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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Students are required to attain and remain in good Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to be eligible for federal, state, and institutional financial assistance. Federal regulations require all colleges and universities to publish and apply standards that monitor students' progress toward completion of their certificate or degree program. Two departments monitor SAP at the completion of each semester. The Registrar's Office monitors coursework for academic standing, and the Office of Student Financial Aid ensures that all students (including full-time students, part-time students, and students without aid) are meeting the requirements for SAP. These standards apply to all students regardless of whether a student has received previous financial aid or transferred from another institution. The federal regulations set minimum requirements, but schools can choose their own acceptable thresholds. This means that SAP standards can vary from one institution to the next.

Students failing to meet SAP standards will receive communication via email to their C of I email address. All students should check their email on a regular basis for any changes or updates to their student account, financial aid awards, or requests for documentation.

In order to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, the student must meet each of these criteria:

  • Earn a grade point average that meets the minimum requirements for continuation of study at The College of Idaho.

    • Earn a 2.00 or higher semester (term) grade point average for the most recent fall or spring semester.
    • Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or higher.
  • Maintain a 67% completion rate; credits attempted divided by credits completed
  • Complete all degree requirements within a specified time frame.

Evaluation of Academic Progress

At the end of each semester, 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 criteria are considered when evaluating a student's SAP.

  • Credits Attempted: Credits attempted are defined as all classes for which a student receives a passing grade (D- or better, or P), or an F, I, W, L, or WA. Excluded credits are counted as withdrawals—attempted, but not completed.
  • Credits Completed: Credits completed are defined as all classes for which a student receives a passing grade of D- or better, or P.
  • Credits Excluded from the Pace Calculation: Remedial credits will not be counted as credits attempted or completed. Audit credits also do not count as credits attempted or completed.

Repeat courses count as attempted and completed credits. Financial aid will be paid for repeat courses when the initial grade is an F. Financial aid will only be paid twice for a repeat course if the course has been passed with a D- or better at any time.

By rule, SAP standards must include both a qualitative and a quantitative standard.

  • Qualitative Requirement: The criterion is the maintenance of a 2.00 cumulative GPA; initially, students with less than a 2.00 cumulative GPA will be placed on warning and have one semester to improve their academic record before being placed on suspension. Grade point averages are monitored by the Registrar's Office; see Policies and Procedures for additional information. Students placed on warning are eligible to receive financial aid.

    Please note: College scholarships and 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 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. The completion rate is calculated by dividing the number of successfully completed credits by the number of attempted credits over the student's 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.

Maximum Time Limit (Pace)

Pace is required to ensure students complete their program of study within the maximum time frame. Timeframe is calculated by a student's ability to complete an undergraduate program, measured in credit hours, a period no longer than 150 percent of the published length of the program. That is, students must complete the 124 credits required for completion of a C of I degree; 150 percent of total credits is 186 credits, at which point the student may lose financial aid eligibility. Students must complete 67% of all credits attempted at C of I and those transferred and accepted from other schools.

Please note: If a SAP review makes it clear the student cannot mathematically complete the degree in the allotted time frame or is unable to raise the GPA to the minimum 2.00 within the maximum time frame, the student is placed on suspension.

Pace of Progression

Pace is calculated by dividing cumulative credits successfully completed by cumulative credits attempted.

Cumulative Credits Successfully Completed ÷ Cumulative Credits Attempted = Percent Completed

At each SAP review, students must have completed 67% of all credits attempted.

Pace to Completion

To ensure federal compliance, students who enroll in a degree program and have earned 124* credits or more, including transfer and regular credits, should be on an academic plan or applying for graduation, at which time a credit evaluation will be completed.

  • If the remaining credits needed to complete the bachelor's degree plus the credits already attempted will cause the student to exceed the 186 maximum allowable attempted credits, the student will be required to complete a petition.
  • 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 enrollment in the fifth-year internship program through the education department, which occurs after a student graduates.

*For undergraduate students to reach 124 credits, enrollment will be approximately 16 credits each fall and spring semester for four years.

Failure to Make Satisfactory Academic Progress

Student is granted one semester of aid eligibility on warning status. No appeal is necessary, but the student should meet with his/her advisor to assure success for future semesters.

Failure After Warning Semester

Student may appeal by submitting:

  • Completed appeal form;
  • An academic plan for success created by the student and advisor; and
  • Supporting documentation regarding any extenuating circumstances.

Failure During Probationary Status

Student is ineligible for further aid until student can regain SAP eligibility without aid or student submits an additional appeal.

Student Standings

Students' progress according to the SAP standards is measured at the end of every semester in order to determine eligibility for future semesters. Students can be in one of the following SAP status categories:

Dean's List

To receive Dean's List recognition, a student must complete at least nine or more graded credits (excluding grades of P and S) in a given semester and achieve a GPA of 3.75 or higher for that semester. Dean's List recognition is given only for the fall and spring semesters.

Good Status

Students who meet all of the standards of SAP and are not in a period of warning, suspension, or probation are in good standing; no additional enrollment, advising, or academic plan requirements are specified.

Warning Status

Should a student’s semester GPA and/or cumulative GPA fall beneath a 2.0, or their pace to completion fall below the mandatory threshold, the student’s academic standing will be put on academic warning. The semester of academic warning is designed to serve as a "wake-up" call. It is notice that the student’s current academic plan, goals, or study routines are not working and need to be evaluated and perhaps changed.  

Students earning this status in the fall will be placed on academic warning in the spring. Students earning this status in the spring will be placed on academic warning in the fall. Students on academic warning are expected to remain in a full course load (at least 12 credits) during their semester of academic warning.

If a student finishes their academic warning semester with at least a 2.0 for their semester GPA and brings their cumulative GPA above a 2.0, and/or raises their pace to completion above the threshold, the student will be deemed in good standing.  Should the student not meet these criteria, they will be dismissed with the right to appeal.

Probation / Academic Plan

A student on probation may enroll and receive federal, state, and institutional aid for one semester pending evaluation.  Students who have been placed on probation and are attending their program under an approved academic plan remain eligible for aid as long as they continue to meet the conditions of that plan.

Dismissal Status

Students who do not meet both qualitative and quantitative standards are no longer eligible for financial aid. Students will receive a letter informing them that they have been dismissed. Students can take classes (using students' own funding) and can raise their cumulative GPA and completion rate to meet the above standards to be reviewed for SAP. Students who have been dismissed may petition if there are extenuating circumstances that led to academic difficulties (see Petition Process).

Petition Process

Students who are placed on dismissal may petition if there are extenuating circumstances that led to academic difficulties. A student may petition (with supporting documentation) in these situations:

  • Extenuating circumstances: situations over which the student has no control and may include death in the student's immediate family, hospitalization, accidents, and illness. Supporting documentation is required.
  • Suspension resulting from a grade of Incomplete (I) or missing grades.

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 academic plan with advisor signature.

The Financial Aid and Academic Standing Committee will:

  • Review the petition and current academic performance.
  • Convey in writing to the student the approval or disapproval of the petition.

If the petition is approved, the student will be placed on probation for the next semester. If the student does not meet the requirements of the approval as outlined in the approval document, the student will be automatically placed on dismissal.

Students who have been dismissed and choose not to petition, or who miss the petition's deadline, or whose petition is denied may be considered for re-admission upon presenting evidence of ability to do satisfactory college work. Normally, the expectation is that the student will complete at least twelve credits at another regionally-accredited college or university with no grade below a C. Students who have been dismissed and do not appeal may not enroll in any classes at The College of Idaho unless they have permission from the Financial Aid and Academic Standings Committee.

A student may submit a maximum of two petitions during their time of study at The College of Idaho.


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 their classes for a semester or by sitting out a semester. Students may have their financial aid reinstated once all SAP 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 removal of Incompletes, if this will result in the students' meeting the requirements of SAP for financial assistance.