Federal Financial Aid: Student Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)


Cambridge College has developed a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy to meet the Federal Department of Education‘s administrative capabilities requirements that all schools must establish, publish, and apply reasonable standards for measuring SAP.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a measure of progress toward the completion of a student’s course of study according to Cambridge College standards and required by federal regulations. Students must meet these standards to maintain eligibility for federal financial aid. These standards apply to all federal financial assistance programs and to all students: full-time and part-time, undergraduate, and graduate, degree and certificate candidates.

Term Review: The Financial Aid Office measures student academic progress by calculating completed credits as a percentage of attempted credits after each term. All attempted credit hours are counted, including transfer credits, whether or not federal financial aid was received or the coursework was successfully completed.

SAP Standards


  • Credits earned: a minimum of 67% of the credits attempted must be completed satisfactorily each year.
  • Maximum time frame: Students must complete their program within 150% of the published completion time. For example, if a student begins a full-time, four-year bachelor’s degree at Cambridge College, they must complete their degree in a maximum of six years. If a student’s enrollment goes beyond six years, they will no longer be eligible for additional federal financial aid.
  • Transfer credits must be counted towards earned and attempted credits. Transfer credits accepted into students' programs of study are included in the calculation of the maximum time frame.


  • Credits earned: a minimum of 50% of courses attempted must be completed satisfactorily each year.
  • Maximum time frame: students must complete their program of study within 200% of the published completion time. They will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid once they have attempted more than 200% of the credits normally required for the degree or certificate. For example, if they begin a full-time one-year 36-credit M.Ed. program, they must complete their degree in a maximum of two years and may attempt up to 72 credits. If they take more time or attempt more credits, they will no longer be eligible for additional federal financial aid.
  • Transfer credits accepted into students' programs of study are included in the calculation of the maximum time frame.

Satisfactory grades

Credits attempted and earned

  • Undergraduate: grades A,B,C,D, and/or Credit.
  • Graduate: grades of Credit and/or letter grades A, B (B-minus is not satisfactory).
  • Credit [for Cr/NCr courses).
  • Continuation courses: Incomplete.

Unsatisfactory grades

Credits attempted but not earned

  • Withdrawal
  • No Show
  • Incomplete
  • No Credit/Incomplete
  • No Credit
  • Undergraduate: letter grade F
  • Graduate: letter grades below B

Repeated Courses: Courses can only be taken twice to be eligible for federal financial aid.

Change of Program: Students can have their SAP reset by changing their program of study. Credits attempted and grades earned that do not count towards the new program of study will not be included in the SAP determination. Students may only change their program of study once for the purpose of resetting SAP.

Probation Students' Grade Point Average and Credits are reviewed once a year to determine compliance with SAP standards. If at the term review, they do not meet the SAP standards, the Financial Aid Office will review their situation and notify them of the outcome. If eligible, they will be placed on financial aid probation for one academic term. Students placed on probation have one academic term to bring their status back to meeting SAP standards. During this probationary period, students will not lose their federal financial aid eligibility.

Loss of Eligibility If the SAP standards have not been met by the end of the probationary term, students will lose eligibility for further federal financial aid until they once again meet the SAP standards.

Appeals Students have the right to appeal if, after the probationary period, they are still not making SAP standards and have lost their eligibility for federal financial aid. They may have their situation reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid. Approval will be based on serious extenuating circumstances outside the College that have an impact on the ability to achieve the SAP standard; for example, a student becomes seriously ill, is severely injured, or a relative dies. Other circumstances may be considered. Each situation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Students must submit a written statement to the Financial Aid Office describing the circumstances, time frame, and consequences, along with supporting documentation to be kept in their financial aid file. A third-party statement verifying the circumstances documented is also required. Eligibility for all federal financial aid will be lost in the next term if the student does not meet the requirements in the period stated. (Log in to MyCC, select "Finance" from the top menu, and scroll down to "SAP Forms" section.)

Regaining Eligibility: Students may regain eligibility for federal financial aid during the academic year if they reach the minimum standards of satisfactory progress within the same period of enrollment. Students may continue to attend courses at Cambridge College without the assistance of federal, state or College funding. Students are determined to be eligible for funding based on the timing in which they reach the minimum standards. The Financial Aid Office will award appropriate federal financial aid as specified by the Federal Department of Education. (The Federal Department of Education’s standards outline different eligibility criteria for students who meet satisfactory progress standards within the current period of enrollment versus those who regain eligibility in a later period.)

Individual Responsible for Revision and Implementation: Vice President for Finance and Administration and Director for Financial Aid

Date of Last Revision: February 2011