Satisfactory Academic Progress

Learn about the academic criteria you must maintain to remain eligible for financial aid.

​In order to receive most financial aid, students must meet certain academic requirements called Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP requirements apply to all students (including non-aid recipients) and are evaluated at the end of each fall, spring, and summer semester. Financial aid applicants must comply with the SAP Policy as a condition of continued eligibility. Academic progress of all financial aid recipients is required to be tracked from the first date of enrollment, whether or not financial aid was received. SAP calculations include all coursework in your current academic level.

Students are evaluated on the basis of cumulative grade point average (GPA), cumulative completion ratio (attempted vs. completed), and maximum timeframe limitation. Financial aid recipients are required to be in good standing and to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward their degree/certificate requirements for each semester in which they are enrolled. Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress may result in the cancellation of financial aid awards.

SAP Requirements

PA College will consider students to be making satisfactory academic progress if they meet all the following criteria:

Cumulative Grade Point Average

  • Minimum 2.0 for undergraduate students
  • Minimum 3.0 for graduate students

Completion Ratio

All students must maintain a cumulative minimum completion ratio of 66.67% or better. Progress is calculated by dividing all completed credits by all attempted credits.

Maximum Timeframe

Students must complete their educational program within a time frame no longer than 150% of the published length of the educational program, as measured by transfer and attempted credits. (For example, a student could receive federal financial aid for up to 180 credits in a 120 credit undergraduate program.)

Components Affected by SAP

Financial Aid Programs

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized)
  • Federal PLUS Loans (Graduate and Parent)
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Institutional Scholarships
  • Certain Private Education Loans (see specific lender for requirements)

Transfer Credit

The Office of the Registrar evaluates all student transcripts for any potential coursework taken at previously attended institutions that is applicable to the student’s program of study at PA College.  Only coursework that is applicable is transferred in and applied to the student’s record.  All transferred coursework is counted as attempted and completed credits as it pertains to the student’s maximum timeframe limitation (progress towards the degree).  Because GPA (grades) is not transferred in by the Registrar, transferred courses have no impact to a student’s overall cumulative GPA requirement.

Withdrawals, Incompletes and Course Repeats

Attempted credits include grades of F, Z, I, W, WP, and WF as well as repeated courses. Students may repeat courses in order to improve a grade. However, credits for repeated courses will count as additional credits attempted for financial aid purposes. Incomplete grades are not included in the GPA calculation until they are converted to actual grades. These courses count as attempted credits that are not yet earned, and thus may negatively affect completion ratio.

Academic Fresh Start Readmission Policy

While students approved to re-enter the College under the Academic Fresh Start Readmission Policy are provided with a new start date and have their GPA reset to 0.00, federal regulations make no provision for the concept of academic amnesty or academic renewal. Therefore, PA College must always include courses applicable to a student’s major (whenever taken) in evaluating a student’s satisfactory academic progress (both quantitative and qualitative components).

Changing Programs and Additional Degrees

When considering a change of major or adding an additional degree/program within the student’s current academic level, it is the responsibility of the student to be aware of the Maximum Timeframe Limitation as credits will not be removed from the record for SAP purposes, and all credits will count even if they are not applicable to the student’s new program of study.  Students advancing academic levels (undergraduate program to graduate program) will have their credits reset so that all SAP requirements will start fresh. 

Remedial and ESL Coursework

PA College neither offers nor accepts remedial or ESL coursework.  As such, these courses have no bearing on a student’s SAP status.

Evaluation Process and Definitions

At the end of each term, the SAP process will be calculated for all students regardless of receipt of federal financial aid.  Students will be given one of the below statuses.  All students who do not receive a “Satisfactory” status will receive an email to the PA College account which notifies them of their status and next steps.  SAP calculations will be run within one week of the faculty deadline to submit final grades.

Satisfactory – Students who are meeting all the minimum requirements of the SAP policy.

Warning – Students who fail to meet the minimum standard will be given one semester of warning. This warning period is meant to inform the student of existing academic problems and provide time for corrective action. Students given a warning are eligible to receive federal aid for their warning semester but will be reviewed at the end of the semester of warning.

At the end of the warning period students who are meeting the minimum requirements will be considered to be back in good standing and eligible for student financial aid.

At the end of the warning period students who are not meeting the minimum requirements will be placed in a suspension status.

Suspension – Students who fail to meet the minimum standards at the end of the semester of warning will be suspended from financial aid eligibility, and all financial aid awards will be cancelled. Students who feel that there are extenuating circumstances that have caused them to fail to meet the minimum standards can submit an appeal to have their eligibility reinstated, to afford them additional time to improve their performance. For an appeal to be granted it must be realistically possible for the student to regain their eligibility and complete their degree in a reasonable time frame.

If a student appeals this status and the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on a probation status for anywhere between one and three semesters.  The SAP Appeal Committee will make this determination.

If a student does not appeal or appeals but is denied, the student will remain on a suspended status until such time he/she is meeting the minimum SAP requirements without the benefit of aid that requires a successful SAP status.

Probation – Academic performance will be reviewed at the end of each subsequent period of enrollment. Students who meet the minimum cumulative standards at the end of any semester will have their probation ended and be fully reinstated.

Students who, after a semester review of their probation, fall below the minimum cumulative standards, but have met the expectations outlined in their academic plan will be continued on a probationary level while following the plan to regain satisfactory academic performance status.

Students who, after a semester review of their probation, fall below the minimum cumulative standards, and have also failed to meet the expectations outlined in their agreed upon academic plan have their financial aid eligibility terminated (disqualification).

Disqualification – Students are disqualified from receiving federal financial aid for not meeting the minimum requirements of their terms of probation.  Disqualified students are not eligible to receive financial aid funds and can only regain eligibility by bringing their cumulative GPA as well as cumulative completion to the minimum levels defined above.  Students who are on this status cannot submit an appeal.

Important Links/Information

View your SAP Status in Self-Service

Appeal Process

A student who has a Suspended status may appeal that decision in the hopes of providing adequate documentation which demonstrates why the student has failed to meet the minimum requirements of SAP over the course of two semesters.  Acceptable reasons may include (but are not limited to) medical issues, family death, military obligations, or unforeseen life events.

Students must complete, submit, and upload any supporting documentation to the online SAP Appeal form (see below).  The appeal must document the reasons why the student has failed to meet the minimum SAP requirements AND what has been or is being done to address the reasons why the student has failed to meet such requirements.

Students wishing to appeal their suspension must utilize the below appeal deadlines:

To receive financial aid in theAppeal must be submitted by
FallOctober 1
SpringMarch 1
SummerJuly 1

All students who submit an appeal will be notified of the committee’s decision in writing to their PA College email address no later than 14 days from the date of submission.

The appeal process is designed to ensure that students granted an appeal:

  • Understand in what way they are failing to meet the minimum standards for academic performance
  • Have explained and documented the extenuating circumstances that have led to their failure to meet standards
  • Understand the academic choices available to help them bring their performance up to the minimum standards
  • Develop a realistic plan, including a timeline and specific levels of performance goals necessary to regain satisfactory academic progress in a reasonable period of time while working toward the completion of their

Students who successfully appeal their financial aid suspension, including developing and agreeing to an acceptable academic plan to achieve reinstatement, will have their financial aid eligibility reinstated on a probationary basis. This probationary status will be reviewed at the end of each subsequent semester.

The SAP appeal process

​Students can appeal their SAP suspension status if they feel extenuating circumstances affected their academic performance. Only students in a suspension status are eligible to submit an appeal.

To submit an appeal:

  1. Review your academic progress in Self-Service: View your SAP Status in Self-Service
  2. Attend a SAP Appeal Appointment with an Academic Advisor in the to create an academic plan. 
  3. Submit a SAP appeal form and include supporting documentation 

The SAP Appeal will be reviewed and the student will be notified in writing via their PA College email. APPEAL REVIEWS MAY TAKE UP TO TWO WEEKS BEFORE A DECISION IS RENDERED. Hence, students are encouraged to submit their appeal as early as possible should they wish to be reconsidered for aid prior to the start of their next semester of enrollment.

Probation Standards

A SAP Suspended student who has successfully appealed for reconsideration is reinstated for aid in a Probation status.  The appeal committee will determine the number of semester for which a student can remain on Probation assuming the below criteria are met.

  • Term GPA: 2.30 (C+) (undergraduate) or 3.30 (B+) (graduate)
  • Term Completion Rate: 75%

In some situations, specific GPA requirements will be stipulated in the probation terms. A student who successfully meets the terms of probation will be continued on aid.