Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
In accordance with Federal and State regulations, these guidelines apply to all students requesting Title IV funds regardless of whether the student has previously received Title IV aid. The federal government mandates that aid recipients should be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree or certificate in order to maintain financial aid eligibility. These standards may be different than the academic standards to earn a degree or certificate. Where differences exist, the standards set forth in this policy shall be used to determine eligibility for participation in student financial aid programs at Long Beach City College (LBCC).
For the purpose of determining eligibility to receive financial aid, overall quality and quantity of performance (as measured by grade point average and a number of units COMPLETED vs. ATTEMPTED) is reviewed and evaluated by the Financial Aid Office at the end of every semester.
Students who meet SAP standards as identified are maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Those students who do not meet the standards should refer to the following sections related to Financial Aid Warning, Suspension (Ineligibility), and the Appeal Process. The standards apply to all financial aid students and to all coursework taken, including coursework taken whether or not financial aid was received.
What does it mean to meet Long Beach City College’s SAP Standards?
Students that earn a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or better, successfully complete 67% of all units attempted and meets his/her educational objective before attempting a total of 90 cumulative units will meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standard. LBCC’s satisfactory academic standards fall into three parts.
Part One: Minimum Grade Point Average Requirement
At the time of review, a student’s official cumulative grade point average (GPA) is evaluated to determine whether qualitative standards are being met. Students pursuing a course of study leading to an A.A. degree, an A.S. degree, a certificate, or transfer program to a 4-year college or university must maintain at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average.
Part Two: Unit Requirement/Pace of Progression
Federal regulations require that a student receive aid only for courses which meet the student’s published declared program of study as published in the LBCC catalog. All students are required to successfully complete a minimum of 67% of all units attempted including units transferred to LBCC, to meet this standard. Completed units are enrolled units for which credit is received and final grades posted. Only grades of A, B, C, D, or P are considered units completed. Classes in which a student receives a grade of F, I, NP, IP, W, EW or other will not be counted as units completed for satisfactory academic progress purposes, but the units will be counted as attempted. Students must successfully complete a cumulative minimum of 67% of the units attempted to meet this standard.
Part Three: Maximum Time Frame Requirement
Federal Regulations allow students to receive financial aid for a limited time only. A student can only receive financial assistance for a maximum of 150% of the school’s published program length. LBCC measures the progress of all students in attempted semester units. 60 units are the standard for completion of many of the degree programs at LBCC. Thus, 90 attempted units are the maximum for which a student can receive financial assistance (60 units x 150% = 90 units).
On a case-by-case basis, students may be permitted to receive financial aid beyond the maximum timeframe if there is a change in major or if a degree or transfer program requires units in excess of 90. If a student transfers in coursework from other institutions, we will count all attempted units accepted in the SAP calculation, for both progress and maximum time frame.
A student enrolled in a Certificate program may be eligible for financial aid for a maximum of 150% of the published length of that program. Once this limit has been reached, a student is ineligible for further financial aid.
Grades of F, NP, NC (no credit), I (incomplete), W (withdrawal), or EW (Excused Withdrawal) are considered attempted units and are included when calculating Maximum Time Frame. Academic Renewal is not recognized for financial aid purposes and is always counted in units attempted, GPA calculation, and maximum time frame, even when a more favorable grade was subsequently received, both attempts would be counted.
Students are encouraged to see a counselor and develop a Student Educational Plan to ensure they are taking the appropriate required coursework for their program so that they are not disqualified for continued financial aid assistance before they complete their program. It is critical that students take the correct classes required for their degree, as even passing one’s classes with a high GPA does not ensure the student will be able to graduate within the 150% maximum time frame. Taking courses not required for one’s degree may result in the student being cut off from receiving future financial aid.
The Review Process
Applicants will be reviewed for SAP at the end of every semester when all student body grades are posted. This typically occurs 2 weeks after the close of each semester. (Winter Term is considered part of the Spring semester and is evaluated along with Spring grades.) The College may conduct reviews on a case-by-case basis throughout the year. If grades are not yet posted, any financial aid award offered is tentative until the academic record is reviewed.
Remedial and ESL Courses
Financial Aid may be received for remedial (basic skills) courses if the remedial courses are a prerequisite for entrance into a regular college program. Aid cannot be received for more than 30 attempted units of remedial coursework. ESL coursework must be part of an eligible program of study to receive financial aid. A student enrolled in ESL classes, who is not in an eligible program of study, is not eligible for financial aid funds. ESL and remedial coursework will count toward the 2.0 GPA and 67% unit completion requirements (SAP standards). However, ESL units will not count towards the maximum timeframe limit and a maximum of 30 attempted remedial units will be subtracted from the total; when maximum time frame units are being counted.
Financial assistance may be awarded to cover the cost of courses previously taken to improve a grade of D, F, W, NC, or I. However, once a student passes a course, Financial Aid will only award for one subsequent attempt. All attempts, even if aid was not received, will count in the SAP calculation. Repeated semester units will count toward the 90 unit maximum allowed.
Financial Aid Warning
Students who have not earned a 2.0 cumulative GPA or did not complete 67% of all units attempted will be placed on automatic warning status for one academic semester, during which they will maintain eligibility to receive student financial aid. There is no financial aid warning status for the maximum time frame; however, students are alerted when they are nearing their maximum time frame.
Students who are placed on financial aid warning will receive a Financial Aid Warning Notice which describes the standards that will be used in subsequent reviews to determine the student’s eligibility for further federal financial aid. If a student fails to meet any of the requirements outlined above, the following actions will be taken:
- Students who have not met the SAP standards for the first time (the first non-consecutive occurrence) will be sent a Financial Aid Warning Notice to their LBCC email account informing them that they did not meet the satisfactory academic progress standards in the current term and what they must do to continue to receive student financial aid the following semester to avoid suspension. They will be advised that they remain eligible for financial aid while in warning status.
- On the second consecutive occurrence (while on warning) the student will receive a Dismissal/Suspension Notice by email to their LBCC account indicating they failed to meet the terms of the Financial Aid Warning Notice and therefore will not be eligible to receive further financial aid (federal or state, with the exception of the California Promise Grant. See Counseling for Academic eligibility requirements.). Students whose aid eligibility is suspended can regain eligibility after independently meeting satisfactory academic progress standards without financial aid.
Financial Aid Dismissal/Suspension
A student who does not meet the minimum standards as stated in this policy during their warning status semester will not be eligible to receive student financial aid at Long Beach City College.
Any financial aid previously offered, awarded, or reserved for ineligible students will be withdrawn. Withdrawn aid is not necessarily recovered even if the student’s aid eligibility is later reinstated. Long Beach City College will use the reinstatement date to determine the availability of funds. Ineligible students may only be eligible for a California College Promise Grant.
Students on financial aid dismissal/suspension status may submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form to reinstate their financial aid. At LBCC, appeals are offered in the Fall and Spring semesters during a specified period of time. Students must obtain, sign and complete a SAP Appeal form and submit it along with a recent comprehensive educational plan and any required supporting documentation (as defined by the form) to be considered for approval.
Each appeal will be reviewed for approval or denial. Approved appeals will be reinstated financial aid on a Probation, Academic Plan status, or have their maximum time frame extended. SAP Appeals will be reviewed in the order in which they are received, and no student will be given priority over another.
All decisions of the SAP committee are final and there is no higher appeal. Students will be notified via email to their LBCC account of the appeal decision.
Extenuating Circumstance Appeal (Appeal for Reinstatement)
SAP Appeal for Reinstatement requires a thorough and clear explanation of the extenuating circumstances surrounding the student’s inability to maintain SAP, including corrective action to be taken in order to meet SAP standards and attach documentation to support his/her case. Review and determination of approval will be based upon several factors, including Federal and State regulations, the student’s academic and financial aid history and the student’s clearly stated and documented extenuating circumstances.
Documentation of extenuating circumstances must be for the semesters where there was a lack of progress and must correlate with the written explanation. The appeal may be denied if extenuating circumstance documentation is not provided. Incorrect or contradictory appeals will be denied, and the student will not be able to resubmit their appeal during that semester.
Reasons a student may be eligible for an Extenuating Circumstances Appeal that must be supported by official documentation include (but are not limited to):
- Serious Illness, injury or medical condition requiring a doctor’s care.
- Death of an immediate family member.
- Victim of a crime or an unexpected disaster.
- Extenuating circumstances that were beyond the student’s control.
Maximum Time Frame Appeal (Appeal for Extension)
Appeal for Extensions will not need to submit documentation of extenuating circumstances. However, students will need to submit a SAP Appeal Request Form, a full educational plan, and a brief statement indicating why they have attempted 90 units or more.
Reasons a student may be eligible for a Maximum Time Frame Appeal:
- Student is in a high unit major or working on transfer credits.
- Student has reached the maximum time frame of attempted units, but includes remedial coursework, which would reduce the unit attempted total.
- Change of academic program will be considered on a case by case basis.
NOTE: Change in degree/major without extraordinary circumstances does not constitute sufficient reason for exceeding the 90-unit limit. If the appeal is approved, the student may receive financial aid on probation for one or more semesters until the degree is completed.
If the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal is approved, the student will be placed on Probation, Academic Plan status, or have their maximum time frame extended. Funding will only be disbursed for the semester in which they were approved and forward. Eligibility for federal, state and institutional eligibility will be determined after the appeal has been approved. Continued eligibility will be based on the standards required for Probation or by the Academic Plan.
Probation status is for one semester and the student must meet all SAP standards during this probation period.
If a student’s progress is such that it is not possible to meet SAP standards in one semester, a student may be reinstated on an Academic Plan status. Students on an Academic Plan status must successfully complete 67% of all attempted units, with a minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher, each semester. Once the student reaches the cumulative 2.0 GPA and successfully completes 67% of all attempted units, they will be returned to good standing.
Students whose appeals are denied may regain eligibility by meeting the SAP standards (2.0 cumulative GPA, completing 67% of attempted units and not exceeding 90 attempted units) unaided.
Due to changes in legislation and regulations, this policy may be subject to change without prior notice.