Admissions & Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

(Effective 9/2/2014)

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy 

Federal regulations require that students make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) towards the completion of their degree and further for the student to sustain good academic standing. Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, risk losing their eligibility for federal and state financial aid, and external scholarships/grants/loans.

SAP is assessed both qualitatively (by cumulative grade point average) and quantitatively (by earned credit hours).  Progress is assessed at the end of each semester to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility for future enrollment periods. Students not meeting these SAP standards are notified by the Office of Financial Aid (both by mail using their self-reported permanent address and through their Alma College email account) that they have become ineligible for future financial aid eligibility and the process for appeal. 

1.    Qualitative Measure

Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of (undergraduate students):

Semester 1

Semester 2

Semester 3

Semester 4+






2.    Quantitative Measure

Progress toward degree completion is measured by two components: (1) maximum timeframe and (2) completion percentage.  Both are necessary components to ensuring that the student is making progress toward degree completion and both standards must be met to be making satisfactory academic progress. Both standards and guidelines are provided below:

a.       Maximum Time Frame


Undergraduate Students


Full-time and Part-time


Students must complete their program within 150% of the program length.


Program length = 136 credits x 150% maximum time frame = 204 attempted credits.


Students who exceed 204 attempted credits will be deemed not making satisfactory academic progress and will lose their eligibility for financial aid.  Students may appeal this decision.


NOTE:  All college level attempted hours are included in the Maximum Time Frame calculation to determine Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) including: (a) MTH099, ACP100, ENG100; (b) Repeated, incomplete, and transfer credit hours; (c) Withdrawn credit hours; and (d) Credit hours attempted for which the student did not receive financial aid.

b.      Pace

Pace is measured by the following scale:

Pace = Cumulative number of hours (credit hours) that you have successfully completed
               Cumulative number of hours (credit hours) that you have attempted

Maintain minimum percentage of earned credit hours for all attempted credit hours (undergraduate students):

Percentage Rate



Financial Aid Warning

The first time a student does not meet SAP standards they will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for the next semester. This means they are one term away from losing their financial aid eligibility but are still eligible for financial aid for the subsequent semester.  Failure to meet SAP standards in the semester in which the student is on Financial Aid Warning will result in Financial Aid Denied.

Financial Aid Denied

If after a semester on Financial Aid Warning and the student still does not meet SAP standards, they are immediately placed on Financial Aid Denied status. The student will not receive federal or institutional financial aid but may appeal this status by completing the appeal form and submitting necessary documents.

Financial Aid Probation

If the student has successfully appealed a Financial Aid Denied status, they will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one term. This means the student can then receive financial aid for the next semester.  If the student does meet the SAP standards at the end of the Probation term, their SAP Status will reset back to meets SAP. If they do not meet the SAP standards at the end of the Probation term, they will be placed back into Denied status.

Academic Plan

Students on Financial Aid Warning and Financial Aid Probation will be expected to obtain a 2.0 grade point average for the following semester and take a minimum of 12 credit hours without withdrawing from any courses by the end of that semester OR if necessary, be placed on an individualized academic plan that ensures SAP is met and that the student gets back on track toward graduation.  Failure to meet the academic plan standards and/or SAP standards the student will be placed back into Financial Aid Denied status.

Our full policy can be viewed here

Important Note:  Financial Aid policies are not directly related to policies for academic admission. Reinstatement to the College after academic suspension or dismissal does not ensure that a student’s financial aid will also be reinstated.