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Satisfactory Academic Progress

How to keep your financial aid

Federal regulations require that a student meet basic academic progress standards to receive federal financial aid. This is known as Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). These standards are different from Pima Community College's academic requirements.  This video provides an introduction to SAP.

For Credit Programs, a student must:

  • Grade Point Average (GPA) - Qualitative Standard 
    • A GPA of 2.0 or higher must be maintained. The GPA calculation includes all remedial and college level coursework. Watch a video about the Qualitative Standard.
  • Complete Rate- Quantitative Standard  
    • 67% completion rate of all college level coursework (100 level or higher) attempted (“attempted” credit hours are every hour you are enrolled, including repeated courses, including failing or incomplete grades or withdrawals). Watch a video about the Quantitative Standard.
  • Maximum Timeframe
    • Complete your degree within the 150% timeframe. For example, an associate degree of 60 credit hours must be completed within 90 credit hours. The timeframe includes only college level coursework. Watch a video about Maximum Timeframe.

COVID-19 NOTE: Students that may have received W (withdrawal) or I (incomplete) grades in the spring 2020 semester will not have their SAP affected by these grades per CARES Act guidance.

PCC offers credit hour, clock hour and non-standard term classes. The SAP policy for each program is slightly different.


Frequency of Evaluation

Satisfactory Academic Progress is generally determined at the end of each payment period (semester). Coursework completed at Pima Community College, as well as outside transcripts applied to the student's record, are included when determining a student's satisfactory academic progress, even if the student did not receive financial aid in the past.

  • Students who receive any type of Title IV financial assistance are evaluated for SAP at the end of each semester after grades have been submitted.

  • Transfer students and those who are returning to the College after a hiatus are evaluated upon entry (or reentry), whether or not that point in time is at the end of a semester.

  • Financial aid applicants (upon receipt of their FAFSA) and recipients who are not in a satisfactory academic standing, will be notified via email to their Pima student email account.

  • SAP must be recalculated if a grade change has occurred or the student has changed their program.

Become familiar with PCC’s Satisfactory Academic Policy. Additional information on SAP policies is in the Student Financial Aid Handbook

Financial Aid Good Standing Status

Student has met all of the requirements of satisfactory academic progress and will continue to be eligible for federal and state financial aid grants and loans, as long as all other financial aid requirements are met.

Financial Aid Warning Status

Warning Status means a student did not meet all of the requirements of satisfactory academic progress.   You will continue to receive financial aid but you are at great risk of losing eligibility if you do not improve your academic performance to meet cumulative requirements. Cumulative SAP requirements must be met at the end of your warning semester in order for you to remain eligible.

If you do not meet cumulative requirements by the official SAP evaluation period, your eligibility for further federal student aid will be suspended and you will have to pay out of pocket for classes. Please see below for SAP appeal information. 

Financial Aid Suspension Status

  • Suspension status means you are not eligible to receive any federal and state financial aid funds. This means you are no longer eligible for federal grants, loans and Work Study
  • Any funds awarded for the upcoming semester will be canceled and anticipated aid will be reversed from your student account.
  • Registered classes are at risk of being canceled if you do not make other payment arrangements.

Filing an Appeal

Sometimes there are circumstances beyond your control that affect your ability to meet SAP standards. If this occurs, you will have the right to an appeal. In an appeal, you must provide a detailed account, in chronological order, of the circumstances that impeded you from achieving good academic standing. You may be required to address adverse grades or withdrawals in your complete academic history, no matter how long ago it was.

Examples of extenuating circumstances include:

  • Illness or major injury
  • Death of immediate family members
  • Divorce or separation
  • Deployment due to active duty or reserves by the student, students’ spouse or student’s parents
  • Natural disaster affecting the students, student’s spouse or student’s parents
  • Other unusual, disruptive event

Submitting an appeal is a request and it will be reviewed by the PCC financial aid SAP committee or financial aid department designee; it does not guarantee financial aid eligibility or reinstatement.  This video provides more information on SAP Appeals.

Appeal Information

  • Documentation must support the circumstances or reasons that you did not meet SAP standards. Documentation includes letters from health professionals, police reports, legal or government documents.
  • You must describe what has changed to allow you regain good academic standing.
  • You must meet with an academic advisor or counselor to develop a plan for getting back on track.
  • Include your name and student number on all documents.
    • Summer 2021 - CLOSED
    • Fall 2021 - November 9th, 2021

Appeal form and submission

Many students, based on other financial aid requirements, have access to complete the form via their financial aid verification portal. If you do not have access, please contact  All appeal documentation must be submitted through your portal.

You will be notified of the results of your appeal through your PCC email account and/or by text message. The decision is final. 

While waiting for your appeal decision, make student account balance payment arrangements to secure your enrollment by the payment deadline.

How to complete your appeal - video tutorial >>

Financial Aid Probation Status

Students who have successfully appealed a financial aid suspension may be placed on Financial Aid Probation Status. If you are on Probation Status:

  • You must pass 100 percent of attempted courses in the next semester 
  • You must earn a GPA of 2.0 or better, or
  • You must meet the cumulative SAP standards that lead to a “Good” standing
  • You also must meet all academic standards during your probationary semester

If you do not meet the requirements, above, during your probationary semester, you will be placed back on financial aid suspension and lose financial aid eligibility. Any subsequent appeal must be based on new or worsened conditions. Chronic or ongoing issues may not be approved more than once.

Denied Appeal

If your appeal is denied, you can re-appeal if you have new extenuating circumstances and/or supporting documents that you did not include with your initial submission.  A re-appeal cannot be made for the sole reason that you disagree with the original decision. Decisions are final and may not be appealed to college's Chancellor or the Federal Department of Education.

Reestablishing Eligibility

Students who choose not to appeal or whose appeal is denied might be able to re-establish financial aid eligibility. Students must:

  • Continue to enroll for courses at the College at your own expense
  • Meet all cumulative SAP requirements

NOTE: This may require more than one semester depending on individual situations. In many cases, students may not be able to regain good standing regardless of the number of courses that are subsequently completed due to the gravity of the SAP violations.

Veterans Benefits and Special Programs

If you are a veteran and receiving VA benefits, please contact the Veteran’s Office, or if your program of study has specific requirements, please contact your program/academic advisor.

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