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Satisfactory Academic Progress

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Campus Closed on Fridays

Maricopa Community Colleges Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid Eligibility

Federal regulations (CFR 668.32(f) and 668.34) require a student to move toward the completion of a degree or certificate within an eligible program when receiving financial aid. Specific requirements for academic progress for financial aid recipients are applied differently than Scholastic Standards. Federal regulations state that Academic Progress Standards must include a review of all periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not aid was received. Students will be evaluated using the standards described below. Failure to meet any of these minimum standards will result in loss of title IV, HEA program (federal financial aid) eligibility.

Evaluation Period

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be evaluated at the end of each semester; fall, spring and summer. Programs less than one year in length will be evaluated at the midpoint of the program. Non-standard sessions will be evaluated at the completion of the session.

Students not meeting SAP are responsible for paying outstanding tuition and fees. To learn more about the Payment Plan, please go to To sign up, visit

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are evaluated on each of the three measurements outlined below. Failure to meet any of these standards will result in suspension of eligibility for financial aid.

Note: Grades of F,I,N,W,X,Y,Z, and courses not yet graded are considered attempted but not meeting progress standards for the purposes of financial aid.

Grade Point Measurement
Students must meet the following credit hour/cumulative grade point average (CGPA).

Total Credits Attempted* Minimum CGPA
< 15.75 1.60
16-30.75 1.75
31-45.75 1.90
46 + 2.00
*for which grade points are computed

Progress Measurement
Students must successfully complete 2/3 (66.67%) of all attempted course work.

Maximum Time Frame Measurement
Students who have attempted more than 150% of the published credits required for their program of study are considered not meeting SAP.

Coursework Treatment in SAP Calculation
Course work taken during the semester also included in the evaluation:

  • Courses funded through a consortium agreement
  • All attempted remedial credits
  • Repeated course work

Course work included in the Maximum Time Frame evaluation:

  • All of those included in the semester evaluation
  • All evaluated transfer credits
  • Any Associates degree or higher earned will be considered to have exhausted maximum timeframe eligibility.

Course work not included in SAP evaluation:

  • Audited courses
  • Non-credit courses
  • Credit by examination<
  • Credit for prior learning option (as outlined in the college general catalog)
  • Academic Renewal Process

Ineligibility Determination Appeal
Any student who has lost financial aid eligibility due to extenuating circumstances may appeal. Appeal must:

  • Be in writing and submitted to the Financial Aid Office where the student is applying for aid
  • Include the extenuating circumstances that caused the student not to meet SAP standards.
  • Include appropriate supporting documentation
  • Include how that condition or situation has been resolved thus allowing the student the ability to meet SAP standards.

Students will be notified of the results of their appeal and any restrictions or conditions pertaining to their appeal. The outcome of an appeal may include a probationary term or denial.

Failure to successfully complete all conditions during the probationary period (as defined in the academic plan) will result in loss of financial aid eligibility.

Regaining Eligibility
A student who has lost financial aid eligibility may only regain eligibility by meeting the minimum SAP standards. Course work taken at other colleges will not be considered for reinstatement purposes.

Terminology and Information Pertaining to this Policy

Summer Sessions
Enrollment in any or all Summer Sessions within the same calendar year will be considered one term.
Non-Standard Session
Sessions that do not follow the traditional start and end dates for the semester.
Attempted Credit
Any credit for which a grade of A, B, C, D, F, I, IP, N, P, W, X, Y, or Z is received and courses not yet graded.
"A process by which a student who is not meeting the institution's satisfactory academic progress standards petitions the institution for reconsideration of the student's eligibility for title IV, HEA program assistance."
Extenuating Circumstance
Examples are: personal injury or illness, serious illness or death within the immediate family, or other circumstance beyond the reasonable control of the student.
Supporting Documentation
Examples could include: an obituary notice, divorce decree, an accident report, or a letter from a physician, attorney, social services agency, etc.
Financial Aid Warning
"A status assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress at an institution that evaluates academic progress at the end of each payment period" (semester).
Financial Aid Probation
"A status assigned by an institution to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress and who has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated." A student in this status "may not receive title IV, HEA program funds for the subsequent payment period unless the student makes satisfactory academic progress or the institution determines that the student met the requirements specified by the institution in the academic plan for the student."
Academic Plan
A plan developed through the SAP Appeal Process which will lead a student to qualify for further title IV, HEA program funds.
Financial Aid Suspension
The status assigned upon failing to meet the minimum SAP standards or the terms of a probationary status. Students in this status are not eligible to receive title IV, HEA assistance.

SAP is reviewed before the first semester a student begins attendance at Scottsdale Community College and then calculated at the end of each subsequent semester, taking into consideration a student’s academic history at SCC and any transfer credits. Students can be placed on suspension for any or all of the following reasons:

  • Failure to satisfactorily complete at least 66.67% of cumulative credits attempted
  • Failure to meet cumulative GPA minimum
  • Exceeded Maximum Timeframe

Students are responsible for knowing and understanding the SAP policy. There is often a short amount of time between semesters for SAP review that does not allow the Financial Aid Office to complete the review before the payment deadline. If you know that you may not be meeting SAP standards, it is your responsibility to pay for your classes by the payment deadline. Appeals received after the deadline (as indicated on the appeal form) will be considered for the next semester.

Students are no longer eligible for financial aid – this includes grants, work study and loan. A student is placed on financial aid suspension and can regain eligibility by:

  1. Paying for their own tuition until they are meeting standards; or
  2. Following the appeal procedure *

If a student’s tuition and fees are due before a determination has been made on your SAP appeal, the student will be required to pay for their tuition and fees out of pocket. Students are encouraged to submit appeals as soon as they are notified of not meeting SAP.

* Please note that filing an appeal does not guarantee that a student will be able to receive financial aid in the future. The appeal will be reviewed by a committee and a determination of eligibility will be based on the facts and supporting documentation in the appeal. Appeals can be approved or denied. All decisions are final.

Students who fail to complete at least 66.67% of cumulative attempted credits and/or fail to meet the cumulative GPA requirements are placed on financial aid suspension. Under certain circumstances, students who fail to meet SAP standards and lose eligibility for financial aid may appeal the financial aid suspension. If a student has experienced extenuating circumstances that were beyond their control that prevented them from satisfying the requirements to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), they have the option to appeal that status. This is referred to as a financial aid appeal. All information contained in a student’s appeal is confidential.

Students who have attempted more than 150% of the published credits required for their program of study or have earned an Associates degree or higher are considered to have exhausted maximum timeframe eligibility and are placed on financial aid suspension. Under certain circumstances students have the option to appeal that status. This is referred to as a Maximum Timeframe appeal.

The reason for your financial aid suspension will determine the form you need to submit. Some students will need to complete and submit both forms.

If you are on financial aid suspension for one of below reasons, you should submit the appropriate Financial Aid Appeal for the semester you are going to attend: Financial Aid Appeal

  • Failure to satisfactorily complete at least 66.67% of cumulative credits attempted
  • Failure to meet cumulative GPA minimum

Maximum Timeframe Appeal

  • Exceeded Maximum Timeframe

What is a Restricted Course List (RCL) Addendum?

If you were approved for a Maximum Time Frame appeal in a prior semester and are not changing your program of study, you do not need to submit a new Maximum Timeframe appeal. You must continue to select only classes that are required for your major, as shown on your approved Maximum Timeframe and Restricted Course List (RCL). We will review your enrollment at the beginning of each semester for continued eligibility and adjustments will be made accordingly.

If you are adding additional, substituted or repeated classes they will not be funded unless a Restricted Course List Addendum is filed and approved before financial aid funds are disbursed. Addendums are reviewed by the appeal committee and can be approved or denied. If you receive funds for classes other than those listed and approved, your award may be reduced or cancelled and you may be suspended from any further financial aid.

If you change your program of study after the Maximum Timeframe appeal has already been approved, you will be placed back on financial aid suspension and will be required to pay for your tuition and fees.

Appeals should be typewritten, signed, and include a detailed explanation of how extenuating circumstances beyond your control affected your ability to meet SAP requirements. You must include an explanation for all of the classes that contributed to your being placed on suspension. In addition, you must explain how these circumstances have been resolved, and the steps you have taken that will allow you to succeed and maintain academic progress in the future. Generally, the situation must have occurred after the semester began. If your extenuating circumstance first occurred before the semester started and you choose to enroll anyway, you will need to explain what changed after the start of the term which affected your ability to remain in or pass your classes. Appeals that cannot demonstrate extenuating circumstances will be denied.

An extenuating circumstance is situation beyond your control which prevented you from successfully completing your course(s). Extenuating circumstances can include, but are not limited to:

  • Documented medical condition or serious illness which limited your ability to perform life tasks (such as attending class)
  • A family member having a severe illness which required your presence for a significant amount of time
  • Death of an immediate family member which impacted you significantly enough to affect class attendance or participation
  • Involuntary call to active military duty
  • Documented involuntary change in conditions of employment that prevented you from attending classes
  • Other extraordinary/emergency circumstances, such as natural disaster

What is NOT an "extenuating circumstance"?

  • Errors in judgment involving transportation, availability of finances, academic ability, time management etc.
  • Misinterpretation or lack of knowledge of college policies and procedures
  • Financial Aid not processed, could not afford books, not prepared for class
  • Dissatisfaction with course content or instruction
  • Lack of attendance in course(s)
  • Acceptance of employment or other activity impacting ability to attend class
  • Incarceration
  • Immaturity and bad judgment
  • If you previously had an appeal approved and did not meet the terms of the appeal

The documentation you submit will depend on your individual situation. The suggestions below include document which will help you support your appeal; however, this is not a comprehensive list. You should provide any documentation you feel supports your appeal and shows that you had extenuating circumstances during the semesters that contributed to you being placed on suspension. Attach date- specific documentation that supports your appeal. Documentation should not exceed 7 pages. DO NOT submit original documents – they will not be returned. Make sure all copies are legible. Documentation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Letter from a physician or counselor on letterhead indicating the dates you were under their care
  • Copy of a death certificate, obituary or third party documentation of death
  • Accident reports, police records, court records, etc
  • Documentation regarding involuntary changes in your employment

Appeals submitted without supporting documentation may be denied. Letters from family, relatives, and friends are not recommended. If this is the ONLY information that can be provided, the student must make sure the letter is signed and supports the reason for their appeal. Documents must be submitted according the requirements listed above; however, this DOES NOT guarantee approval.

Students MTF appeals must clearly state:

  • Why you have attempted more than 150% of the required number of credits for your program without graduating
  • If you are pursuing an additional degree, explain what your first degree is in and why you need to complete an additional degree
  • Your explanation should match the degree program you have declared and the restricted course list you submit
  • Changes in major – explain why you changed majors and what your academic and career plan is for completion of your new major
  • Incomplete grades, failing grades, course withdrawals that reduced your completion ratio because they count towards your maximum attempted units – explain why you were not successful in these courses and your plan for successful completion of future courses
  • Repeated courses – explain the reason for attempting the same course multiple times
  • Transfer credits – explain why the transfer credits don’t apply towards your degree program
  • You will need to meet with an SCC Academic Advisor to have the RCL section completed
  • All courses required for completion of your degree must be included in your appeal (this can be on the RCL or attached degree check sheet)

Students who have had an MTF appeal approved will not be funded for courses other than those listed on the form, degree audit report or University program check sheet. If a student receives funds for classes other than those listed and approved, the financial aid award may be reduced or cancelled, and/or the student may be suspended from any further Financial Aid. ADDITIONAL, SUBSTITUTED or REPEATED classes will NOT be funded unless an Addendum is filed and approved. Addendums are reviewed by the committee and can be approved or denied.

No, you will not have the opportunity to present your appeal to the committee. Instead the committee will review your appeal and make a decision based on your academic record, your personal statement, and the documentation you provide. This means it is very important that your appeal include all of the details needed to make a decision. The explanation 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 are approved or denied and all appeal decisions are final.

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to fulfill additional requirements (i.e., see a academic and career advisor or a counselor, meet with an academic advisor to develop an academic progress plan for completion, limit enrollment etc.) before an appeal is granted. There are many student support services available at SCC. You may want to explore these resources on your own to get you on the right track academically. The goal is to help you get back on track for graduation.

Students who have appeals approved may be in a probationary status. During the probationary status, the student must meet the conditions of the appeal as communicated to him or her, or the student will be placed back on suspension. If an academic progress plan has been approved, continuing to meet the requirements of that plan will be required or a student’s award may be reduced or cancelled and the student may be placed back on suspension.

The SAP Appeal Committee meets throughout the year. The committee will make every effort to review appeals within 21 business days from the date they are submitted; however, due to the volume of appeals, not all appeals may be reviewed within that timeframe. Additionally, the appeal process may require more than the typical three weeks during the colleges busiest time of year, such as July, August, January and February. Please note that SCC offices are closed during certain times of the year and processing time for your appeal may be increased based on these holidays.

How will I be notified of the appeal decision?

You will be notified via your student message center

  • Log into
  • Click on "Message Center"
  • Look for the message regarding the appeal decision

If your Financial Aid appeal is denied, or if you decided not to appeal, eligibility can be regained once you complete the necessary credit hours and minimum GPA to meet SAP standards. You should aim for a 100% passing rate each semester to help you reach SAP standards. This means you should avoid withdrawing, failing, or getting incompletes in courses as much as possible.

If you have had a Maximum Timeframe appeal denied or decided not to appeal, you cannot reinstate eligibility.

Questions regarding the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards or any information about the appeal process should be directed the college financial aid office, (480) 423-6549.