Satisfactory Academic Progress

The following standards are for all financial aid recipients.

Polk State College is required by federal regulations to establish standards of satisfactory progress for students receiving Title IV assistance. Federal guidelines require that standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) be applied to all students who are receiving financial aid here at Polk State College. These standards must be equal to or stricter than the standards required of students who are not receiving financial assistance.

SAP measures whether a student is progressing adequately toward the completion of his or her degree or certificate program of study. It is determined in terms of grade point average and course completion. To be eligible for Title IV funding, there will be a review of all periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not financial aid was received.

Progress is assessed by evaluating three components:

    1. A Grade Point Average (GPA), a qualitative measurement
    2. A Completion Rate, a quantitative measurement
    3. A Maximum Timeframe for program completion


A student must demonstrate progress each term by meeting the following SAP rules:

    1. Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0
    2. Minimum completion rate of 67% each term
    3. Maximum time frame of 150% of defined academic program length for associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs required for graduation

Students must meet all three (3) components in order to remain in good standing and continue to receive financial aid.


Completion Rate is calculated by dividing the total number of attempted credits by the total number of earned credits.

Attempted Credits include successfully completed courses (A, B, C, D), withdrawals (W), Incompletes (I), and non-passing grades.

Earned Credits include Successfully completed courses (A, B, C, D, P).

Maximum Timeframe is calculated by multiplying the published program length by 150%.

SAP standards are calculated using the following:

Qualitative Standards
Represents and measures the grade point average (GPA); all students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to remain eligible for financial aid.

Cumulative Standards
To remain eligible for financial aid, all students (full-time or part-time) must earn and successfully complete 67% of a minimum number of semester hours attempted (Pace). Attempted hours are defined as hours the student is enrolled in and charged at the end of the drop/add period.

Maximum Time Frame
Students must complete their degree or eligible certificate program within the 150% maximum time frame of the published program hours that are required for their degree or eligible certificate program. It is recommended that students receiving financial aid enroll in courses that count towards their degree or certificate program.

Students seeking second degrees and students with double majors are monitored like any other student under this SAP policy. If the student exceeds the maximum time frame allowed for their respective programs they will be included as failed SAP when determining SAP for maximum timeframe eligibility.

For example, an associate degree program requiring 60 credit hours would require completion of the degree within 90 attempted credit hours. A bachelor’s degree requiring 120 credit hours would require completion of the degree within 180 attempted credit hours. (See examples below.)

Note: For AS Degree programs with more than 60 program hours, calculations may be determined on a case-by-case and individual basis. See the SAP calculation worksheet to calculate the percentage for meeting 150%.

Student StatusAverage Program HoursPercentageMaximum Timeframe
Associate Degree60150%90
Bachelor's Degree120150%180
  1. SAP Monitoring and Evaluation

    Polk State College’s Office of Student Financial Services reviews students’ academic progress after grades are posted at the end of each semester, each academic year. The evaluation period is based on attendance in all prior semesters taken whether federal aid was received or not. Credits evaluated will include all credits attempted at Polk State College, transfer credits, and or credits through consortium agreements.

    The academic year at Polk State College consists of the fall, spring, and summer enrollment periods. Fall begins the academic year, and summer completes it. If a student changes majors or programs, all credit hours reflected on the Polk State College transcript will be included in the minimum Financial Aid GPA, Completion Ratio, and Maximum Time Frame evaluation.

  2. Remedial, Incompletes, Transfer Credits, and all Withdrawals

      • Transfer students are required to meet the same SAP requirements for eligibility for financial aid. After the transcript evaluation process, only the accepted and posted credit hours will be determined.
      • Remedial, non-credit, incomplete, and withdrawn courses after drop/add are included as semester hours attempted.
      • Failing grades (F) are included in the GPA calculation. Withdrawals are not used in the GPA calculation. Incomplete grades (I) are also not included, until a letter grade is posted.

    Note: Grades of F, I, W, W1, W2, and courses not yet graded are considered attempted, but not meeting SAP progress standards for the purpose of financial aid.

  3. Conditions for a Term of Warning

    At the end of each term, both the GPA and course-completion rate must meet the required SAP standards. A student is placed on Warning status immediately following the first term in which the GPA requirement or completion rate is unmet (or during the first term after returning to Good Standing regarding SAP). During the term of Warning, the student is still eligible for financial aid for one term. There is no limit to the number of times a student can be placed on SAP-Warning status.

    A student cannot fail (F), withdraw (W), or receive a grade of Incomplete (I) while on SAP-Warning status, or the individual is placed on Suspension in the next semester. 

  4. Probation

    A student is placed on Probation after submitting a written appeal, and the appeal is approved. A Financial Aid Academic Plan will be assigned to the student, and the student is expected to follow the Academic Plan. The Academic Plan will be reviewed at the end of each term. If the student does not follow the Academic Plan and is not meeting SAP at the end of the term, the student will be placed on Suspension (Failed Probation status). Students cannot fail (F), withdraw (W), or receive an incomplete (I) grade during the probationary period.

  5. Suspension  

    A student is placed on Suspension for the following:

      • Failed Warning: failed to meet the GPA and/or completion rate after the term of warning.
      • Maximum Hours: exceeds the Maximum Time Frame allowed for degree.
      • Failed SAP Probation: fails to meet the Financial Aid Academic Plan/Degree Audit requirements on an approved appeal.

    All students placed on Suspension status will no longer meet eligibility requirements to receive Financial Aid. However, a student may be eligible to appeal.

  6. Appeal Process

    Students who fail to meet the Satisfactory Academic Process standards may appeal only if they have a documented extenuating circumstance that has caused negative impact on their ability to meet the SAP standards. Students will be notified via their Polk student email after grades have posted each semester. Students may follow the appeal process outlined below. Students will not have eligibility for any further financial aid until they meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards or have an approved appeal on file with the Office of Student Financial Services.

      1. GPA and/or Completion Ratio Appeal: For appeals where the minimum GPA and/or Completion Ratio was unsatisfactory in an SAP evaluation.
      2. Maximum Time Frame Appeal: For appeals where the student has attempted more than 150% of the required program and/or degree hours. All students must see an Academic Advisor to obtain an Academic Plan indicating the specific courses remaining to complete their degree. Only these courses can be taken and approved as eligible courses for financial aid.
      • Extenuating circumstances include but are not limited to: personal illness or accident, serious illness or death of family, personal tragedy, or other circumstances beyond the control of the student.
      • Examples of documentation could include: an obituary, divorce decree, letter from physician, attorney, parole officer, employer, social services agency, etc.

    Note: Notarized third-party statements are recommended as a last resort. Letters from physicians, employers, etc. must be on company letterhead and are required to provide a timeline and or include dates specific to the term(s) the circumstance occurred.

    Note: Students cannot use the same circumstance or documentation from a previous approved appeal (c.f. 34 C.F.R 668.34).

  7. Steps to the Appeal Process

      1. Students must complete a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form from the financial aid website.
      2. Students must type or legibly write a detailed letter of appeal explaining the unusual circumstance that caused negative impact on their ability to meet the academic standards. And attach all necessary documentation to justify and support the circumstance. (See examples of documentation above.)
      3. Student must provide supporting documentation with timelines and dates specific to all terms they are appealing.
      4. Students must include in their statement how their situation has changed that will allow them to achieve satisfactory academic progress.
      5. Students must submit an academic plan/degree audit, which requires an Academic Advisor’s signature to verify required classes are needed and the student is on track to complete their degree.
      6. Students must submit completed Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal packet to the Office of Student Financial Services.
      7. After the SAP packet has been submitted to SFS, it will be reviewed and determined for financial aid eligibility.
      8. The student’s SAP appeal packet will be reviewed by the Financial Aid SAP Committee within 14 business days.
      9. Students will be notified via email of the decision made by the SAP Committee, if approved or denied.

    Complete SAP packets include: SAP form, supporting documentation, signed academic plan/degree audit from an Academic Advisor. Please note that you are responsible for all registration expenses until eligibility has been determined or unless otherwise notified.

    Incomplete SAP packets will be denied. All re-submits will be reviewed within 14 business days of submitting a complete SAP packet. Please note that you are responsible for all registration expenses until eligibility has been determined or unless otherwise notified.

    Note: Students cannot use the same circumstance or documentation from a previous approved appeal (c.f. 34 C.F.R 668.34).

  8. Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility

    A student who has lost financial aid eligibility may be reinstated after the student has taken classes to meet the minimum requirements of an overall GPA of 2.0 and a cumulative completion rate of 67% of all credit hours being evaluated or if approved on an SAP appeal.

    All classes taken at other institutions will be taken into consideration for reinstatement purposes. Students must be able to complete their degree or certificate within the 150% timeframe requirement of degree completion. Please note that you are responsible for all registration expenses until eligibility have been determined or unless otherwise notified.

    1. Monitoring Progress

    Academic progress for all degree-seeking and certificate programs will be monitored at the end of each semester.

    1. Repeated Courses

    Students may receive federal aid for repeated courses once after successful completion. All terms of enrollment are considered when reviewing Satisfactory Academic Progress regardless of the use of federal aid.

    1. Developmental Courses

    A student may receive aid for up to 30 attempted developmental hours. If this number is exceeded, financial aid cannot cover any further attempted developmental courses.

    1. Audit Courses

    Audited courses are not considered credits attempted or earned, and students cannot received financial aid for these courses.

    1. Clock Hours and Non-Term

    Clock hour and Open-Entry Early-Exit program academic progress is reviewed at the end of each payment period.