Satisfactory Academic Progress Reviews and Appeals

Per federal regulations, a student’s rate of progression while in college will determine whether a student remains eligible for federal assistance under the Title IV, HEA programs.

These programs include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Subsidized Direct Loan, Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Some state programs may also apply. Columbia State Community College has established a reasonable policy and procedure to review these standards at the end of each semester for all students whether receiving federal assistance or not and full or part-time undergraduates.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) notification will be received via myChargerNet after grading deadlines each semester. Students may review their status in myChargerNet.

At Columbia State Community College progress is measured by the student’s term, grade point average, credits earned in relation to credits attempted, and length of the current academic program. A student may violate one or more standards and have various appeal issues to address. The entire academic record is reviewed:

  • including semesters of enrollment when a student did not receive financial aid,
  • all developmental learning support courses, and
  • transfer-credits accepted by the College.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards are as follows:

Note: Students may be deficient in one or more of the following standards.

1.   Grade Point Average (GPA)

In order to maintain the minimum academic scholastic requirements, the student must maintain a minimum cumulative overall combined GPA based on the number of hours attempted (including transfer and remedial/developmental/learning support hours) on the following scale:
Associate Degree Programs
Certificate Degree Programs
Overall Combined GPA Hrs.
Minimum Cumulative GPA
% Program Completion
 Minimum Cumulative GPA
 00.1 - 14.0
No minimum
1 - 25%
 14.1 - 26.0
25.1 - 50%
26.1 - 40.0
1.4 50.1% and above
40.1 - 48.0
48.1 - 56.0
56.1 & above

The GPA includes grades of W, F, FA, & I. Students who do not earn any credits (zero hours) in any one semester will be considered to be in violation of Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. Additionally, these students may be responsible for repayment of federal aid received for that term.

2.   Measurable Progress of at least 67% - PACE

At least, 67% or two-thirds of cumulative credits attempted (including transfer and developmental learning support courses) must be earned. Grades of “W, I, F, or FA” will be considered as hours attempted, but NOT considered as hours earned. To determine if a student  meets this percentage, divide the cumulative earned hours by the cumulative attempted hours = PACE.  If  PACE is 67% or greater, the student is meeting the PACE standard. 

3.   Measurable Progress Maximum Timeframe within 150% of program length - MAX

A reasonable length of time for completion of an educational program is defined as no longer than 150% of the length of the program. Transfer credits accepted by Columbia State will be counted towards the 150% total including developmental learning support hours. A student who is over the MAX hours must file a SAPMAX financial Aid Appeal form with an attached degree audit. A maximum time frame is calculated as the credit hours for program completion multiplied by 150% to equal the maximum time frame for financial aid eligibility.  Embedded certificates within an associate degree program are reviewed at the associate level. 

Students who have already earned a degree and/or certificate will have the opportunity to file an appeal to receive financial aid for additional coursework (SAPMAX form).  The Financial Aid Office may allow additional hours needed to complete an additional degree/certificate to the existing overall credit hours previously attempted for the first degree/certificate.  It is important to note transfer degrees and/or certificates posted by Admissions or Records count in the evaluation of this standard.

At any point when it becomes mathematically impossible for a student to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, the student becomes ineligible for all federal financial aid programs.

Reviews and Appeals:

1.   First Review

A student failing to meet GPA or PACE will be contacted via Columbia State email. First review determinations of not meeting GPA and/or PACE will be placed on a FINANCIAL AID WARNING for ONE semester. The student may continue to receive federal funds for one payment period. No written appeal is required for a student on warning status for GPA or PACE. 

All students over the 150% MAX hours must file a SAPMAX Financial Aid Appeal form with an attached degree audit even if determined in a first review. 

2.   Second Review

If a student fails to regain eligibility at the end of the warning semester, he/she will be ineligible to receive financial aid until the student adheres to the SAP Standards. A student can  appeal his/her financial aid ineligibility. Appealing to request Financial Aid Probation may be an option for a student who could reach good standing within one semester. The student may receive aid for one payment period while on probation unless assigned a SAP Improvement Plan.  

Students may be assigned a SAP Improvement Plan (Academic Plan) to assist in reaching good standing with the standards. The SAP Improvement Plan may require the student to complete a specified percentage of credit hours during the current term, earn a specified GPA, and/or meet with an academic advisor. Students remain on the Improvement Plan until back in good standing with all SAP Standards.  If a student fails to meet the SAP Improvement Plan terms, the student is terminated from financial aid eligibility. The student may regain financial aid eligibility by improving to the levels of Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards.  Students assigned a SAP Improvement Plan receive  the details of any SAP Improvement Plan via their Columbia State email.  

3.  How to Appeal

An appeal is a process by which a student receiving financial aid who is not meeting SAP standards petitions the College for reconsideration of eligibility for federal aid. A student must appeal for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) violations other than a warning. Any loss of eligibility as a result of this policy may be appealed in writing by the dates published on the Columbia State Financial Aid website. Deadlines are enforced. The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal  form is available on the college’s Financial Aid website. The appeal must include a signed, written statement explaining why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress and what has changed in his/her situation that will allow satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. Appropriate supporting documentation (copy of grade report, death immediate family member, proof of personal illness, or other special circumstance) should be submitted. For Maximum Timeframe Limit appeals, only a SAPMAX Appeal for Financial Aid Additional Coursework form (also on the Financial Aid website) needs to be submitted. The student will be notified by Columbia State email of the result of the appeal. All decisions made by the Appeals Committee are final.  

4.  Appeal Decisions

Approved – Appealing students  will be notified via Columbia State email if their appeal is approved.  If assigned a SAP Improvement Plan, the student must adhere to the plan.  The student’s SAP will be reviewed again at the end of the next semester.

Denied – If a student’s appeal is denied, he/she will receive notification via Columbia State email;  the student’s financial aid eligibility will be suspended, and the student must use other financial payment resources for the next enrollment semester.  When the student again meets the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards, he/she may appeal for financial aid to be reinstated following Step 3. 

5.  Academic Standing for Records

The Records Office monitors Academic Standing at the end of each semester.  The Financial Aid Office monitors Satisfactory Academic Progress also at the end of each semester.  These are separate processes.  Decisions of these appeals are independent of each other.

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