Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Revised September 2014
NOTE: For purposes of financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress, an Academic Year is defined as 2 semesters. Summer terms are considered one-half of an academic year for financial aid SAP purposes.
Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is a term used to describe a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a degree or certificate. SAP is required to receive all federal and state financial aid.
Federal regulations require the Financial Aid Office to apply reasonable standards for measuring whether a student is making progress toward a degree. This is to ensure that students receiving funds are successfully progressing through their program of study.
If you do not meet the minimum requirements, you could lose your eligibility for financial aid.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
Student academic progress is measured at the end of each semester against the following qualitative and quantitative standards: cumulative grade point average (GPA), completion rate (pace), maximum time frame and meeting the academic standards of your school or college (e.g., the College of Engineering and Science, the School of Architecture, etc.).
Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)
The required cumulative GPA is a 2.0 for undergraduate students. At any time that it becomes mathematically impossible for the student to meet the GPA requirement by the time the student would complete enough credit hours to graduate, the student becomes ineligible for federal aid.
Completion Rate (Pace)
At least 67% of all credit hours attempted must have passing grades that can be applied to the degree. The 67% completion rate maintains a pace of progression toward the degree or certificate that ensures completion of the academic credential within the maximum time frame allowed. The pace of progress is calculated by dividing cumulative hours that you have successfully completed by the cumulative hours you have attempted. This includes hours attempted for which you do not receive credit, such as repeated courses which do not count toward your degree and classes taken prior to re-starting your degree program.
NOTE: Credit hours transferred from other schools that are accepted toward completion of a student’s MCC program count as hours attempted and hours completed. However, transfer credit hours are not included in the calculation of a student’s grade point average.
Maximum Time Frame
Students must complete a degree or certificate program in no more than 150% of the published length of the program in credit hours. Examples:
Undergraduate Associate degrees that require 62 credit hours:
Attempted credit hours may not exceed 93 (62 credits x 150% = 93 credits).
Student must complete degree in no more than the maximum number of calendar years from the date s/he began the program AND student must complete at least 67% of credit hours attempted during any given semester AND attempted credit hours may not exceed 150% of the required credit hours for the student’s program of study.
NOTE: If at any point it becomes mathematically impossible for the student to meet degree completion and/or grade point requirements prior to the maximum time frame, the student immediately becomes ineligible for future federal (and/or) state financial aid.
Each aid recipient’s record will be evaluated at the end of each semester to determine if the student is meeting the standards described above. Students with classes that require more than one semester to receive a grade will be evaluated both on a semester basis for any classes graded at the end of the term, and at the completion of the class for multi-semester classes. If the student has reached the maximum number of scheduled hours or maximum years without earning a degree or it is mathematically impossible for the student to do so in the remaining number of hours or time frame, the student must be excluded from further participation in federal financial aid programs.
Financial Aid Warning
Students will receive a “financial aid warning” email notice through their Campus Cruiser address the first time they have experienced academic difficulty which results in not meeting the SAP standards. This email will remind them of the minimum academic requirements for their aid programs and strongly urge them to take advantage of the academic services that are available to students at MCC. Students should meet with their academic advisor to discuss strategies for a successful semester. Students will be eligible to receive federal aid during this warning semester. Students should check their Campus Cruiser/Web Advisor /SAP Status at the end of each semester to verify their Satisfactory Academic Progress status.
Financial Aid Unsatisfactory Status
Students who are not meeting SAP standards after a semester with a warning status or who attend multi-term classes may appeal to have their aid eligibility reinstated. If the appeal is approved the student will be offered a financial aid probation contract. If the student on financial aid probation meets the terms of the probation, he/she will be permitted to continue to participate in the federal student aid programs for a subsequent semester. Students who have been placed on probation shall be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress for the purposes of receiving financial aid as long as they continue to meet the academic requirements outlined in their probationary contract which may extend to one or more semesters.
Financial Aid Probation Status
The Financial Aid Office will review the records of students who are on financial aid probation at the end of each semester to determine continued eligibility.
If the student does not meet the terms of the probation, the student will forfeit eligibility for all federal and state financial aid programs.
Federal regulations require that these standards apply to all students, even to first-time aid applicants who have previously enrolled at Middlesex County College, or to those who have not been formally placed on probation.
Loss of Eligibility Due to Lack of Satisfactory Progress
A student who has lost eligibility to participate in federal or state student aid programs for reasons of academic progress can regain that eligibility by enrolling at his/her own expense and demonstrating that he/she is capable of completing a semester without any failures, incompletes or withdrawals and showing the ability to complete his/her certificate/degree requirements in a more regular fashion and by submitting an appeal for reinstatement. The mere passage of time will not ordinarily restore eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory progress.
Students who have been academically dismissed from the college but who are subsequently given permission to re-enroll are not automatically eligible to continue to participate in federal, state, or institutional aid programs. Admissions decisions are totally separate from funding decisions.
The SAP appeal must include:
- An explanation of your overall situation, including your entire academic history at MCC, detailing the circumstances that contributed to your inability to meet the Financial Aid satisfactory Academic Progress Standards.
- An explanation of circumstances that contributed to your most recent unsuccessful semester.
- Demonstrate what you have done to correct the problems that have hindered your success.
- Attach supporting documents, such as obituaries, medical notices, tutoring contracts, etc.
Students should not assume that a SAP appeal will be approved and accept responsibility for paying their tuition and fees if the appeal is denied.
Grades and Credits
Attempted credit hours include the following whether or not paid for with financial aid:
- Earned Hours (A-D)
- Earned Hours (QA – QD)
- Withdrawal (W)
- Failure (F, QF)
- Incomplete (I)
- Course in progress grade has not yet been assigned (IP)
- Transfer Credit (T)
If a student repeats a course, credit hours for each registration in the course will be added to his/her attempted credit hours total. Only the most recent grade received in the course will be included in the calculation of the undergraduate student’s cumulative GPA.
If a student is dismissed and then re-admitted as a new start, courses taken prior to the dismissal are counted for purposes of the 67% completion rate and the maximum time allowed.
NOTE: Federal financial aid will pay for only one repeat of a previously passed course.
- Withdrawal from Courses: If a student withdraws from a course after the drop/add period the course credit hours will be added to his/her attempted credit hours total.
- Remedial Courses: Credit hours for each remedial course a student takes are included in the calculation of his/her attempted credit hours total but not in the calculation of his/her GPA.
- Incomplete Courses: Credit hours for incomplete courses are included in the calculation of a student’s attempted credit hours total but not in the calculation of his/her GPA.
- Audit Courses: Credit hours are not earned for audited courses; therefore, they are not included in the calculation of a student’s attempted credit hours total or GPA.
- Pass/Fail Courses: Credit hours for pass/fail courses are included in the calculation of a student’s attempted credit hours total but not in the calculation of his/her GPA.
- Change Majors Courses: For students who change majors, the credit hours taken under all majors will be included in the calculation of the attempted credit hours total, the GPA calculation, and the maximum time frame for degree completion.
You may receive federal financial aid payments for no more than 30 hours of non-credit remedial course work. This restriction does not apply to English as a Second Language courses.
This restriction holds for all the federal grants and loans described on this site. You can, however, still receive federal financial aid payments for credit bearing course work, subject to your ability to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
Student Support Services
The Financial Aid Office encourages any student experiencing academic difficulties to utilize the resources available at Middlesex County College. These are valuable resources to assist you if you are struggling to maintain satisfactory academic progress. You do not have to be on probation or in a warning status to use these resources!
Tutoring Center, Johnson Learning Center, Room 240
Counseling & Career Services
Edison Hall, Room 100
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form
MCC SAP Appeal Form (click to download)