Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal regulations require all students to meet specific academic criteria prior to receiving Federal Student Aid (PELL, FSEOG, Federal Work Study, Federal Perkins Loan and/or Federal Direct Loans). This is known as Satisfactory Academic Progress or SAP and refers to the level of progress a student is making towards his/her academic goal of completing his/her program of study.

There are three components to the College's federal satisfactory academic progress standard:

  1. Minimum GPA:
    A student must achieve at least the minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) required to meet the college’s retention standard.  CUNY Board of Trustee policy for good academic standing requires that students maintain a cumulative GPA based on the number of credits/units attempted as follows:
    Attempted Credits/Units Minimum GPA
    0.5 - 12 1.50
    13 - 24 1.75
    25 - Upward 2.00

  2. Maximum Time Frame:
    A student may not attempt more than 150% of the credits/units normally required for completion of the degree. For example: if the credits/units needed to complete the degree is 60, a student may attempt no more than 90 credits/units.

  3. Pace of Progression:
    A student must successfully complete a certain percentage of the total number of credits/units based upon the number of attempted credits/unitsFor associate degrees programs, accumulated (earned) credits/units must be equal to or greater than a certain percentage of the total credits/units attempted according to the following table:
    Credits Attempted 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 66 72 78 84 90
    Credits Earned 0 2 4 6 13 19 23 27 33 39 44 49 55 61

All courses that appear on the student’s academic record (whether earned at the current institution or transferred from a previous institution) will count towards the pace of progression and maximum time-frame requirement, even if the student received no federal financial aid for those courses.

Open/Close section Annual Evaluation for Satisfactory Progress
All undergraduate students (whether aid recipients or not) will be measured against each of the three progress components at the end of every spring term to determine eligibility to receive federal student aid in the upcoming award year.
Open/Close section Financial Aid Suspension
Undergraduate students who do not meet, at the point of evaluation, or have fallen below the College's minimum GPA standard, exceeded the maximum time-frame, or failed to meet the pace of progression standard, will be placed on financial aid suspension and lose eligibility for aid.  The student will remain ineligible for federal student aid until an appeal is filed with the Academic Progress Standard Committee, and is granted.
Open/Close section Notification
The College will notify students when they are not meeting the SAP standards; explain what steps they must take to regain eligibility, what the appeal process is, what forms need to be completed, applicable deadlines, and whether or not they are required to meet with the Academic Progress Standards Committee.
Open/Close section Right to Appeal
All students who have been placed on financial aid suspension may appeal through the normal institutional academic appeal process to retain eligibility for Title IV assistance. An appeal must be based upon mitigating circumstances resulting from events such as, personal illness or injury, illness or death of a family member, loss of employment, or changes in the academic program.

The student’s appeal must include: a) the reasons why the student failed to make SAP and b) what has changed in his or her situation that will allow the student to be in compliance with the SAP standard by the next evaluation.

The appeal must also include a reasonable and attainable academic plan that, if followed, will ensure that that the student will complete the academic program or make substantive progress towards completing the program in the terms for which s/he wants to continue to receive financial assistance.

The Title IV appeal will be reviewed by the College’s Academic Progress Standards Committee who can make an accurate academic assessment of the student’s capability to meet the appropriate SAP standard by the next payment period/semester. Based on its recommendation, and if granted, the student will be required to sign a Title IV Academic Progress Approval Agreement in which s/he agrees to adhere to the specifications outlined in such document in order to continue receiving Title IV aid for the following semester.

For information on the appeal process, click here.

Open/Close section Financial Aid Probation
A student who has been granted an appeal will be placed on financial aid probation. Students in this status have their eligibility for Title IV program assistance reinstated for one payment period (semester). At the end of the probationary semester, the institution must review the student’s academic progress to determine whether the student has met the appropriate SAP standard or has fulfilled the requirements specified in the student’s academic plan. A student who once again meets the appropriate progress standard after the probationary semester will continue to receive Title IV assistance until the next scheduled progress evaluation. Students who meet all the conditions of their academic plan at the end of the probationary semester will continue to receive Title IV assistance on a monitored, semester by semester basis until the next scheduled progress evaluation.
Open/Close section Re-establishing Eligibility
Other than having eligibility restored through filing a successful appeal, a student on financial aid suspension may regain eligibility only by taking action that brings him or her into compliance with the appropriate progress standard. The mere passage of time is insufficient to restore Title IV eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility due to not meeting the SAP standard. Therefore, students may not re-establish eligibility solely by leaving the institution for at least one year because this action, by itself, would not bring the student into compliance for Title IV SAP. Students who choose to remain enrolled without receiving Title IV aid may request a review of their academic record after any term in which they were on financial aid suspension to determine if they were able to re-attain the appropriate standard.

SAP Related Matters

Open/Close section Determining Attempted Credits/Units and Accumulated Credits/Units
The credits attempted reflect the semester course loads maintained in the student’s permanent enrollment record at the college.  Credits earned are those credits the student has actually earned towards the degree.

In the measuring the academic progress, certain courses and situations will be treated in the following ways:

  1. Remedial Courses
    Since remedial courses and the remedial component of developmental and compensatory courses do not carry degree credit, the non-credit component of these courses is not included in the total cumulative attempted credits or accumulated credits for determining pace of progression.  However, the credit-bearing portion of compensatory or developmental courses would be included in the cumulative earned and/or attempted credit totals for determining pace.

  2. Withdrawals
    Withdrawals recorded on the student’s permanent record will be counted in the cumulative record of credits attempted and will adversely affect the student’s ability to meet the pace of progression standard.  WU grades are factored into the student’s GPA as Fs and negatively affect both the academic standing with the college and the ability to meet the minimum GPA requirement.

  3. Incomplete Grades
    Courses with incomplete grades are included as cumulative attempted credits. However, these courses cannot be used as credits accumulated toward the degree since successful completion is the criterion for positive credit accumulation. If the student fails to meet the pace of progression standard due to the lack of successful completion grades for incomplete courses, the recording of successful completion grades within a term which brings the accumulated credit level to the appropriate standard will restore eligibility for the term and subsequent terms within the academic year.

  4. Repeated Courses
    Successfully completed course can generally be accepted towards degree requirements once.  However, each time a student attempts a course, even if that course is part of a forgiveness or amnesty policy whereby credits attempted and grades earned in prior semester are excluded from the GPA, it must be included as part of the cumulative attempted credits record for the measuring of pace of progression. Therefore, repeated courses, regardless of the prior grade, reduce a student’s capacity to meet the pace of progression standard.

  5. Transfer of Credits
    Transfer students from college inside and outside of CUNY shall have their pace of progression status initialized for purposes of satisfactory academic progress measurement by using the number of credits determined to be acceptable toward the degree as both cumulative attempted credits and cumulative earned credits earned.
Open/Close section Treatment of Non-Standard Situations
  1. Readmitted Students
    Upon readmission after any period of non-enrollment, the student’s satisfactory progress standing will be re-evaluated as it stood at the end of the last semester of enrolled. If the student was making satisfactory academic progress in her/his last semester of enrollment, the eligibility to receive federal financial aid will not be affected when s/he returns. If, on the other hand, s/he returns after an academic probation or dismissal, s/he will be on financial aid suspension and will have to file an appeal to reestablish eligibility for federal aid. Any action the student takes during the period of non-re-enrollment that would have brought s/he back into compliance with the progress standard (such as successfully completing transferable courses at another institution) is factored into the assessment of the eligibility for federal aid.

  2. Second Degree Students
    If a student is enrolled for a second degree, the pace of progression status will be initialized for measuring satisfactory academic progress by counting the credits accepted toward the second degree as both credits attempted and credits earned.

  3. Change of Major/Change of Degree
    If the student changes major within the same degree program, or begin pursuing a different degree without having earned the first degree, and exceeds the maximum timeframe, s/he is required to file a successful appeal to extend the maximum timeframe.