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%.

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. 

You can find the appeal form online by clicking on the Student Forms link from your Financial Aid Checklist on MyHub. If you do not see an appeal option after logging on to Student Forms, please contact the OneStop Office for assistance. In addition, an Academic Plan is required and can be found on the Financial Aid Forms page.

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% 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. 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

Cumulative records 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, and transfer credits from other institutions. Attempted credit hours will be determined at the end of the drop period each term.

The student will be placed on a Warning status the first term if his/her academic transcript does not meet the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) with one exception. Students who fail to complete any courses within their first term of enrollment (a 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.

A student can regain eligibility by completing at least one additional term of half-time work and maintaining the standards of the policy. The classes must be part of the student's academic program. This is an out-of-pocket expense. When this is accomplished, the student must notify the financial aid office and submit an academic plan (see below). Financial aid is reinstated on an Academic Plan status. Progress is monitored and the Academic Plan status is extended as long as the student follows the academic plan each semester until the cumulative record meets the standard or the student graduates. Alternately, the student may submit an appeal (see below).

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. An Appeals Committee determines whether the appeal is approved. The decision of the committee is final and cannot be appealed further.

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. 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 One Stop Office with questions regarding SAP.


If you have any additional questions about your academic progress, contact the OneStop Office at 319-398-7600 or 1-877-386-9101, or on the second floor of Kirkwood Hall.