Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic ProgressIn accordance with Federal and State regulations, all students receiving federal and state financial aid are required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to remain eligible to receive financial aid. Failure to meet the SAP standards described below will result in loss of federal and state financial aid with the exception of the California College Promise Grant. For information on the academic and progress standards for the California College Promise Grant, visit the State Aid Programs page.

What Does SAP Stand For?

SAP Standards

    • Grade Point Average (GPA)
      All students are expected to maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
    • Minimum Units Completed (Pace)
      All students must complete at least 67% of all attempted units.
    • Maximum Time Frame

      All students must complete their program within 150% of the published length of the program. If at any point in time it is determined that the student cannot complete their course of study within the 150% time frame, they will be immediately disqualified from future financial aid, with the exception of the California College Promise Grant, for the remainder of their program, even if currently meeting the SAP standards.


      • AA/AS programs of 60 units must be completed within 90 units (a 60 unit program length multiplied by 150% equates to a 90 unit maximum time frame)
      • Certificate programs of 30 units must be completed within 45 units (a 30 unit program length multiplied by 150% equates to a 45 unit maximum time frame)

All Mt. SAC students are encouraged to utilize the numerous academic resources available in order to meet SAP Standards. To learn more about the different tutoring services on campus, which includes tutoring in various subjects in the evenings and on weekends, please visit the Mt. SAC Tutoring Centers webpage.

SAP Status

A student’s SAP status will be evaluated at the conclusion of the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. Students who are not meeting the SAP Standards described above will be placed under a Warning or Suspended status, dependent on whether they were previously in a Satisfactory or Warning status. An explanation of each SAP status is provided below.

    • Satisfactory
      Students meeting and who continue to meet SAP Standards at the end of each term will be assigned a Satisfactory SAP status. Students with this SAP status are eligible to receive financial aid.
    • Warning
      Students previously assigned a Satisfactory SAP status, and who later do not meet SAP Standards at the end of a term, will be moved to a Warning SAP status. Once under a Warning status, students will have only one term (Fall, Winter/Spring, Summer) in which they can complete coursework in order to meet SAP standards. Students with this SAP status are eligible to receive financial aid.
    • Suspended

      Students previously assigned a Warning SAP status, and who do not meet SAP Standards at the end of a term in which they were enrolled while under a Warning SAP status, will be moved to a Suspended SAP status. Students with this SAP status are no longer eligible to receive financial aid. Additionally, if at any point in time it is determined that a student cannot complete their course of study within the 150% Maximum Time Frame, they will be immediately moved to a Suspended status. 

      Once under a Suspended status, students will have one of two options:

      • Continue to enroll in coursework, without receiving financial aid, until financial aid eligibility is regained by meeting SAP Standards 
      • Complete the SAP Appeal Process
    • Probation

      Students who have submitted a complete SAP Appeal Form, and whose SAP Appeal is approved, are placed under a financial aid Probation status. While under financial aid Probation, a student will regain financial aid eligibility for one semester. At the conclusion of the semester for which they were under financial aid Probation, each student’s academic performance is re-evaluated to determine their SAP status for the following semester: Satisfactory, Suspension, or Probation.

SAP Appeal Process

Under certain conditions, a student may be eligible to appeal for reinstatement of aid without meeting SAP Standards. At Mt. SAC, appeals are offered in the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters, during a specified period of time (see SAP Appeal Form form for specific deadlines). Students who are disqualified will receive notification of their option to appeal via their Mt. SAC portal; and will include the time period that appeals will be accepted during a given semester.

Such reasons a student may be eligible to appeal may include but are not limited to:

    • Student experienced extenuating circumstances

      Extenuating circumstances must ALWAYS be documented or the appeal will not be reviewed. Extenuating circumstances are considered to be (but not limited to):

      1. Serious illness, injury or medical condition requiring doctor's care.
      2. Death of an immediate family member or
      3. Extenuating circumstances that were beyond the student's control.

      Submit a thorough and clearly written explanation, indicating the extenuating circumstance that prevented the student from meeting SAP Standards. Supporting documentation must be submitted to the financial aid office in order for the appeal to be reviewed. Please note, documentation of extenuating circumstances for the semester(s) where there was a lack of progress must match up with the written explanation.

    • Change in major or program of study
      In order for an appeal to be approved, the new unit count (once all non-degree applicable attempted units are backed out) must be under the new maximum time frame. A formal change of major with the Counseling Department must be submitted prior to completing the appeal process.
    • Maximum Time frame due to remedial coursework

      Students who have reached the maximum time frame of attempted units, but a portion of the unit total is comprised of remedial coursework, may consider appealing if the exclusion of remedial coursework will reduce the total units attempted within the maximum time frame requirement. 

      It is important to remember that generally, students become eligible for financial assistance again when they are once again meeting SAP standards. The appeal process is designed to be the exception to the rule when extenuating circumstances exist outside the student's control and/or a change of major occurred where the student is now under the maximum time frame for the new program. Students should identify why they were disqualified and what their reasons are before they consider submitting a formal appeal.

All appeal decisions from the Board of Appeals are FINAL.

SAP Appeal Required Items

    • Appeal Form
      Students must submit a completed SAP Appeal Form that includes a written statement explaining the circumstance(s) which prevented the student from making academic progress and which will support a reinstatement.
    • Educational Plan
      Students must include a Comprehensive Educational Plan prepared by a Counselor or Educational Advisor. All plans must be current and must include all courses needed to complete the student’s educational goal. Additionally, plans must be signed and dated by the Counselor or Educational Advisor. In order to have a complete plan, students must provide evaluated academic transcripts of coursework completed at other colleges (if applicable) to the Counselor or Educational Advisor during the meeting.
    • Evaluated Academic Transcripts
      Students must include academic transcripts from all other previously attended colleges.
    • Supporting Documentation
      Students must provide supporting documentation which proves the unusual and extenuating circumstances which affected the student’s ability to meet academic progress requirements.

Repeat Courses

Students who have passed a course, and who have decided to repeat the previously passed course, will only be eligible to receive financial aid for one subsequent attempt. Both attempts, even if aid was not received, will count in the student’s SAP calculation. 

Coursework transferred from other institutions will be counted when determining whether the student meets all required SAP Standards. Students who believe that prior coursework is not applicable toward their current Mt. SAC academic program may contest the units through the SAP Appeal Process.

American Language Courses (formerly known as ESL)

Financial aid may be received for basic skills (remedial) courses if these courses are a prerequisite for entrance into a regular college program. Aid cannot be received for more than 30 attempted units of remedial coursework. American Language (AMLA) coursework must be part of an eligible program of study to receive financial aid. AMLA coursework is not an approved program in itself. A student enrolled in AMLA classes, who is not in an eligible program of study, is not eligible for financial aid funds. AMLA and basic skills coursework will count toward the 2.0 GPA and 67% of units completion requirements but will not count towards the maximum time frame limit.