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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress


Sandburg Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Students requesting financial aid are required to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards according to federal and state regulations. Academic records are reviewed for all students receiving financial aid and those being considered for financial aid from the following sources:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Work Study Program
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP)
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)


The review of a student's SAP status is based on the entire academic record, even if the student did not receive financial aid for prior semesters of enrollment.


A student's SAP status will be calculated at the end of each semester. Students who are below the requirements and who have applied for financial aid, scholarships or other funding will receive a notice from the Financial Aid Office if they are not meeting the SAP requirements.

Students will be considered to have an eligible SAP status if they:

  • Maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better
  • Successfully complete 67% or more of credit hours attempted
  • Graduate within 150% of the credit hours required to complete the student’s program


Final grades of A, B, C, D or P for a course are considered successful completion. A final grade of F, I, W, AUDIT, or U are not satisfactory. Transfer hours accepted by Sandburg will be used in calculating the 150% maximum time frame and 67% Completion Rate. Developmental credits are used to calculate GPA and 67% Completion Rate but are excluded for determining maximum timeframe.

Calculating 67% Completion Rate
Students are expected to complete at least 67% of their total attempted credits. To calculate this rate, divide the total number of completed credit hours by the total number of attempted credit hours. The result must be greater than 67%. The completion rate is based on all enrollment at Carl Sandburg College.


Total Hours Completed/Total Hours Attempted Completion
Rate >= .67
24/30 .80 OK
8/12 .6666 Below Standards
7/12 .58 Below Standards


Calculating GPA
GPA is determined by dividing the GPA grade points earned by the hours attempted for all courses taken at Carl Sandburg. The number of grade points for a given course is found by multiplying the grade point value (A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0) by the number of semester hours for the course. Examples are found in the Sandburg Catalog under Grades.


Calculating Maximum
A student must make sufficient progress to graduate within 150% of the credit hours required for their program as outlined in the current College Catalog. Once it is determined that a student cannot complete their degree within the 150% limit, all financial aid for the student must be stopped even if he or she has not reached the 150% credit hour limit.

Maximum timeframe is calculated by adding all credits that could count toward the student’s degree. Developmental credits are excluded; courses that could not count toward the program of study are excluded. Courses with a grade of W, I, F, Audit or U are included if the course could have been counted toward the student’s program if passed successfully. Repeated courses count toward maximum timeframe. When students are enrolled in more than one program, the program with the highest credit hour requirement will be used in the calculation. To determine the maximum hours, multiply the required credits for your selected program of study by 150%.

Example: A student is enrolled in a program of 62 credits and the 150% limit is 93 credits. The student has enrolled in 80 credits that could count toward the program. The student still needs to complete 15 credits to meet graduation requirements. Since the student needs 15 credits and only has 13 available (93 limit minus 80 that count) the student can no longer receive any aid to complete that degree.


Students Selected Program of study Maximum to Complete Program
Associate Degree with 62 credits 93 credit hours
Certificate with 45 credits 68 credit hours


Loss of Eligibility:
A student who has not met the minimum GPA requirement of 2.0 or higher or has not completed the minimum credit hours will be assigned a classification of Warning for one semester, after which the student will be assigned a classification of Dismissal if SAP requirements are not met.

The first time a student does not complete at least 67% of the total attempted hours or is below the minimum 2.0 GPA, he or she will be placed on Warning. The student has one semester to correct the deficiencies in SAP. The student may continue to be eligible for grants. Student loans are evaluated on a case-by-case basis for students on Warning.


If a student does not meet SAP requirements at the conclusion of the Warning semester, the student will be placed on Dismissal.  A student who does not complete any course successfully their first semester at Sandburg is assigned a status of Dismissal.   A student with a Dismissal status is no longer eligible for the financial aid programs listed above.

Examples: Fall semester a new student enrolled in 12 credit hours and successfully completed six credit hours with a GPA of 2.0. The student meets the required GPA but has not completed the required 67% of hours enrolled (6 divided by 12 = 0.5 or 50%). Therefore, the student will be on Warning status for the next semester. In the spring semester, the student is enrolled in 12 credit hours. The total number of credit hours attempted is 24 (12 from fall and 12 from spring). The minimum number of credits the student must successfully complete is calculated by taking the 24 attempted credits x 0.67 (67%) = 16.08 credits. Since the student earned six credits in fall, the student must successfully complete 10.08 or more credits in spring and have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

If the same student described above only completes 10 credit hours in the spring semester, the student is no longer eligible for financial aid.

Maximum Time Frame
Once it is determined that a student cannot complete their degree within the 150% limit, the student will be considered in violation of Maximum Time Frame and will no longer qualify for financial aid to complete that program. The student could receive aid if they choose another program. The student would file an appeal to re-evaluate their SAP status based on the new program of study.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid/Right to Appeal/Academic Plan
A student who is ineligible for financial aid can regain eligibility for financial aid by fulfilling one of the following conditions:

  • Eliminate all academic deficiencies by completing the number of credit hours necessary, at the student's own expense, to meet the 67% requirement and attain the minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Appeal and be granted Probationary Reinstatement of Aid. Appeals may only be granted where it is statistically possible for the student to meet the 67% requirement and attain the minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA by the end of the next semester of enrollment.
  • Appeal and be granted an Academic Improvement Plan where they can continue to receive financial aid to complete their program as long as they meet the terms of the plan.


Appeal for Reinstatement of Financial Aid
A student with extenuating circumstances who has been deemed ineligible for financial aid may appeal by filling out a SAP Appeal Form online. Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to, unexpected injury or illness of the student; work schedule change; daycare or transportation problems; or death of a close family member.

The student must explain why the GPA and/or completion rate were below the requirements for each semester the student was below the requirements and identify what has changed that will allow the student to meet SAP guidelines in the future. Students are encouraged to submit supporting documentation with their appeal. The appeal will be reviewed by the Appeals Committee, which consists of administration and staff from Financial Aid, Counseling, Registration and Student Services. The student will be notified in writing within 30 days of the results of the Appeal Committee decision.

Probationary Reinstatement
If a student's appeal is approved, he or she will be placed on probation reinstatement. While on probation, the student may receive financial aid grants for one additional semester. Student loans are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In order to be eligible for aid for subsequent semesters, the student must meet the SAP requirements at the end of the probation semester.

Academic Improvement Plan

Students who appeal and who need more than one semester to complete their academic goals may be reinstated under an Academic Improvement Plan. The purpose of the Academic Improvement Plan is to permit students additional time and financial aid eligibility to successfully complete their degree. The Academic Improvement Plan requires that students meet the following stipulations each semester until they attain good standing.

  • Successfully complete 75% or more of credit hours attempted each semester
  • Obtain a semester GPA of 2.2 or higher each semester
  • Complete their degree within the maximum timeframe
  • Meet with your academic advisor to develop strategies for success preferably during the first four weeks of the semester.  Appointments can be made by calling:  Galesburg:  (309)341-5237, Carthage (217)357-3129.
  • Additional requirements determined on a case-by-case basis by the Appeals Committee.

Students who fail to meet any of the above requirements while under Academic Improvement Plan will have their financial aid terminated.


Termination or Denied Appeal
Student’s whose appeal is denied or terminated under the Academic Improvement Plan may appeal again once they have completed six credit hours at their own expense or have six credits of transfer work taken after the student last attended Sandburg.

Developmental Hours
A student is limited to 30 developmental credit hours while receiving federal financial aid. Federal financial aid will not cover any developmental courses taken after the student has reached the maximum 30 hours. These courses include, but are not limited to, Math 090, Math 093, Math 096, Math 098, Math 099, English 094, English 098, Reading 090, Reading 092 and Reading 096.

Repeated Courses
Students may receive financial aid for repeating courses. However, if retaking a previously passed course, financial aid can only be used for one repeat of the course. Any courses that are repeated will be used in the calculation of a student's Satisfactory Academic Progress status. Each repetition will count toward the enrolled hours; however, only the course(s) being counted in the GPA calculation will be counted in completed hours for SAP.

All information is subject to change based on changes to federal law, regulation or college policy and procedure. If changes are made, students must abide by the new policy.