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Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for Financial Aid

A+Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a set of standards for financial aid progress to insure that all students receiving federal (Title IV) or state aid are making progress toward completion of a degree.  The policy requires the measurement of satisfactory academic progress to include all periods of enrollment at the institution, including those periods for which the student did not receive any financial aid.

New federal regulations effective July 1, 2011, affect Satisfactory Academic Progress policies and procedures.  The rules limit the length of time that students not making progress can continue to receive Title IV aid and require a more structured, comprehensive, and consistent approach to the development and implementation of institutional financial aid satisfactory academic progress policies.

Warning & Suspension



Institutions of higher education are required by federal regulations to establish minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress for students receiving financial aid.  It is the expectation that students are to achieve minimum levels of progress toward completion of a degree. The progress is measured both qualitatively and quantitatively.  The maximum timeframe for an academic program is divided into increments to ensure that the student is making sufficient progress toward completion of the degree. The institution will determine at the end of each increment (semester) if the student has completed a minimum of percentage of work toward completion of the degree.  All semesters attempted at the institution will calculate in this determination, regardless of whether or not the student has received financial aid in the past.   The Standards will apply to all students applying for or receiving federal or state aid.

The student is responsible for understanding the policy regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress and for being in compliance.  The student is also responsible for understanding the consequences for noncompliance.



To be eligible for financial aid, students must meet the following minimum guidelines:

Qualitative Standard— The student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00. Grades for developmental courses are not included in the semester GPA or cumulative GPA. 

Quantitative Standard— The student must complete 67% (two-thirds) of all credit hours attempted from the beginning date of enrollment at the college.  Developmental course hours are included in this measurement. Cumulative credit hours attempted will include all hours for which the student was enrolled as of the census date of the class (10% point of the class). Credit hours otherwise marked as forgiven under the previous Academic Forgiveness policy are included in hours attempted and hours completed if appropriate based on the grades received.  Transfer credit hours that are accepted toward the student’s educational program will count as both attempted and completed hours

Maximum Time Frame— The student must successfully complete the program of study within the maximum timeframe.  Federal regulations specify that the timeframe may not exceed 150% of the published length of the program as measured in credit hours.  (If the academic program length is 65 hours the maximum timeframe for the program cannot exceed 97 credit hours attempted).  Credit hours for developmental courses required by placement testing will be excluded (up to 30 credit hours) from the 150% calculation of hours. Transfer credits accepted from other schools that apply toward the student’s program of study are included in the maximum timeframe.


The Financial Aid Office will monitor satisfactory academic progress for all students receiving or applying for federal or state aid to ensure that they are making progress toward program completion. The progress for all students receiving federal or state aid will be reviewed at the end of each semester. Students will be notified by email regarding the status.  Failure to receive notification will not change the student’s status.  Not enrolling for one or more terms does not change the student’s status.

Cumulative Credit Hours Attempted—Cumulative credit hours attempted are defined as all credit hours attempted at CVCC, and all credit hours transferred from other institutions. Attempted credits include courses with grades of A, B, C, D, F, or P (pass). Credit hours for which a grade of WP (withdraw passing), WF (withdraw failing), CS (continued study), I (incomplete), or R (repeat) count as attempted hours.

Repeated Courses—will be counted as hours attempted, hours completed, and also toward maximum credits allowable for each type of program for financial aid.  Only one repetition of a previously passed course may be counted in the enrollment status.  A course that has not been passed may count in the enrollment status until the course has been successfully completed.

Cumulative Credit Hours Completed—Credit hours successfully completed are defined as grades of A, B, C, D or P.  Credit hours with a grade of F, WP, WF, CS, I, or R do not count as successfully completed credit hours.

Audited Courses—Credit hours taken for a grade of "audit" do not apply toward a degree program.  The grade of “audit” is not included in determining status for financial aid and does not count in the calculation of satisfactory academic progress.

Incomplete Grades—Courses with grades of "I" (Incomplete) will be considered as credit hours attempted and not completed. Students who have made arrangements with the instructor to complete required course work are not required to re-register for the same class during a subsequent semester to complete the work.  If the "incomplete" grade resulted in a student being placed on financial aid probation or suspension, once completed, the student must notify the Financial Aid Office to have progress reevaluated.

Cumulative Grade Point Average – The minimum cumulative GPA for graduation at CVCC is 2.00.  The student receiving financial aid must meet the minimum standard of the school.

Course Withdrawals – Any student who withdraws from a class, either officially or unofficially should know how the withdrawal could affect the eligibility for financial aid as determined by the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards.  A withdrawal will count as attempted, but not completed credit hours.  A grade of WP will affect the quantitative measure, but not the qualitative measure, as it will not count in the GPA calculation.  A grade of WF will affect both the quantitative and qualitative measure, as it will count in the GPA.  Financial Aid recipients should discuss the consequences of withdrawing from a class with the Financial Aid Office before doing so. 

Developmental Courses— Federal regulations allow financial aid recipients to take a maximum of 30 credit hours of developmental coursework. Developmental courses are included in the calculation of satisfactory progress in the quantitative measure (hours attempted versus completed). The grade received for the developmental class, however, is not included in the GPA.  To remain in good standing, students enrolled in developmental courses must receive grades of A, B, C, or P.

Transfer Students— All transfer credit hours granted to the student will be included in the measurement of maximum timeframe.  Transfer credit hours that are accepted toward the student’s educational program will count as both attempted and completed hours.

Change of Majors— Students who change majors without graduating from a program will assume the timeframe of the new major and all hours previously attempted will count toward the maximum timeframe of the new major.  Frequent changing of programs without graduating could result in the loss of federal or state eligibility. If a student graduates from a program of study and desires to pursue another program, the student will assume the maximum timeframe of the new program less any attempted hours related to courses not required in the program previously completed.  A student is allowed to receive financial aid for the completion of only two academic programs.

Double Majors—Students who choose to double major (pursue multiple programs at the same time) will assume the maximum timeframe of only one academic program.

Summer Session—Credit hours attempted and earned during the summer session are included in the calculation of Satisfactory Academic Progress. Full-time status is the same for summer session as it is for the fall and spring semesters (12 credit hours).

Enrollment Status—Full time (12 credit hours or more), 3/4 time (9-11 credit hours), 1/2 time (6-8 credit hours), less than 1/2 time (less than 6 credit hours)


Warning and Suspension


The minimum credit hour completion requirement (quantitative measure) and the minimum GPA academic standards (qualitative measure) are assessed at the end of each term. If a student does not have a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) AND pass at least 67% of the credit hours on a cumulative basis, the student is placed on WARNING for the next term attended.  (Remember this calculation is done on all classes attempted from the beginning date of enrollment at CVCC).  The student will be notified by email at the end of the semester if he/she is in the WARNING status.   Financial aid may be received during this WARNING term.

For students in clock hour programs, the review of progress will be done at the point the scheduled clock hours for that payment period are successfully completed.  In order for the student to be eligible for the next payment period, the student must have successfully completed both the clock hours and the weeks of instructional time for the required period.


At the end of the WARNING period, students whose term completion rate and GPA do not meet SAP standards (67% completion of all hours attempted and a 2.0 cumulative GPA) will be on SUSPENSION.  Students who are suspended will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid.  At this time, the student must pay for college expenses each semester until the SAP standards are met or submit an Appeal if documentation can be provided to indicate extenuating circumstances that impacted academic performance.

After Suspension

Other than when an Appeal is granted, a student can reestablish eligibility of financial aid only by taking action that brings the student in compliance with the qualitative and quantitative components of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, including the maximum timeframe.   It may be in the best interest of the student to consider taking fewer credit hours, which will allow the student to focus on achieving a higher GPA and completion rate.   The student may, at any time, request to have eligibility reevaluated by the Financial Aid Office.

It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for financial aid eligibility.  When placed on Warning or Suspension, the student is notified by the CVCC email account.  If the necessary action is taken by the student to bring the student back in compliance with the qualitative and quantitative components of the Standards, financial aid (depending on the availability of funds) is reinstated at the beginning of the next term of attendance, if otherwise eligible.


SAP Appeals

A student may appeal the Suspension of financial aid by obtaining a Satisfactory Progress Appeal Request form online at and indicating in writing: a) reasons why he or she did not achieve minimum standards, b) reasons why his or her eligibility should not be terminated, but reinstated. Appeals must be submitted in writing with supporting documentation explaining any unusual circumstances that caused the student’s academic progress to be less than required. Federal regulations give some examples where allowances might be made for mitigating circumstances.  Mitigating circumstances are defined as (1) death of a relative of the student, (2) an injury or illness of the student, (3) other special circumstances causing undue hardship to the student and beyond reasonable control of the student. An Appeal cannot be based on the student’s lack of knowledge regarding the policy or simply the need for financial aid.  An Appeal will be automatically rejected if no documentation is provided.

A student suspended for exceeding the maximum hours allowed for degree completion should complete the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Appeal Request form and have an academic advisor submit in writing the remaining hours required for degree completion if extenuating circumstances require the student to exceed the maximum hours limit.

The Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Appeal Request form should be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid by the first day of the next semester of enrollment, to ensure a timely decision as it relates to payment of tuition and books.  Once the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Appeal Request is received, the Director may have 14 days from the beginning of the current semester date to make an eligibility determination.


Students on financial aid Suspension who are seeking to regain eligibility for financial aid through the Appeal process will remain ineligible for assistance until the Appeal process is completed and an affirmative decision has been made.  Students on financial aid Suspension should not depend on financial aid to pay for costs of registration, but should be prepared to pay from their own resources pending the outcome of their financial aid Appeal.  The student will be reimbursed if the Appeal is approved.

Probation on Appeal

If an Appeal is approved, the student will be placed on Probation by Appeal.  This status will hold the student to a higher term-based standard for SAP evaluation.  Probation on Appeal students must earn a minimum term-based GPA of 2.50 (or equivalent if course is repeated) and complete 100% of hours attempted for the term.  Those meeting the standard will continue in this status until they regain full satisfactory SAP status (67% completion and 2.0 cumulative GPA). Failure to meet the Probation on Appeal conditions each semester will result in Suspension of aid.  Students may want to consider reducing the number of attempted hours per semester in order to maintain satisfactory progress.

Appealing the 150% timeframe rule

Students who wish to appeal the 150% timeframe rule are required to complete the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Appeal Request form and have an academic advisor complete the Academic Plan form to determine how many courses remain toward graduation. The advisor must provide the student with an educational plan that will allow the student to complete the degree.  The student must successfully complete 100% of everything attempted from that point forward to complete the degree (no withdrawals, no incompletes, and no grades lower than a C). If the student fails in these requirements, the aid will be permanently suspended.


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Updated 05.11.2016: Content Editor