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Policy and Procedures

It is critical for students using financial aid to understand the policies and procedures associated with their aid eligibility. You can review these below as well as refer to our section in the Academic Catalog.


  Satisfactory Academic Progress

Pepperdine University is required by federal regulations (Sections 668.16(e), 668.32(f), and 668.34) to establish specific standards for measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students receiving financial assistance. Pursuant to federal law, the University's SAP policy ensures that all students who receive University, state, private, and/or federal financial aid progress toward degree completion. The Financial Aid Office will monitor compliance with the SAP policy for each student. Students must meet the requirements of the SAP policy outlined below to be eligible to receive financial aid. Questions about SAP policy should be addressed to the Financial Aid Office. The SAP standards consist of the following:

  • GPA Standard: Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative 3.000 GPA.
  • Pace Standard: students must maintain a 67 percent completion rate of all attempted units per term, which will be re-evaluated at the close of each term.


GPA Standard

This standard is a qualitative measure of progress as determined by the student's cumulative grade point average (GPA). Graduate students must meet the minimum GPA (3.000) required by their program.


Pace Standard

This standard is a quantitative measure of progress that calculates the pace at which a student is moving toward program completion by dividing the number of units completed by the number of units attempted. Graduate students must successfully complete for credit 67 percent of the units they attempt. For example, students who attempt 12 units during their fall term must pass 8 units or more to meet Pace Standard [(8/12) x 100 = 67%]. Please note the following regarding attempted units and completion rate (pace).

  • Students must complete at least 67% of all attempted units including transfer units if applicable. For example, if a student has attempted 9 units, the minimum earned hours must be 6. See the chart below for additional examples.

    Credit Hours Attempted Minimum Earned Hours To Meet Pace
    6 4
    3 2
  • Classes with grades of A, B, C, and Cr (credit) are considered to have been completed. Classes with grades of D, F, NC (no credit), I (incomplete) and WD, W, WF (grade withheld) will not be considered as completed but will be calculated in the attempted units.
  • Courses graded as Incomplete, Failed, Not Passed, or Withdrawn count toward attempted units.
  • In the event that a student receives permission to repeat a previously passed course, only the first repeat will apply toward the completed unit count; subsequent repeats will not. Only the first repeat of a passed course may be covered using federal financial aid. Any second or subsequent repetition of a passed course may not be covered using federal financial aid funds.
  • Transfer units will be counted toward both the attempted and completed units that have been accepted by the University for degree credit.


Maximum Time Frame Standard

This standard is also a quantitative measure of progress; it determines whether a student is completing the academic program within a reasonable overall time frame, based on both units attempted and years enrolled. The maximum time frame is calculated by multiplying the units/time normally required to complete an academic program by 150 percent. Graduate students must complete all degree requirements within 150 percent of the maximum time frame described in the Academic Catalog and measured in attempted units.


Time Limit

All requirements for an M.S. or M.A. degree must be completed within seven calendar years from the date on which the student begins graduate work at Pepperdine University. All requirements for an Ed.D., Ph.D., or Psy.D degrees must be completed within eight calendar years from the date on which the student begins graduate work at Pepperdine University.


Transfer Students

Students at the master's level may transfer as many as 6 semester units of previous graduate-level coursework to meet the requirements for the program, provided the transfer credit meets all equivalency requirements. Education and psychology doctoral students may transfer up to 9 semester units of doctoral-level courses. These units may be earned at Pepperdine University as well as at other regionally accredited colleges and universities. Courses to be transferred for master's, doctoral, or credential programs must have been taken within the last seven years, and the student must have earned a grade of "B" (3.0) or better in each course.

Students presently enrolled in the EdD program or alumni of the program who graduated within the last seven years may transfer up to 39 semester units of courses taken in the EdD program to the PhD in Global Leadership and Change program.

Monitoring SAP Standards: The Financial Aid Office will monitor GPA, Pace, and Maximum Time Frame Standards for graduate students at the end of each fall, winter (for GRD2 career), spring, and summer term. Students who fail to meet SAP standards will be notified via email of the impact on their aid eligibility.


Warning Status

Students who fail to meet SAP for the first time (excluding students who have already exceeded their maximum number of units attempted or years enrolled) are placed on Warning Status for one term and are expected to meet SAP standards by the end of the following term of enrollment. Students who fail to meet SAP requirements the following term will be placed on financial aid suspension (FAS).


Financial Aid Suspension (FAS)

Students on FAS are not eligible to receive financial assistance, and all aid (federal, state, and University) will be cancelled for future semesters unless the student successfully appeals the suspension and is placed on financial aid probation. Students may also gain future financial aid eligibility, subject to availability of funds, if they are allowed to enroll at their own expense and do well enough in their course work to regain SAP. Please note that this will only make students eligible for future aid once reinstated; it is not retroactive.


SAP Appeal Guidelines

If special circumstances cause a student to be placed on FAS as a result of failure to meet SAP standards, a written appeal may be submitted. Specific instructions for submitting a SAP appeal will be emailed to the student. Examples of special circumstances include, but are not limited to, death of an immediate family member, injury, or medical condition of the student. The SAP appeal must address and document these special circumstances and describe how those circumstances have changed to allow for the student to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation. The student is encouraged and may be required, to seek academic advisement as part of the appeal process. The student will be notified via email of the decision to approve or deny financial aid eligibility. SAP appeals must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office and must include the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form and supporting documentation. Incomplete SAP appeals or those missing adequate documentation will not be reviewed.


Financial Aid Probation

Students who have successfully appealed FAS are placed on probation status. Students on probation are eligible to receive financial aid for one term, subject to availability of funds, after which the student must meet SAP or the requirements of his/her academic plan approved by his/her academic advisor. Financial aid probation is for financial aid purposes only and is separate from academic or disciplinary policies for other University scholarships.


Verification is a quality-control method used by the U.S. Department of Education to verify the accuracy of the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or other documents submitted to the GSEP Financial Aid Office. All schools that disburse Title IV (federal aid) funds are required to participate in the verification process. Certain students are selected at random while others are chosen based on probable errors or inconsistencies on the FAFSA. Most financial aid applications are randomly selected for Verification by the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Processor. However, there are other potential reasons for our Office to select a student for Verification:

  • The submitted FAFSA application had incomplete data
  • The data on the FAFSA application appears to have contradicting data
  • The FAFSA application has estimated information
  • The GSEP Financial Aid Office may select students for federal Verification in connection with the review of an evaluation for special circumstances.

Participation in the verification process is not optional. If selected for verification, students must submit the requested documentation. If he/she opts not to submit the required documentation, the student will not be eligible to receive federal or institutional need-based financial aid.


Notification Policy

We are required to contact you for documentation that supports income and any other information that was reported. If you are selected for Verification, you will be notified on your Student Aid Report (SAR) after completing the FAFSA. In addition, the GSEP Financial Aid Office will post the Verification requirement as "Initiated" on your "To Do List" located in WaveNet. It is extremely important for the student to review their "To Do List" often. An automatic email notification will also be sent to the student with instructions to view their "To Do List," and if any additional documents are needed. Students are instructed to submit as soon as possible.

During the Verification process, the student is expected to fully cooperate with requests in a timely manner, failure to do so may result in cancellation, reduction, finance charges, enrollment/financial holds, and/or suspension of financial aid.



Students must submit all requested forms and supporting documentation together at the same time; no processing or review can occur until all documentation and forms are received by the GSEP Financial Aid Office. Any documentation and forms submitted that are illegible, incomplete, or incorrect, will be returned to the student for them to resolve the documentation/form issue.

Please refer to Financial Aid Forms, for verification forms and documentation requirements.


Processing Time Frame

Financial aid cannot be disbursed until all requested documents are received and the accuracy of the information has been reviewed and then processed. Review of documents submitted for Verification usually takes 5-7 business days, but may reach up to 2-3 weeks during peak awarding, and during registration. Federal funds will be held from disbursing to your student account until all necessary documentation has been received and reviewed, then processed. It is extremely important to not delay submitting requested documents because outstanding balances will cause finance charges to accrue daily and financial holds that prevent registration, and transcripts.



If you have been selected for Verification for the aid year prior to the start of the year's first term, you must submit all items listed in your "To Do List" as soon as possible but no later than 30 days after the start of the term for which you have been awarded or within 10 days of the date the documents are posted as "Initiated" requirements on the student's "To Do List." Incomplete/initiated items not received by October 15 may result in the cancellation of institutional need-based aid.

If you are selected for Verification after October 15, you must submit Verification documents within 10 days of the date Verification requirements are posted as "initiated" on your "To Do List".

Consequences if you do not submit Verification documents by the deadlines:

  • Financial aid will not disburse to your student account until Verification documents have been received, reviewed, and then processed. If you do not submit Verification documents by the above deadlines, your financial aid will be canceled.
  • Aid that is canceled may cause outstanding balances that accrue finance charges daily, which will be the responsibility of the student to pay.


Correction Procedures

If there are discrepancies between the data on the FAFSA and the student's Verification documents, the GSEP Financial Aid Office may require additional information to resolve the discrepancies, and the FAFSA will be updated and processed with accurate information. However, such discrepancies may be significant enough to cause the financial aid package to be different from the initial package received from the school. Aid will then be reduced and or canceled, if necessary to resolve the discrepancy. If adjustments to the financial aid award are required, the GSEP Financial Aid Office will notify the student via email.

  Withdrawal/Leave of Absence

Taking a Leave of Absence, Withdrawing, or Dropping All Course Work

A leave of absence, withdrawal, or dropping all coursework may result in the adjustment of your financial aid. Please consult with the GSEP Financial Aid Office to review how your current and future financial aid eligibility may be affected.


Federal Funds

Financial aid programs created by the federal government are called ''Title IV Funds'' and include the Stafford Loan and Graduate (PLUS) Loan.

Title IV funds are awarded with the understanding that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance was offered. However, should you need to take a leave of absence or withdraw, you may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds awarded to you. Federal law requires that the Financial Aid Office determine at what point Title IV funds will cease to be made available once your enrollment has ended, and any unearned funds will be returned to the federal financial aid program. There is no relationship between this process and how GSEP determines what you will be charged when you take a leave of absence or withdraw.


Pepperdine Grants and Scholarships

Eligibility for Pepperdine funding is dependent on full-time enrollment in regular coursework. If you withdraw or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of the term, your Pepperdine funding will be canceled.


Leaves of Absence or Withdrawals

If you wish to withdraw from all classes for the term or withdraw permanently from the University, you must notify your Education or Psychology academic advisor in writing using your Pepperdine e-mail account. Your withdrawal date will be determined based on the date you notify your academic advisor that you wish to withdraw.


Financial Aid Adjustments

The federal government provides financial aid offices with a schedule that is used to determine how much of your Title IV funds you have earned if you take a leave of absence or withdraw.

The Financial Aid Office will determine what amount will be returned to the federal program based on the date you notify your academic advisor that you wish to withdraw, thus beginning the withdrawal process. If you have completed 60% or less of a given term, the Financial Aid Office uses the schedule provided by the federal government to determine the refund. If you have completed more than 60% of a term, you are considered to have earned 100% of your Title IV funds for that term.

For example, if you take a leave of absence after completing 40% of a term, you are then eligible to keep 40% of your federal funds, and the remaining 60% of the federal funds will be returned.


Federal Government Refund Requirements

Refunds are returned in this order:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Federal Graduate (PLUS) Loans
  • TEACH Grant

For more information, please contact our office at 310.568.5775 or

  Terms and Conditions

FAFSA Verification and Aid Eligibility

Financial information reported on the FAFSA may be verified against federal income tax returns, schedules, W2 forms, and other verification documents. Financial aid awards are subject to change if the information reported on the FAFSA is different from the information on tax returns and/or other verification documents. Awards may be adjusted after verification, or in coordination with any additional aid, such as outside scholarships not yet reported to the GSEP Financial Aid Office.


Aid Processing

Pepperdine University will credit the student's account with all the financial aid awards accepted by the student, including all federal, state, private, and institutional aid. After all funds have been credited to the student's account, any financial aid funds in excess of tuition will be refunded directly to the student after the add/drop period each term.

Pepperdine University will receive and process federal and private loan funds via electronic funds transfer unless the student informs the school to do otherwise by contacting the GSEP Financial Aid Office.


Student Responsibilities

  • The student is responsible for finding out lender interest rates, repayment terms, and servicing information before selecting a lender for Federal Stafford, Graduate PLUS, or private educational loans.
  • By accepting a Direct Graduate PLUS loan on my award, you consent to the U.S. Department of Education and its agents obtaining a report of my credit record and using the information from that report in determining whether to make a Direct PLUS Loan to me. You understand that you will be notified in writing of the results of the credit check with respect to your loan application.
  • By accepting financial aid awards, the student agrees to use federal (Title IV) funds to cover institutional charges at Pepperdine University.
  • The student is responsible for any outstanding balance on his/her student account. The student will not be eligible to register for subsequent academic terms if he/she has an outstanding balance.
  • The student must report any changes in financial, marital, or academic/enrollment status to the GSEP Financial Aid Office. Grants and scholarships are available only to full-time students.
  • The student must report any outside scholarships he/she expects to receive so that all financial assistance can be coordinated to ensure that it does not exceed the cost of attendance.
  • It is the student's responsibility to comply with written and verbal requests for documentation deemed necessary by the GSEP Financial Aid Office. Failure to submit requested documentation will result in the cancellation of the financial aid awards.


Stafford Loans

Stafford Loans are estimated and may be adjusted due to changes in enrollment status. A maximum loan origination fee of 3% may be deducted from the loan proceeds by the lender prior to disbursement of the loan to the student's account. Generally, aid is disbursed at the start of the academic term. The total amount of loan accepted will be divided into equal amounts each term. For example, if you reduce your loans to $10,000, $10,000 will be divided by the number of terms you enroll (Fall, Spring, and/or Summer).

For any given academic term, adjustments will be made to financial aid awards if the student enrolls in fewer units, resulting in a change in tuition charges for that term.


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at Pepperdine University in order to remain eligible for financial aid (see Academic Catalog and individual program descriptions for details). A student is eligible to receive federal aid for as long as he/she maintains continuous enrollment at a minimum of a half-time student (i.e., 3 units each term) and meets the qualitative and quantitative requirements listed below. In addition, a student may receive aid only for courses that count toward his/her degree. Once all degree requirements have been met, he/she cannot receive further aid for that degree/program.

  • Qualitative Requirement: A student must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above.
  • Quantitative Requirements: The maximum time frame in which a student may complete a program is 7 years. Additionally, a student must demonstrate progress toward his/her degree by completing at least 67% of the total attempted units every term.

NOTE: Units for the following grades are not counted toward a student's Grade Point Average (GPA) calculation but are counted as attempted credits when calculating pace.

  • I Incomplete
  • F Failure
  • W Withdrawal
  • R Repeated classes
  • UW Unofficial Withdrawal (Including start-overs)

A student who does not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements will be placed on a warning status for the subsequent term during which he/she is still eligible for aid. If after the subsequent term the student continues to not meet all SAP requirements, he/she will be considered ineligible for financial aid. All aid due after the term in which eligibility is lost will be canceled.

If a student has been disqualified from receiving financial aid, he/she has the right to appeal by filing a petition. Petitions can only be approved if poor progress was caused by illness, a death in the immediate family, or serious hardship. The petition must be submitted in writing, with supporting documentation, and will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Office. Filing a petition does not ensure approval of that petition. Petitions may be granted on condition or denied. The student is required to seek academic advisement as part of the petition process. The Financial Aid Office will notify the student of the decision, in writing. A student whose SAP petition has been approved is placed on SAP probationary status. The student must comply with the terms and conditions that are set forth in the approved petition.

When a cumulative GPA of 3.0 has been achieved, and the required number of units has been completed, the student may reapply for financial aid for the subsequent award period. Reinstatement of financial aid eligibility is not retroactive.


Student Information Release

Certain directory information may be released to parties outside of the University who are providing scholarship assistance to Pepperdine students. The directory information released may include the student's name, address, hometown, and academic major. If you do not wish to have this directory information released, please refer to the University's Student Records Policy for the procedure to request non-release of such information, or contact the financial aid office.

The GSEP Financial Aid Office is authorized to discuss any and all matters related to the student's financial aid file with the student only (and the student's parents, if the parents claim the student as a dependent on their federal tax return). The student must provide written consent to the GSEP Financial Aid Office if he/she wishes to discuss/release information to any other person.