Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Purposes (Required for Federal Title IV Aid, State Aid and Institutional Aid)
All students receiving any type of federal, state and institutional aid must meet the standards of academic progress outlined below. The requirements for these standards are set by federal regulations (34CFR Sections 668.16(e), 668.32(f), 668.34).
Satisfactory academic progress requirements are:
- Students must maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average (GPA), and;
- Students must successfully complete at least 67 percent of all CF credits taken including transfer courses accepted by the institution (measures the pace of progress toward completion), and;
- Students may attempt no more than 150 percent of the total credit hours in their degree or certificate program.
How are the above calculations made?
If students attended other colleges, the attempted courses that are accepted as transfer credit by the College of Central Florida will be considered in the evaluation of academic progress. For financial aid purposes, being enrolled in a course for credit beyond the official drop/refund deadline counts as an attempt. Attempts include withdrawals and nonattendance (student is enrolled and fails to attend class.) All successfully completed transfer courses accepted and courses taken at the College of Central Florida, including those taken as part of another program of study, will be included in determining a student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). For financial aid purposes, successful completion of a course means an earned grade of A, B+, B, C+, C, D, SP or S. However, a grade of D is passing below average. All other grades (grades of F, I, W, and N) are considered unsuccessful completions and will impact a student’s progress determination.
GPA: Students must be in satisfactory academic standing consistent with the institution’s requirements for graduation; therefore, they must have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA in both the cumulative GPA and the CF GPA.
Completion Ratio: The completion ratio is defined as the rate at which students are progressing through their program of study. It is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credit hours they have successfully completed by the cumulative number of credit hours they have attempted. The resulting percentage must be 67 percent or greater (66.5 percent or higher may be rounded to 67.) In the event of Academic Grade Forgiveness, the course would be counted as an attempt each time the student attempted the course and counted as a completion once.
Maximum Time Frame: Students must complete their degree or certificate within 150 percent of their program length. Coursework beyond the 150 percent timeframe is referred to as excess hours. The maximum time frame includes all attempted credit hours, excluding remedial hours, and compares the number of attempts to the number completed. If students have attempted 150 percent of the hours needed for their current declared program (e.g., 90 hours for an associate’s degree, 180 hours for a bachelor’s degree, etc.) they will no longer be eligible for financial aid. In addition, when it becomes mathematically impossible for a student to complete the program within 150 percent of the maximum program length, the student is not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress.
When does the College of Central Florida evaluate a student for SAP?
Satisfactory Academic Progress will be evaluated when a FAFSA is received by the College of Central Florida each academic year, at the end of every term. The financial aid standards of progress apply to all semesters or enrollment periods regardless of whether a student received financial aid during a given semester, payment period, or enrollment period.
What happens if the student is not meeting SAP?
Failure to meet the minimum standards of progress will result in one of the following actions:
Financial Aid Warning: This occurs at the end of the semester/payment period for which satisfactory progress is measured and a student fails to meet all of the measurements outlined above. Students in this status continue to receive financial aid without penalty for one semester. If a student has zero cumulative earned credit hours at the end of the semester/payment period, the student will be suspended with no warning period.
Financial Aid Suspension: This occurs at the end of the subsequent semester/payment period of enrollment for which satisfactory progress is measured and the student failed to meet the minimum standards. A student suspended from aid for not meeting standards of progress may submit an appeal to be considered for future eligibility. (See appeal guidelines below).
Financial Aid Probation: This status occurs when a student has been granted an appeal. The student will receive aid during the probationary period. If the student does not meet the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress after the probationary term, he or she will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Students on suspension may continue to enroll and attend classes as long as all tuition/fees and any other charges are paid in full.
Financial Aid Academic Improvement Plan: If a student’s appeal has been granted and it is not possible to meet the minimum standards at the end of the probationary term, the student will remain on probation provided the student completes all of their attempted credits in a given term with a C or better. A student will not be required to appeal if they are meeting the conditions of probation.
Financial Aid Academic Improvement Agreement: In some extenuating circumstances, students may be placed on an Academic Improvement Agreement. Students in this status may be assigned a variety of interventions (i.e. mandatory tutoring, reduced course load, less online coursework, meetings with student support specialists, etc.) and will be able to receive financial assistance as long as they meet the conditions of their Financial Aid Academic Improvement Agreement (FAAIA) each term. The Financial Aid Academic Improvement Agreement is designed to ensure that the student will be meeting SAP or graduating by a specific point in time. Although each plan is reviewed at the end of every term, the plan itself may be in effect for multiple terms. Students who fail to meet the conditions of their FAAIA will not be eligible for future appeals unless profound mitigating circumstances existed during the period of enrollment the student was on the FAAIA.
Can the student appeal the SAP decision?
Students have the right to appeal a financial aid suspension if they had extenuating circumstances beyond their control which affected their ability to meet the satisfactory progress requirements. The appeal must include an explanation of why the student failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to complete coursework successfully in the future. Appeal forms are available on the Financial Aid tab on the student portal under Financial Aid Forms. The appeal must include documentation of mitigating circumstances and how the previous issue(s) have been resolved. Appeals will not be granted after the end of the term for which the student is appealing. For best results the appeal request should be submitted to Financial Aid no later than 30 days before the end of the term. The Financial Aid office will communicate its final decision to each student on the student portal and in writing or by email.
Extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control include, but are not limited to:
- Student’s documented illness/injury which is an emergency or severe in nature
- Death of a relative (parent, child) of the student
- Personal tragedy or natural disaster
- Involuntary call to active duty
- Documented domestic violence
- Change in program of study (for maximum timeframe appeals)
- Other mitigating circumstances that are not every day occurrences of life and beyond your control. (Lack of childcare, pregnancies, divorce, eviction, and financial stress are not mitigating circumstances within themselves.)
If a student does not appeal or the appeal is denied, the student will remain in Financial Aid Suspension. If a student submits an appeal request and the appeal is granted, the student will be placed on probation for the next semester that he or she enrolls in classes. Students will be eligible for financial aid for the probationary period provided all eligibility and compliances have been met for their chosen academic programs. If students do not meet SAP requirements during their probation semester, they will be placed back on suspension and will not be eligible for further financial aid at the College of Central Florida until SAP standards have been met.
Attach date-specific documentation from a disinterested third party. Documentation should be kept to the minimum amount needed to provide sufficient proof of what is written in an appeal. CF reserves the right to require a student to reduce the number of pages if there is an abundance of documentation not needed for an approval.
Documentation includes, but is not limited to:
- Letter from a physician or counselor on letterhead indicating the dates a student was under their care.
- Copy of a death certificate, obituary or third party documentation of death.
- Accident reports, police records, court records, etc.
Do not submit original documents — they will not be returned. Make sure all copies are legible.
Letters from family, relatives, and friends are not recommended. If this is the only information that can be provided, students may submit it but it may be considered insufficient to grant the appeal.
Appeals submitted without documentation will be denied or returned without review.
Documents must be submitted according to the requirements listed above; however, this DOES NOT GUARANTEE approval.
If a student is placed on Financial Aid Suspension, eligibility may be regained when he or she is meeting the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards outlined above. Students will be made aware of meeting standards by viewing their status on the MyCF portal. It is best to contact the Financial Aid Office to determine next steps if the student was previously suspended but later became eligible.
Remedial, English as a Second Language, Incompletes, Repeated Courses, Transient Courses
Remedial and English as a Second Language (ESL) Credit Hours: All attempts of Remedial and ESL credit hours attempted are included in the Financial Aid GPA. As it is important for students to successfully progress through their coursework, remedial courses are included in the pace of completion; however they are excluded from the determination of maximum time frame.
Financial aid only will pay up to 30 remedial credit hours. Example: Student previously attempted 31 remedial credit hours in prior terms. Student is currently enrolled in 12 credits, of which 6 are remedial and 6 are college-level. The student’s financial aid will be awarded based on the six college-level credit hours.
Please note that on a case-by-case basis the required prerequisite MAT 1033 can be paid with financial aid and is treated as a remedial course when considering the 30 credit hour limit described above; this course will be counted when calculating Completion Ratio and Maximum Timeframe for SAP purposes.
Incomplete Courses: An "I" grade will be considered an "F" during the Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluation. If the student is not meeting standards and the "I" grade has been changed to a successful grade, the student must request their minimum standards be reevaluated during the following semester of enrollment.
Repeat Courses: Students will be eligible for financial aid if they repeat courses they previously did not pass, provided other SAP criteria are met. If the student takes a class for the first time and fails it, the student may retake the class using financial aid. There are however, instances where a student cannot use financial aid to cover a course that is being repeated. The following examples illustrate how this is determined:
Example 1: A student takes MAT 1033 and fails the course. The student retakes the course to get a passing grade. The student uses financial aid to cover the cost of the course. If the student then fail the course again, the student can again retake the course and use financial aid to cover the cost. There is no limit on how many times a student can retake the course using financial aid as long as the student has not received a passing grade, providing satisfactory academic progress requirements are met.
Example 2: A student takes MAT 1033 and gets a D in the class, which is passing by the US Department of Education standards. The student wants to improve the grade and retakes the class. The student can use financial aid to cover retaking the class. Unfortunately, the student does not improve the grade in the class, but instead fails the class. The student cannot retake the class using financial aid, due to the fact that he or she has already received a passing grade for the class. In this situation, the student is limited to retaking the class one time using financial aid.
It is important to check with the Financial Aid Office regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements and the impact of repeat coursework and completion rates on financial aid eligibility. It is also important to know that in addition to the Federal guidelines on repeating coursework, CF’s Enrollment Services Office has internal policies which govern a student’s ability to retake courses. Students should check with their academic advisor on how the repeat coursework may impact their specific situation.
Transient: Courses funded through a consortium agreement for transient students are included in determining academic progress.
Career and Technical Certificate Programs (CTC)
Students in CTC programs must successfully complete the clock hour coursework with a 2.0 GPA for each course funded before additional payment can be made.
Students will only be funded for the published length of the program.
Students must complete their program of study within 150 percent of the published length of the program.