Satisfactory Academic Progress

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Federal and state regulations require that students receiving financial aid make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in their degree or certificate program.  There are three components, or standards of progress: grade point average (GPA), completion rate or progress towards a degree, and maximum timeframe. A student must be maintaining all three standards to continue receiving financial assistance. These requirements are considered separate from the academic requirements a student must maintain to remain as a degree student at Massasoit. 

  1. Completion Rate/Pace

A student’s pace of progression towards a degree or certificate is measured by comparing the number of earned credits with the number of attempted credits.  To be eligible for financial aid, a student must successfully complete at least 67% of cumulative attempted credit hours.

Credits attempted include all courses taken by a student whether paid for with financial aid funds or taken within a degree program except as noted below. Credits earned are credits associated with classes successfully completed (received a grade of A, B, C, D, or P).

Credits earned ÷ credits attempted = completion rate percentage. For example, if a student enrolls in or “attempts” twelve credits in the semester and successfully completes, or earns, nine of those credits, the student’s completion rate is 9 ÷ 12 = 75%.  If a student completes six out of nine credits, the student’s completion rate is 6 ÷ 9 = 66.67%.  Standard rounding rules apply, so this result would be rounded up to 67%.   

When evaluating a student’s pace of progression:

  • Withdrawals, incompletes, and failures are considered attempted but not earned Students with Incomplete classes may be able to continue on probation for 1 semester while completing the course requirements.
  • 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 are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours. A student is allowed to repeat a course according to federal course repeat policy. (See the Course Repeat Policy)
  • Audited courses and non-credit courses are not considered credits attempted or earned.
  • Remedial Coursework/Developmental courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours.
  • Transfer credits, including those received during consortium study, do not count in the calculation of the cumulative GPA, but are included in the calculation of completion rate and maximum timeframe to complete a degree (see item 3 below).
  • Gateway to College and Dual Enrollment courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours.
  1. Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

A student must earn a minimum cumulative GPA based on the total number of credit hours attempted at Massasoit.  Transfer credits are excluded when determining credit hours attempted.

  • 1.0 for         1 -15 semester hours attempted
  • 1.6 for         16-30 semester hours attempted                            
  • 1.75 for       31-45 semester hours attempted
  • 2.0 for         46+ semester hours attempted

All courses for which a student receives a letter grade (A - F) are included when measuring GPA, including remedial/developmental courses, ESL courses, Gateway courses, and Dual Enrollment courses. 

  1. Maximum Timeframe

A student must complete his or her educational program within a timeframe no longer than 150% of the published length of his/her current educational program. At Massasoit Community College we count this timeframe in credits rather than in time increments.  

All attempted hours are counted, regardless of whether financial aid was received or the course work was successfully completed.  Remedial courses, and transfer credits not applicable to a student’s major, may be excluded from the number of maximum timeframe credits once a student appears to be exceeding their maximum timeframe.  

A student will not be eligible to receive financial aid once he/she has attempted 150% of the credits required for his/her degree or certificate program, or if at any point it is determined that it is mathematically impossible for a student to complete his/her degree requirements within 150% of the applicable program length.

For example, a student in a program requiring 62 credit hours for graduation will be eligible for financial aid only during the first 93 attempted credit hours (62cr. x 150%  =  93cr.), or as long as his or her pace makes it possible to complete the program within 93 attempted credits.  For students in programs with different credit hour requirements, the maximum timeframe will be adjusted accordingly. 

For the purposes of calculating maximum timeframe, there will be no rounding, and the decimal in the product will be truncated. For example, the maximum timeframe for a program requiring 65 credits is  65 * 150% =  97.5, which is then truncated to 97 credits.

Students must be taking courses that count toward their degree program to be eligible for financial assistance. Care should be taken to register only for courses listed on the appropriate degree requirements sheet for the student’s current degree or certificate program. 

SAP Review/Frequency of Evaluation

Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid will be reviewed after the Spring semester each year for students in degree programs, and after every payment period for students in certificate programs and those on Financial Aid Probation

Exception: If, at the time of measurement, a degree student has completed greater than 75% of the credits required for his/her program, maximum timeframe will be measured every semester thereafter. 

Students not meeting all three of the requirements stated above will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will be ineligible to receive financial assistance, including federal loans.

Reinstatement/Regaining eligibility

A student may be able to raise his/her cumulative gpa and/or satisfy credit deficiencies by taking additional coursework at Massasoit Community College while not receiving financial aid, or by transferring in credits from other institutions.  

Students that regain eligibility may receive financial aid for subsequent payment periods,  but will not be eligible to receive aid retroactively for a payment period in which he/she was originally ineligible.

Students may also regain eligibility by receiving a grade change, if that grade change brings the student’s GPA, completion rate, and/or maximum timeframe into compliance with SAP standards.  The Financial Aid Office will not automatically monitor grade changes, so if a student receives a grade change and would like their SAP re-measured, the student must initiate this request in writing, via email from a Massasoit account, or in person.

Please note: Neither paying for one’s classes nor sitting out a semester affects a student’s SAP standing, so neither is sufficient to re-establish eligibility.

SAP Appeal Process

Students that are placed on Financial Aid Suspension have the right to appeal this decision if significant extenuating circumstances (serious personal health issues, death in immediate family, etc.) contributed to their inability to meet SAP standards. Students may also appeal if they have exceeded the maximum timeframe due to a change in program, or if they are returning for a second certificate or degree.

To file an appeal, students must submit a completed Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form, documentation supporting the circumstances cited in the appeal, and a Degree Works Summary signed by an academic advisor.  Incomplete appeals and appeals without appropriate documentation (i.e. – letter from doctor, hospital records, police records, unemployment statements, obituaries, etc.) will not be considered.

If a student bases an appeal on a change of program, only the hours from the previous program(s) that count toward the student’s new program requirements, plus any prior attempts of those courses, are included in the calculation of maximum timeframe. Two program changes will be considered valid for financial aid SAP purposes.  All courses from the third different program on will be counted toward a student’s maximum timeframe.

Students pursuing a second associate’s degree, or transferring credits into Massasoit will have a maximum of fifteen courses (or up to 75% of the new program) from their prior degree and/or institution used to satisfy their second degree requirements. This is the same as Massasoit’s academic policy for all students pursuing a second associate degree or transferring credits.

The deadline to submit SAP appeals for the Fall semester is November 1st.   Appeals received after this date will be considered for the Spring semester only.

The deadline to submit SAP appeals for the Spring semester is March 15th.   Appeals received after this date will be considered for the following Fall semester only.

There is no SAP appeal process for the Summer semester.  Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis, but will typically only be made for students appealing to receive aid for a second degree or who have exceeded their maximum timeframe.  

If a SAP Appeal is granted, one of two things will occur:

  1. The student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and be given the opportunity to raise his or her

       cumulative gpa and/or completion rate by the end of the semester, without having an academic plan.  This

       option will be used sparingly and only for students that are expected to be making SAP by the next payment


  1. The student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and will be required to follow an “Academic Plan” designed to return them to good standing within an appropriate time period,

While on Financial Aid Probation, a student may continue to receive financial aid, if he or she is otherwise eligible.  At the end of each probationary semester the student will be:

  • Removed from Financial Aid Probation if the student is meeting minimum SAP requirements, OR
  • Continued on Financial Aid Probation if the student is not meeting minimum SAP requirements but met all requirements of his or her academic plan, OR
  • Placed on Financial Aid Suspension if the student is not meeting minimum SAP requirements and did not meet all requirements of his or her academic plan

Academic Forgiveness

The Federal Student Aid program regulations make no provision for the concept of academic amnesty or forgiveness.  Therefore, when evaluating a student’s academic progress for financial aid purposes, all of a student’s course grades will be considered, including all grades that have been excluded from a student’s grade point average through the Massasoit Academic Forgiveness Policy.

Completion of Degree Requirements

Once a student completes the academic requirements for a program, the student is considered to have completed the program and is no longer eligible for Title IV funds for that program (even if the degree is not yet conferred). 

However, students that have completed their degree requirements, but have not received their degree, may still receive aid for an eligible repeat course provided they are still within their maximum timeframe and are otherwise eligible.  Please see the Course Repeat Policy for additional information.

Subsequent Degrees

Satisfactory academic progress for students who matriculate into a second or subsequent degree or eligible certificate programs will be based on their cumulative academic record.  However, for the purposes of measuring maximum timeframe, only those courses that are applicable to the student’s current major will be included.  Credits earned in a prior degree or certificate program, and credits transferred into Massasoit, that are not applicable to the student’s new degree or certificate program will not be included.

Consortium agreements/SACHEM

Courses taken under a written agreement (e.g., a consortium or contractual agreement) will be treated like transfer credits for the purposes of measuring SAP.  Grades received in these classes will be included when measuring a student’s completion rate/pace as well as maximum timeframe, but they will not be included when measuring grade point average.

Updated: March 2018