Financial aid regulations require that students meet specific Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements to maintain eligibility for financial aid.
What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
Your academic record will be evaluated at the end of each Spring semester* to determine if you are meeting the SAP requirements to maintain financial aid eligibility for the next academic year. Changes to your academic record after the end of the official evaluation period will not impact your SAP status for the current academic year. Your SAP evaluation at the end of the Spring semester will determine your financial aid eligibility for the next academic year.
*LL.M. students will be evaluated at the end of each semester to determine their SAP status for the next semester. Please note the grades may not be finalized until the next semester begins, so the financial aid eligibility may change once all grades are posted and SAP is reviewed.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements
A minimum percentage of units attempted must be successfully completed both cumulatively and by the end of each academic year to maintain a satisfactory pace toward degree completion and remain eligible for financial aid. Students must successfully complete 67% of all units attempted cumulatively during their degree program.
The following classes/units do not count as units attempted or completed:
- Classes taken at other colleges that are not reflected on your UC Berkeley transcript
The following classes do count as units attempted, but do not count as units completed:
- Repeated courses (in which you previously received a passing grade)
- Failed or Incomplete courses
UC Berkeley maintains a fixed standard for purposes of qualitative measurement. Berkeley Law students are not ranked by their academic records, nor do we calculate grade point averages (GPAs). Therefore, we evaluate that our law students are meeting the Berkeley Law academic progress rules. Please see Article IV Disqualification more for information.
You may receive financial aid for attempted terms not to exceed 150% of the published length of your program if needed to complete degree requirements. The attempted term limit includes semesters during which you withdrew and semesters in which you did not receive financial aid. It does not include semesters when you were not registered.
Maximum Timeframe for Each Degree Program at the Law School
- J.D. Program: 4.5 years
- J.S.D. Program: 4.5 years
- J.S.P. MA Program: 3 years
- J.S.P. Ph.D. Program: 9 years
- LL.M. Traditional Track: 1.5 years
- LL.M. Executive Track (two summers): 3 semesters
- LL.M. Executive Track (Spring, Summer, and Fall) – 1.5 years
- Dual Degree Programs
- JD/MBA; JD/MPP; JD/MCP: 6 years
- JD/JSP: 10.5 years
What Financial Aid Awards Are Being Affected by SAP?
Federal Aid: Federal Direct Loans and Federal Work Study
State Aid: California Dream Loan
Institutional Aid: Entering Student Gift Aid, Continuing Student Scholarships, Donor-Based Scholarships, Graduate Division Student Parent Grant, Graduate Division Caregiver Grant, Fee Remissions, PIOA, and Berkeley Law Emergency Loan.
Aid not affected by SAP: Private student loans, private scholarships, Basic Needs Center emergency aid, Veterans Benefit, Edley Grant, and student group awards.
- Departmental Award eligibility will be determined based on the department’s policies. The Law Financial Aid Office will consult with the awarding department to determine the student’s eligibility if not meeting SAP.
While you are expected to meet minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements to maintain your financial aid eligibility, we understand that extenuating circumstances sometimes prevent students from making satisfactory progress toward their degree. If you are ineligible for financial aid because you are not meeting SAP requirements before the beginning of the academic year, and extenuating circumstances have hindered your academic performance, you may submit a SAP Appeal to have your eligibility reconsidered.
- If your SAP Appeal is approved, you will be responsible for following specific conditions each term in order to maintain your financial aid eligibility during that academic year. We will notify you via email of the conditions you are required to meet to maintain eligibility, and we will review your progress before we disburse any additional aid to you each term.
- If your SAP Appeal is denied, you will be responsible for all costs associated with your enrollment during the academic year. The Financial Aid Office will certify a private educational loan if you secure a loan and are approved by a private lender.
If you withdraw before your SAP Appeal is reviewed and approval is received, you will be responsible for all costs associated with your enrollment. Be sure to submit your appeal early, before the start of the term, so you can receive a timely decision, allowing you to plan accordingly.
Submitting an appeal does not guarantee approval
Be sure to submit your appeal early, before the start of the term, so you can receive a timely decision, allowing you to plan accordingly.
The SAP Appeal periods are listed below for each semester:
- Fall Semester: August 1 through September 15
- Spring Semester: December 1 through January 31
- Summer Semester: May 1 through June 30
Appeals may not be accepted after the deadline has passed. Complete the online form and submit your academic plan once you have met with the Dean of Students to ensure your appeal is received on time.
If you do not submit your appeal in a timely manner, and your appeal is denied after the term has started, you will be responsible for any and all costs incurred, including any costs related to a decision to withdraw from the semester.
Preparing Your Appeal
- Calendar: Be aware of key deadlines, including cancellation and tuition/fee refund dates and the SAP Appeal deadline. Make advising appointments ASAP.
- Write Your Letter: Your letter of explanation should include the unique circumstances that may have prevented you from meeting financial aid SAP requirements. When writing your letter, be sure to address the following:
- What were the circumstances that prevented you from meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress?
- What has changed since then that will allow you to successfully follow your academic plan?
- What steps will you take, or which resources will you use, to ensure your success moving forward?
- Click here for examples of sample appeal letters.
- Give Examples: In your letter, provide specific examples of changes that you will make or resources that you will use to ensure your future academic success.
- Gather Documentation: Ensure your submission is complete; include documentation to support your letter of explanation. For example medical appointment documentation (you can cover/redact any sensitive information), paycheck stubs, transcripts, etc.
- Meet With Your Academic Adviser(s): Discuss your circumstances, review your transcript and your supporting documentation, and prepare a manageable academic plan.
- The academic plan accompanying your SAP Appeal must be reviewed and approved by the Dean of Students at Berkeley Law before it is submitted to the Financial Aid Office. The academic advisor signature is not required for law students.
Prepare Backup Plan: If your appeal is not approved, you may need to seek alternative enrollment options or sources of funding.
Submitting Your Appeal
SAP Appeals are submitted through the Berkeley Financial Aid Forms website. You will be asked to complete and sign the electronic SAP Appeal form first. Once your form is signed and submitted, you will be prompted to upload your supporting documentation and signed Academic Plan. Be sure to click “Submit”, and then “Finish” so that your appeal is on file for review.
Reviewing Your Appeal
If approved, review the terms of your approval. Make sure you understand what successful completion means and how to maintain your financial aid eligibility.
If you are approved and considering a change in your enrollment such as withdrawing and/or taking a leave of absence, discuss your academic plan options with both the Student Services Office and Financial Aid Office prior to making any adjustments to your schedule.