Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

The following Satisfactory Academic Progress policy is in compliance with federal regulations issued July 1, 2011.

The mission of the U.S. Department of Education is to assist students who are academically progressing towards their goal of attaining a degree or certificate. To assure this goal is met, the U.S. Department of Education requires colleges to determine whether financial aid is being utilized in the most effective way. It is the responsibility of Student Financial Services to monitor each financial aid applicant's academic work and to confirm the student's academic success and continued financial aid eligibility or to determine if a student is not academically progressing toward the goal of degree attainment. This also includes credits not paid for by financial aid.

Note: If a student is suspended from the college, this issue must be resolved first before Student Financial Services will review an appeal. Academic standing is administered through the Student Success Center. This can be completed by going to the Student Success Center page. The Student Success Center phone number is (413) 755-4715. Please see the Academic Standing Policy. This policy is for financial aid purposes is more restrictive than the institution's academic standing policy.


  • Cumulative grade point average:
    • Students are expected to maintain the following minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) for financial aid purposes:
      Attempted Credits Minimum GPA
      1 - 12 1.50
      13 - 21 1.70
      22 - 30 1.80
      31 + 2.00
    • All courses attempted with earned grades of A, B, C, D, and F are included in the GPA calculation (see additional information for treatment of fresh start, incompletes, and repeated grades).
  • Rate of Completion (Passing Percentage):
    Students must successfully pass at least 66.66% of all credits attempted.
    • Transfer credits, ESL, and remedial coursework are included in the passing percentage calculation.
    • Only grades of A, B, C, and D are considered successful completion in the percentage calculation.
    • Grades of W, F or I (incomplete) would adversely affect a student's rate of completion.
    • Example: The total number of credits attempted is 48 credits.  You must successfully complete at least 32 credits  (48 credits X 66.66% = 32 credits)
  • Maximum Time Frame (Length of time):
    • Students must complete their program in less than 150% of the published length of the educational program. 
    • Students who do not complete their program within this time frame are no longer eligible to receive financial aid.
      • In addition, the following apply:Up to 24 remedial credits are exempt from this requirement. 
      • Transfer credits that have been applied to the student's record will be considered in calculating the maximum time frame requirements for the program.
      • If changing academic programs, all credits attempted toward your previous program are counted when calculating the length of time it takes to complete your new program requirements.  As a result, you may be required to submit a program evaluation for your new program.
    • Example: Liberal Arts Transfer (LTTR) is a 60-credit program.  You cannot attempt more than 90 credits (60 credits X 150% = 90 credits)  In order to maintain an acceptable pace of completion, students should be completing at least 66.66% of their attempted credits in order to complete their program of study prior to the 150% point.
    • PLEASE NOTE:  Students who have graduated from STCC or have exceeded 150% of their current program may not be eligible for financial aid if only taking pre-requisites for a prospective program.

SAP Review and Appeal Process

  • SAP is evaluated annually, at the end of each Spring semester. (With the exception of certificate programs and students on probation in which cases SAP is run at the end of each term of enrollment).
  • If a student has reached 110% of their program length, they will be sent an alert notifying them that they are approaching the maximum length of time for financial aid eligibility.  The student is still eligible to receive financial aid at this point in time.
  • Failure to meet SAP standards will result in unsatisfactory academic progress; the student will be notified.
  • If a student has extenuating circumstances, they have a right to appeal (in writing) explaining why they didn't make satisfactory academic progress while enrolled at STCC.  Examples of extenuating circumstances include medical, personal, or family problems, change of major, or military service. Please attach appropriate documentation of support.
  • If a student's appeal is approved, they may be placed on probation for the next semester with the following condition; that the student must make satisfactory academic progress or meet the conditions of probation.  Failure to meet this condition will result in unsatisfactory academic progress.
  • At the discretion of Student Financial Services, the student may be placed on probation with an academic plan.  If a student is placed on an academic plan, additional requirements will be outlined for students on a case-by-case basis.
  • The student will be notified once their appeal is reviewed. Turn around time is approximately 2 weeks; however, due to the limited time between semesters students may not receive notification prior to the start of the following semester. The student must make their own financial arrangements to pay their bill.
  • If a student is currently receiving financial aid or their application is being reviewed, their application and/or aid will be placed on hold until a decision is made on their appeal.  If the student has a tuition bill for the following semester, they must make their own payment arrangements.
  • If an appeal is denied, the student must take classes at their own expense.  The student must demonstrate they can successfully complete classes as guided by Student Financial Services.  Course work taken at other colleges will not be considered for reinstatement purposes.

Additional Information

  • FRESH START: Being approved for the Fresh Start program does not necessarily change your previous financial aid standing. Please contact Student Financial Services to check your eligibility. For more information, please see the Academic Forgiveness (Fresh Start) Policy.
  • INCOMPLETES: If your SAP status was unsatisfactory in part due to an Incomplete Grade, please contact Student Financial Services immediately upon receiving your grade change.  We will recalculate your SAP based on the grade change.
  • REPEATED COURSES: The SAP policy will follow the college policy on repeated courses.  Students may repeat a course.  Please refer to the STCC academic policy to determine which letter grade will be used.  All repeated courses are included in attempted courses.

Updated May, 2015