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Financial Aid and Scholarships

Satisfactory Academic Progress

The University of South Carolina is dedicated to academic excellence. Federal regulations require USC to establish, publish and apply standards to monitor your academic performance.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy 

To be eligible to receive any federal, state and/or certain private educational loans funds, students must adhere to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarship's (OSFAS) policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress. The intent of this policy is to ensure that students who are receiving federal and state financial aid as well as certain private educational loans for their education are making measurable progress toward completion of a degree in a reasonable period of time. Students are measured on GPA, Completion Rate, and Maximum Timeframe. Students who fail to meet SAP standards will be ineligible to receive any federal, state or certain private educational loans funds. Students who are found ineligible may appeal this determination under specifically prescribed conditions.

Undergraduate 2.00 USC Cumulative GPA
Graduate/Graduate Business (Master's) 3.00 USC Cumulative GPA
Law/Pharmacy/Medical 2.00 USC Cumulative GPA
Certificate of Graduate Studies 3.00 USC Cumulative GPA

In addition to the annual review of satisfactory academic progress, all students will be evaluated at the conclusion of four semesters of enrollment to ensure that you have earned a 2.00 GPA. This includes evaluation of your enrollment at the University of South Carolina and any other academic institution in which credits transferred to USC. Failure to meet this requirement will result in loss of eligibility to receive any federal, state and/or certain private educational loan funds.

Satisfactory academic progress is measured annually by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. The academic year for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) eligibility determination is comprised of the fall, spring, and summer terms. This measurement occurs at the conclusion of each spring semester after the spring grade processing is complete. However if a student attends summer school, they will also be reviewed at the end of the summer session. This measurement will determine if the student has made sufficient progress to be eligible for financial aid for the subsequent fall, spring and summer semester. Students whose records are not reviewed at the end of spring or summer, will be reviewed when they submit a FAFSA for upcoming year, submit a Private Educational loan application or receive other federal or state awards as required.

Doctoral students are only assessed on percentage completion. Doctoral students must earn 67 percent of all hours accepted at USC plus transfer hours accepted regardless of whether federal financial aid was received. 

Maximum Time Frame

The maximum time frame for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students varies depending on your degree program. Once students reach their maximum time frame or it’s determined they cannot complete their degree within the maximum time frame limit, they are no longer eligible to receive federal, state, and/or certain private educational loan funds.

Program Cannot Exceed
Undergraduate 180 Hours
Graduate (Master's) 75 Hours
Graduate Business (Master's) 105 Hours
Law 202 Hours
Medical 262 Hours
Pharmacy  233 Hours
Certificate of Graduate Studies 36 Hours
Physician Assistant Studies  168 Hours
Master of Communication Disorder 114 Hours
Master of Speech Pathology 118 Hours


An undergraduate student’s academic record will be assessed once the student has attempted 160 credit hours to ensure that they can complete the degree within the maximum time frame limit. This assessment will occur during the fall and spring semesters. At any point during the academic year, if the sum of the two items listed below exceeds 180 credits, the student will be deemed ineligible to receive federal, state, and private educational loan funds.

  • The number of credits the student attempted (includes all credits: earned, failed, transfer hours accepted, Incompletes, and Withdrawals) 

  • The number of remaining credits needed to complete the degree

If the student exceeds the maximum time frame or it is determined that the student cannot complete the degree within your maximum time frame, the student’s financial aid will be cancelled immediately.

All students at the USC are expected to earn 67 percent of all hours attempted at USC plus transfer hours accepted.

Satisfactory Academic Progress At a Glance

  • Federal Pell Grants

  • Federal Work-Study Program

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants

  • Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)

  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan

  • Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan

  • Nursing Student Loans and Scholarships

  • Health Professions Loans, Scholarships and Grants

  • Private Educational Loans

  • South Carolina Teachers Loan Program

  • South Carolina Career Changers Loan

  • South Carolina Need-Based Grant Program

  • National Guard CAP

  • Other federal or state programs as required

The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy standards will not apply to any hours forgiven under the USC Academic Forgiveness Program. Students who have been granted academic forgiveness must contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships (OSFAS) for further assessment.

Students who must remain enrolled beyond their maximum time frame due to a change of major or completing a second degree will be required to submit an appeal once they reach their maximum time frame.


In determining a student's SAP standing, classes in which a student receives a W, WF, I, U, NR, F, or FN are counted as attempted hours but not hours earned. Only grades of A, B, C, D, S, and T are counted as attempted hours and hours earned. Students enrolled in audit courses (AUD) will not receive financial aid for these classes. Grades of W, NR, I, U, S, T and AUD are not used when computing GPA. Receiving grades of W, WF, I ,U, NR, F or FN can negatively impact the percentage of completion.

Dual enrollment courses taken at a USC campus count toward the student’s collegiate grade point average and in both attempted hours and hours earned, which can affect eligibility for financial aid programs. Dual enrollment courses taken at other institutions will count in attempted hours and hours earned.

Repeated courses and transfer hours accepted by UofSC will be counted in both the attempted hours and hours earned.

To be eligible to receive any federal, state, and/or private loan funding as a transient student, a student must have earned a USC cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.00 or higher. 

The deadline for receipt of appeals in the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is 14 business days prior to the end of the semester for which aid is requested. See the list of appeal deadlines by semester.



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