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 Office of Financial Aid 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 and PACE (quantitative) standards. Students may only file one appeal per academic year and have a lifetime maximum of two at Cleveland State Community College (CSCC). Students who fail to meet SAP standards are not eligible for Pell or student loans. Students at CSCC who fail to meet SAP standards can only change their major twice.

SAP Appeal deadlines*:

*If a deadline falls on a weekend or a day that the campus is closed, the deadline will be the following business day.

  • Fall - July 15th
  • Spring - December 15th
  • Summer - May 15th

In addition to submitting an appeal for financial aid, all students are required to complete Life Skills. Please refer to the Life Skills link in the side bar of this page.


Measures a student’s quality of performance in terms of GPA, including developmental studies coursework.  A student who does not meet one of the qualitative standards will be placed on financial aid warning for the subsequent term of enrollment.  During the warning semester, a student can still receive federal aid.  A student who meets the qualitative standards while on warning shall be placed back in good standing.  A student who fails to meet the qualitative standards while on warning will be suspended from financial aid for the subsequent term. Cleveland State Community College does not allow a student to appeal for not meeting GPA standards. A student must raise their GPA without financial aid assistance which includes student loans. Once the GPA matches the standards below, a student can appeal for PACE or exceeding maximum timeframe.
Each semester a student must meet the following cumulative GPA standard:

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 Cleveland State Office of Financial Aid calculates the Pace at which you are progressing in your SAP academic plan by dividing the cumulative number of credits you have successfully completed by the cumulative number of credits you have attempted. You must successfully complete 67% of attempted credit hours.
Unsatisfactory grades of F, I, W, or NP do not count as completed courses but will count as attempted credits.
You must be making progress toward a degree. To quantify academic progress, Cleveland State Community College must set a maximum timeframe in which you are expected to finish a program.

Developmental Studies Maximum Time Limit:

A student can receive federal financial aid for up to 30 attempted semester hours of developmental studies coursework.  Federal aid for a student who has exceeded this maximum will be based on college level courses only.  This time limit cannot be appealed.

Maximum Time Limit:

A student may receive federal aid until a certificate or an Associate’s Degree is earned, or the maximum time limit (90 attempted hours) is reached according to the table below.  A student who has reached the maximum attempted hours allowed toward a degree or has earned an Associate Degree or beyond will be become ineligible for financial aid the following semester. A student is not given a warning period for exceeding maximum timeframe (90 hours).  If a student must take additional hours, the student must submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The student must submit a Financial Aid Academic Plan with the Appeal Form.  Maximum hours attempted excludes developmental studies coursework.
If the student exceeds the maximum time frame, 90 hours, and the appeal is approved, the student may be given up to 120 attempted hours to complete the program. If the student does not complete the program by the 120 attempted hours, the student is ineligible for aid and an appeal cannot be filed. Student will need to complete the program and pay out of pocket.
If the Financial Aid Academic Plan states a specific number of credit hours, and the hours are under 120, the student must follow the plan.
If a student has a Bachelor’s degree, aid MAY be awarded for core curriculum only. This will be a decision of the Committee. However, if a student has a Bachelor’s degree and has over 140 attempted hours, he/she will not be granted financial aid at CSCC. This policy cannot be appealed.

Program Length Maximum Hours Attempted
25 – 29 hours 38 hours
30 – 37 hours 45 hours
38 – 47 hours 57 hours
48 – 59 hours 72 hours
60 – 65 hours 90 hours

Transfer Hours:

Transfer hours accepted at CSCC will count as attempted and completed when calculating SAP.

Repeat Coursework:

A student can only repeat a previously passed course one time and receive financial aid. If a student attempts a previously passed course a third time, the student will NOT receive financial aid for that course.


Financial Aid Warning Status

For the first occurrence of not meeting SAP standards, you will be placed in a Financial Aid Warning status, which means you are one term away from losing your financial aid eligibility. You are still eligible for financial aid; however, should you not meet SAP standards again, your financial aid will be suspended.

Financial Aid Suspension Status

For the second occurrence of not meeting SAP standards, you are immediately placed on Financial Aid Suspension. As long as you are in suspension, you are not eligible for federal financial aid. You may appeal this status.


If you lose federal aid eligibility because you are not meeting SAP standards, you have the right to file an appeal for financial aid. CSCC does not allow appeals for failing to maintain GPA. If your appeal is approved you will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. If your appeal is approved with your Financial Aid Academic Plan, you will be on a continuous Probation until you regain eligibility or complete the terms of your Financial Aid Academic Plan.

To appeal, you must submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form with supporting documentation. That form provides a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that may give rise to an appeal. You MUST submit all documents for the appeal by the deadline date. All appeals require a written statement from the student explaining why he/she failed to meet SAP standards and the steps he/she will take to regain eligibility.

The deadline dates to submit an appeal are listed below:

Semester Deadline Date
Fall July 1
Spring December 1
Summer May 1

If you do not submit your appeal by the deadline date, your appeal will be reviewed for the following semester.

It may be required for you to meet with the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The Financial Aid Office will notify you of the date and time. You also have the option to meet with the Appeals Committee. If you choose to meet with the Appeals Committee, all documents must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by the Appeal deadline date.