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Maintaining your Eligibility

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Federal regulations (CFR 668.32(f) and 668.34) require a student to move toward the completion of a degree or certificate within an eligible program when receiving financial aid. Specific requirements for academic progress for financial aid recipients are applied differently than Scholastic Standards. Federal regulations state that Academic Progress Standards must include a review of all periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not aid was received. Students will be evaluated using the standards described below. Failure to meet any of these minimum standards will result in the loss of title IV, HEA program (federal financial aid) eligibility.

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress
(SAP) for Financial Aid Eligibility


An extenuating circumstance is a situation beyond your control which prevented you from successfully completing your course(s).

Some examples of extenuating circumstances are:

  • Documented medical condition or serious illness that prevented you from performing certain life tasks
  • Documented illness of a family member that required your presence for a significant amount of time
  • Death of immediate family member which impacted you significantly enough to affect participation in your courses
  • Involuntary call to active military duty
  • Documented involuntary change in employment conditions that prevented you from attending classes
  • Any other extraordinary/emergency circumstances, such as a natural disaster

A non-extenuating circumstance is a situation beyond your control which prevented you from successfully completing your course(s).

Some examples of non-extenuating circumstances are:

  • Errors in judgment involving transportation, finances, academic ability, time management, computer access, etc.
  • Lack of knowledge or misinterpretation of college policies and procedures
  • Financial Aid not processed, not prepared for class, unable to afford books
  • Dissatisfaction with course content or instruction
  • Acceptance of employment or other activity impacting ability to attend classes
  • Incarceration
  • Immaturity and bad judgment
  • Being on a prior approved appeal and did not meet the terms of the appeal

The documentation you submit will depend on your individual situation. The suggestions below include document which will help you support your appeal; however, this is not a comprehensive list. You should provide any documentation you feel supports your appeal and shows that you had extenuating circumstances during the semesters that contributed to you being placed on suspension. Attach date- specific documentation that supports your appeal. DO NOT submit original documents – they will not be returned. Make sure all copies are legible. Documentation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Letter from a physician or counselor on letterhead indicating the dates you were under their care
  • Copy of a death certificate, obituary or third party documentation of death
  • Accident reports, police records, court records, etc.
  • Documentation regarding involuntary changes in your employment

Appeals submitted without supporting documentation may be denied. Letters from family, relatives, and friends are not recommended. If this is the ONLY information that can be provided, the student must make sure the letter is signed and supports the reason for their appeal. Documents must be submitted according the requirements listed above; however, this DOES NOT guarantee approval.

An MTF appeal must clearly explain the following. Keep in mind your explanation will depend on your situation:

  • Why you have attempted more than 150% of the required number of credits from your program without graduating
  • If you are pursuing an additional degree, explain what your first degree is in and why you need to complete an additional degree
  • Your explanation should match the degree program you have declared and the restricted course list you submit
  • For Preparatory Course Work requirement, you must submit a program check sheet from the transferring intuition. The check sheet must show that the classes are a prerequisite for admission into the program.
  • Changes in major- explain why you changed majors and what your academic and career plan is for completion of your new major
  • Incomplete grades, failing grades, course withdrawals that reduced your completion ratio because they count towards your maximum units attempted- explain why you were not successful in these courses and your plan for successful completion of future courses
  • Repeated courses- explain the reason for attempting the same course multiple times
  • Transfer credits- explain why the transfer credits don't apply towards your degree program

You will need to meet with a Phoenix College Academic Advisor to have the Academic Plan portion of the MTF completed.

All courses required for completion of your degree must be included in your appeal, as listed on your Academic Plan or Degree check sheet.

Students who have had an MTF appeal approved will not be funded for courses other than those listed on the form, degree audit report or University program check sheet. If a student receives funds for classes other than those listed and approved, the financial aid award may be reduced or cancelled, and/or the student may be suspended from any further Financial Aid. ADDITIONAL, SUBSTITUTED or REPEATED classes will NOT be funded unless an Addendum is filed and approved. Addendums are reviewed by the committee and can be approved or denied.

No, you may not appeal in person and you will not have the opportunity to present your appeal to the committee. The committee will review your appeal and make a decision based on your academic record, your personal statement, and the documentation you provided. This makes it very important that your appeal include all of the details needed to make a decision. All explanations will be carefully considered. Appeals are approved or denied and all appeal decisions are final.

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to fulfill additional requirements, such as meeting with an academic advisor to develop an academic plan, before an appeal is granted. The goal is to help you get on track for graduation.

Students who have appeals approved may be in a probationary status. During the probationary status, the student must meet the conditions of the appeal as communicated to him or her, or the student will be placed back on suspension.

The SAP Appeal Committee meets frequently throughout every month. The committee will make every effort to review appeals within 5-7 business days from the date they are submitted. Additionally, the appeal process may require more than the typical two weeks during the colleges busiest time of year, such as July, August, January and February.

You will be notified via your student message center

  • Log
  • Click on "Message Center"
  • Look for the message regarding the appeal decision

If your financial aid appeal is denied, or if you have decided not to appeal, eligibility can be regained once you complete the necessary credit hours and minimum GPA to meet the SAP standards. You should avoid withdrawing, failing, or getting incompletes in courses as much as possible to help you reach SAP standards. Ultimately, you should aim for a 100% passing rate each semester to help you reach SAP standards.

If you had a Maximum Timeframe appeal denied or decided not to submit an MTF appeal, you cannot regain eligibility.