Satisfactory academic progress for US Federal Aid recipients



All students receiving US Federal Financial Aid (Stafford Subsidized, Unsubsidized and/or PLUS) at UQ must progress satisfactorily towards completion of a chosen academic program.

UQ is required by US Federal Law (34CFR 668.34) to define and enforce standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students receiving US Federal Funding.

The guidelines have been established to encourage students to successfully complete academic programs for which US Federal Financial Aid is received, and to be competitive in the US workplace when they graduate.

Students are required to meet and also satisfy the US Financial Aid SAP requirements, which require a higher standard of academic performance and are independent to the UQ academic progression rules.

Effective from Semester 1, 2014, students receiving US Federal Financial Aid will be evaluated at the start of each award year. This evaluation process will consider the students' progress under the following categories:

  1. Academic standing
  2. Maximum timeframe 

Students receiving US Federal Financial Aid must also meet UQ academic progression rules.

In order to receive US federal funds, students must meet minimum standards for the above mentioned components, and adhere to University Enrolment and Academic Progression rules and to Australian Immigration / visa legislation.

Academic standing 

To remain eligible for the William D. Ford Direct Loan (DL) program:

  • Students enrolled in all undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs must achieve and maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.25.
  • For students enrolled in postgraduate research programs and higher degree by research programs, the Financial Aid Office will contact your supervisor to confirm that you are progressing satisfactorily.

UQ represents its grades in a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being a fail and 7 being the highest possible result. This GPA calculation website allows you to manually calculate your UQ GPA. 

Maximum timeframe

An undergraduate student is entitled to receive aid for 150% of the allocated course time frame, providing they achieve the required GPA:

  • three-year degree – eligibility for aid 4.5 years
  • four-year degree – eligibility for aid 6 years
  • five-year degree – eligibility for aid 7.5 years.

Students should be advised that while federal eligibility may allow them to continue, individual academic progress rules and student visa restrictions may impact on the students’ ability to continue within the program.

Remedial, non-credit courses and incompletes

Non-credit courses will not be counted in assessing full-time hours. A student is required to achieve a grade on any deferred or supplementary assessment within six months of completing a course.


UQ will review student academic performance at the end of each academic year. A student who does not meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirement will lose their eligibility for Federal Student Aid funding.

When a student loses FSA eligibility because they failed to make satisfactory progress, they may appeal that result on the basis of:

  1. Student’s Injury or illness
  2. The death of a relative
  3. Other special circumstances

The appeal must explain why they failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in their situation that will allow them to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. (Federal Student Aid Handbook: Volume 1, Chapter 1, Pg 11)

Students should submit their appeal in writing along with all relevant documentation to:

Financial Aid Director
The University of Queensland 
UQ International
Level 2 JD Story Building (61)
Brisbane QLD 4072

Email: iasfinance@uq.edu.au

Successful appeals

If the appeal is granted, appellants will be placed in one of two categories:

Stage 1: Probation without an Academic Plan

If you determine, based on the appeal, the student should be able to meet the SAP standards by the end of the subsequent payment period, you may place them on probation without an academic plan. You must review the student’s progress at the end of that one payment period, as probation status is for one payment period only. (Volume 1, Chapter 1, Pgs 11, 12)

Stage 2: Probation with an Academic Plan

If you determine, based on the appeal, that the student will require more than one payment period to meet progress standards, you may place them on probation and develop an academic plan for the student. You must review the student’s progress at the end of one payment period as is required of a student on probation status, to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan.

The school and the student should develop a plan that ensures that the student is able to meet the school’s satisfactory progress standards by a specific time… or successful program completion.

If the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan, the student is eligible to receive Title IV aid as long as the student continues to meet those requirements and is reviewed according to the requirements specified in the plan. (Volume 1, Chapter 1, Pgs 11,12)

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