CATALOG: RCC Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy For 2019-20

(Effective for 2019-20: Fall 2019, Spring 2020, and Summer 2020)

A revised Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy became effective when fall grades were posted in December 2011.

All recipients of Federal and/ or State aid are required to maintain SAP in their course of study. Federal regulations require that a student receiving federal financial aid make satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the standards set by the College and the federal government. These regulations apply to all semesters in which a student has been or will be enrolled whether or not aid was awarded or received. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards also apply to state aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured in three ways:

  • by the student’s cumulative grade point average (see Qualitative Progress Standards/GPA Rule in Section II) in their academic program.
  • by the percentage of course credits completed successfully; student must achieve at least a 67% rate of satisfactory completion. This is calculated by the number of credits successfully completed as a percentage of the total number of credits attempted. This is the Completion Rate (see Quantitative Progress Standards/67% Rule in Section II).
  • by timeframe. Students must complete their programs of study before attempting 150% of the credits required to complete the program. This is the Maximum Time Frame. Financial aid will cover a maximum of 30 credits of developmental coursework; this is the Developmental Maximum.

Some career studies certificate programs (i.e., shorter than 16 credits in total length) are ineligible for student financial aid, but those credits will be counted toward all SAP requirements (GPA, Completion Rate, Maximum Timeframe, and Developmental Maximum) if the student later enrolls in an eligible program.

The College Financial Aid Office will evaluate satisfactory academic progress before aid is awarded and after grades are posted for every semester, starting with the first semester of enrollment.


A. Financial Aid Good Standing (GS)
Students who are meeting all aspects of the satisfactory academic progress policy or successfully following a designated academic progress plan.

B. Financial Aid Warning Status (WS)
Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress for the first time (excluding students who have already attempted 150% of the credits required for their programs of study) will be automatically placed in a Warning Status for one (1) term and are expected to meet SAP requirements by the end of that term. Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements at the end of the warning status term will be placed on financial aid suspension. However, with a successful SAP appeal, those students will be placed on financial aid probation and will retain financial aid eligibility.

C. Financial Aid Probation Status (PS)
Students who have successfully appealed financial aid suspension are placed in Probation Status (PS). Students in Probation Status (PS) are eligible to receive financial aid for one (1) semester, after which they MUST be in Good Standing (GS) or meeting the requirements of an academic progress plan that was pre-approved by the Student Affairs Committee. (See “IV. Reinstatement and Appeals” for additional information.)

D. Financial Aid Suspension Status (SS)
Students who do not meet the credit progression schedule and/or cumulative grade point average standard, or who fail to meet the requirements of their pre-approved academic progress plan, will be placed in Suspension Status (SS). Students in Suspension Status (SS) are not eligible to receive financial aid. To become eligible for future terms, you should reach a 2.0 GPA and 67% or higher completion rate and then contact the Financial Aid office for an appeal form.

  • Important: Academic Status (Good standing, Academic Warning, Academic Program, Academic Suspension) differs from financial aid requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress. Academic status will be noted on the student’s academic record; financial aid status will be noted on financial aid pages in SIS. Any student suspended from the College for academic or behavioral reasons is automatically ineligible for financial aid.


1. Minimum Qualitative Progress Standards (GPA Rule)
Cumulative GPA Requirements (GPA Rule): In order to remain eligible for financial aid consideration, students must meet minimum cumulative grade point average requirements based on a progressive scale. Only credit courses with grades of A, B, C, D, and F are included in this calculation. Dual enrollment grades are included in this calculation. Transfer credits are not included. In order to graduate, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is required.

Minimum Cumulative GPA Total Number of Credit(s) Attempted
1.5 1 to 15
1.75 16 to 30
2.0 31 +

Completion Rate (67% Rule):

Students must, at a minimum, receive satisfactory grades in 67% of cumulative credits attempted. This calculation is performed by dividing the cumulative total number of successfully completed credits by the cumulative total number of credits attempted. All credits attempted at the College (except audits, which must be entered as such by the class census date) are included. All credits attempted in transfer count as both attempted and successfully completed credits. All credits accepted in transfer count as both attempted and successfully completed credits. Developmental coursework is also included in this calculation. Credits with satisfactory grades at the College are those for which a grade of A, B, C, D, S, or P is earned.

  1. Minimum Quantitative Progress Standards (67% Rule) or Pace of Completion-Financial aid recipients must satisfactorily complete 67 percent (%) of all course work attempted.
    This evaluation will be made prior to aid being awarded and after grades are posted at the end of each semester a student is enrolled at the College.

Additional Considerations for Quantitative or Pace of Completion Standards
Withdrawals (W grades) that are recorded on the student’s permanent academic transcript will be included as credits attempted and will have an adverse effect on the student’s ability to meet the requirements of the completion rate for financial aid.

  • Incomplete Grades: Courses that are assigned an incomplete grade (grade of I) are included in cumulative credits attempted. These cannot be used as credits earned in the progress standard until a successful grade is assigned.
  • Repeated courses enable the student to achieve a higher cumulative GPA. Students can repeat courses with financial aid until successfully completed but repeating courses adversely affects the student’s ability to meet completion rate requirements. Financial aid can be considered for successfully completed classes that are repeated to achieve a higher grade but for only one additional attempt. Only the latest attempt will count toward the cumulative GPA.
  1. Maximum Timeframe (150% Rule)
    In order to continue receiving financial aid, a student must complete his/her program of study before attempting 150% of the credits required for that program. Developmental and ESL coursework are excluded from this calculation. Attempted credits from all enrollment periods at the College plus all accepted transfer credits are counted; whether or not the student received financial aid for those semesters is of no consequence. All semesters of enrollment at the College are included whether or not the student received financial aid and regardless of the age of the coursework.
  • Additional Standards Developmental Coursework: Students may receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 semester hours of Developmental Studies courses as long as the courses are required as a result of placement testing, the student is in an eligible program of study, and SAP requirements continue to be met.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL): Credits are unlimited in number as long as they are taken as part of an eligible program and SAP requirements continue to be met.
  • Audit Coursework: A student cannot receive financial aid for an audited course. Changing from credit to audit will reduce financial aid eligible courses by the number of credits changed to audit.
  • Repeated Coursework: Students can repeat courses with financial aid until successfully completed. There is no limit assuming all other SAP requirements are met. Repeated coursework will be included in the evaluation of completion rate and maximum time-frame. Students may only repeat a passed course once as long as it is in order to meet an academic standard (i.e., a higher grade is required for graduation or their program of study).

Transfer Students: Credits officially accepted in transfer will be counted in determining the maximum number of allowable semester credit hours for financial aid eligibility.

III. Regaining Eligibility for Financial Aid

Students who do not meet the credit progression requirements (Quantitative or Pace of Completion) and/or cumulative GPA requirements (Qualitative) will be immediately ineligible for financial aid. Removal from financial aid does not prevent students from enrolling without financial aid if they are otherwise eligible to continue their enrollment.

If extenuating circumstances exist that caused the student to be placed on Financial Aid Suspension, the student may file an appeal and document the circumstances. If an appeal is granted, a student in financial aid suspension should expect to continue classes at his or her own expense until satisfactory academic progress requirements are again met.

Students who fail to meet these Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and who choose to enroll without benefit of student financial aid may submit an appeal requesting a review of their academic records after any term in which they are enrolled without the receipt of financial aid to determine whether they have again met satisfactory academic progress standards. If the standards are met, eligibility is regained for subsequent terms of enrollment in the academic year. Students should consult their campus financial aid advisors for assistance in appealing any element of this policy or to determine how to regain eligibility for financial aid.

IV. Reinstatement and Appeals

Under certain circumstances, students who fail to meet SAP standards and lose eligibility for financial aid can appeal the financial aid suspension. Students must clearly state what caused the suspension and must also clearly indicate what has changed that will now allow the student to succeed. Appeals are encouraged if:

  • Extenuating circumstances exist (i.e., student’s serious illness or accident; death, accident or serious illness in the immediate family; other mitigating circumstances), or
  • The student has successfully completed one degree and is attempting another.

Students appealing a suspension must:

  • Complete the College’s SAP Appeal Form in entirety (contact RCC Financial Aid Office for the form),
  • Attach documentation in support of the appeal
  • Submit all items and the appeal form to the College Financial Aid Office.

Only complete appeal submissions, with documentation, will be evaluated by the Financial Aid Officer and Student Affairs Committee. Students whose appeals have been denied by the financial aid office have the right to pursue final appeal through the Student Affairs Committee. The decision is final. Depending on the circumstances, the student could be required to complete additional requirements (i.e., see a career counselor or another type of counselor, meet with an advisor to develop an academic progress plan for completion, limit enrollment, etc.) before an appeal is granted. The goal is to help the student get back on track for graduation. The reasonableness of the student’s ability for improvement to again meet SAP standards and complete the student’s program of study will be carefully considered. Appeals will be approved or denied. Students who have appeals approved will be in probationary status for the coming term. During probationary status, the student must meet the conditions of the appeal as communicated to him or her in the notification letter, or the student will return to suspension. If an academic progress plan has been pre-approved by the committee, continuing to meet the requirements of that plan will put the student back into good standing.

  • Second Degree Students: Credits earned from a first degree or certificate must be counted if the student changes programs or attempts a second degree or certificate. Depending on the circumstances, an appeal might be warranted.
  • Students who drop classes or audit classes are highly advised to schedule a meeting with the financial aid office to determine the impact of the changes on their financial aid.
  • Students should schedule a meeting with the financial aid office prior to requesting a curriculum/program/plan change.
  • New financial aid recipients who have previously been enrolled at the college and returning students will be evaluated for satisfactory academic progress based on prior performance at RCC regardless if they received financial aid previously or not.

Student Responsibility for Financial Aid

Procedures involving award recoveries from financial aid recipients are based on federal and state legislation. The regulations require that in instances of overpayment of scholarship, grant, or loan assistance, students must repay the overpayment.

Additional information on eligibility requirements, services, application procedures and deadlines, and repayment schedules appears in the Financial Aid Handbook.

Last modified on 08-28-2019