Satisfactory Academic Progress

Q: I have heard that in order to maintain certain forms of financial aid, a student has to maintain “Satisfactory Academic Progress.” What does this mean exactly?

A: Each school has a satisfactory academic progress policy for financial aid purposes and there can be variation across institutions. Typically, there are three components: minimum GPA, the percentage of cumulative units attempted that must be successfully completed, and the requirement that students complete their educational program within a maximum time frame of 150% of the published program’s requirements.

GPA requirements are often set at a minimum of 2.0 but you should check your school’s policy to confirm. The percentage of units that must be successfully completed also varies and generally ranges between 65-80%. Each institution’s policy can typically be found on their website.

The final requirement depends on the type of program a student is enrolled in. For example, if the student is in an Associate Degree program that requires 60 units, the maximum number of units that could be taken before losing financial aid eligibility would be 150% of that or 90 units.

In some cases, a student may be able to appeal for a temporary waiver of the satisfactory academic progress rules. These circumstances include when the failure to make satisfactory academic progress was due to injury or illness of the student, death of a relative of the student or other special circumstances. Students in this circumstance should consult with the financial aid office or foster youth program.

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