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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Memorandum #8A — Policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress

Original Date of Issue: September 1, 2021
Revised: January 31, 2022
Policy Owner: Director of Financial Aid
Approved: President


The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires all colleges and universities including Community College of Philadelphia to develop and enforce standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress prior to awarding any federal financial aid funds to students. The standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) were established to encourage students to successfully complete courses for which federal financial aid is received, and to progress satisfactorily toward degree completion. The SAP standards apply to federal financial aid programs, including Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study, Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans. The SAP standards are separate from, and in addition to, academic standards required by the College for continued enrollment.

The criteria used to determine SAP are cumulative grade point average, cumulative completion rate (or pace), and maximum time frame for completion of educational objectives. At the end of each term, the Office of Financial Aid reviews students’ academic progress. All periods of enrollment are reviewed, including semesters during which no financial aid was received.


The qualitative evaluation monitors a student’s progress based on their cumulative grade point average (GPA). The College applies a tiered GPA scale to apply the qualitative requirements. The minimum GPA required by the College’s SAP policy adjusts according to the number of credit hours the student has attempted:

Minimum Required
Cumulative GPA
GPA Credit Hours
Cumulative Attempted
1.40 1-17 credit hours
1.50 18-24 credit hours
1.60 25-36 credit hours
1.75 37-48 credit hours
1.85 49-59 credit hours
2.00 60 credit hours and over (until graduation)

Remedial course grades of "MP" and "P" do not impact the cumulative GPA. These course grades are used by the College to determine successful completion of remedial courses but are not calculated into the GPA.


All students must complete and pass a minimum percentage of all hours attempted at the College. A student’s completion rate is calculated by dividing hours earned by hours attempted. The minimum completion percentage required by the College’s SAP policy changes according to the number of credit hours the student has attempted:

Minimum Required
Completion Percentage
GPA Credit Hours
Cumulative Attempted
50% 1-12 credit hours
60% 13-18 credit hours
67% 19 credit hours and over (until graduation)

“Attempted coursework” is defined as any course in which the student commenced attendance before the 20% point in the term.

Attempted hours are counted for all terms, even those for which the student did not receive financial aid, and includes transfer hours and hours waived under academic amnesty policies.

Note: The College only accepts transfer credits with a grade of "C-" or better. All accepted transfer credits are counted as attempted and completed credits in the quantitative and maximum timeframe SAP evaluation.

  • “Successfully completed credit hours” are defined as the number of credit hours in which a student received a grade of "A," "B," "C," "D," "P" or "MP."
  • Withdrawals, failed grades, Incomplete grades, Military Withdrawals and repeated courses are handled as follows:
    • Withdrawal Codes (W, WD, W61, W66 and W67) are counted as credit hours attempted and not earned.
      • W: Students who begin attendance in a course and withdraw from that course on or after the date posted to receive 0% Refund* for each term in which the student is enrolled will have a “W” designation on their transcript. “W” grades will be included in the calculation, even if the date of withdrawal resulted in no tuition assessment by the College. The College’s policy to assess tuition is separate from the Satisfactory Academic Progress calculation. *Refund dates.
      • WD: Students who begin attendance in a course and withdraw from that course before the date posted to receive 0% Refund* for each term in which the student is enrolled will have a “WD” designation on their transcript. WDs are counted as credit hours attempted and not earned for Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluation. *Refund dates.
      • W61, W66, W67: Although these special withdrawal codes are not counted in determining academic progress, each of these withdrawal codes is counted as an attempt but not earned when evaluating Satisfactory Academic Progress for purposes of awarding financial aid.
    • Failed (F), Failed – Stopped Attending (FS), Not Reported (NR) and Incomplete (I) grades are included as credit hours attempted but not completed.
    • Initial and repeated enrollments in the same course count as credit hours attempted each time the course is taken.
    • Audit coursework and Military Withdrawals are not taken into consideration for the calculation. Remedial coursework is not included in the quantitative calculation, as permitted by federal regulations.
      • As permitted by federal regulation, CCP counts up to one academic year’s worth of remedial courses in a student’s enrollment status for Title IV funds. For the purpose of this limit, that is 30 semester hours at the College.


The maximum time frame requires an evaluation based on total number of credit hours attempted, to ensure the student is making appropriate progress towards degree.

CCP students will be eligible for financial aid for a maximum of attempted credit hours equal to 150% of the credits required to complete their academic program.  If the program requires 30 credit hours, the maximum attempted hours permitted under this policy is 45. If the program requires 60 credit hours, the student may attempt 90 credit hours under this policy.

Transfer hours accepted by CCP are included both in the total number of hours attempted and total hours completed.

Attempted hours are counted for all terms, even those for which the student did not receive financial aid, and include transfer hours and hours waived under academic amnesty policies.


Transfer hours that are accepted toward the student’s academic program count in the overall maximum time frame calculation and in the cumulative completion (pace) calculation. Transfer hours have no impact upon the cumulative grade point average.


Students who change majors or change programs are still held to the 150% maximum time frame rule. All credits attempted from the first major/program will count as attempted hours for the new major/program. The 150% maximum limit will be measured based on the number of credits required for the new major/program.


Current financial aid recipients will have their academic progress reviewed at the end of each regular term (Fall, Spring, Summer). All programs are offered in credit hours with terms.


Community College of Philadelphia utilizes the Financial Aid Warning as a part of the review of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Warning status lasts for one term, during which the student may continue to receive federal student aid funds, without an appeal, even though the results of the SAP evaluation indicate that the student is not meeting one or more of the standards.

Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress after the warning period lose their aid eligibility unless they successfully appeal and are placed on continued probation. 

It is possible that a student could receive more than one financial aid warning period during the student’s enrollment at CCP. For example, the student may be placed on financial aid warning for the spring term, following the review of the fall term, because the student is not meeting one or more of the Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluations. The student could meet the requirements after spring and then fail to make Satisfactory Academic Progress during the subsequent fall term. The student could again be placed on financial aid warning. The only stipulation is that a student cannot have successive periods in financial aid warning status.


After a term on financial aid warning, a student who fails to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements, will be ineligible for aid.

Students are notified of their SAP status by email to their College email account following each term. During financial aid suspension students may be permitted to attend the College at their own expense to demonstrate academic progress. Financial aid suspension only pertains to the student’s ability to receive federal financial aid funds.


Appeal is a process by which a student who is not meeting the institution's SAP standards for the receipt of federal student aid petitions the institution for reconsideration of eligibility for Title IV, HEA program assistance. A student on financial aid suspension may appeal the loss of aid if extenuating circumstances prevented the student from making satisfactory progress, including but not limited to:

a.     Death of a relative;

b.    Injury or illness of the student; or

c.     Other special circumstances.

The appeal must be submitted along with written explanation about why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress and what has changed that will allow the student to be successful for the next term. Students must also provide appropriate supporting documentation, e.g., doctor's note, receipts or obituary with their appeals. Students who successfully appeal their aid ineligibility will be placed on financial aid probation. The decision of the Office of Financial Aid for Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals is final.


A student on financial aid probation may receive financial aid for one semester or summer. At that point, the student must meet the College's Satisfactory Academic Progress standards or the requirements of an established individual probation conditions plan to maintain financial aid eligibility.

Students who successfully appeal may be granted one semester of Probation, during which they are eligible to receive federal student aid. At the end of the probationary semester, students must be meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. If the student is not making SAP or has not met the terms of the probation by the end of their probationary period, financial aid will again be suspended. Students in these situations may appeal again for aid reinstatement only if they have a new set of mitigating circumstances.

If it is not mathematically possible for a student to return to good SAP standing in one probationary semester, an approved student may be placed directly on an Academic Plan for the term for which they are appealing. Approved students can continue to receive federal student aid while making progress on an Academic Plan. Students must achieve specific academic benchmarks at the end of each semester on their Academic Plan in order to continue receiving financial aid.

Students who do not meet the terms of their Plan and fail to achieve stated goals, will be considered in violation of their Academic Plan and financial aid will be suspended for subsequent enrollment periods. A student may appeal their Academic Plan if new circumstances arose that impacted their ability to meet the Plan requirements. The same circumstances that were submitted in the initial appeal are not sufficient to approve an appeal, unless there are changes to that situation.

A student who requires more than one academic year to meet SAP requirements may have their Plan renewed for an additional period of time, to be determined by the Office of Financial Aid. Renewal requires the student to be making satisfactory progress on their Plan, and to reaffirm their understanding of the Plan requirements.


If an appeal is denied, students may choose to attend the College while on financial aid suspension, at their own expense. They will not be automatically eligible for federal or institutional financial aid upon seeking reinstatement. Students must be meeting the academic progress standards in order to regain eligibility for subsequent enrollment periods.

1. The previous Satisfactory Academic Progress policy was included as a separate and distinct section of policy No. 8.