Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Undergraduate Students

Federal regulations and Rocky Mountain College policy require students to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree. All federal, state, and institutional scholarship, grant, loan, and work study programs are covered by this policy. All financial aid applicants must meet SAP policy standards regardless of whether he or she has received financial aid previously. The following standards represent the minimum performance requirements to receive financial assistance and do not necessarily coincide with academic program requirements. 

There are three dimensions to the satisfactory academic progress standards: maintaining the minimum required cumulative grade point average (GPA), successfully completing a degree at the required pace, and completing within an established time frame.

Minimum Cumulative GPA

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00.


Pace is measured by dividing the cumulative number of earned credit hours by the cumulative number of credit hours the student has attempted at the completion of each academic period. Students must complete at least 67 percent of all credits attempted, including transfer credits. Attempted credits are determined based on a student's credit load at the end of the drop/add period for each term. Grades of I, IP, W, F, and NP are considered to be courses attempted but not successfully completed and will be counted as such in the determination of completion ratios. Audit classes are not considered in SAP measurement. If a student fails a course and repeats it, the grade for the last course attempted will be used to compute the academic/financial aid record and the credits will be included in the credits attempted. Students can receive aid for one repeat of a previously passed course.

Maximum Time Frame

Federal guidelines expect undergraduate students to complete their degree objective within 150 percent of the published length of the educational program. For example, a student enrolled in a bachelor's degree program requiring 124 semester credits in order to graduate could attempt up to 186 credits before federal student financial aid would be terminated. Transfer credits will be included in the overall number of attempted and completed credits. RMC also expects students to complete their degree within a reasonable time frame. Institutional assistance is available to full-time students up to the number of semesters it would take to normally receive the degree they are seeking. If a student is in a four-year program, institutional aid will be granted for four years. Students can appeal this institutional aid policy if they have planned carefully and successfully completed 15 to 16 credits per semester, but still need an additional semester or two to complete their degree.

Monitoring Progress

Financial aid satisfactory academic progress at RMC is measured at the end of each semester and summer term. The overall cumulative grade point average (GPA), pace, and maximum time frame assessment will be based on the student's entire academic record, including all transfer credits accepted.

Failure to Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students will be notified in writing if they have failed to meet the above standards. 

A student is usually put in a warning status the first time he or she fails to meet the above standards. A student on financial aid warning may continue to receive financial aid, with the exception of work study, for one payment period. Work study termination may be appealed in writing to the director of financial aid. This appeal must include an explanation of the warning status, a plan of action to meet the conditions of the warning, and why working will not jeopardize that plan. At the end of the warning period, a student's satisfactory progress will be evaluated again. If it is determined that the student is meeting the minimum progress standards, the student will be considered to be in good standing and may receive financial aid in the upcoming payment period.

If the student fails to meet the minimum satisfactory academic standards after the warning period, aid will be terminated for the upcoming period. Financial aid will be terminated for students with less than a 2.00 cumulative GPA after four semesters of attendance. The Academic Standards Committee may place a student on academic suspension if their term GPA is less than a 1.00. If a student is suspended for this reason, his or her aid will be terminated as well. Aid is also terminated for students who are dismissed from RMC.

Students whose financial aid has been terminated may regain eligibility for financial assistance by re-establishing the required GPA and/or completion ratios using their own resources. If a student regains satisfactory progress, they may receive financial assistance for the payment period in which they regain eligibility, but not for any payment period in which the student did not meet the standards. It is the responsibility of the student to notify financial aid personnel when he or she has re-established satisfactory academic progress.

Right to Appeal

Financial assistance terminations, like academic suspensions, may be appealed. Appeals must be in writing and submitted to the director of financial assistance by November 15 for the Fall Semester, March 31 for the Spring Semester, and May 10 for the Summer Term. The Academic Appeals Committee must grant academic reinstatement to students on academic suspension before the Financial Aid Office will consider an appeal for financial aid eligibility reinstatement. 

The appeal should include a personal statement that clearly details the circumstances that hindered the student's academic performance, how the circumstances have been resolved or managed to permit the student to meet the standards, and relevant documentation should accompany the appeal form. Acceptable reasons to appeal include, but are not limited to: illness or injury of the student, illness or death of an immediate relative of the student, military service, divorce or separation of student/spouse, etc.

A student whose aid is suspended due to maximum time frame must clearly detail what coursework is needed to complete the degree with their appeal. Acceptable reasons to appeal maximum time frame include, but are not limited to: change of major, transfer credits that did not apply toward your degree/program, etc.

The appeal will be reviewed by the financial aid director and staff. If it is determined that the student will not achieve the minimum SAP requirements within one payment period, they will be asked to complete an academic plan outlining how, if followed, the student will achieve the minimum academic standards, as well as a time frame in which the student expects to be back in compliance with the standards. Generally, appeals will be granted for extraordinary circumstances beyond the student's ability to control, such as those described above. A decision written regarding the appeal will be sent to the student in a timely manner. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on financial aid probation and will be eligible to receive financial assistance for one payment period. If the appeal is denied, the student will also receive written notification. 

Academic Recovery Plan (PDF)