Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Programs

Current SAP Policy: PDF

Federal and State regulations require all post-secondary institutions to establish policies and procedures for measuring the academic progress of their students, as one of the eligibility criteria for receiving financial aid. Mid-Continent University’s academic progress policy for financial aid students governs the receipt of funds under all federal and state financial aid programs (grants, loans, and work-study).

All students must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) towards the attainment of a degree or certificate to receive and to remain eligible for financial aid. Students who are not making SAP are in Unsatisfactory Academic Progress status (USAP). Students who do not meet all criteria as listed, are USAP and will be TERMINATED from all relevant financial aid programs until such time as they have met the criteria to be SAP. Academic progress will be evaluated once per semester at the end of each semester, regardless of the number of semesters the student has been enrolled. The calculated status will determine the receipt of financial aid for the subsequent academic semesters. Students in USAP status may enroll and pay out of pocket during their periods of ineligibility; however doing so does not guarantee that they will regain eligibility.

SAP for financial aid is based on three criteria:

1. A maximum timeframe: as measured by the number of attempted credits allowed.

2. A quantitative measure: The cumulative number of credits satisfactorily completed in relation to cumulative credits attempted.

3. A qualitative measure: The cumulative grade point average (CGPA) in relation to credits attempted.

The calculations used to evaluate academic progress include all periods of the student’s enrollment.  Credits attempted include those classes a grade was received, including A, B, C, D, F, P, I, WP, WF, and W.

Maximum Timeframe Measure

There is a maximum amount of time that a student can take to complete his/her program of study, which generally is 150% of the length of the program measured in credits (128 credit hours minimum x 150%  = 192 credit hours maximum). All credits are counted when calculating the maximum timeframe completion rate, including repeated courses, withdrawals, credits transferred in from another college or university, AP, CLEP, Dantes, Challenge Exams, Portfolios, ACE, EL, AP, college-level credits, and remedial credits. All terms of enrollment also are included, even those in which the student may not have been an aid recipient.  

Quantitative Measure

All students must receive a passing grade in at least 67% of all credits attempted. Passing grades are A, B, C, D or P. Grades of I (Incomplete), W (Withdrawal), F (Failure), WF, and WP are NON-passing, unsatisfactory grades, which count as credits attempted but do not count as credits completed. Non-passing grades will negatively impact the calculation.

The calculation is based on the formula below:

Cumulative number of hours student successfully completed
         Cumulative number of hours student attempted

Attempted credits are defined as all credits for which a student receives a letter grade (limited to A, B, C, D, F, I, WF, WP, and W).  Earned hours are defined as all credits for which a student receives a letter grade (limited to A, B, C, D, F, I, WF, WP, W, P, and CR).  Repeated courses are included in credits attempted. Institutional examinations are counted as credits attempted when completed satisfactorily.  Courses with grades of AU are neither counted as credits attempted nor completed.

Qualitative Measure

Credits Attempted (undergraduate)     

Minimum GPA Required

0 - 29


30 - 59


60 - 89


90 +




All students must have a cumulative GPA that falls at or above the above minimums.

The cumulative GPA under this SAP policy is the GPA based upon all credits (including remedial) the student has attempted at any College.


If a Student does not meet SAP after one payment period (semester) they will be given a Financial Aid Warning.

  • Financial Aid Warning--No appeal is required, the student will be notified that they failed to meet SAP requirements and why.  They will also be notified as to the steps they can take to become compliant.  The student will continue to receive Title IV funds for that semester/payment period.

If a student on Financial Aid Warning meets SAP requirements the following semester their Financial Aid Warning will cease and they will be eligible to continue receiving Title IV funds.  This means that a student could be given a Financial Aid Warning multiple times in their student careers as long as they are not received in two (2) consecutive semesters.  If a student on Financial Aid Warning does not meet SAP requirements they will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension--suspended from receiving Title IV funds until the student begins meeting SAP requirements.

The student MAY be allowed to Appeal to the Appeals Committee (by filling our a filing this form) due to special circumstances, and if the appeal is successful the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation (If mathematically possible to meet SAP in one additional semester, the student can possibly receive financial aid).

  • Appeals may be filed based on
    • Death of a relative
    • Student injury or illness (student must provide documentation)
    • Other specific circumstance

If the student on Financial Aid Probation becomes compliant with SAP requirements he or she will remain eligible to receive Title IV funds.  They are no longer on Financial Aid Warning or Probation.  If the student, after regaining SAP requirements, falls below SAP requirements in a later semester the process starts over with a Financial Aid Warning being issued in the first deficient semester, then a Financial Aid Suspension with possibility of Appeal and Financial Aid Probation for a semester.  If a student on Probation fails to reach SAP requirements they will automatically be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will not be able to receive Title IV funds until they become compliant with SAP requirements.  No further appeals are allowed if a student does not meet SAP requirements in a Probation semester.

A student placed on Financial Aid Suspension cannot receive Title IV funds.  If any student on suspension becomes compliant with SAP requirements they will be allowed to receive Title IV funds again.  This means if the student after reaching SAP requirements falls below them in a later semester the process will begin again. 

The University may choose to limit the amount of appeals available to a student or place conditions on students that have already been suspended once (for example: more meetings with academic advisor, plan to succeed at the University and remain SAP compliant, etc.) 

In very rare circumstances a student who has not meet SAP requirements after being on Financial Aid Probation can be placed on an Academic Plan and remain eligible for Title IV funds as long as they meet certain conditions to be set up by the Appeals Committee.  This is only in rare and extreme circumstances which are determined on a case by case basis with agreement among the Appeals Committee.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Important Points:

  • The student will be required to write a letter explaining the specific reasons they have not met SAP requirements after both Financial Aid Warning and Financial Aid Probation.  The letter must also include the student’s suggested plan for how they could meet the SAP requirements at a specific point in time.
    • The Academic Plan must ensure that the student will be able to meet SAP by a specific point in time
      • The Academic Plan MUST be for a finite period.  It must conclude at a defined, future point in time.
        • For example if a student had 2 REAL hardships that prevented them from making SAP (death in the family the 1st year, serious illness the next year) and the student could still reach SAP with one or 2 semesters (keeping in mind that they must still finish within 150% of the period length) they would be eligible for an Academic Plan. 
  • The Academic Plan MUST be very well defined to ensure SAP in a finite period with conditions stated.  These conditions could include but are not limited to:
      • More frequent contact/check-in with Academic Advisor
      • Lowered Amount of classes
      • Less Credit Hours allowed to be attempted
      • Specific classes being chosen for the student
      • Tutoring sessions
  • If a student fails to meet a condition, or if consistent progress does not occur that would allow the student to meet SAP requirements within the defined point in time, then the student must be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. 
  • The final Academic Plan should be a formal written document which is placed in the student’s file and reviewed by the Appeals Committee who should monitor the student’s progress at the end of each payment period.
    • The plan MUST not only be created but monitored as well, documentation of monitoring the plan may be necessary
  • If the Registrar does not receive the grades for students prior to the start of the next payment period.
    • The compliance officer will get a progress report from faculty member.  The student is allowed to register for the first class and receive the book for the first class.  After review, compliance officer will give recommendation to the Appeals Committee.
  • If a student has not received Title IV funding previously at your school and subsequently applies for Title IV funding, you are obligated to confirm a student’s eligibility and SAP is a part of that review.
    • Therefore if a student has been doing poorly but has NOT received financial aid in the past and then applies to begin receiving the aid, a SAP analysis of the student must be performed before the student can begin receiving Title IV funds
  • If a school offers a one-semester probation, and the student does not attend the next consecutive semester, the student is still not eligible for Title IV aid in the next semester that they attend
    • It is important to remember that the University is required to keep track of a student’s SAP progress at Mid-Continent.  If a student leaves and returns at a later point, the school is required to know or review and always remind the student of their SAP standing.  Just because the student left for a period of time does not mean the student is okay to return.
  • The 150% Pace Criteria CAN be appealed but it should be in the most rare circumstances
    • This is an institutional decision based on professional judgment.   It is suggested that the University work with the student’s academic advisor and Registrar to ensure that the school is granting an appeal for only the hours appropriate for graduation
      • It would be best if the University were to limit this to a student that has a satisfactory GPA and only needs a semester or less to finish the program.  The student would still need to have a satisfactory GPA to appeal the 150% rule
    • This policy only applies to recipients of  Title IV funds, the student could remain at the school past the 150% Pace requirement but would not be eligible to receive Title IV funds