be placed on an academic improvement plan and notified in writing that you are on financial aid probation for one additional semester.  

Students on probation are eligible to receive financial aid but are subject to the University's policy regarding review and dismissal for academic reasons. Students on probation who won’t make satisfactory academic progress or meet the University’s requirements outlined in their academic improvement plan may lose their federal aid. 

 

New York State Criteria for Satisfactory Academic Progress and Pursuit of Program 

Students must be in good academic standing — defined by their SAP and Pursuit of Program (POP) — to maintain their eligibility for New York State scholarships and grants. 

Please visit our Apply for New York State Financial Aid page for more information on available scholarships and grants. 
 

Satisfactory Academic Progress 

A student must accumulate a specific number of credits and achieve a specific cumulative GPA each semester or term, based on the number of state award payments they have received. 

Students who do not complete the minimum number of credits are not eligible for state aid for the next semester or term, or until additional credits are completed to reach the minimum level.  

Please use the charts below to determine the number of credits you must accumulate and the cumulative GPA you must achieve to maintain your state aid. 
 

Pursuit of Program 

A student must receive a grade (A-E or S/U) in a certain percentage of courses each semester or term, based on the number of state award payments they have received. Please use the charts below to determine the percentage of courses you need to receive a grade in to maintain your state aid. 

The percentage applies to the minimum full-time credit requirement (12 credits in a semester calendar for undergraduates). If you receive a summer accelerated study payment, the percentages apply to the minimum half-time requirement (six credits in a semester calendar for undergraduates). 

Courses with a grade of Incomplete must be completed within one semester to have the credits count toward POP. 

The POP requirement is continuous as a student moves from undergraduate study to graduate study. That means any state award payments a student received as an undergraduate are added to the graduate payments to determine the total number of state award payments received. 
 

Eligibility Charts for State Aid 

After a student receives their first state award payment, they must meet these state requirements before receiving the next payment. 
 

Undergraduate Students
Non-remedial students who first received state aid during the 2010-2011 academic year or later 

Requirements to meet before receiving a...

Minimum credits the student must have accumulated overall 

Minimum cumulative GPA the student must have earned 

Minimum credits the student must have completed in the prior term or semester 

Percentage of courses in which the student must receive a grade 

Second payment

6 1.5 

50%

Third payment 

15  1.8  50% 

Fourth payment

27 

2.0 

9 75% 

Fifth payment

39  2.0  75% 

Sixth payment 

51 2.0  12 100%

Seventh payment 

66 2.0  12

100% 

Eighth payment 

81 2.0  12

100% 

 

EOP and remedial* students, and all students who first received state aid during the 2009-2010 academic year or earlier 

Requirements to meet before receiving a...

Minimum credits the student must have accumulated overall 

Minimum cumulative GPA the student must have earned 

Minimum credits the student must have completed in the prior term or semester 

Percentage of courses in which the student must receive a grade 

Second payment

3 1.2

50%

Third payment 

9 1.2 50% 

Fourth payment

21

1.3 

9 75% 

Fifth payment

33 2.0  75% 

Sixth payment 

45 2.0  12 100%

Seventh payment 

60 2.0  12

100% 

Eighth payment 

75 2.0  12

100% 

Ninth payment

90 2.0 12 100%

Tenth payment

105 2.0 12 100%

 

* A remedial student is a student.... 
 

  • whose scores on a recognized college placement exam or nationally recognized standardized exam indicated the need for remediation for at least two semesters, as certified by the college and approved by the New York State Education Department (SED); 
     

  • who was enrolled in at least six semester hours of non-credit remedial courses, as approved by SED, in the first term they received a TAP award; or  
     

  • who is or was enrolled in an opportunity program. 
     

A remedial course is a non-credit course designed to remedy academic deficiencies so a student can be successful in a college-level study. These courses are approved by SED. The course’s length must be equivalent to the length of similar credit-bearing courses. 

Graduate Students

Requirements to meet before receiving a...

Minimum credits the student must have accumulated overall 

Minimum cumulative GPA the student must have earned 

Minimum credits the student must have completed in the prior term or semester 

Percentage of courses in which the student must receive a grade **

Second payment

6 2.0

50%

Third payment 

12 2.5 50% 

Fourth payment

21

2.75

9 75% 

Fifth payment

30 3.0 75% 

Sixth payment 

45 3.0  12 100%

Seventh payment 

60 3.0  12

100% 

Eighth payment 

75 3.0  12

100% 

 

** State aid payments that a graduate student received as an undergraduate are added to graduate payments to determine the total number of payments received. After five payments as an undergraduate and/or graduate, everyone is at the 100% pursuit level. 

Loss of Good Academic Standing 

Students who lose good academic standing during a semester or term in which they received state aid are not eligible for a state award during the next semester or term. 

Students can restore their good academic standing in one of the following ways: 

  • Make up past academic deficiencies by completing one or more terms of study without receiving any state grants or scholarships 

  • Be readmitted to school after an absence of at least one year 

  • Transfer to another school 

  • Be granted a one-time waiver 
     

Full-Time Enrollment

Full-time study requires enrollment in at least 12 credits applicable to the students' program of study, in a semester of not less than 15 weeks.  Credit-bearing courses are applicable if they fill an unmet requirement in the student’s primary (first) major, general education requirements, or available restricted and free electives.  The number of available electives, if any, in a student’s program of study will vary depending on the primary major.  Coursework satisfying requirements for minors and additional majors is elective credit.  

Time of Assessment

  • Students must be enrolled full-time before the TAP certification status date, which is the date when a student would have incurred full tuition liability for the term. Courses added after the certification status date do not count toward full-time status.

Final Year Exception

  • In the student’s final semester, the full-time study requirement is met if the student takes at least one course applicable to the program of study, and enrolls in at least 12 credits.

  • In the semester prior to the final semester, the full-time study requirement is met if the student takes at least six credits applicable to the program of study, and enrolls in at least 12 credits.

NYS STEM Incentive

  • Students enrolled in more than one approved STEM majors may combine applicable coursework from multiple STEM majors to achieve full-time status.

Excelsior Scholarship

  • Excelsior Scholarship recipients enrolled in more than one major may combine applicable coursework from multiple majors to achieve full-time status.
One-Time Waiver

Students can receive a one-time waiver of the good academic standing requirement. However, the waiver is not automatic. It may only be granted in extraordinary or unusual circumstances beyond the student’s control, and with reasonable expectation that the student will meet future requirements. 

To request a one-time waiver, students must submit a completed one-time waiver application and any supporting statements or documentation. Please contact Student Financial Services at SFS@albany.edu or 518-442-3202 for a copy of the application. 

If the waiver is granted, it becomes part of the student’s financial aid record and the student is expected to meet good academic standing requirements moving forward. 

C Average Requirement

Students who have received the equivalent of two or more full years of state aid awards must have and maintain at least a C average — or a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 grading scale — to maintain their state aid eligibility. 

If you previously attended UAlbany (including for University in High School) and have been readmitted, your cumulative GPA will be based on all prior grades at UAlbany.  

Students who are denied a state award payment for failing to achieve the minimum cumulative GPA can regain their state aid eligibility by completing appropriate coursework, without state support, to achieve at least a C average. Students cannot regain eligibility by remaining out of school for a period of time. 

Waiver of the C Average Requirement

The C average requirement may be waived if there is a death of a student's immediate family member, the student suffers a personal illness or injury, or another extenuating circumstance creates an undue hardship on the student.  

To request a C Average waiver, students must submit a completed one-time waiver application and any supporting statements or documentation. Please contact Student Financial Services at SFS@albany.edu or 518-442-3202 for a copy of the application. 

If the waiver is granted, it becomes part of the student’s financial aid record and the student is expected to meet good academic standing requirements moving forward. 

Repeated Courses

Courses in which the student has already received a passing grade cannot be included in meeting full-time study requirements for state aid eligibility. 

Repeated courses may be counted toward full-time study requirements if a student repeats a failed course, if a student repeats the course for additional credit, or when a student has received a grade that is passing at the institution but is unacceptable in a particular curriculum. 

Matriculated Status

To be eligible for state aid, a student must be matriculated. A matriculated student is one: 

  • who has filed a written admissions application at an institution offering approved programs of study to earn a degree, diploma or certificate; 

  • whom the institution deems as being qualified to undertake the course of study for that degree, diploma or certificate; 

  • whom the institution recognizes as a candidate for that degree, diploma or certificate; and 

  • who has registered for courses or other academic activity the institution recognizes as contributing toward fulfilling the requirements for that degree, diploma or certificate. 

Declaring a Major

To be considered matriculated for financial aid purposes, the New York State Education Department also requires that students declare a major within 30 days of the drop/add period ending at the beginning of their junior year. An intended major does not satisfy this requirement. At UAlbany, a student with 56 – 87 graduation credits is classified as a junior, regardless of how many terms the student has attended. Juniors and seniors who have not declared a major, or who have an intended major, are not eligible to receive NYS awards.

Eligibility Assessment

Students must meet citizenship, residency, high school graduation and good academic standing requirements as of the first day of classes to be eligible for an award during that term. 

Students must meet matriculation requirements, approved program requirements, full-time study requirements and tuition liability requirements sometime between the first day of classes and the certification status date to be eligible for an award during that term. 

High School Graduation Requirement 

To be eligible for state aid, students who first receive aid in: 

Academic year 1996-97 to academic year 2006-07 must have: 

  • a high school diploma, or 

  • the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma (e.g., GED), or 

  • a passing score as determined by the U.S. Secretary of Education on a federally approved ability-to-benefit test. 

Academic year 2006-07 must have: 

  • a U.S. high school diploma, or 

  • the recognized equivalent, or 

  • a passing score on a federally approved ability-to-benefit test independently administered and evaluated as provided by the NYS Commissioner of Education. 

Academic year 2007-08 and thereafter, must have: 

  • a U.S. high school diploma, or 

  • the recognized equivalent, or 

  • a passing score on one of the four tests approved by the Board of Regents. The approved ability-to-benefit tests to be used to determine eligibility for State financial aid are: the Accuplacer, ASSET, COMPASS, and CELSA (Combined English Language Skills Assessment). The CELSA is approved providing the applicant also takes a math component from one of the other approved tests. 

Summer 2008 through academic year 2014-15 must have: 

  • a U.S. high school diploma, or 

  • the recognized equivalent, or 

  • first-time recipients must take and pass an approved ability-to-benefit test within the institution's add/drop period to establish award eligibility in that term. The approved ability-to-benefit tests to be used to determine eligibility for State financial aid are the Accuplacer, ASSET, COMPASS, and CELSA (Combined English Language Skills Assessment). The CELSA is approved providing the applicant also takes a math component from one of the other approved tests. 

Academic year 2015-16 and thereafter: 

  • a U.S. high school diploma, or 

  • the recognized equivalent, or 

  • first-time recipients must take and pass an approved ability-to-benefit test before the first day of classes to establish award eligibility in that term. The approved ability-to-benefit tests to be used to determine eligibility for State financial aid are the Accuplacer, ASSET, COMPASS, and CELSA (Combined English Language Skills Assessment). The CELSA is approved providing the applicant also takes a math component from one of the other approved tests.