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 may lose their CCPG. Click here for more information

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, its equivalent, or have an academic standing consistent with the requirements of graduation from their academic program. An academically disqualified student is not eligible to receive financial aid.

2. Normal Unit Completion:

  • Recipients of federal financial aid, who are funded as full-time students, must enroll in and successfully complete at least 12 units per semester, 9 units for three-quarter-time students, 6 units for half-time students, and less than half time <6 must complete all units attempted..
  • Course grades A, B, C, D, and CR are counted as successful completion of units in relation to financial eligibility; grades of NC, MW, I, F, W and IP do not signify successful completion of units for financial aid eligibility. However, under District academic policy, the grades of I and IP may be replaced with letter grades which will yield unit credit. The student must provide official notification of the grade change to the SFASO.

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 Probation: Failure to complete the number of units for which funded or earning less than a 2.0 GPA will result in the student being placed on financial aid probation. This is a “warning” semester. You can still receive federal financial aid and you must take a manageable course load to be successful. Students are sent a Financial Aid Probation warning letter. If the student fails to meet the terms of the probation, he/she will be suspended for further financial aid.

5. Suspension If you do not meet Minimum Standard Requirements during your Probationary semester, your status will be Suspension and you will not be eligible to receive financial aid the following semester.


If you are suspended due to not meeting Minimum Standard Requirements while on Probation 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 Suspension. You must successfully complete at least one semester of classes within your program without financial aid (other than the CCPG) and may request Reinstatement the following semester.

NOTE: Students who are suspended and already have one or more approved Appeals on file with Saddleback College Student Financial Assistance & Scholarship Office for not meeting Minimum Standard Requirements must successfully complete at least one semester without financial aid (other than the CCPG) and may request Reinstatement 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 Student Financial Assistance and Scholarship Office. Students may be approved for a Maximum Time Frame 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 meet Minimum Standard Requirements throughout your extension period. If you do not, your status will be Ineligible 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.


If you are on a Maximum Time Frame extension and do not meet Minimum Standard Requirements and/or you have reached the extended time period given, your status will become Ineligible. No correspondence will be sent notifying you of this change in status.

7. Repetition of Classes: It is the stated academic policy of the college that students may repeat certain classes and receive credit. . However, for the determination of Title IV fund eligibility, repeat units are not allowed nor counted unless approved in advance by the SFASO.

8 Incremental Review: All financial aid recipients’ academic progress will be evaluated at the end of each semester to ensure they are meeting academic satisfactory progress. Students with prior satisfactory academic progress problems may have their eligibility evaluated more often to assure academic success and eligibility. Summer Financial Aid - Summer terms are included in the evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress standards

Why is it important to know about Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Satisfactory Academic Progress is an eligibility requirement for federal or state financial aid. 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 federal 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 must have a MAP completed with an academic counselor on file in the SFASO. 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 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.
  • Financial aid will be withheld from a student when the SFASO has knowledge of a discrepancy in the information reported on a student’s financial aid application.