Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP) FOR FINANCIAL AID

 JUST THE FACTS…

WHAT is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

To be eligible for federal and state financial aid programs, students are required by the U.S. Department of Education and the State of California to maintain satisfactory academic progress as they work toward completing their educational objective – Certificate, AA or AS degree, or Transfer Program.  The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) has established guidelines to promote timely completion of its educational programs, which is applied to all classes taken in the LACCD.  The following questions and answers are provided to further explain WHO is affected by SAP, WHICH financial aid programs are affected, HOW the policy is applied, and WHAT you can do to maintain progress or appeal. A complete policy statement is available in the Financial Aid Office.

WHICH financial aid programs are affected by the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements?

Programs governed by the LACCD SAP policy include: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), the Federal Family Educational Loans (FFEL), Federal Direct Student Loans (FDSL), Cal Grants B & C, and the Child Development Grant. The Board of Governors Fee Waiver is exempt from SAP requirements.

WHO is affected by the SAP policy?

All students who apply for, receive, and/or wish to receive financial aid are affected by the SAP policy and requirements.  All students are monitored for Satisfactory Academic Progress on an annual basis, after the end of the Spring semester.  Federal guidelines require that we count all classes even if a student was not receiving financial aid at the time he/she was enrolled. Units from all semesters and terms are counted and evaluated.  Classes taken at any of the colleges in our District count toward your enrollment status when determining how much you will be paid. We therefore hold you accountable for all of the classes that you take within the District.

WHAT are the SAP policy requirements?

  • Maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher.
  • Complete a minimum of 67% of all units attempted.
  • Have less than 90 attempted units at the beginning of the academic year.
  • Have not earned an AA, AS, or higher degree.

WHAT is a 2.0 GPA?

Basically, a 2.0 GPA is a “C” average. Your GPA is calculated by dividing the number of “grade points” you received by the number of units you attempted. Grades are assigned the following “point” value.

A = 4 points

B = 3 points

C = 2 points

D = 1 point

F = 0 point

For example: If you enroll and complete 12 units in a semester with all “C” grades, you will have earned a 2.0 GPA.  24 points divided by 12 units = 2.0

WHAT is a 67% completion rate?

Students must complete a minimum of 67% of the cumulative units they attempt. Incomplete (INC), No Credit (NCR), Withdrawal (W) are considered non-grades and must be 33% or less than the units attempted.

WHY is there a 90 attempted unit limit?

Community Colleges are two-year institutions. Most of our degree and certificate programs require approximately 60 units and are designed to be completed in two years or less. The additional units are allowed, by the LACCD SAP policy and federal guidelines, to provide for unforeseen circumstances. For example, a change of major or unexpected medical issue may result in a student attempting more than the minimum number of units required to complete his/her academic program.

HOW are ESL and remedial classes treated?

Students may receive financial aid for up to 30 units of remedial coursework. Students who are enrolled in ESL courses only must submit an ESL Certificate and Student Educational Plan indicating that these courses are part of a Certificate, AA or AS Degree, or Transfer Program.

WHAT happens when a financial aid recipient does not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress minimum requirements?

Warning letters are sent after the Fall semester to students whose cumulative GPA is less than 2.0 and/or cumulative nongrades are greater than 33%. Students who receive one of these letters should see an academic counselor as soon as possible.  Students should work with their counselor to determine the steps they can take to improve their GPA and/or percentage of successfully completed classes. A warning letter is exactly what it says: it is a WARNING. Students remain eligible for financial aid, but they may jeopardize future eligibility if their progress does not improve.  Advisory letters are sent after the end of the Fall semester to students whose number of units attempted reaches forty-five (45). Again, you should see an academic counselor to make sure you are taking the classes you need to reach your educational goal before you reach the 90 attempted unit maximum.  Students receiving financial aid will receive a disqualification letter after the end of the Spring semester if they did not meetany of the four requirements. 

WHAT is the procedure if a student wants to appeal a disqualification from financial aid?

Students may submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Office. The appeal must include a Student Educational Plan approved by an academic counselor and an explanation of why the SAP policy requirements were not met. In the case of the 90 attempted unit limit and for students who already have completed an AA, AS or higher degree, there must be a justification for continuing financial aid.  The following types of circumstances may be considered when evaluating a student’s appeal:

  • Unusual circumstances, including an extended illness of the student or a close family member.
  • Change in major (only one change will be considered).
  • Grade changes due to course repetition.
  • Academic advisement recommendation affecting unit completion.

This information is subject to change without notice for reasons related to changes in Federal and State regulations and District policy. Students who have questions about financial aid and the SAP policy of LACCD should consult with the Financial Aid Office at their campus. This brochure is a summary of federal, state, district and college regulations, policies and procedures. Additional information is available regarding the SAP policy, status determination, and appeal