Satisfactory Academic Progress

Keep Your Grades Up to Keep Your Financial Aid

Once school begins, you'll want to maintain good grades. Federal regulations require that students make reasonable academic progress in order to continue receiving financial aid. It's officially called Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

SAP is measured by the student’s cumulative grade point average, percentage of credit hours earned in relation to those attempted, and the length of the academic program.

To assure that you're making progress toward earning a degree both in terms of number of hours completed and cumulative GPA, Kirkwood requires that you maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA and cumulative pace of 67 percent.

Understanding SAP

View this overview of the process to know your next step.



Appealing Your SAP Status

If you've experienced extenuating circumstances that prevented you from successfully achieving the required academic progress to maintain your financial aid, you still have options! Filing an appeal can help your side of the story be heard and help keep you achieve your goals in college. 

To complete your appeal and academic plan, you must first contact your financial aid counselor. You can locate your financial aid counselor's contact information in the financial aid tab of your MyHub account. You can contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance.

Collect supporting documentation that confirms your extenuating circumstance. This can be a detailed explanation of why you were not able to meet the standards of the policy. The circumstances need to be something that is out of your control and had a major impact on your academic success.

Then explain your plan for success. This should be a detailed explanation of what steps you will take to ensure you will meet your academic goals. Examples include: meeting with a counselor, tutoring, cutting back work hours, etc. The questions on the form will guide you in writing the appeal.

Note: Appeals without documentation will rarely be approved. (if you are on suspension because you have completed more than 150 percent of the credits needed for their program, leave this section empty for a financial aid advisor to complete.)

Contact your academic advisor or department coordinator to complete the Academic Plan form. You will find your advisor in MyHub by selecting "Support" and then the "Advising" tab. Together, you will discuss steps that will help you succeed. You will also go over your degree audit so you know what classes you need to graduate. 

Your advisor will help you figure out your class schedule for the following semester and discuss the requirement that each semester you are on an academic plan, you meet with an advisor before the end of the 6th week. Once you and the advisor have completed the plan, you should register for classes for the next semester.

Submit the completed appeal, supporting documentation, and Academic Plan within your Student Forms account by the deadline indicated for the term you are appealing.

Appeals received after the deadline will be considered for the following semester, and are reviewed by a committee. You will be sent an email informing you of the committee’s decision. If you are approved, you will be eligible for financial aid. You must then follow the academic plan until graduation, which includes meeting with your advisor each semester before the end of the 6th week.

Note: Having an appeal denied does not automatically remove you from the classes you registered for. To receive a 100 percent refund for a standard length class, you must withdraw by the end of the first week of classes. Find our complete refund policy.

SAP Policies

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations, HEA Sec. 484(c), §668.16, 668.34, require all schools participating in Title IV Federal Financial Aid programs to have a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy that conforms to the requirements detailed below. These requirements apply to all students regardless of program of study or enrollment level as one determinant of eligibility for financial aid.

Progress is measured by the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA), percentage of credit hours earned in relation to those attempted (Pace), and the length of the academic program. In order to assure that students make progress toward earning a degree both in terms of number of hours completed and cumulative GPA, Kirkwood Community College requires a student maintain the following standards: a cumulative 2.0 GPA and cumulative pace of 67%. Kirkwood applies standard rounding to Pace and rounds GPA to the third decimal.

Cumulative records of regular students are reviewed after each payment period to evaluate progress. All periods of registration, including summer term, will be evaluated regardless of whether or not financial aid was disbursed during the term. This includes remedial credits, ESL credits, credits taken while in high school, repeated credits, and transfer credits from other institutions. Attempted credit hours will be determined at the end of the drop period each term.

Withdrawals are considered when determining Pace but are not factored into the GPA calculation. Incomplete grades are also considered when determining Pace but are not factored into the GPA calculation. If a student completes a course after their SAP status has been determined, Pace and GPA will be updated at the next SAP evaluation.

The student is placed on a Warning status the first term his/her academic transcript does not meet the standards of SAP with one exception. Students with no transfer credits who fail to complete any courses within their first term of enrollment (combination of Fs and Ws) will be placed on Suspension for the following term.

If progress during the Warning term is adequate to bring the cumulative record up to the standard, the Warning status is removed. If progress in the Warning term is not enough to bring the cumulative record up to standard, the student will receive a Suspension status and be ineligible for financial aid. This suspension includes all scholarships, work-study, loans and grants.

In a situation where the student is only taking pass/fail classes in a semester and does not complete any credit during that semester, the student will go on either Warning or Suspension as appropriate.

Students who fail to meet the SAP standards are sent an email explaining their status and the steps to take to regain eligibility. They can also view their status on the Financial Aid Checklist.

The student has the right to appeal the SAP policy if he/she believes extenuating circumstances prevented him/her from meeting the standards of the policy. Examples of extenuating circumstances would include prolonged illness for which medical attention was received, or extreme personally uncontrollable circumstances. Appeals must be in writing and include documentation of the circumstances that led to the student’s academic performance along with an academic plan. The academic plan must be comprehensive enough that it shows how a student may reach a Satisfactory SAP status or successfully graduate. Appeals should also address changes made to ensure future academic success. Appeals must be submitted by the semester deadline. Appeals received after the deadline will be considered for the following semester. The number of appeals a student has submitted will be taken into consideration by the Appeals Committee. If a student pays for classes out of pocket and completes them, that will be taken into consideration by the Appeals Committee, which determines whether the appeal is approved. The decision of the committee is final and cannot be appealed further. Additionally, Kirkwood reserves the right to re-review SAP based on a grade change.

If an appeal is approved, the student is placed on an Academic Plan status. Academic Plan students must follow the academic plan until their cumulative record meets the standard or the student graduates. Students on an academic plan must maintain a term completion rate of 75% or higher and a term GPA of 2.0. If they fail to do so, they are placed on Suspension.

Federal regulations stipulate that students must complete their educational program in a reasonable length of time, which is defined as no more than 150% of the credit hours required for graduation in that program, regardless of major changes. For example, if a student is working towards a Liberal Arts-AA, which is 62 credit hours; he or she can receive aid up to 150% of the credits for that program, which is 93 credit hours. Once a student has exceeded 93 earned credits, he/she will be placed on suspension. All transfer credits are included in the earned credits including those earned as part of another degree or diploma. ELA credits are not counted as attempted credits when determining whether a student has completed 150% of the credits for graduation in the program. Students have the right to appeal the suspension as noted above. To continue to receive financial aid, they must follow the academic plan. Their academic plan may only contain courses that are required for their program. Students will be warned of this status at 125% of the credits required for graduation in their program. Students can contact the Financial Aid Office with questions regarding SAP.


If you have any additional questions about your academic progress, contact the Financial Aid office at 319-398-7600 or 1-877-386-9101, or on the third floor of Iowa Hall.