Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

(Consumer Information Disclosure)

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (Revised 09/23/2019)

U.S. Department of Education regulations, the School Certifying Official Handbook of the VA, and Illinois Student Assistance Commission Rules for MAP require all students applying for federal and/or state financial assistance to maintain satisfactory progress in their course of study to receive funds for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Loans, Monetary Award Program, and certain Veteran’s Benefits. Grade based (qualitative) and time-based (quantitative) standards will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Office at the end of every payment period, including summer. All terms of attendance are included in the evaluation, even those during which the student did not receive financial aid. Students who have not previously received financial aid may not be notified of their status until the application for financial aid is reviewed by the Coordinator.

A student is considered to be making Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) if all of the following conditions are met:

Qualitative Standard
Earn a cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 2.0

Quantitative Standard
Completion Rate: Successfully complete 67% of coursework attempted (Hours Earned divided by Hours Attempted) AND
Maximum Time Frame: Complete program of study within 150% of hours required for the program

A student who fails to maintain these standards will be notified by mail immediately following the determination and a copy of the letter will be retained in the student’s financial aid file. S/he may be placed in a Warning (W) statusfor one semester and continue to receive Financial Aid. If the Coordinator feels that the student cannot achieve satisfactory academic progress after only one semester, the student’s financial aid will be place in a Suspension (T) status. A student who is in Suspension status will have the right to appeal.

Courses graded with ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, or ‘P’ are considered successfully completed with credit awarded. These grades are included as hours earned and attempted and used in the cumulative GPA calculation. 

Courses graded with ‘I’, ‘W’, ‘N’, ‘AU’, or ‘F’ are considered NOT successfully completed and no earned credit is awarded. These grades are included in hours attempted and no hours will be counted as earned. All F’s are considered 0.0 GPA earned and are included in the cumulative GPA.

Attempted hours include courses with 1.1, 1.2, and 1.4 PCS codes (1100-2299 courses and those with PRE and REM prefixes) which will include repeated hours, all transfer credit, military credit, and proficiency exam credit. Note: Military Withdrawal grades are excluded from attempted hours.

Transfer students are required to meet the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress in the same manner as the first-time student. Hours transferred from previous colleges will be calculated into the completion rate as hours earned and attempted.

If notification of a grade revision is received, the Coordinator will reevaluate the student’s satisfactory academic progress and determine necessary actions.

A student applying for and receiving Grade Forgiveness WILL benefit from an adjusted cumulative GPA; however, the cumulative completion rate will not be adjusted.

Courses that have been repeated remain in attempted hours, but the original grades are excluded from the cumulative GPA calculation. Financial aid will pay for one retake of a previously passed course.

A change of program does not make a student ineligible for financial aid; however, it may have an impact on making quantitative progress toward the student’s declared objective. A student’s progress will be measured based on the program assigned on the registration form unless they have processed a formal change of program through the admissions office.

The financial aid office will review each change of program in terms of the student’s ability to successfully achieve an educational objective including themaximum time frame requirement (150%). If the financial aid office determines that the student is unable to successfully meet their educational objective, they will be suspended from financial aid with the right to appeal.

A student that has exceeded or will exceed 150% of the credit hour requirements for the registered program will be suspended from receiving aid. The student has the right to complete an appeal petition for reinstatement.

A student that has earned a Bachelor’s degree as reported on the FAFSA has exceeded the maximum timeframe for completion at IECC and will be placed in Suspension. The student would need to appeal for Probation even if the credits accepted for transfer from the student’s Bachelor’s degree were less than 150% of the required hours of a new program.

Effective beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year, a student may not receive more than 12 full time semesters, or 600.000 units of Pell. Pell payments are measured in LEU (Lifetime Eligibility Units) and calculated by the Department of Education based on the Pell disbursed to the student each payment period. A student will be notified of their current Pell LEU standing as reported on in the maximum time frame reinstatement letter to remind students of the limitations for federal student aid.


A student will be placed in a Satisfactory (S) status while the above qualitative and quantitative standards are being met.


A student may be placed on a Warning (W) status the first time s/he is not meeting the SAP requirements AND, if after a successful semester, the student has the ability to regain eligibility. The student will be notified of this status by mail, and a copy of the Warning letter will be retained in the financial aid file. 

If, after the Financial Aid Warning semester, the student meets all qualitative and quantitative standards of SAP, the student will be meeting financial aid SAP and placed in a Satisfactory (S) status.  

If, after the Financial Aid warning semester, the student does not meet all qualitative and quantitative standards of SAP, the student will not be meeting financial aid SAP and placed in a Suspended (T) status.


A student may be placed on Financial Aid Suspension (T) after a failed Warning semester and/or when it is not possible to meet the qualitative and quantitative standards after a Warning semester. Specifically, a student will automatically be suspended when it is not mathematically possible to earn the registered program of study within the Maximum Time Frame standard. The student will be notified of their status by mail, and a copy of the Suspension letter will be retained in the student’s financial aid file.

A student may regain a Satisfactory SAP status after successfully completing the Financial Aid Appeal process, bringing their Cumulative GPA up to 2.0 and their Cumulative Completion Rate up to 67%. A student may also appeal Suspension status if extenuating circumstances contributed to their lack of academic progress.


A student will be placed on a Financial Aid Probation status following a successful appeal. The student will be notified of the decision by mail, and a copy of the Reinstatement letter will be retained in the financial aid file.

IECC uses two statuses to define the type of probation and the requirements a student must meet each term: 

CT: Continuing after Suspension for GPA and/or Completion Rate. Each term, the student must maintain a term GPA of 2.0 and a 75% completion rate.

CT150: Continuing after Max Time Frame Termination. Each term, the student must maintain a term GPA of 2.0 and, beginning Spring 2019, a 100% completion rate. Students can only receive aid for the classes that are required for the student’s registered program of study. A student placed on CT150 Probation cannot regain an S status.

If, after a CT Probation semester, the student reaches a cumulative GPA of 2.0 AND an overall completion rate of 67%, the student can be placed back into a Satisfactory (S) status.

A student that does NOT meet the terms of an approved appeal as outlined in their Reinstatement letter as stated above will be placed in Suspension (T). A student may appeal again only if a different extenuating circumstance has prevented the student from meeting SAP OR it is determined that a student must go from CT to CT150 because the required classes total over 150% of the registered program’s hours. 

Federal regulations require a student to be degree seeking in order to be eligible for financial aid. The student that has met requirements for his/her registered degree or certificate is ineligible for further aid even though s/he has not applied for and completed the graduation process. Similarly, a student that has been placed on Program Suspension will not be eligible for financial aid. These students are not eligible to appeal their Financial Aid Suspension.

A student who fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress after one term of warning or fails to meet the terms outlined in the Reinstatement letter will not be eligible for federal student aid. A Suspension letter will be mailed to the student with the appeal petition form enclosed and a copy of the letter will be retained with the student’s financial aid records. Financial aid cannot retroactively be awarded for terms in which the student was not eligible because of SAP Suspension. Appeal deadlines for each fall semester will be November 1; spring semester April 1; and summer semester July 1. Students denied financial aid are entitled to an explanation for the basis of a denial 

If a student encounters unforeseen circumstances or situations beyond their control that significantly impact their ability to perform academically, they may have grounds to file an appeal. Such circumstances could include:

  1. Death of a Relative. If a close family member passes away, it can understandably affect a student's emotional state and ability to focus on their studies.
  2. Injury or Illness of the Student. If the student experiences a severe injury or illness that hampers their ability to attend classes, complete assignments, or take exams, this will qualify as grounds for an appeal.
  3. Other Special Circumstances. This is a broad category that encompasses various unexpected events that significantly impact a student's academic performance. Examples could include: natural disasters, financial crises, or unexpected legal issues.

When filing an appeal based on these unforeseen circumstances or situations, the student needs to provide documentation or evidence supporting their claim of mitigating circumstances. This could include medical records, death certificates, or other relevant documentation depending on the nature of the situation. The student is encouraged to contact their Financial Aid Office regarding any questions they may have.

Whether the Financial Aid Appeal Petition is based on mitigating circumstances or not, the appeal must address the following questions:

  1. What factors prevented the student from meeting the SAP requirements during his/her last enrolled semester\
  2. What the student has done to address these factors in order to be successful in the future and how the circumstances have been resolved
  3. How a student plans to maintain academic success and achieve his/her educational goals
  4. In addition to addressing items 1-3, if a student is appealing based on the Maximum Time Frame standard:
  • Students must include a degree evaluation outlining what classes they need for their current program
  • Students must show cause for changing majors or pursuing a second degree or certificate if this is the cause of inability to meet the maximum time frame standard

The Financial Aid Coordinator will make a decision within 10 days of receipt to accept or deny the appeal based on professional judgment. If the appeal is denied, the student has the right to appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The student can appeal to the Committee in writing, via telephone conference call, or in person. The Chairperson of the Committee shall convene the Committee to hear the appeal after the student has notified the financial aid office of their decision to appeal to the Committee. The student will be notified by mail within 5 days of the Committee’s decision. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee’s decision is final.

A student who submits a completion rate and/or GPA appeal that is not approved by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee must meet the minimum cumulative completion rate (67%) and/or the cumulative college GPA requirements (2.0) set forth in this policy to regain eligibility. A student may re-appeal to the committee after one semester of financial aid suspension.

Beginning Spring 2019, a student who submits a maximum timeframe appeal that is not approved by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee will be placed on permanent suspension (PT) status and future appeals will not be considered.