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Graduate and Professional Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid

The Policy: To be eligible for financial aid at the University of Washington, students must maintain SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS, based on federal, state and institutional requirements. This consists of three parts:

  • An annual number of credits completed by the end of spring quarter
  • Degree programs must be completed within a maximum time frame, 150% of the average credits to complete the degree program
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) as established by the University

In order to begin to or continue to be eligible for financial aid, students must meet ALL three requirements. After reviewing the full policy below, students should contact a financial aid counselor if unsure of the credits required for maintaining or reinstating eligibility.

Please note that medical, dental, pharmacy and law students' academic progress for financial aid is monitored by their colleges directly and may have more stringent requirements than described in this policy.

Annual Credit Requirement

Graduate and professional students must successfully complete 67% of the credits attempted in summer, fall, winter and spring quarters. To determine if you have met the annual requirement, total all of your attempted credits for the summer, fall, winter and spring quarters. Then add up your completed credits for the same time period, and divide by the attempted credits. Your percentage of completion needs to meet or exceed 67%.

Here is an example: If you attempted 30 credits in fall-spring quarters and completed 21 credits, then you would meet the 67% required completion for spring quarter.

Maximum Time Frame for Degree Completion

All graduate and professional students are expected to complete their degree program within a maximum time frame, which cannot exceed 150% of the average credits needed to complete the degree program. This means that students in a master's program have a maximum time frame of 105 attempted credits. Doctoral students have 285 attempted credits (including any UW master and pre-doctoral level credits) in which to complete the degree program.

Students who have reached or exceeded the maximum time frame may petition, through the regular appeal process described below, for an extension based on extenuating circumstances which prevented the completion of the degree program within the credit limits above.

Minimum Grade Point Average

Students must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) as established by the University. In general, graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Please review Memo 16: Unsatisfactory Performance and Progress policy.

Attempted Credits

Your attempted credit total is the number of credits that you enrolled in while you were in your program at the UW. Repeated credits count in the attempted credit total as well. Transfer credits accepted at the UW are counted in the completed and attempted credit totals.

Passing Grades for Successful Completion

Passing grades used to compute completed credits are numerical grades of 2.7 or higher, N (used for hyphenated courses lasting longer than one quarter); S (Satisfactory) or CR (credit) and must be earned in residence at the UW. Residence credits are academic credit for courses offered through the UW Quarterly Time Schedule and certain other approved courses which are listed individually on your UW academic transcript. Repeated credits count only one time in the completed credit total. Repeated courses always count in attempted credits.

Grades That Do Not Count in Successful Completion

Other grades, such as I (incompletes); X (grade not submitted); NC (no credit); NS (not satisfactory); E (fail); W (withdrawal ); HW (hardship withdrawal); and Audit credits are not considered in the successfully completed credit totals. However, all of these grades are considered in the attempted credits and negatively impact your ability to reach the required credits for the annual measurements.

You should let the financial aid counselors know if you convert an Incomplete or X grade to a passing grade in case that may reinstate your eligibility for the quarter.

How to Re-Establish Eligibility

If you did not meet the progress requirements because you had special circumstances you may file an appeal with our office. You will need to demonstrate unusual circumstances beyond your control that are not likely to recur in the immediate future. You will need to explain what has changed in your situation so that you will now be able to make academic progress. If approved, you will need to meet the requirements of an individual academic plan to continue to receive financial aid.

Once you have not met the progress requirements and need to file an appeal, you have lost your eligibility for aid and any award you received. If you re-establish your eligibility with a successful appeal, you may not receive the same award as before. Instead, we will award you with the funds we currently have available. Depending upon the time of the quarter, it can take approximately three weeks to receive a decision on your appeal. If you are waiting to hear about your appeal and tuition is due, you need to make sure you pay your own tuition. Don't count on your appeal being approved. If necessary, withdraw by the full refund period or apply for a short-term loan.

Emergency Provisions

Students will not be held responsible for disruption of their academic schedules due to unavoidable situations affecting the campus such as natural disasters, inclement weather, or other circumstances that result in the late assignment of grades. The Office of Student Financial Aid will decide when to invoke this emergency provision. At that time and based on the situation at hand, every effort will be made to determine the progression toward a degree without the availability of grades so students may proceed with their next quarter of attendance.