Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)

Financial Aid Satisfactory Standards must meet the criteria set by Section 484 of the Higher Education Act (HEA), Title IV Regulations, published in 668.16 of the Federal Register.

These guidelines apply to all students requesting Title IV aid regardless of whether the student has previously received Title IV funds. To view our SAP Policy in detail click here

You can still receive the California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the Board of Governors Enrollment Fee Waiver) regardless of your SAP status. However effective Fall 16, students who are not meeting academic and progress standards (this is different than SAP standards) may lose their CCPG. Click here for more information *Please note, for students who loose their CCPG eligibility due to failing to meet academic and progress standards may appeal their loss of CCPG through the Admissions and Records Office. The Appeal form for Loss of CCPG can be found here

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards:To provide factors which are measurable against a norm, the following standards apply:

1. Grade Point Average: A minimum GPA requirement of 2.0.

2. Normal Unit Completion:

  • Recipients of federal financial aid are required to pass 67% of all coursework attempted. 
  • Course grades A, B, C, D, and CR are counted as successful completion of units in relation to financial eligibility; grades of NC, I, F, W, EW, FW and IP do not signify successful completion of units for financial aid eligibility and will be included as attempted units for financial aid purposes. However, under District academic policy, the grades of I and IP may be replaced with letter grades which may yield unit credit.

3. Satisfactory:Your status is Satisfactory if you meet Minimum Standard Requirements and have not reached the Maximum Time Frame for your program.

4. Financial Aid Warning: Failure to complete 67% of courses attempted or earning less than a 2.0 GPA will result in the student being placed on Warning the first semester this occurs. You can still receive federal financial aid and you must take a manageable course load to be successful. Students are sent a Financial Aid Warning letter. If the student fails to meet the terms of their Warning semester, he/she will be suspended for further financial aid in future semesters.

5. Unsatisfactory If you do not meet Minimum Standard Requirements after your Warning semester, your status will be Unsatisfactory and you will not be eligible to receive financial aid in the following semester.


If you are placed on Unsatisfactory status due to not meeting Minimum Standard Requirements AND had extenuating circumstances beyond your control (federal regulations specify these as ‘student illness or injury, or death of a relative’), you may submit an Appeal Request with official supporting documentation explaining the extenuating circumstances as described above. Appeals are not automatically approved and will ONLY be considered for extenuating circumstances.

If you did not have extenuating circumstances, your status will remain Unsatisfactory. You must successfully complete at least one semester of classes within your program without financial aid (other than the CCPG) and may request an appeal the following semester.

If your appeal is APPROVED, your status is Probation and you can receive financial aid; however, it is not retroactive.

If your appeal is DENIED, you must successfully complete at least one semester without financial aid (other than the CCPG). You may request reinstatement the following semester.

6. Maximum Time Frame Requirements

Program Maximum Time Frame

  • Associate Degree or Transfer 90 Units attempted
  • Certificate of Achievement 45 Units attempted
  • Bachelor Degree or beyond has exceeded 90 units

Maximum Time Frame Exceptions

If you have reached the Maximum Time Frame for your program and have continuously met Minimum Standard Requirements but have classes remaining to meet your goal, you may appeal for an extension. NOTE: Extensions may not be granted for changes in majors or multiple degrees.

To be considered for an extension, you must meet with an academic counselor and obtain a My Academic Plan (MAP) that clearly states your academic goal, what remaining classes you need to obtain that goal and a completion date. Submit a copy of your MAP with a Maximum Time Frame Appeal form to the Financial Aid Office. Students may be approved for an appeal only once while at Saddleback College.

If your appeal is APPROVED, your status will be Probation and you will be given a specific length of time to complete your program based on the MAP you submitted with your appeal.

While on Probation you must earn C's or better in all courses attempted, you may not receive any substandard grades and must complete 100% of all enrolled units, you must follow the courses outlined on your MAP and you must be enrolled in an eligible program of study throughout your extension period. If you do not, your status will be Unsatisfactory and you will no longer be able to receive aid (other than the CCPG) at Saddleback College.

If your appeal is DENIED, your status is Ineligible and you will no longer be able to receive aid (other than the CCPG) at Saddleback College. You may regain eligibility after an appeal denial, by meeting the terms of reinstatement. 


Why is it important to know about Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Satisfactory Academic Progress is an eligibility requirement for federal and state financial aid in addition to some scholarships. It will apply even if you never received financial aid. To achieve satisfactory academic progress, students are expected to complete their objective (degree, certificate, or transfer) in a timely manner. You may only receive aid for up to 150% of your academic program. This is called your Maximum Time Frame. If you reach the Maximum Time Frame for your program you will be suspended from receiving financial aid.

Since academic progress rules can occur at any point during your education, failing to meet these requirements could lead to termination of your financial aid at Saddleback College.

General Stipulations:

  • All financial aid recipients are encouraged to have a MAP completed with an academic counselor. All prior units and degrees from other colleges will be counted as units attempted toward your Maximum Time Frame.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees: If you have a Bachelor’s degree and are interested in a student loan, you must complete the Maximum Time Frame Appeal process. If approved, your loan funding will be restricted to the units on your MAP.
  • Remedial and/or ESL Courses:If you are required to take remedial and/or ESL courses in order to meet your educational goal, your Maximum Time Frame can be extended. Up to 30 units can be deducted from the total units attempted when determining a student's satisfactory academic progress.
  • Financial aid funds will not be provided for more than one degree program beyond the initial degree without an appeal and approval by the Appeals Committee.