Satisfactory Academic Progress


To maintain eligibility for financial assistance, both from the institution and the federal and state governments, the student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).  Progress is defined as attempting a minimum of 12 credits each semester with an appropriate cumulative Grade Point Average (Qualitative) and a set percentage of completed coursework (Quantitative) within a maximum timeframe.  Satisfactory progress is monitored at the end of each payment period (Fall Semester and the combined Winter/Spring Semester).

There are two departments that monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress.  The Registrar’s Office monitors course work for academic standing and the Office of Student Financial Aid Services is responsible for ensuring that all students (including:  full-time, part-time and students without aid) are meeting the standards set for Financial Aid.  The standards apply for all financial assistance programs including Federal Pell Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study (FWSP), Federal Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS), as well as state grants and institutional scholarships and grants.

Qualitative Requirement

A student must maintain an acceptable Grade Point Average (GPA) in order to continue to receive financial assistance. The criterion is the maintenance of a 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average by the end of the second academic year.  Please note – many of our scholarships as well as some state and federal grants are reduced if the student’s cumulative GPA falls below a 3.00.  Students should refer to their award letter and Financial Aid Handbook or the Office of Student Financial Aid Services for additional information.

Quantitative Requirement

A sliding scale is used to monitor an undergraduate student’s quantitative requirement.  PACE (completion rate) is used to measure each student’s pace toward completion and is reviewed during every SAP evaluation period.  Pace is calculated by dividing the number of successfully completed credits by the number of attempted credits over the students entire academic career; including all accepted transfer credits and any credits earned during periods of enrollment when the student was not receiving financial aid.  If a student changes course of study (major), the hours attempted under all courses of study are included in the calculation of attempted and earned hours.


0-28 Completed Undergraduate Credits                                        70%

29-60 Completed Undergraduate Credits                                      75%

61> Completed Undergraduate Credits                                         80%

  • Example 1--A first year student is enrolled for 12 credits during the Fall term and successfully completes 9 of those credits.   To calculate the pace, 9 credits divided by 12 credits attempted equals 75%. This student is making satisfactory progress. 
  • Example 2—A first year student is enrolled for 12 credits during the fall and successfully completes 6 credits (a 50% pace).  This student would be placed on financial aid warning for the Winter/Spring combined term.  During the Winter/Spring term the student attempts15 credits and completes 12 credits.  The student’s completed percentage at the end of the Winter/Spring term (18/27) is 66%.  The student is placed on financial aid discontinue.
  • Example 3—A student has previously attempted and completed 28 credits and during the next semester attempts 15 credits and only successfully completes 6 credits.  34 credits completed divided by 43 attempted credits equal a 79% pace.  The student has met the pace required for the second tier of the standard and would be making satisfactory progress.

Maximum Time Limit  

There is a time limit and a number of credits limit set for financial assistance during one’s undergraduate studies.  Any student who begins an academic term with more than 124 credits will receive only half of their institutional scholarship funds.  Students are no longer eligible for financial assistance once they have received 186 undergraduate credits during their academic career or after they have graduated.  The exception to this is the fifth year internship program through the education department, which occurs after a student graduates.

Evaluation of Academic Progress

At the end of each term (Fall term and the combined Winter/Spring term) an undergraduate student’s academic progress will be measured by comparing the number of attempted credit hours (including accepted transfer credits) with the credit hours earned; and by the student’s cumulative grade point average. This includes any course for which the student has remained enrolled past the Add/Drop period.  The following are considered when evaluating a student’s satisfactory academic progress:

  • Withdrawals, incompletes, and failures are considered attempted but not earned hours. Incompletes completed during the academic year will be calculated in the current year ‘s completed coursework for Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Incompletes not completed during the academic year will be calculated as attempted and not completed.  Incompletes completed after the end of the academic year will be calculated in the next academic year’s Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Passing credits received for pass/fail courses are considered attempted and earned credits; failing grades in pass/fail courses are considered attempted but not earned.
  • Repeated courses and courses for which the student has been granted academic reprieve are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours.
  • Audited courses are not considered credits attempted or earned.
  • Remedial courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours.
  • Transfer credits are included in the calculation of the cumulative GPA and in attempted and earned hours.

Financial Aid Warning Status

Students falling below the standards for the first time will be placed on financial aid warning and will receive a  letter and/or  an e-mail ( C of I e-mail account) from the Financial Aid Office.  A student may continue to receive financial assistance during the warning period (one semester).  A student on financial aid warning is encouraged to work with their advisor and to use the counseling, tutoring, testing, and other services available on campus to assist them with improving their academic standing.  At the end of the next semester, progress will be reviewed and the student will:

  • Be removed from warning status if both the cumulative GPA and cumulative completion rate standards are met; or
  • Be placed on Financial Aid Discontinue and suspended from receiving assistance from federal, state and institutional sources.   A Financial Aid Discontinue Letter with information on filing an appeal will be sent to the student.

Financial Aid Discontinue Status

Students who do not meet t standards (Qualitative and Quantitative) are no longer eligible for financial aid until classes have been taken (using their own funding) and have raised their cumulative GPA and completion rate to meet the above standards.  Students will receive a letter from the Financial Aid Office informing them of their aid suspension.

  • Failure to earn any credits in an academic term will result in a student being placed on aid suspension.
  • Students who are on Academic Dismissal are also on aid suspension. 

Appeal Process

A student not meeting the institution’s satisfactory academic progress standards may appeal the financial aid suspension by submitting to the Financial Aid Office, within two weeks (14 days) of notification, a signed FINANCIAL AID APPEAL FORM explaining why his or her financial aid should not be discontinued. A student may appeal on the basis (must provide documentation) of: 

  • the death of a relative
  • an injury or illness to the student
  • or other special circumstances

The following must be included with the petition:

  • Why the student failed to meet satisfactory progress
  • What has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory progress at the next evaluation
  • a written plan of action
  • a statement from an academic advisor in support of the plan.  

The Dean of Enrollment in consultation with the Financial Aid office will:

  • Review the appeal and current academic performance  
  • Convey in writing to the student the approval or disapproval of the petition.  If the appeal is approved the student will be placed on Probation for one semester.
  • If the student finds the decision unsatisfactory, the student may appeal to the Financial Aid Committee for further review.  The Financial Aid Committee’s decision on the appeal is final.

Incomplete Financial Aid Petitions will not be reviewed until all documentation has been received in the Financial Aid Office.  Students will be notified if they need to provide additional documentation.


A student on financial aid probation may receive Federal, State and Institutional aid for one semester.  While a student is on financial aid probation, the institution may require the student to fulfill specific terms and conditions such as taking a reduced course load or enrolling in specific courses.  At the end of one semester on financial aid probation, the student must meet the institution’s satisfactory academic progress standards or meet the requirements of the academic plan developed by the institution and the student to qualify for further assistance through these programs. 

  • Students who has been placed on probation and are attending their program under an approved academic plan remains eligible for aid as long as they continues to meet the conditions of that plan.  Students are not considered to be on financial aid warning or probation as long as the students are making satisfactory progress under the academic plan.
  • Students who have failed to make satisfactory academic progress, and have an appeal approved with an academic plan in place would be considered to be on financial aid probation status for the next semester.


The Policy does not preclude a student from enrolling in subsequent semesters.  Students can raise their GPA and/or satisfy credit deficiencies by taking additional course work at The College of Idaho without receiving financial aid or by transferring in credits from another institution.  Students who have lost eligibility for financial aid will not regain eligibility simply by paying for his or her classes for a semester or by sitting out a semester.  Students may have their financial aid reinstated by the Financial Aid Office once all satisfactory academic progress standards (both qualitative and quantitative) are met. 

  • Students can also submit a copy of their College of Idaho transcript and a petition form to verify grade changes, including the removal of incompletes if this will result in the student meeting the requirements of satisfactory academic progress for financial assistance.