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 Type of ReviewUndergraduate/Graduate Levels
Standards for Academic Review (SAR) - Academic    Warning, Suspension, Probation, (appeal approved), Dismissal (if no plan is received or criteria not met)
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) - Financial Warning, Suspension, Probation(appeal approved)


There are two types of academic review performed each term by the Registrar’s and Student Finance offices. These are separate review processes and it is possible that a student’s status may not be the same under each review category. The Standards for Academic Review (SAR) process is monitored on a term by term basis and reviews the cumulative GPA and Completion Ratio.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)review performed by the Student Finance Office adheres to the financial aid regulations regarding GPA and pace minimum requirements.   Financial aid regulations require that students meet specific Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements to maintain eligibility for financial aid. Your academic record will be evaluated after each academic term to determine if you are meeting the SAP requirements to maintain financial aid eligibility for the next term. The NLU requirements fall into three areas:Maintaining a cumulative grade point average (GPA) at or above 2.0.

  • Maintaining a cumulative grade point average (GPA) at or above 2.0.

  • Maintain a satisfactory pace of progress towards your degree by completing at least 67% of all units attempted cumulatively  
  • Completing your degree within a maximum number of attempted units not to exceed 150% of the published length of your program.


While you are expected to meet minimum academic requirements to maintain your financial aid eligibility, we understand that extenuating circumstances sometimes prevent students from making satisfactory progress towards 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.

You can view the policies for each review at the links below:

SAR (Academic Review)

SAP (Financial Aid Review)


Frequently Asked Questions



The student subimts a completed appeal (personal narrative, support documents and an academic plan) to their coach/advisor. For Undergraduate appeals, the SAP Appeal Committee reviews the appeal and makes the decision to approve or deny the appeal. For Graduate appeals, the appeal is submitted to the Registrar's Office and Student Finance to review. If the appeal is approved, the student will be on financial aid probation and have an academic plan, which they must follow each term until they are meeting satisfactory academic progress. Students on financial aid probation are eligible to receive financial aid and are evaluated after each term to ensure they are following their academic plan. Once a student meets the standards again, they are eligible to receive financial aid. Note: Students are only allowed one lifetime appeal at NLU, so if an Undergraduate student continues into a Graduate program and is put on financial aid suspension, they are unable to appeal again.
Academic Plan form

UG Appeal Guidance



Undergraduate SAP appeals are reviewed by a committee twice a term (in Week 2 and Week 6). Appeals are due ten days before the Commitee meetng (before term start to be reviewed in Week 2 and before Week 5 to be reviwed in Week 6). Graduate appeals are reviewed on a rolling basis and must be submitted two weeks prior to the end of classes in that term.


The Committee reviews each appeal individually, on a case-by-case basis. Written documentation of illness, accident, injury, death of a close family member, or other extenuating circumstances throughout the student's academic career for which they could not plan, influence, or prevent will be considered carefully. Other extenuating circumstances could include family issues, or work (if a student was required to suddenly increase hours such as full-time to overtime). Students should include this and other relevant information in their narrative, along with documentation from appropriate third parties, if applicable (e.g., a physician, therapist, etc.) Students should provide specific dates of the extenuating circumstance, which should coincide with the dates of the unsuccessful semesters. Students should include a plan of action or changes made in their lifestyle or academic approach, which will support academic success from the current term going forward.


Appeal decisions are generally made in at least 3 to 4 weeks after the completed appeal (all requested documentation received) was submitted. Students will receive the appeal decision via their NLU email address.


When the SAP appeal is approved, the student is sent an email with the approved academic plan, which outlines the criteria that they must meet each term. Students will be eligible for financial aid that term. The student's academic record will be reviewed at the end of each term to ensure they are meeting the criteria in the academic plan and/or meeting SAP standards.


Plans can be amended on a case-by-case basis prior to the start of the next term. The student working with their coach/academic advisor, who will submit the amended plan for review by the Office of Student Finance. Students will be notified via their NLU email if the amended academic plan is approved. Failure to notify Student Finance of changes to the academic plan will result in the appeal being cancelled and the student will no longer be eligible for financial aid.


If a student's appeal is denied, the decision is final and not subject to further review. The student is sent an email, which outlines the steps towards regaining their financial aid eligibility and options to continue enrollment in the absence of financial aid.


 A student dismissed for reasons of academic ineligibility may direct his or her written appeal to the University Registrar after two terms of non-enrollment. The appeal may be submitted by the end of the second term of non-enrollment and must include documentation of any exceptional circumstances. The Registrar will respond to the appeal in accordance with the University’s Policy on Academic Appeals. If the request is submitted after one year of non-enrollment, the request will be subject to the Reentry Policy requirements.

A student can appeal the dismissal by submitting a signed letter explaining why he or she should not be dismissed. A student may appeal for mitigating circumstances such as an injury or illness of the student or the death of a student’s relative. The appeal letter, along with supporting documentation and the signed academic plan, should be sent to the Registrar’s Office at All appeal documents must be received no later than three weeks before the start of the term in which the student wishes to return. The merit of the appeal will be determined and the student will be notified in writing of the final decision. If the appeal is approved the student will be permitted to reenroll in term three, following the two terms of non-enrollment. The student will be able to continue future enrollment as long as he or she is meeting the conditions of the academic plan.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    (888) 658.8632
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    (888) 658.8632
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    (888) 658.8632
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    (888) 658.8632
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    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
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