Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)


SAP is classified into three categories,

  1. G.P.A. - Students must maintain the minimum G.P.A. established by the College for Academic good standing. This is cumulative, not semester by semester.
  2. Maximum Hours-  Federal Aid will pay for up to 150% of the required hours for a student's declared program of study.   Example: the student's declared major is 60 hours, so Pell grants are available for up to 90 attempted hours (not earned hours).
  3. Two thirds (2/3's) rule - A student must successfully complete two/thirds (2/3's) of the hours they attempt. This rule is calculated as overall hours successfully completed (Earned an A, B C or D) divided by overall hours attempted at the institution. Example:  A student with 9 earned hours and 15 attempted hours has not met this standard.  (9/15= 0.60) This rule is also cumulative, not semester by semester.

Note: "W's" count in the attempted hours for the 2/3's rule and many students have found themselves not meeting SAP requirements because they have withdrawn from classes in the past to protect their G.P.A. In fact, a student could potentially have a 4.0 G.P.A. and still violate SAP rules because they have withdrawn from any course in which he or she was not going to earn an "A," therefore violating the 2/3's rule.

Also, students with undeclared majors will receive a Maximum hours unsatisfactory SAP  when they reach 36 hours. This is an intentional attempt to get those students to declare a major.

Failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

When a student first violates one of the SAP rules listed above, they are placed on a SAP warning status for the next term for which they are enrolled. If they violate the SAP rule for that next semester, then the student's financial aid is suspended and they must fill out an appeal if they want to continue to receive financial aid.


Appeals are reviewed by a committee made up of financial aid and academic staff and are granted on a case by case basis. The student will receive a letter detailing the approval (or denial) of their Financial Aid SAP suspension. (A copy of a blank letter ) The student gets one appeal only and after that must make progress on a academic plan to continue receiving aid. The appeals often restrict the student to one, two or three courses or require a student to have a degree audit completed.

In the case of a student who has exceeded the maximum hours rule, they will come seeking a degree audit to submit with their appeal. In that situation, the student will seek help in getting that documentation to submit with their appeal. Please make sure that the degree audit clearly reflects both how many courses the student needs to graduate and which courses those are.

Academic Plan

Students will come seeking an Academic Plan required for their SAP Appeal. This means that the student has not met the Federal Financial Aid guidelines for Satisfactory Academic Progess for two semesters. He or she has completed and been granted an appeal and now needs an academic plan from their advisor to continue to be eligible to receive financial aid. This form should list the courses the advisor recommends the student take this Fall. An electronic version of the form allows faculty advisors to copy/ paste from AdvisorTrac into the form or vice-versa.


 If students are showing up the office and only mention that they need an academic plan but do not have a copy of the letter granting their appeal then the student can retrieve a copy of the letter from their Southwest e-mail account. This letter is important in that it will detail the course restrictions the student will have ( one, two, or three courses) if any.

Be aware that the letter may refer to restricting the student to one, two or three classes and specific, faculty recommended courses. This is in reference to courses that financial aid will pay for. The student may, in fact, register for more courses, but financial aid will only pay for course(s) listed on the academic plan. Be wary of even mentioning that for students in this situation though, as that puts them at risk for

  1. Being purged if they don’t pay for the additional class(es) that day
  2. Staying in a SAP probation situation as the committee reviewing the appeals tried to make course restrictions on a case by case basis in the interest of improving the student’ potential for success.

 If you have questions regarding any of this, reach out to Lechelle Davenport at