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Financial Aid Policies

Students who receive federal and/or fellowship aid must, in accordance with federal, state, and/or institutional requirements, maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

The Office of Financial Aid is responsible for monitoring aid recipients to ensure that they are meeting the policy and progressing toward their degree.

If you feel that you may fall below the following SAP requirements, you are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Financial Aid, Student Life, Academic Affairs and/or JHSAP. Resources are available to assist you. 

Minimum Standards for Federal SAP

The federal government requires that an institution use three measurements to determine SAP: qualitative, quantitative and maximum timeframe. The student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA, maintain a minimum cumulative completion rate of credits attempted, and complete a degree or certificate within a maximum timeframe set by law as follows. This is measured by:

  1. Minimum GPA: Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.67 for federal aid. DIA students completing their thesis year must maintain “S” grades in all thesis credits (SA.600.999).
  2. Minimum Completion Rate: Students must maintain a completion rate equal to or exceeding 67% of credits attempted.
  3. Maximum Timeframe: Students must also complete required coursework within 150% of the published program length established for each program.

Minimum Standards for Scholarship/Fellowship SAP

The Financial Aid Committee uses one measurements to determine SAP: cumulative GPA. The student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA as indicated in the Financial Aid agreement associated with their campus of attendance. This is measured as follows:

Minimum GPA: Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.4 (on a 4.0 scale) for scholarship/fellowship aid. PhD students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.33.

The 5 Phases of the SAP Process

SAP is evaluated after every term. After any term, if the minimum GPA is not met, students will receive a SAP Warning Letter. Students who receive this letter should be aware that it is solely to make the student aware that they have fallen below SAP requirements and are at risk of losing funding after the next evaluation. Aid will not be revoked at this point. While review of student’s eligibility occurs after each term, revocations only occur after a student has earned grades for two terms (most often in the summer).

After two terms and receiving a SAP warning (after the first term), if the minimum GPA has not been met a second time, then aid for the following term (third semester) will be suspended. Students’ will receive a letter informing them that their aid has been revoked and is in a suspended status. The student then has the right to appeal the suspension by following the instructions provided in the aforementioned email, which are also listed below.

Students who lose eligibility for financial aid due to not meeting the minimum SAP standards more than one time during their program may submit an appeal each time.

Students who wish to appeal Financial Aid Suspended Status must submit an appeal in writing to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee by the date specified in the Financial Aid Suspended notification letter. The committee will review the appeal and notify the student in writing of their decision within 14 working days after the Appeals Committee meets and makes its determination. Appeals should include:

  1. The grounds for appeal (i.e., illness, deaths in family, mismanagement of coursework or stress, etc.)

*If extenuating circumstances involve death in family or health problems, student must provide supporting documentation. Appeal will not be considered complete until such documentation is provided.

  1. Demonstration that the student understands the reason behind failure to meet the SAP requirements
  2. Specific plans to rectify the student's current academic status

The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review the appeal and consult with academic advisers and other involved parties as warranted. If it is determined that the student will not be able to meet the SAP standards by the end of the next semester/period of enrollment, but the Committee is in agreement that the student's grounds for appeal are reasonable, and the student has a reasonable chance to succeed and graduate, then if the appeal is approved the student will also be placed on an Academic Plan.

All decisions on such appeals are final. Students will receive written notification of the decision. If approved, fellowship funds will be reinstated immediately. The student will be reviewed again after the reinstatement term.

Title IV Borrowers

If the Financial Aid Appeals Committee grants the appeal, the student is placed on Financial Aid Probation for ONE SEMESTER, (often the Fall semester). The student is eligible for Title IV aid during their Financial Aid Probation semester. The student's SAP status will be reviewed at the end of the probationary semester, and if the student still has not met the minimum SAP standards, the student will then be placed on Financial Aid Suspension status for the next semester.

If the student's appeal is approved but the Committee has determined that the student will not be able to meet the SAP standards within one semester, then the student will be asked to provide an Academic Plan which if followed will ensure the student is able to meet the SAP standards by a specific point in time.


If the Financial Aid Appeals Committee does not grant an appeal, the student has the following option:

  • The student can register for coursework and pay for tuition and fees without the rescinded funds and;
  • If the student is able to do well enough in the coursework to satisfy all the SAP standards or demonstrate significantprogress by the end of any subsequent semester, he or she may then appeal again to have their funds reinstated.

Title IV Borrowers

Students who are beyond the maximum timeframe to completion may only regain financial aid eligibility on a semester-by-semester basis through the appeal process.

Phase 5: Academic Plan Submission

Students who are approved may be required to submit an academic plan. This plan should outline your strategy for improvement moving forward and should include but is not limited to:

Anticipated credits per term for the upcoming AY, Plans for tutoring or additional academic prep/study, changes to current scheduling and indication of time management, etc…

This plan must be provided within 7 days of receipt of the SAP decision notice. Students are encouraged to work with their academic advisors to create a plan that will ensure timely graduation, targeted course completions, and open communication of needs as it relates to academic resources.

SAP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

SAP Appeals Process

If you do not wish to submit an appeal, financial aid will not be awarded until eligibility has been reestablished. The only way to do this without submitting an appeal is to bring your GPA and/or completion rate above the minimum standards.

Once an appeal has been received a confirmation email is sent to the student within 2-3 business days. Students may also confirm that the appeal has been received by looking under their To Do List in NetPartner.

This depends heavily on the timeliness with which an appeal is submitted. Responses are typically rendered within 14 days of receipt and will not exceed 4 weeks.

If a student is placed on Warning (occurs after completion of first semester), for that semester they are allowed to keep their financial aid and will get fully disbursed. If a student is placed on Probation (occurs after completion of two semesters), they lose all financial aid for that semester unless they successfully appeal.

Students receiving fellowship or federal aid can submit an appeal only after they have completed two standard semesters and have been notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office of their SAP standing. Traditionally, this would mean a student enrolled in the Fall term whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.67 (federal) or 3.4 (fellowship) in either or both the Fall and Spring terms would appeal after the close of the Spring semester. For Spring entry students, an appeal would be submitted after the close of the Fall semester if necessary.

Students who lose eligibility and submit an appeal may be placed on an Academic Plan if the appeal is approved. The purpose of an academic plan is to support the student in bringing him/herself back into compliance with the financial aid SAP standards by a specific point in time in order to ensure that the student will be able to successfully complete the degree or certificate program. The academic plan will be specifically tailored to the student and may include milestones and specific requirements such as a reduced course load, specific courses or tutoring. Students on an academic plan are still responsible to meet the SAP requirements in the subsequent semester/period of enrollment and will lose eligibility if the SAP standards are not met, and need to go through the appeal process in order to regain eligibility. The student's progress in their academic plan will be taken into account in any subsequent appeal process of financial aid eligibility.

Yes. A subsequent appeal after one has been granted will be held to stricter scrutiny. The first appeal outlines a plan by which the student may regain SAP during the term(s) for which the aid is requested. If the student fails to meet the terms of that plan, careful consideration will be given to subsequent appeals to determine if circumstances have indeed changed to allow the student to be successful now.

General SAP

All credits accepted for transfer to the student's program of study by Johns Hopkins University SAIS are taken into consideration under the quantitative measurement component of SAP as both attempted and earned credits.

For students who change concentrations within their degree program, only those credits attempted which apply to their new concentration are included in evaluation of SAP status. All coursework is included in the calculation of GPA as required under federal law.

Students who receive a fellowship while at SAIS must submit a Financial Aid Agreement to the Financial Aid Office before receiving those funds. The Agreement states that the student will only receive those funds if they maintain full-time status and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4. Of course, students are free to appeal if they fail to meet SAP standards after two terms.

Some academic offices may be able to review your financial aid eligibility status, through the student information system. If you have allowed parental access to educational records through the Parent/Guest Portal, your parents can be informed of your status upon contact with the Financial Aid Office.

Any person who has direct knowledge of circumstances that have negatively affected your academic performance can submit a letter of support for purposes of a financial aid appeal. This can include an advisor from the Academic Affairs Office or the Student Life Office and/or professors.

No, as long as you do not plan to receive federal aid, you do not need to submit an appeal or provide documentation. If you decide you would like to receive aid in the future and you are still considered as having unsatisfactory academic progress, you will then need to submit an appeal at that time.

Any medical and mental health documents that contain information the student wishes to be considered in a financial aid appeal but which the student does not wish to submit directly to the Office of Financial Aid should be submitted to the Director of Student Life. The director will provide a summary statement that will substitute for the detailed information for the financial aid appeal and will keep the original documents or sufficient information from those documents to support the summary statement.

Grade Impact on GPA
Course Withdrawals (W) Not included in the GPA calculation, but are considered a non-completion of attempted coursework.
Incomplete courses or grades (I) Not included in the GPA calculation and are considered a non-completion of attempted coursework until the coursework is completed and graded with a permanent grade. 
Audited courses (AU) or noncredit Not considered attempted coursework or included within the GPA calculation, nor is the coursework considered for financial aid eligibility. 
Satisfactory (S), High Pass (HP), or Passing (P) Treated as attempted credits which are earned, but is not included in calculation of GPA. 
No Pass (NP) Treated as attempted credits which are not earned and is not included in the GPA calculation
D grades and F grades Treated as attempted credits that were not earned and are included both in the calculation of GPA and minimum completion rate. 
Missing grades or X Coursework is not included in the GPA calculation but is considered a non-completion of attempted coursework until the coursework is completed and graded with a permanent grade. 
Repeated coursework The highest grade earned in a course that is repeated will count in the GPA computation, but every repeated attempt will be included in the completion rate determinations. 

Code of Conduct and Policy

Return of Title IV Funds Policy

The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term. Federal Title IV financial aid must be recalculated in these situations. If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term, the Financial Aid Office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula: Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid. Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula: Aid to be returned = (100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term. If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds.

Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution. If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a postwithdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student's withdrawal. The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal.

Refunds are allocated in the following order:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
  • Other assistance under this Title for which a return of funds is required (e.g. LEAP)

Verification Process

Verification is a process used to check the accuracy of certain information entered on the FAFSA and to resolve any errors. Some students are selected by the Department of Education and some are selected by SAIS. Selected students will need to provide additional documentation to the Financial Aid Office before we can finalize and disburse federal financial aid.

If you are selected for verification, you will need to complete and submit a verification worksheet.  We ask that students use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA to provide income information from your federal tax return.  If you are not able to use the Data Retrieval Tool, you must submit an official IRS transcript of your federal income tax return, which you can obtain from the IRS by calling 1-800-908-9946 or visiting

Once all documents have been received, our office will review the data and compare it to the information on your FAFSA. Our office will make corrections (if necessary) and transmit them to the federal processor. You will receive an updated Student Aid Report (SAR) if corrections are required. If the corrections impact your federal aid award, we will notify you by email or letter.
Verification may take several weeks to complete, so we ask that all students supply the requested materials as soon as possible.

Your financial aid will not be disbursed until the verification process is complete. Students can track the completion of verification documents on the "To Do List" tab on Net Partner in SIS.

Students with special circumstances for unanticipated expenses (see the FA-Budget Adjustment Request Form for examples) can request a budget adjustment to their cost of attendance that may allow for additional federal loan borrowing eligibility.