Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

By now, you’ve probably heard the phrase “satisfactory academic progress” or “SAP” tossed around a few times. Unless you have spent a lot of time in the education world, you’re probably scratching your head, wondering what it means and why it matters to you. Read on to become educated on SAP!
The Financial Aid Office 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 (GPA) and quantitative (PACE) standards. Students who fail to meet SAP standards are not eligible for financial aid. Students who are eligible to appeal can only file one appeal per academic year with a lifetime maximum of two at Cleveland State Community College (CSCC). SAP applies whether or not students previously had financial aid.

SAP Appeal Deadlines:

  • Fall - September 7
  • Spring - December 15
  • Summer - May 15

If a deadline falls on a weekend or a day that the campus is closed, the deadline will fall on the following business day. Appeals not turned in by the deadline date will be reviewed for the following semester.


This measures students’ quality of performance in terms of GPA, including developmental studies coursework. Students who do not meet one of the qualitative standards will be placed on financial aid warning for the subsequent term of enrollment. During the warning semester, students can still receive financial aid. Students who meet the qualitative standards while on warning shall be placed back in good standing. Students who fail to meet the qualitative standards while on warning will be suspended from financial aid for the subsequent term. CSCC does not allow students to appeal for not meeting qualitative (GPA) standards. Students must raise their GPA without financial aid, which includes student loans. Once the GPA matches the standards below, students may appeal for quantitative (PACE) or exceeding maximum timeframe. Each semester students must meet the following cumulative GPA standards:

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



The Financial Aid Office calculates the PACE at which students are progressing in their SAP by dividing the cumulative number of hours successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours attempted. Students must successfully complete 66.67% of attempted hours.

Unsatisfactory grades of F, I, W, or NP do not count as completed hours but will count as attempted hours.

 Students must be making progress toward a certificate or associate’s degree. To quantify academic progress, CSCC must set a maximum timeframe in which students are expected to finish a program.

Developmental Studies Maximum Timeframe

Students may receive federal financial aid for up to thirty (30) attempted hours of developmental studies coursework. Financial aid for students who have exceeded this maximum timeframe will be based on college level courses only. This timeframe cannot be appealed.

Maximum Timeframe

Students may receive financial aid until a certificate or associate’s degree is earned, or the maximum timeframe (150% of program length) is reached. Students who have reached the maximum attempted hours allowed toward a certificate or degree, or who have earned an associate’s degree or higher, are ineligible for financial aid. Students are not given a warning period for exceeding maximum timeframe. If students must take additional hours, students must submit an Appeal to the Appeals Committee. Maximum hours attempted excludes developmental studies coursework. Please refer to the SAP Appeal Form link in the sidebar of this page.

If students have a bachelor’s degree, aid may be awarded for core curriculum only. This will be a decision of the Appeals Committee.

Transfer Hours

All attempted transfer hours will be counted when calculating SAP.


Good Standing Status

Students are placed in Good Standing Status as long as they are meeting all SAP standards.

Warning Status

For the first occurrence of not meeting SAP standards, students will be placed in a Warning Status, which means students are one semester away from losing financial aid eligibility. Students are still eligible for financial aid; however, should students not meet SAP standards again, their financial aid will be suspended. If students subsequently meet SAP standards, they will be put back into Good Standing Status.

Suspension Status

For the second consecutive occurrence of not meeting SAP standards, students are placed in Suspension Status. As long as they are on suspension, they are not eligible for financial aid. Students may appeal this status if they are suspended for reasons other than qualitative (GPA). Appeals will not be approved if students cannot meet SAP standards prior to completing their certificate or degree.

Appeal/Academic Plan Status

When an Appeal has been approved and students are on probation, the status will show as Appeal the first semester and Academic Plan Status for subsequent semesters. Students may only take courses listed on the Academic Plan. Any changes, including changes in major, must be approved by the Appeals Committee in advance. (Students may only change their major once when on an Academic Plan.) If students fail, withdraw from or do not complete a course(s), they will be in violation of the Academic Plan and are no longer eligible for financial aid. If the Academic Plan is violated, students may be allowed to appeal. Students may only file one appeal per academic year with a lifetime of two at CSCC. If students subsequently meet SAP standards, they will be put back into Good Standing Status.

Students may be required to meet with the Appeals Committee. The Financial Aid Office will notify students of the date and time. Students also have the option of choosing to meet with the Appeals Committee; if so, all documents must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office by the appeals deadline.


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