Financial Aid & Scholarships

Satisfactory Academic Progress

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.

To learn the basics about SAP, watch this video.

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
  • 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 Maximum Timeframe 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 canceled, 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 canceled 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 15 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

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.