Guidance Letter G-140


Subject: Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards (SAP)


To establish standards and procedures for monitoring Satisfactory Academic Progress
of students with regard to students receiving federal Title IV aid.

General Information

The Office of Financial Aid monitors undergraduate students after every term for successful completion of SAP standards. For financial aid eligibility, terms are defined as fall, spring, and summer. Students are measured on qualitative and PACE (quantitative) standards. Students who fail to meet SAP standards are not eligible for Pell or student loans. Students at CSCC who fail to meet SAP standards can only change their major twice.

Qualitative Standards

Measurement of a student’s quality of performance (in terms of GPA), including developmental studies coursework.
A student who does not meet one of the qualitative standards will be placed on financial aid warning for the subsequent term of enrollment.
During the warning semester, a student can still receive federal aid.
A student who meets the qualitative standards while on warning shall be placed back in good standing.
A student who fails to meet the qualitative standards while on warning will be suspended from financial aid for the subsequent term.

Each semester a student must meet the following cumulative GPA standard:

Minimum Hours to Total Hours Attempted Minimum Required G.P.A.
0  - 14.0 1.0
14.1 - 26.0 1.4
26.1 - 40.0 1.7
40.1 - 48.0 1.9
48.1 – above 2.0

Pace (Quantitative) Standards

Students must successfully complete 67% of the credits for which they are awarded financial aid as shown in the example below:
CSCC Office of Financial Aid calculates the Pace at which students are progressing in their SAP academic plan by dividing the cumulative number of credits successfully completed by the cumulative number of credits attempted.

  Cumulative number of credits successfully completed
  Cumulative number of credits attempted

Unsatisfactory grades of F, I, W, or NP do not count as completed courses but will count as attempted credits.
Students must be making progress toward a degree. To quantify academic progress, Cleveland State Community College must set a maximum timeframe in which a student is expected to finish a program.

Developmental Studies Maximum Time Limit

A student can receive federal financial aid for up to 30 attempted semester hours of developmental studies coursework.  Federal aid for a student who has exceeded this maximum will be based on college level courses only.  This time limit cannot be appealed.

Maximum Time Limit

A student may receive federal aid until a certificate or an Associate’s Degree is earned, or the maximum time limit (90 attempted hours) is reached according to the table below.

Program Length Maximum Hours Attempted
25 – 29 hours 38 hours
30 – 37 hours 45 hours
38 – 47 hours 57 hours
48 – 59 hours 72 hours
60 – 65 hours 90 hours

A student who has reached the maximum attempted hours allowed toward a degree or has earned an Associate Degree or beyond will be become ineligible for financial aid.  If a student must take additional hours, the student must submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The student must submit a Financial Aid Academic Plan with the Appeal Form.  Maximum hours attempted excludes developmental studies coursework.
If the student exceeds the maximum time frame, 90 hours, and the appeal is approved, the student will be given up to 120 attempted hours to complete the program. If the student does not complete the program by the 120 attempted hours, the student is ineligible for aid and an appeal cannot be filed. Student will need to complete the program and pay out of pocket.
If the Financial Aid Academic Plan states a specific number of credit hours, and the hours are under 120, the student must follow the plan.
If a student has a Bachelor’s degree, aid MAY be awarded for core curriculum only. This will be a decision of the Committee. However, if a student has a Bachelor’s degree and has over 140 attempted hours, he/she will not be granted financial aid at CSCC. This policy cannot be appealed.

Transfer Hours

Transfer hours accepted at CSCC will count as attempted and completed when calculating SAP.

Repeat Coursework

A student can only repeat a previously passed course one time and receive financial aid. If a student attempts a previously passed course a third time, the student will NOT receive financial aid for that course.

SAP Status

Financial Aid Warning Status:

For the first occurrence of not meeting SAP standards, students will be placed in a Financial Aid Warning status, which means they are one term away from losing their financial aid eligibility. Students placed on warning are still eligible for financial aid; however, should they not meet SAP standards again, their financial aid will be suspended.

Financial Aid Suspension Status:

For the second occurrence of not meeting SAP standards, students are immediately placed on Financial Aid Suspension. As long as a student is in suspension, he/she is not eligible for federal financial aid. Students may appeal this status.

Appeals and Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility

Students who lose federal aid eligibility because they are not meeting SAP standards have the right to file an appeal for financial aid. Students may only file one appeal per academic year and have a lifetime maximum of two at Cleveland State Community College (CSCC). Appeals are reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.  Procedures for the appeals committee are established by the Financial Aid office in accordance with federal financial aid guidelines.

To appeal, a student must submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form with supporting documentation. That form provides a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that may give rise to an appeal. Students MUST submit all documents for the appeal by the deadline date. All appeals require a written statement from the student explaining why he/she failed to meet SAP standards and the steps he/she will take to regain eligibility. All appeals must have an Advisor signature and Academic Plan.

Students who are re-admitted to CSCC and are on suspension from financial aid must file an appeal.

CSCC does not allow appeals for failing to maintain GPA.

If a student’s appeal is approved, he/she will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. If a student’s appeal is approved with a Financial Aid Academic Plan, the student will be on a continuous Probation until he/she regains eligibility or completes the terms of his/her Financial Aid Academic Plan.

Students may be required to meet with the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The Financial Aid Office will notify students of the date and time of the Appeals Committee meeting. Students also have the option to request to meet with the Appeals Committee. Students who choose to meet with the Appeals Committee must have all documents related to their appeal submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by the appeal deadline date.

Deadline dates to submit an appeal

Fall Semester:  July 1
Spring Semester:  December 1
Summer Semester:  May 1

Appeals submitted after the deadline date will be reviewed for the following semester.


Source: Financial Aid Office, Federal Department of Education Policies

Approved by President’s Cabinet:  March 13, 2012