Skip Navigation LinksRio Salado College / Financial Aid / Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid Eligibility

All students are expected to understand their responsibilities in regard to the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at this institution. Failure to maintain academic progress standards as defined by the Rio Salado College Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy listed below may result in withholding or canceling part or all of the student's financial aid award and limitation or loss of eligibility for financial aid.

Federal regulations (CFR 668.32(f) and 668.34) require a student to move toward the completion of a degree or certificate within an eligible program when receiving financial aid. Specific requirements for academic progress for financial aid recipients are applied differently than Scholastic Standards. Federal regulations state that Academic Progress Standards must include a review of all periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not aid was received. The student must meet the following minimum standards in order to receive financial aid.

SAP Forms

Download the Appeal for Maximum Timeframe, Addendum to Maximum Timeframe, and Appeal for Satisfactory Academic Progress forms from the Financial Aid Forms Center.

FAQ: Satisfactory Academic Progress

  1. What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

    Federal regulations (CFR 668.32(f) and 668.34) require a student to move toward the completion of a degree or certificate within an eligible program when receiving financial aid. Specific requirements for academic progress for financial aid recipients are applied differently than Scholastic Standards. Federal regulations state that Academic Progress Standards must include a review of all periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not aid was received. Students will be evaluated using the standards described below. Failure to meet any of these minimum standards will result in the loss of title IV, HEA program (federal financial aid) eligibility.

  2. When is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) determined?

    SAP is reviewed before the first semester block a student begins attending at Rio Salado College, and then it is calculated at the end of each subsequent semester block, taking into consideration a student's academic history at RSC and any transfer credits.

    Students can be placed on financial aid suspension* for any or all of the following reasons:

    • Failure to satisfactorily complete at least 66.67% of cumulative credits attempted
    • Failure to meet cumulative GPA minimum
    • Exceeded Maximum Timeframe

    Students are responsible for knowing and understanding the SAP policy.

    It is important that students allow for enough time between semester blocks to account for a SAP review before the payment deadline of the next semester block. SAP review typically occurs one week AFTER the scheduled end date of a class. Since there is just a short amount of time to allow for a SAP review, if you know that you may not be meeting SAP standards, it is your responsibility to pay for your classes by the payment deadline. Keep in mind, if it is determined that you do not meet SAP at the end of the SAP review, any pending financial aid awards will be cancelled.

    *Upon suspension due to SAP, eligible students may appeal the suspension due to extenuating circumstances. Financial aid will only be reinstated on a probationary status in the event of an appeal being approved. Filing an appeal does not guarantee that a student will be able to receive financial aid in the future.

  3. What are the minimum standards a student must maintain for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

    The Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are evaluated on three measurements:

    • Progress Measurement: Students must successfully complete 2/3 (66.67%) of all attempted coursework.
      Important: Grades of F,I,N,W,X,Y,Z and courses not yet graded are considered attempted but NOT MEETING progress standards for the purposes of financial aid.
    • Grade Point Measurement: Students must meet the following credit hour/cumulative grade point average (CGPA)
      Total Credits Attempted* Minimum CGPA
      < 15.75 1.60
      16-30.75 1.75
      31-45.75 1.90
      46+ 2.00
      *for which grade points are computed
    • Maximum Time Frame Measurement: Students who have attempted more than 150% of the published credits required for their program of study are considered not meeting SAP.
  4. What is Financial Aid Suspension?

    • Financial aid suspension is the status assigned upon failing to meet the minimum SAP standards. Students in financial aid suspension are not eligible to receive Title IV, HEA assistance (Federal Financial Assistance). This includes grants and federal student loans.

    • Suspension can result for any of the following reasons: failure to satisfactorily complete 2/3 (66.67%) of cumulative credits attempted, failure to meet cumulative GPA minimum, or for exceeding the maximum timeframe.

    • Upon suspension due to SAP, eligible students may appeal the suspension due to extenuating circumstances. Financial aid will only be reinstated on a probationary status in the event of an appeal being approved. Filing an appeal does not guarantee that a student will be able to receive financial aid in the future.

  5. What happens when you do not meet the SAP requirements?

    • Students who do not meet the SAP requirements are no longer eligible for federal financial assistance, including grants, and federal student loans.

    • Students in this status are placed on financial aid suspension, being able to regain eligibility by:

    • Paying for own tuition until they are meeting the minimum standards, or
    • Going through the appeal process*
      *Please note that filing an appeal does not guarantee that a student will be eligible for financial aid in the future.
  6. What is a Financial Aid Appeal for Satisfactory Academic Progress/ SAP appeal?

    Students who fail to complete at least 2/3 (66.67%) of cumulative attempted credits and/or fail to meet the cumulative GPA requirements are placed on financial aid suspension. Under certain circumstances, students who fail to meet SAP standards and who have lost eligibility for financial aid may appeal the financial aid suspension. If a student experienced extenuating circumstances beyond their control that prevented them from meeting the requirements to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), they have the option to appeal that status. This is a financial aid appeal.

  7. What is a Maximum Time Frame (MTF) appeal?

    The Department of Education requires students seeking federal financial aid to be completing their educational program in an allowable timeframe. Students who attempted more than 150% of required credits or who have earned an Associate's degree or higher, have exhausted this maximum timeframe requirement and are placed on financial aid suspension. Under certain circumstances students can appeal that status. This is the Maximum Timeframe appeal.

  8. What appeal form is needed and how do I submit it?

    The type of appeal that is needed will depend on which of the SAP measurements a student did not meet. Some students may need to complete and submit both forms.

    If you are on financial aid suspension for one of the following reasons: 1)Failure to satisfactorily complete at least 2/3 (66.67%) of cumulative credits attempted, or 2)Failure to meet cumulative GPA minimum, then you should submit the Appeal for Satisfactory Academic Progress Form for the semester you are going to attend.

    If you are on financial aid suspension for exceeding the maximum timeframe, then you should submit the Appeal for Maximum Timeframe Form for the semester you are going to attend.

    If you were approved for a Maximum Time Frame appeal in a prior semester and are not changing your program of study, you do not need to submit a new Maximum Timeframe appeal. You must continue to select only classes that are required for your major, as shown on your approved Maximum Timeframe and Restricted Course List (RCL) that was prepared with your advisor. We will review your enrollment at the beginning of each semester block for continued eligibility and adjustments will be made accordingly.

    If you change your program of study after the Maximum Timeframe appeal has already been approved, you will be placed back on financial aid suspension and will be required to pay for your tuition and fees on your own.

    The reason for suspension determines what appeal form is needed. Keep in mind that all information contained in a financial aid appeal will be reviewed by a committee and a determination of eligibility will be based on the facts and supporting documentation in the appeal. Appeals can be approved or denied. All information provided in the appeal process is confidential. All decisions are final.

  9. What is an addendum to Maximum Timeframe form used for?

    If you were approved for a Maximum Time Frame appeal in a prior semester and are not changing your program of study, you do not need to submit a new Maximum Timeframe appeal. If you are adding additional, substituted or repeated classes, you must submit an addendum to Maximum Timeframe Appeal. Addendums are reviewed by the appeal committee and can be approved or denied.

  10. What should be included in a Financial Aid Appeal for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

    Appeals should be typed, signed, and must include a detailed explanation of how extenuating circumstances beyond your control affected your ability to meet the minimum SAP requirements. You must include an explanation for all of the classes that contributed to your being placed on suspension. In addition, you must explain how these circumstances have been resolved, and what steps you have taken to allow you to be successful and maintain academic progress in the future. Generally, the situation must have occurred after the semester began. If your extenuating circumstance first occurred before the semester started, and you chose to enroll anyway, you will need to explain what changed after the start of the term which affected your ability to remain in or pass your classes. Appeals that cannot demonstrate extenuating circumstances will be denied.

  11. What is an 'extenuating circumstance'?

    An extenuating circumstance is a situation beyond your control which prevented you from successfully completing your course(s).

    Some examples of extenuating circumstances are:

    • • Documented medical condition or serious illness that prevented you from performing certain life tasks
    • • Documented illness of a family member that required your presence for a significant amount of time
    • • Death of immediate family member which impacted you significantly enough to affect participation in your courses
    • • Involuntary call to active military duty
    • • Documented involuntary change in employment conditions that prevented you from attending classes
    • • Any other extraordinary/emergency circumstances, such as a natural disaster

    What is NOT an 'extenuating circumstance'?

    • • Errors in judgment involving transportation, finances, academic ability, time management, computer access, etc.
    • • Lack of knowledge or misinterpretation of college policies and procedures
    • • Financial Aid not processed, not prepared for class, unable to afford books
    • • Dissatisfaction with course content or instruction
    • • Acceptance of employment or other activity impacting ability to attend classes
    • • Incarceration
    • • Immaturity and bad judgment
    • • Being on a prior approved appeal and did not meet the terms of the appeal
  12. What documentation should I submit with my Financial Aid Appeal?

    The documentation you submit with a Financial Aid Appeal will depend on your individual situation. You should provide any documentation you feel that supports your appeal and shows that you had extenuating circumstances during the semester(s) that contributed to you being placed on suspension. Attach date-specific documentation that supports your appeal. Documentation should not exceed 7 pages. DO NOT submit original documents. Make sure all copies are legible. Some examples of documentation include, but are not limited to:

    • • Letter from a physician or counselor on letterhead indicating the dates you were under their care
    • • Copy of death certificate, obituary or third party documentation of death
    • • Accident reports, police records, court records, etc.
    • • Documentation pertaining to involuntary changes in employment

    Appeals submitted without supporting documentation may be denied. Letters from family, relatives, and friends are not recommended, however, if this is the ONLY information that can be provided, you must make sure the letter is signed and notarized, and supports the reason for the appeal.

    Documents must be submitted according to the requirements listed above; however, this does not guarantee approval.

  13. What should be included on a Maximum Timeframe Appeal (MTF)?

    A MTF appeal must clearly explain the following. Keep in mind your explanation will depend on your situation:

    • Why you have attempted more than 150% of the required number of credits from your program without graduating
    • If you are pursuing an additional degree, explain what your first degree is in and why you need to complete an additional degree
    • Your explanation should match the degree program you have declared and the restricted course list you submit
    • You must submit an academic plan, which is completed by an academic advisor.

    Circumstances considered when filing a Maximum Timeframe Appeal:

    • Changes in major- explain why you changed majors and what your academic and career plan is for completion of your new major
    • Incomplete grades, failing grades, course withdrawals that reduced your completion ratio because they count towards your maximum units attempted- explain why you were not successful in these courses and your plan for successful completion of future courses
    • Repeated courses- explain the reason for attempting the same course multiple times
    • Transfer credits- explain why the transfer credits don't apply towards your degree program
  14. What is the Academic Plan portion of the Maximum Timeframe Appeal (MTF)?

    You will need to meet with a Rio Salado Academic Advisor to have the Academic Plan portion of the MTF completed.

    All courses required for completion of your degree must be included in your appeal, as listed on your Academic Plan or Degree check sheet.

  15. Can I appeal in person or speak to the appeal committee?

    No, you may not appeal in person and you will not have the opportunity to present your appeal to the committee. The committee will review your appeal and make a decision based on your academic record, your personal statement, and the documentation you provided. This makes it very important that your appeal include all of the details needed to make a decision. All explanations will be carefully considered. Appeals are approved or denied and all appeal decisions are final.

    Depending on the circumstances, you may need to fulfill additional requirements, such as meeting with an academic advisor to develop an academic plan, before an appeal is granted. The goal is to help you get on track for graduation.

    Students who have appeals approved may be in a probationary status. During the probationary status, the student must meet the conditions of the appeal as communicated to him or her, or the student will be placed back on suspension.

  16. When will the committee review my appeal and how will I be notified of the results of my appeal?

    The SAP Appeal Committee meets frequently throughout every month. The committee will make every effort to review appeal within 14 business days from the date they are received by the financial aid office, however, due to the volume of appeals, not all appeals may be reviewed within that timeframe. Also, the appeal process may require more than the typical review timeframe during the college's busiest time of year, such as July, August, January and February.

    You will be notified via your student message center (www.my.maricopa.edu) regarding the results of your appeal. The message will be from Financial Aid and will be pertaining to Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

  17. If my appeal is denied can I still receive financial aid?

    If your financial aid appeal is denied, or if you have decided not to appeal, eligibility can be regained once you complete the necessary credit hours and minimum GPA to meet the SAP standards. You should avoid withdrawing, failing, or getting incompletes in courses as much as possible to help you reach SAP standards. Ultimately, you should aim for a 100% passing rate each semester to help you reach SAP standards.

    If you had a Maximum Timeframe appeal denied or decided not to submit an MTF appeal, you cannot regain eligibility.

    Any questions regarding the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards or any information about the appeal process should be directed to the college financial aid office, 480-517-8310.