Financial Aid

Your Guide To Pay For College!

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

for Federal Financial Aid
(e.g., Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loan) and Cal Grant

To be eligible for federal student aid like the Pell grant and some state programs like the Cal Grant, you have to do well in school. Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) rules measure your overall performance—if you are passing your classes and making good grades, you remain eligible for financial aid.  If you aren’t making good grades or you’re dropping out of the classes you attempt, you may find yourself ineligible for any more financial aid. 

You generally* will be eligible if you meet all of these conditions:

  1. You have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above; and
  2. You have passed 67% or more of the units you have attempted; and
  3. You haven’t attempted more than 150% of the units in your program length (for most associate degrees, that is 60 units X 1.5 = 90 units)

We check your SAP at the end of each term. If you aren’t meeting conditions 1 or 2, we will put you on Warning status for the next term that you enroll with us. On warning status, you still get financial aid, but if you still aren’t meeting all of the conditions at the end of that term, you will be ineligible for aid entirely.  If you don’t meet condition 3, no warning status will be available—you’ll be on Ineligible status for the next term you attend.

If you’re on Ineligible status, you have the ability to file a SAP appeal. SAP appeals let you explain the reasons why you didn’t do well in school. For example, you may have had a sickness or death in the family that forced you to withdraw—we’re all human and we all go through tough times. We will review your appeal and if you are approved, you can be placed on a plan that allows you to get financial aid as long as you make steady progress towards successful completion of your program.  Appeals aren’t automatically approved, though, so if you are approved, make sure you get the most out of that approval by working hard to avoid getting put back on Ineligible status. Subsequent appeals are much less likely to be approved.

*Federal rules are complex and this introduction to the topic isn’t comprehensive. There are a lot of exceptions and variations depending on your program, transfer status, and types of courses you’ve taken.  All of those details can be found in the full SAP policy linked in the button above.

If you find yourself having trouble in classes and you’re worried about whether you’ll be eligible for financial aid, remember to get your support team in place:

Solano Community College (SCC) evaluates the satisfactory academic progress of all enrolled students at the end of each term in order to determine a student’s eligibility for federal aid (e.g. Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and Federal Direct Loans) and Cal Grants in the following term.  Note that the evaluation looks at all periods of a student’s enrollment, including those in which the student did not receive Title IV aid.

After grades post at the end of a term, the Financial Aid office will use the standards and procedures below to evaluate whether the student is still eligible to receive federal financial aid and/or Cal Grants.

Qualitative standards

To receive Title IV aid, students must maintain good grades.

  • Students must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. This means that you have received a C grade or better in most of your classes.
  • Grades for remedial and ESL courses count in the GPA calculation.
  • Grades for transfer courses will also count in the GPA calculation if the records office has entered them into the student information system.

Quantitative standards

To receive Title IV aid, students must also demonstrate that they are completing their programs in a timely fashion.

  • Students must complete at least 67% of the cumulative number of SCC units attempted at each SAP evaluation.
    • The pace of completion is computed by dividing the total number of institutional units completed by the total number of units attempted.
  • A student may not attempt more than 150% of the published amount of units required to complete the program in which the student is enrolled.
    • For example, most AA/AS degrees are 60 units long, so their maximum time frame is 90 units. Once a student has attempted 90 units, they are no longer eligible for Title IV aid and must appeal to receive aid in subsequent terms.
    • For eligible certificate programs, maximum time frame varies (i.e. 30 unit program = 45 units maximum, 18 unit program = 27 units maximum).
    • All attempted units are counted in the calculation of the 150% program limits, including:
      • any accepted transfer units;
      • courses for which a student has received a grade of “W”; and
      • any incomplete courses.

Warning status

When students fail to meet one of the standards above, the Financial Aid office will place them on “Warning” status for the next term (assuming they were not already on warning, probation, or ineligible status for the term that was evaluated).

  • Students may receive financial aid while on “Warning” status.
  • Students who meet all SAP standards at the end of their Warning semester become fully eligible again in the following term.
  • Students not making SAP at the end of the warning period are determined to be ineligible for financial aid.

Reestablishing Eligibility

  • Students may reestablish their eligibility by taking classes without receiving Title IV aid and meeting all qualitative and quantitative SAP standards listed above.
  • Any grade changes that occur will be assessed at the request of the student.
  • Unlike some state programs, sitting out one semester or longer will not reestablish eligibility for federal financial aid and/or Cal Grants.
  • Students returning to Solano after an extended time should contact the Financial Aid office to revisit their eligibility.

Appeal Process

Students determined ineligible for federal financial aid due to unsatisfactory academic progress may submit an appeal if they had extenuating circumstances that affected their ability to perform well in school.

  • Appeals require the following documentation:
    • Typed, signed, and dated statement that includes:
      • What extenuating circumstances caused the student to fall below the SAP standards;
      • What has changed that will allow the student to meet the standards and successfully complete their program of study; AND
      • Sufficient detail for a person unfamiliar with the student’s situation to make a decision based on the statement alone.
    • A comprehensive Student Education Plan (SEP)
    • Any additional information requested by the financial aid office
  • The Financial Aid office will review each appeal on a case-by-case basis and inform the student of the results of the appeal. Note that submitting an appeal is not a guarantee that the appeal will be approved. 


  • Students who receive an approval for their SAP appeal will be placed on probation status.
  • Students may receive financial aid during terms of probation.
  • Students must complete 67% of their units attempted with a 2.0 GPA each semester while on probation.
    • The SEP submitted with the initial appeal sets the length of time in which the student is supposed to complete their program of study
    • If the student completes 67% of their units attempted with a 2.0 GPA each term, they can stay on probation until they have reached the final term indicated in the SEP. 
  • If a student on probation status fails to meet the pace of completion and GPA requirements, they will be deemed ineligible for the following term.
    • Any future appeals will have a higher level of scrutiny applied since the student failed to meet the conditions of the first one.

Course repetition, withdrawals, and incompletes

  • If a student has earned a passing grade in a course, they may only repeat it once and receive Title IV aid for it. Exceptions may include art, music, and/or athletic courses that students may take each term to stay in practice.
  • If a student withdraws from a course, it will not be considered a repeat attempt.
  • Incomplete grades will not be considered passing grades in a SAP evaluation. Once an incomplete course has been completed, the resulting grade will be used in subsequent SAP evaluations. Previous evaluations that used the incomplete grade will not be re-evaluated.

Changing or adding programs of study

  • SAP will be evaluated based on the student’s primary declared program of study.
  • Any SCC units used to pursue other programs of study (former or concurrent) will be used in the evaluation.
  • Students can expect to appeal when they’ve reached the maximum timeframe for their primary declared program of study even if they have remaining coursework in a second certificate or degree program