Satisfactory Academic Progress
WHAT is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
To be eligible for federal and state financial aid programs, students are required by the U.S. Department of Education and the State of California to maintain satisfactory academic progress as they work toward completing their educational objective – certificate, AA or AS degree, or transfer program. The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) has established guidelines to promote timely completion of its educational programs, which are applied to all classes taken in the LACCD.
The following questions and answers are provided to further explain WHO is affected by SAP, WHICH financial aid programs are affected, HOW the policy is applied, and WHAT you can do to maintain progress or appeal. A complete policy statement is available in the Financial Aid Office.
WHICH financial aid programs are affected by the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements?
Programs governed by the LACCD SAP policy include: Federal Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Nursing Loan, Federal Direct Stafford (student) and PLUS (parent) Loans, Cal Grants (B & C), Child Development Grant, California Chafee Grant, and the California National Guard Education Assistance Award Program. The Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver is exempt from SAP requirements.
WHO is affected by the SAP policy?
All students who apply for, receive, and/or wish to receive financial aid are affected by the SAP policy and requirements.
All students are monitored for Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of each payment period (Summer, Fall/Winter, and Spring comprise our payment periods). Federal guidelines require that we count all classes even if a student was not receiving financial aid at the time they were enrolled. Units from all semesters and terms are counted and evaluated. Also, units from non-LACCD colleges noted on transcripts received by Admissions & Records Offices in the LACCD will be counted and evaluated.
Classes taken at any of the colleges in our District count toward your enrollment status when determining how much you will be disbursed. We therefore hold you accountable for all of the classes that you take within the District.
WHAT are the SAP policy requirements?
- Maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher.
- Complete a minimum of 67% of all units attempted.
- Have less than 90 attempted units.
- Have not earned an AA, AS, or higher degree outside of the LACCD.
WHAT is a 2.0 GPA?
Basically, a 2.0 GPA is a "C" average. Your GPA is calculated by dividing the number of "grade points" you received by the number of units completed with a grade point equivalent (i.e., "letter" grades of A, B, C, D, or F). Grades are assigned the following "point" value.
For example: If you enroll and complete 12 units in a semester with all "C" grades, you will have earned a 2.0 GPA. 24 points divided by 12 units = 2.0.
WHAT is a 67% completion rate?
Students must complete a minimum of 67% of the cumulative units they attempt. Incomplete (INC), No Credit (NCR), and Withdrawal (W) grades are considered non-grades and must be 33% or less than the units attempted.
WHY is there a 90 attempted unit limit?
Community Colleges are two-year institutions. Most of our degree and certificate programs require approximately 60 units and are designed to be completed in two years or less. Additional units are allowed, by the LACCD SAP policy and federal guidelines, to provide for unforeseen circumstances. For example, a change of major or unexpected medical issue may result in a student attempting more than the minimum number of units required to complete his/her academic program.
Note: In Progress (IP) grades are counted in attempted units for a student).
HOW are ESL and remedial classes treated?
Remedial ESL and other remedial classes classified as "Basic Skills" are not counted towards the 90 attempted unit limit. Students who are enrolled in ESL courses only may be required to submit an ESL Certificate and/or Student Educational Plan (SEP) indicating they are enrolled in an eligible certificate, AA or AS degree, or transfer program.
WHAT happens when a financial aid recipient does not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress minimum requirements?
Warning letters are sent to students who were initially in a good standing but now have a cumulative GPA less than 2.0 and/or their cumulative non-grades are greater than 33%. Students who receive Warning letters should see an academic counselor as soon as possible.
Students should work with their counselor to determine the steps they can take to improve their GPA and/or percentage of successfully completed classes. A warning letter is exactly what it says: it is a WARNING. Students remain eligible for financial aid, but they may jeopardize future eligibility if their progress does not improve.
Advisory letters are sent to students after the end of the semester when the number of units attempted reaches or exceeds forty-five (45). Again, you should see an academic counselor to make sure you are taking the classes you need to reach your educational goal before you reach the 90 attempted unit maximum.
Disqualification letters are sent to students if they continue to not meet the first or second SAP policy requirements (as noted under the "WHAT are the SAP policy requirements" section, above) after a semester for which they received a Warning Letter.
Disqualification letters are also sent to students after they exceed 89 attempted units or they have earned an AA, AS or higher degree outside of the LACCD.
WHAT is the procedure if a student wants to appeal a disqualification from financial aid?
Students may submit a written petition to the Financial Aid Office explaining why they were unable to meet SAP policy requirements. The Financial Aid Office may also require the submission of a Student Educational Plan approved by an academic counselor.
The following types of circumstances may be considered when evaluating a student's appeal:
- Unusual circumstances, including an extended illness of the student or a close family member.
- Change in major (only one change will be considered).
- Grade changes due to course repetition.
- Academic advisement recommendation affecting unit completion.
To be considered for financial aid, students must generally meet the following minimum requirements:
Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen [a permanent resident who has valid documentation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS formally INS) verifying that his/her stay in the U.S. is for other than a temporary purpose].
Be making satisfactory academic progress in a course of study leading to an AA or AS degree, certificate, or transfer to a baccalaureate degree program. Satisfactory academic progress is evaluated at the end of each semester. Students will be notified by email (to the LACCD assigned email) if satisfactory academic progress has not been met with instructions of next steps.
If the student is disqualified due to not meeting progress, student may submit a petition for financial aid.
All SAP related forms (petitions for extension, requests to change approved classes) are located on the FORMS webpage, linked here and on the right-hand side of this webpage. There is no retroactive submission of petition forms; therefore, you must apply for financial aid and submit all required documentation by the established deadlines.
There are two (2) levels in the petition process at the college for each type of petition (reinstatement or extension).
The first-level petition must be reviewed by a committee. The result of the petition will generally be provided to the student in writing to the student's LACCD email. If the first-level petition is denied, the student may submit a second-level petition. The second-level petition form is available in the Financial Aid Office. During peak periods, which are July through September and January through February, the review process may take up to eight (8) weeks due to the number of petitions received.
The second-level petition is reviewed by the Financial Aid Administrator or designee. Students will be notified in writing to the student's LACCD email of the result of the petition.
An Administrative District Review may be initiated by the student who reasonably believes that the college, state, and/or federal guidelines were applied incorrectly, and therefore, adversely affected the student's financial aid status, rights and privileges. A request for Administrative Review can only be submitted until after denial from the first-level and second-level petitions. An Administrative Review is conducted by a district-appointed administrator. Administrative Reviews must be submitted before the end of the specified semester for which the student is requesting reinstatement or extension of financial aid eligibility.
Not be in default on any federal student loan such as Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Family Educational Loans (FFEL) or Direct Stafford Loans.
- Not owe a refund or overpayment on a Federal Pell Grant, Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) or any State/Federal-funded educational grant.
Be registered with the Selective Service System, if you are a male between 18 and 25 years old. If you are a male over 25 but born after 1959, you must have been previously registered with the U.S. Selective Service System.
Be enrolled (or plan to enroll) as a regular student in an eligible program of study during the academic year for which you are applying.
Have a valid Social Security Number.
Demonstrate an "Ability to Benefit" as defined below (students who meet one of the qualifications listed below have demonstrated the ability to benefit from post-secondary education in accordance with applicable Federal Regulation):
1. Received a high school diploma; or 2. Passed a high school proficiency examination; or 3.
Received a certificate of General Education Development (GED); or
Passed an independently administered test (commonly referred to as an Ability to Benefit (ATB) test that is approved by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. NOTE: Students enrolling for the first time after July 1, 2012 must have a High School Diploma, GED, or state equivalent (high school proficiency exam, as noted above) to be eligible for any federal financial aid. New students will no longer have the option to pass an ATB test or meet other ATB alternative methods to qualify for federal financial aid eligibility. Students who had previously taken and passed an ATB test or would meet other ATB alternative methods BEFORE July 1, 2012 should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine if you will meet federal eligibility requirements.