Students requesting financial aid are required to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) according to federal and state regulations. Academic records are reviewed for all students receiving financial aid and those being considered for financial aid from the following Title IV sources:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Work-Study Program
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP)
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)

The review of a student's SAP status is based on the entire academic record (including summer), regardless of whether the student received Title IV aid for each of the enrollment periods.


A student's SAP status will be calculated at the end of each of the following enrollment periods: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Students enrolled in Abingdon-Avon Dual Credit are evaluated at the end of Fall, Winter, and Spring 12 week terms. Students enrolled in a one-semester program are evaluated at the midpoint of the program.  

Students who are below the requirements and who have applied for financial aid, scholarships, or other funding will receive a notice from the Financial Aid Office if they are not meeting the SAP requirements.

SAP Status is considered Satisfactory when

  • The student maintains a cumulative 2.0 or higher grade point average (GPA) at the end of each semester.
  • The student completes, with a passing grade, at least 67% of all credit hours attempted.
  • The student does not exceed 150% of the maximum credits required for the student’s program.
    • The maximum time-frame for a student to complete his/her academic program cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the program. See examples below: 

      Program Requirement Max - Attempted Credits Allowed
                 62 credit hours     -    93 (62 x 1.5 = 93)
                 68 credit hours     -    102 (68 x 1.5 = 102)
                 75 credit hours     -    113 (75 x 1.5 = 113)

    • The student should review the catalog or consult with an academic advisor to find the number of credits required for his/her program; multiply that number by 1.50 to determine the maximum number of credits he/she can attempt to receive financial aid. The student will be denied financial aid when he/she has attempted more than 150% of the credit hours required for his/her program or it becomes statistically not possible to complete within the 150% limit. 


  • Final grades of A, B, C, or D are counted as hours attempted and completed for the cumulative completion rate and toward the GPA.
  • Final Grades of F count as hours attempted but not completed and count toward the GPA.
  • W (Withdraws) count as hours attempted but not hours completed for the cumulative completion rate and maximum timeframe. W are not counted in the GPA.
  • N (Withdraw Non-Punitive) is not counted as hours attempted or completed and does not impact the GPA.
  • U count as hours attempted but not completed and are excluded from the GPA.
  • I (incompletes) are NOT counted as hours attempted or completed. incompletes do not affect the GPA calculation. The change of an incomplete grade to a final grade will affect SAP at the conclusion of the following semester.
  • Transfer hours accepted by Sandburg are used in calculating the maximum timeframe and Cumulative Completion Rate
  • Developmental course grades are used the calculate GPA and Cumulative Completion Rate but are excluded when determining the maximum timeframe.
  • Hours enrolled in Study Abroad or Consortium courses taken at Sandburg are included in determining a student's Satisfactory Academic Progress status.
  • Maximum timeframe courses with a grade of A, B, C, D, F. W (withdraw), or U are included as hours attempted if the course is part of the student's program.
  • Audits are not included in any satisfactory progress calculations.
  • Each enrollment for a repeated course count in the maximum timeframe and cumulative completion rate. Only the highest grade achieved counts towards the GPA evaluation. Students can receive financial aid when repeating a class the student previously withdrew or flunked. The student can receive aid one time for repeating a course they passed with a grade of D or better.
  • Students who withdraw from all classes with a grade of N will continue with the SAP status assigned to them from the prior evaluation.

Calculating Maximum Timeframe

The maximum timeframe sets a limit as to the number of courses that a student may retake, fail, or withdraw from while pursuing their program of study. To calculate the maximum timeframe, add all credits that count toward the students' degree and compare this to the credits in the program of study multiplied by 150%. 

  • Change of major: Maximum timeframe includes courses that count toward the students’ current program of study. Example: A student previously completed the cosmetology certificate and returns to take the accounting certificate. Since cosmetology courses will not count toward accounting, the cosmetology courses are excluded when determining the maximum timeframe for accounting. If a student pursues a second program and the courses count toward both programs, the classes that count toward the new program are used in the maximum timeframe calculation.
  • When students are enrolled in more than one program, the program with the highest credit hours will be used.
  • Once it is determined that a student cannot complete their degree within the 150% limit, all financial aid for the student must be stopped even if he or she has not reached the 150% credit hour limit.
  • When a student exceeds the 'allowance' in unsuccessful work, it becomes statistically impossible to complete the degree within the Maximum Timeframe and the student will no longer receive financial aid for that program of study without a successful appeal.

Example of Maximum Timeframe

A student is enrolled in a program of 62 credits and the 150% limit is 93 credits. The student has enrolled in 94 credits that could count toward the program. The student exceeds the maximum timeframe and can no longer receive financial aid for this program.

Example of Maximum Timeframe Statistically Not Possible

A student is enrolled in a program of 62 credits and the 150% limit is 93 credits. The student has enrolled in 80 credits that could count toward the program. The student still needs to complete 15 credits to meet graduation requirements. Since the student needs 15 credits and only has 13 available (the 93 limit minus 80 that count) the student can no longer receive any aid to complete that program without a successful appeal.



Students who meet the completion rate and GPA requirement and are within the maximum timeframe for their program of study are considered Satisfactory. 


When a student who was previously considered eligible falls below the 67% completion or 2.0 GPA requirements will be placed on Warning (see exception for immediate dismissal). During the warning semester, students may receive grants and are expected to meet the cumulative SAP requirements by the end of the semester.  Loans are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


A student who does not pass any course successfully in their first semester of attendance is placed on immediate dismissal.  In addition, a student on Financial Aid Warning who fails to bring themselves back into the cumulative GPA and completion rate requirements is placed on Financial Aid Dismissal.  While on Dismissal a student is not eligible to receive financial aid without a successful appeal. Should the student not wish to appeal, the student must meet SAP requirements before aid eligibility can be re-established. 

Maximum Timeframe (Max Time)

Once a student exceeds the credit hours allowed for their program of study or it is determined that a student cannot complete their degree within the 150% limit (statistically not possible) the student will be considered in violation of Maximum Time Frame and will no longer qualify for financial aid to complete that program. The student may appeal for additional time.  If a student changes majors, they will be evaluated after the first semester of attendance in the new program.  

Academic Improvement Plan

Academic Improvement Plan may be offered to students who appeal. This allows a student to continue their education and receive grants with the understanding that the term GPA and completion rate exceeds the cumulative requirements in order to get back to satisfactory status. The Academic Improvement Plan requires that students meet the following stipulations each semester until they attain satisfactory status. 

  • Term completion rate of 75% or greater
  • Term GPA of 2.2 or greater
  • Additional requirements may be imposed on a case-by-case basis by the Appeals Committee.

Students who fail to meet any of the above requirements while on the Academic Improvement Plan will be placed on Dismissal.


Students who appeal may be placed on probation for one additional semester. During the Probation semester, students may receive grants and are expected to meet the cumulative SAP requirements by the end of the probation semester. Loans are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


Satisfactory Progress Appeal

A student who loses financial aid may appeal by completing a SAP Appeal Request

The appeal asks the student to explain extenuating circumstances and what has changed that will allow the student to attain satisfactory status. Students are encouraged to submit supporting documentation with their appeal. Appeals are reviewed by a committee, with representatives from Financial Aid, Counseling, and Student Services. The student will be notified in an email within 30 days of the results of their Appeal. Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to, unexpected injury or illness of the student; work schedule change; daycare or transportation problems; the death of a close family member; academic or personal issues.


Students whose appeal is denied may appeal again the following semester. Students whose appeal is denied could successfully complete six credit hours at their own expense and then re-appeal or show other actions that will allow the student to become compliant with the satisfactory progress requirements.

All information is subject to change based on changes to federal law, regulation, or college policy and procedure. If changes are made, students must abide by the new policy.

Update 2017