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
SAP are evaluated on each of the three measurements outlined below. Failure to meet any of these standards will result in suspension of eligibility for financial aid.
Note: Grades of F,I,N,W,X,Y,Z, and courses not yet graded are considered attempted but not meeting progress standards for the purposes of financial aid.
Grade Point Measurement
Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average in order to meet SAP GPA requirements.
Progress Measurement Students must complete 2/3 (66.67%) of all attempted course work.
Maximum Time frame Measurement Students who have attempted more than 150% of the published credits required for their program of study are considered not meeting SAP.
Degree Program Total Credits Required Maximum Credits Allowed (150%)Administration of Justice - AAS6090Paralegal Studies - CCL4060
- Courses funded through a consortium agreement
- All attempted remedial credits
- Repeated course work
Course work included in the Maximum Time Frame evaluation:
- All of those included in the semester evaluation
- All evaluated transfer credits
- Any Bachelor's degree or higher earned will be considered to have exhausted maximum time frame eligibility.
Course work not included in SAP evaluation:
- Audited courses
- Non-credit courses
- Credit by examination
- Credit for prior learning option (as outlined in the college general catalog)
- Academic Renewal Process
SAP is reviewed before the first semester a student begins attendance at Phoenix College and then calculated at the end of each subsequent semester, taking into consideration a student’s academic history at PC and any transfer credits. Students can be placed on suspension for any or all of the following reasons:
- Failure to satisfactorily complete at least 66.67% of cumulative credits attempted
- Failure to meet cumulative GPA minimum
- Exceeded Maximum Timeframe
Students are responsible for knowing and understanding the SAP policy. There is often a short amount of time between semesters for SAP review that does not allow the Financial Aid Office to complete the review before the payment deadline. If you know that you may not be meeting SAP standards, it is your responsibility to pay for your classes by the payment deadline. Appeals received after the deadline (as indicated on the appeal form) will be considered for the next semester.
Students are allowed a warning period upon failing the minimum GPA and/or Progress measurement. The warning period allows one semester of Federal Student Aid eligibility upon failing SAP. The warning period will follow the semester for which SAP was not met, meaning the next semester for which the student registers for classes. If students fail to meet SAP after the warning period, they will be placed on Suspension.
Note: In order to receive the Warning period, students must be meeting Maximum Timeframe requirements.
For more information on this topic please visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page.
Yes. If you lose your Federal Financial Aid eligibility due to extenuating circumstances, you may appeal by following the appeal guidelines.
Financial aid suspension is the status assigned upon failing to meet the minimum SAP standards. Students in financial aid suspension are not eligible to receive Title IV, HEA assistance (Federal Financial Assistance). This includes grants, federal student loans and work-study.
Upon suspension due to SAP, eligible students may appeal the suspension due to extenuating circumstances. Financial aid will only be reinstated on a probationary status in the event of an appeal being approved. Filing an appeal does not guarantee that a student will be able to receive financial aid in the future.
Students who fail to complete at least 66.67% of cumulative attempted credits and/or fail to meet the cumulative GPA requirements are placed on financial aid suspension. Under certain circumstances, students who fail to meet SAP standards and lose eligibility for financial aid may appeal the financial aid suspension. If a student has experienced extenuating circumstances that were beyond their control that prevented them from satisfying the requirements to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), they have the option to appeal that status. This is referred to as a financial aid appeal. All information contained in a student’s appeal is confidential.
Department of Education requires students seeking federal financial aid to be completing their educational program in allowable timeframe. Students who have attempted more than 150% of the published credits required for their program of study or have earned a Bachelor's degree or higher are considered to have exhausted maximum timeframe eligibility and are placed on financial aid suspension. Under certain circumstances students have the option to appeal that status. This is referred to as a Maximum Timeframe appeal.
The type of appeal that is needed will depend on which of the SAP measurements a student did not meet. Some students may need to complete and submit both forms. Keep in mind that all information contained in a financial aid appeal will be reviewed by a committee and a determination of eligibility will be based on the facts and supporting documentation in the appeal. Appeals can be approved or denied. All information provided in the appeal process is confidential.
If you are on financial aid suspension for one of below reasons, you should submit the:
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form
- Failure to satisfactorily complete at least 66.67% of cumulative credits attempted
- Failure to meet cumulative GPA minimum
Maximum Timeframe Appeal
- Exceeded the maximum timeframe
If you were approved for a Maximum Time Frame appeal in a prior semester and are not changing your program of study, you do not need to submit a new Maximum Timeframe appeal. You must continue to select only classes that are required for your major, as shown on your approved Maximum Timeframe and Restricted Course List (RCL) that was prepared with your advisor. We will review your enrollment at the beginning of each semester block for continued eligibility and adjustments will be made accordingly.
If you change your program of study after the Maximum Timeframe appeal has already been approved, you will be placed back on financial aid suspension and will be required to pay for your tuition and fees on your own.
If you were approved for a Maximum Time Frame appeal in a prior semester and are not changing your program of study, you do not need to submit a new Maximum Timeframe appeal. If you are adding additional, substituted or repeated classes they will not be funded unless an Academic Plan Restricted Course List Addendum is filed and approved before financial aid funds are disbursed. Addendums are reviewed by the appeal committee and can be approved or denied. If you receive funds for classes other than those listed and approved, your award may be reduced or canceled and you may be suspended from any further financial aid.
Appeals should be typewritten, signed, and include a detailed explanation of how extenuating circumstances beyond your control affected your ability to meet SAP requirements. You must include an explanation for all of the classes that contributed to your being placed on suspension. In addition, you must explain how these circumstances have been resolved, and the steps you have taken that will allow you to succeed and maintain academic progress in the future. Generally, the situation must have occurred after the semester began. If your extenuating circumstance first occurred before the semester started and you choose to enroll anyway, you will need to explain what changed after the start of the term which affected your ability to remain in or pass your classes. Appeals that cannot demonstrate extenuating circumstances will be denied.
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
- 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 into.my.maricopa.edu
- 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.