Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress


Adopted: Tuesday, November 10, 1992 
Revision Number: 2
Revision Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2023 
Reference: Student Affairs, Instruction


Pearl River Community College is required under federal regulations to establish minimum standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to determine a student’s eligibility to receive federal Title IV student aid for their chosen program of study. To maintain student aid eligibility, a student must progress satisfactorily toward completing a degree or certificate in a chosen academic or career/technical program. The financial assistance offered at PRCC to which these standards apply includes the following federal Title IV programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Work Study


There are three conditions for maintaining satisfactory academic progress in order to retain Title IV Federal Student Aid. Students must first progress qualitatively by earning the required minimum grade point average. Secondly, students must progress quantitatively by completing the required minimum number of credits each semester or term. Lastly, students must complete their program of study within a reasonable time period as defined by U.S. Department of Education guidelines.

PRCC students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) based on total hours attempted (including Transfer Credits, Withdrawals, Incompletes, Audits and repeated courses) as outlined in the chart below:

Cumulative Semester Hours Attempted1 – 2425 – 3637 – ABOVE
Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average1.51.752.0

All PRCC students must successfully complete 67% of all credit hours attempted. This is the number of hours successfully completed compared to the number of hours attempted. This quantitative or incremental measurement will be a completion of two-thirds of all cumulative attempted credit hours.

Federal regulations allow a maximum time frame of 150% of the number of credits needed to complete a degree or certificate program in which a student is allowed to receive federal student aid.  A student’s academic record of courses applied to their program at PRCC, as well as transfer courses accepted into the program from all previously attended accredited institutions, will be evaluated to determine Satisfactory Academic Progress. This time frame applies to all students, even to those students who may not have previously received federal aid for prior years of study at PRCC or at another institution. A student who attempts 150% of their coursework for their degree or certificate program and who has not yet completed that program is suspended from federal aid eligibility.

At PRCC, most degree programs require completion of a minimum of 60 hours of coursework. Therefore, students must complete the requirements for a certificate or degree program within 90 hours, based on the 150% of the hours required (60 hours X 1.50 = 90).  For programs that require fewer or greater than 60 credit hours, the maximum attempted credit hour limit (150%) will be adjusted based on the program’s credit hour requirements.

Once a student earns an associate degree or higher, they are not eligible to participate in the federal student aid program without filing an appeal through the Office of Financial Aid. This does not guarantee, however, that the appeal will be approved and that financial aid eligibility will be reinstated. According to federal regulations, once a student has completed all coursework requirements for their degree program at PRCC, they are no longer eligible for federal financial aid, regardless of actual graduation status. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Review and Notification

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is reviewed at the end of each semester to determine compliance with grade point average (GPA), completion rate, and maximum time frame standards. Students who fail to meet SAP standards will be notified via their PRCC email accounts and any personal email accounts reported to the institution on file in the Office of Financial Aid. Students’ statuses are also updated for viewing through PRCC’s RiverGuide portal. It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with SAP requirements and to monitor his/her progress each semester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Disciplinary Actions:

Financial Aid Warning
A student at PRCC is automatically placed on warning following one semester of attendance if the minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) or 67% completion rate required for SAP at PRCC is not met. During this warning period of enrollment, the student remains eligible for federal assistance.

Financial Aid Suspension
A student at PRCC is placed on suspension if the cumulative required minimum grade point average (GPA) or the cumulative 67% completion rate is not met for two consecutive semesters, or when the maximum time frame of 150% for completion of a degree or certificate has been met or exceeded.
Special Note: Financial aid suspension does not prevent students from attending PRCC provided they are not on academic suspension; however, they must be prepared to make payment arrangements for their tuition and fees through the Business Office in accordance with institutional policies.

Reinstatement of Eligibility and Appeal Procedures
Students who lose their eligibility for federal assistance for not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements have the right to appeal their suspension in accordance with federal regulations and under the policies established by the educational institution they are attending. Students may submit an appeal for not meeting any component of the SAP policy. The student must demonstrate that the student’s failure to meet SAP requirements was due to mitigating circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • Illness of or injury to the student
  • Illness of or injury to a close family member of the student (spouse, child, parent, grandparent)
  • Death of a close relative (spouse, child, parent, grandparent)
  • Undue hardship or extreme circumstances that can be fully documented
  • Natural or catastrophic disaster resulting in hardship to the student and/or family
  • Military Service

Appeals may be submitted via the online form found on the Office of Financial Aid website. A link to the appeal form may also be located on the student’s financial aid portal in RiverGuide. Appeals will be reviewed in the Office of Financial Aid at Pearl River Community College on a case by case basis and will be determined based on their individual merit. Appeals should include a detailed explanation of why the student failed to maintain SAP standards and what has changed that will allow the student to meet SAP at the time of the next evaluation. Appeals must should be submitted with supporting documents (i.e. notes from physicians, death certificates, divorce decrees, funeral programs, military orders, etc.) to the Office of Financial Aid. 

There is no limit to the number of times a student may submit an appeal. Multiple appeals for the same mitigating circumstances are not allowed, as the student must demonstrate that mitigating circumstances have been resolved for the purposes of filing an appeal. The earlier an appeal is submitted, the sooner eligibility for financial aid can be determined. Appeals will have a deadline before the end of each term. Appeals for a term submitted after the end of the term will not be considered. Students who file appeals just prior to, or during registration before an enrollment period, should be prepared to register with personal payment by the tuition payment date.

Financial Aid Probation & Academic Plans
If a student’s appeal is approved, federal aid eligibility is restored for one semester only (financial aid probation). Students may be given an academic plan, in which the student must meet certain criteria outlined in the plan by a specific time frame. All academic plans will be reviewed at the end of each term. If the student meets the criteria of the academic plan, federal aid eligibility is continued for the next semester. If the student does not meet the criteria of the academic plan, the student will again be placed on financial aid suspension and may submit another appeal to document circumstances that prevented the student from meeting the terms of the academic plan.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Academic reinstatement to PRCC through the Office of Admissions does not constitute financial aid eligibility reinstatement.

Additional Satisfactory Academic Progress Guidelines:

Academic Amnesty/Restart/Renewal
There is no academic amnesty procedure in place at PRCC through which a student can apply to have credits attempted and grades earned in previous semesters excluded from the calculation of the student’s grade point average.  

Remedial/Developmental Courses
Remedial/Developmental courses are included in the calculation of the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements and are treated in the same manner as regular courses since students receive institutional credit and grades for these courses.

Repeated Courses
Repeated courses are counted in the determination of the number of semester hours attempted.  Students may receive federal aid for a repeated course they previously passed, only once. Upon the third attempt of a course that has been previously passed, the student will not receive federal aid for that course.

Transfer Courses
Transfer courses accepted into a student’s program from previously attended accredited institutions will be considered for both the pace (attempted hours and completion rate) and GPA components of the SAP policy.

Any semester in which a student withdraws or is administratively withdrawn for any reason will be counted as a semester of attendance for purposes of determining the student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. A withdrawal grade (W) is counted as attempted hours for purposes of determining SAP.

Grade Changes/Addition of Grades
It is the responsibility of the student to notify the Office of Financial Aid should there be grade changes or additions to the student’s academic transcript which may affect the student’s financial aid eligibility. The Satisfactory Academic Progress procedure is an automated process that is run each semester immediately following the posting of end of semester grades. Any changes to student records following the running of these processes must therefore be reported to the Office of Financial Aid so that the student’s record can be pulled for re-examination to determine financial aid eligibility.

Updated on August 16, 2023

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