Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Measuring the progress toward the completion of a program of study
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.
Institutions of higher education are required by federal regulations to establish minimum requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) 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 percentage of work toward completion of the degree. All transfer and attempted credit hours at the institution will calculate in this determination, regardless of whether or not the student has received financial aid in the past. The requirements will apply to all students applying for or receiving federal or state aid.
The student is responsible for understanding the SAP policy and for maintaining compliance. The student is also responsible for understanding the consequences for noncompliance. All financial aid recipients are required to meet SAP guidelines established by CVCC and financial aid requirements of progress, pursuant to Federal regulations.
To be eligible for financial aid, students must meet the following minimum guidelines:
Qualitative Standard—Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 each semester as computed by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid’s requirements – this may be different than your transcript GPA. Developmental courses are not included in the semester or cumulative GPA.
Quantitative Standard— Complete 67% 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). Transfer credit hours that are accepted toward the student’s educational program will count as both attempted and completed hours.
Maximum Time Frame— 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 60, hours the maximum timeframe for the program cannot exceed 90 credit hours attempted). Developmental and transfer credits that apply toward the student’s program of study are included in the maximum timeframe.
The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid will monitor SAP for all students receiving or applying for federal or state aid to ensure that they are making progress toward program completion. SAP will be evaluated at the end of each semester. Students will be notified by email regarding their status. Failure to receive notification will not change the student’s status. Not enrolling for one or more semesters 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, P (pass), R (repeat), WP (withdraw passing), WF (withdraw failing), or I (incomplete).
Repeated Courses—Repeated courses will be counted as hours attempted, hours completed, and also toward maximum credits allowable for each type of program for financial aid.
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, 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 SAP.
Incomplete Grades—Courses with grades of "I" (Incomplete) will be considered as credit hours attempted and not completed. If the "incomplete" grade resulted in a student being placed on financial aid suspension, once completed, the student must notify the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to have his or her 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—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. 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 SAP requirements.
Developmental Courses— Developmental courses do not count toward the student's degree requirements. However, they are calculated in the quantitative and maximum timeframe measures, with the exception of the first 30 credit hours. The grade received for the developmental class is not included in the GPA. To remain in good standing, students enrolled in developmental courses must receive grade of P.
Transfer Students— All transfer credit hours granted to the student will be included in the maximum timeframe measure. Transfer credit hours that are accepted toward the student’s educational program will count as both attempted and completed hours.
Program of Study— Frequent changing of programs without graduating could result in the loss of federal or state eligibility. Students who change programs should be aware that all credit hours attempted, regardless of the program, will count toward satisfactory progress, unless the student graduates. Students who graduate from one program at CVCC, and wish to earn another degree, diploma, or certificate from CVCC will be allowed to complete a new program within a new 150% timeframe excluding any earned hours from the previous program of study that are also required in the new program.
Two Programs of Study— Students who choose two programs of study (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 SAP. Full-time status is the same for summer session as it is for the fall and spring semesters (12 credit hours).
Satisfactory — If a student has a 2.0 cumulative GPA and has completed at least 67% of the credit hours on a cumulative basis, and is completing the program of study within the maximum timeframe, the student will receive the SATISFACTORY status.
Warning — If a student does not have a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and/or pass at least 67% of the credit hours on a cumulative basis, the student is placed on warning for the next semester attended. A student will be granted only one semester to regain SAP. The student can receive financial aid for the semester he or she is on warning.
For students in clock hour programs, the review of progress will be completed at the point the scheduled clock hours for that payment period are successfully calculated. 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.
Suspension — At the end of the warning period, students whose cumulative completion rate and GPA do not meet SAP requirements (67% completion of all hours attempted and a 2.0 cumulative GPA) will be placed on suspension. Students who are suspended will no longer be eligible to receive state or federal financial aid. During this time, the student must pay for college expenses each semester until the SAP requirements are met or may submit a SAP Appeal, if documentation can be provided to indicate extenuating circumstances that impacted academic performance.
Maximum Time Frame — The student’s maximum timeframe to complete a program of study is 150% of the published length of the program. For example, if 64 credit hours are required to complete a degree, the student may attempt a maximum of 96 credit hours before exceeding their eligibility for financial aid (64 x 1.5=96). The student’s entire academic history, including transfer hours accepted from other institutions are considered when evaluating SAP within the established timeframe. Developmental classes (up to 30 hours) are excluded from this calculation. Once the student reaches the maximum number of attempted hours allowed for the program of study, they will receive the maximum timeframe status. During this time, the student must pay for college expenses each semester until the SAP requirements are met or submit a SAP Appeal, if documentation can be provided to indicate extenuating circumstances that impacted academic performance.
Probation on Appeal — When a student has been reinstated by an approved appeal by the SAP Committee, the student will be placed on probation on appeal. This status will hold the student to a higher semester-based standard for SAP evaluation. Probation on appeal students must follow his/her Academic Plan and successfully complete 100% of all attempted credits (no withdrawals, repeats, or incompletes) and earn a 2.5 GPA until degree completion or he or she have met the qualitative, quantitative, and timeframe standards. The student can receive financial aid for the semester he or she is on probation on appeal.
Continue on Appeal — When a student placed on probation on appeal satisfactorily meets the requirements of their Academic Plan, he/she will be placed on continue on appeal. The student must continue to follow his/her Academic Plan and successfully complete 100% of all attempted credits (no withdrawals, repeats, or incompletes) and earn a 2.5 GPA until degree completion or he or she have met the qualitative, quantitative, and timeframe standards. The student can receive financial aid for the semester he or she is continue on appeal.
Suspension on Appeal — When a student placed on probation on appeal does not meet the requirements of their Academic Plan, he/she will be placed on suspension of appeal. During this time, the student is no longer eligible for state or federal financial aid and must pay for college expenses each semester until the SAP requirements are met.
A student may appeal suspension or maximum time frame statuses by submitting Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal and Academic Plan Form (PDF) to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. As part of the Appeal process, students must submit in writing, along with supporting documentation, (a) the extenuating circumstances and how it directly contributed towards the student’s inability to meet SAP (b) what has changed his/her situation that will allow him or her to make SAP at the next evaluation, and (c) an Academic Plan completed by an academic advisor detailing courses remaining toward graduation.
Students with suspension or maximum timeframe statuses who are seeking to regain eligibility for financial aid through the appeal process will remain ineligible for financial aid until the appeal process is completed and a decision has been made. Students with suspension and maximum timeframe statuses cannot depend on financial aid to pay for costs of tuition, books, and other fees, and should be prepared to pay from their own resources pending the outcome of their SAP Appeal.
The Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal and Academic Plan Forms, along with all supporting documentation, MUST be submitted to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid before the first day of class for the enrolled semester. The SAP Committee will review submitted appeals and determine if justifiable evidence or extenuating circumstances exist and if the student may receive financial aid for a specified probationary semester. All decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. The SAP Committee may have up to seven days to make a determination and the decision will be final. The student will be notified by email of the decision.
Federal regulations give some examples where allowances might be made for mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances are defined as (but not limited to) (1) death of an immediate relative (spouse, parent or legal guardian, brother or sister, child, grandparent) of the student, (2) an injury or extended illness or hospitalization of the student (documented by a doctor) or immediate family member, (documented by a doctor or documentation to show the student’s assistance was needed to provide care for the family member) (3) other special circumstances such as involuntary call to active military duty, unanticipated/serious medical or psychological difficulty causing undue hardship to the student and beyond reasonable control of the student. The extenuating circumstances must have occurred during the semester you received failing grades and/or withdrew from classes.
Circumstances related to the typical adjustment to college life, such as voluntary pause, lapse or termination of employment, pregnancy and childbirth, taking too many classes, frequently changing programs of study, working while attending school, financial issues related to paying bills, childcare issues, incarceration resulting from a guilty verdict and car maintenance/travel to and from campus are not considered extenuating circumstances. Chronic conditions such as (but not limited to) diabetes, migraines, asthma, hypertension, previously diagnosed learning, physical or psychological disabilities and other similar conditions are expected to be managed by the student appropriately for him or her to meet SAP requirements.
A SAP Appeal cannot be based on the student’s lack of knowledge regarding the policy or simply the need for financial aid. A student may not submit an appeal because he or she does not agree with the final decision of the SAP Committee. A SAP Appeal without sufficient explanation and documentation will be denied and incomplete forms will not be reviewed.
If a SAP Appeal is approved, the student will be placed on probation on appeal. This status will hold the student to a higher semester-based standard for SAP evaluation. Probation on appeal students must follow his or her Academic Plan and successfully complete 100% of all attempted credits (no withdrawals, repeats, or incompletes) and earn a 2.5 GPA until degree completion or he or she have met the qualitative, quantitative, and timeframe standards. If the student fails to meet these requirements, the student is no longer eligible for state or federal financial aid and must pay for college expenses each semester until SAP requirements are met. On a case-by-case basis, a second appeal may be considered. However, the student will not be allowed to submit an appeal for the same issue that led to the first appeal. A student must have very unusual circumstances to warrant a second appeal. Consequently, very few second appeals are approved.
If a SAP Appeal is denied, the student must pay for college expenses each semester and earn the deficiency either in the hours, GPA or both (the student cannot make up a deficiency if the appeal was due to exceeding the maximum timeframe to earn a degree). If the student did not maintain SAP due to a deficiency in credit hours, the student may take the credit hours at another institution as long as CVCC accepts the transfer hours. Once the student believes he or she has met the SAP requirements on his or her own, the student must make a request to have their SAP status reevaluated.
It is your responsibility to understand this policy. If, at any time, you have questions regarding this policy, please contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
Academic Plans should demonstrate how the student will meet the SAP requirements by a specific point in time. It is important to note that the academic plan developed by the Advising Center and student should reflect realistic and attainable goals for the student. Only in special circumstances, beyond the student’s control, can an academic plan be changed. Before submitting a new academic plan, you must meet with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to ensure your changes can be approved. Submitting a new plan without approval will result with the student receiving a suspension of appeal status. SAP students must follow his or her academic plan and successfully complete 100% of all attempted credits (no withdrawals, repeats, or incompletes) and earn a 2.5 GPA until degree completion or he or she have met the qualitative, quantitative, and timeframe standards.
This policy was revised and updated July 18, 2018 and is effective beginning the 2018 Fall semester.
- The Back2College website offers a free online calculator that students may use to determine the grades, number of credit hours or GPA required to achieve a certain GPA on a 4.0 scale.
- Don’t try to take on more than you can handle. The courses in which you are registered on the first day of class are your attempted hours. Withdrawing from classes from this point on counts as hours attempted but not completed and will impact your completion rate.
- Follow your curriculum carefully. Taking classes outside of your major and/or repeating classes will count against your maximum timeframe.
- Be cautious about changing majors. Timeframes are cumulative and may not start over with a new program.
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