Satisfactory Academic Progress

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards measures a student's progress toward degree completion using both qualitative (GPA) and quantitative (units completed compared to units attempted) methods. To be eligible for federal and state aid, students must be maintaining progress toward a degree, certificate or transfer. The standards apply to all college coursework taken, regardless of whether financial aid was received or not, including coursework transferred from another institution. Academic progress is reviewed at the end of each semester when grades are available. Students who fail to meet the Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will have their financial aid eligibility suspended.

Regulations require College of the Desert to establish standards for evaluating Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). These standards measure qualitative and quantitative requirements and maximum timeframe for student's progress toward degree completion. To be eligible for financial aid, students must meet these standards. Failure to maintain these standards will result in suspension of the student's financial aid eligibility. For more information, please review the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy.

SAP Standards:

  1. GPA (cumulative) Standard - Students with 12 units or more must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. Students with less than 12 units must maintain a minimum 1.5 cumulative GPA.
  2. Pace of Progress Standard - Student with 12 units or more must complete at least 67% of units attempted. Students with less than 12 units must complete at least 50% of units attempted.
  3. Maximum Time Frame (MTF) Standard - Students cannot exceed 150% of the established maximum time frame for their program of study. Example: The 150% of a program that requires 60 units for completion will have a maximum time frame of 90 units (60 x 150% = 90).

Earned grades of A, B, C, D, and CR are considered completed credits and are calculated in a student's cumulative grade point average (GPA). The grade RD and P are considered completed credits but do not count toward a student's grade point average (GPA). The grades I, IP, NC, NP, RD, W, EW or MW are not considered completed units but count toward a student's attempted credits for financial aid completion. The grades F and FW are not considered completed credits but count in a student's cumulative grade point average (GPA) and the student's attempted credits for financial aid completion. Audit units or any zero unit courses are not included in either the attempted or completed figures as these units are ineligible for financial aid. During the COVID-19 National Emergency, EW grades were not included in the satisfactory academic progress calculation as these were considered excused withdrawals due to COVID-19. Effective May 27, 2023, now that the COVID-19 National Emergency has ended, EW grades posted after May 27, 2023 will count towards satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.

Failure to meet one or more of the SAP standard may affect whether or not you can continue to receive your aid.

What does my SAP status mean?

  • Satisfactory Status - SAP status for students meeting all SAP standards. Eligible for aid*.
  • Warning Status - SAP status for students who do NOT meet the SAP standards after a semester. Eligible for aid*.
  • Suspension Status - SAP status for students NOT meeting the SAP standards after a warning semester. Not eligible for aid.
  • Probation Status - SAP status for students with an approved SAP appeal and meeting SAP appeal contract. Eligible for aid*.

*Eligibility for aid is based on federal and state regulations. Students must meet these regulations in addition to meeting SAP standards.

What happens if I did not meet one or more of the SAP standard?

Students will be notified via their MyCOD email account by the Financial Aid Office at the end of each term (Fall, Spring & Summer) once grades have been finalized and posted.

Students who failed Pace of Progress or GPA will have ONE warning semester*. Failure to improve after one semester of warning status will result in a suspension status. Student who fall into suspension status are NOT eligible to receive federal/state aid.

Students who exceed 150% of the established maximum time frame (MTF) for their program of study will automatically result in suspension status. Note, student who exceed their MTF will not have a warning semester.

*Please note, some students may be automatically suspended based on previous academic history.

How to appeal your Suspension status?

Financial Aid SAP Appeal instructions will be sent to their MyCOD email account, once notification(s) have been released. Students are required to submit a complete SAP appeal before the deadline of the term they are appealing for. Deadline is posted on top of this page and posted in the video students will be required to watch when appealing.

If the SAP appeal is APPROVED, the student will be placed on Financial Aid probation status for the approved semester. Students on a probation status will be monitored at the end of each semester to ensure they are meeting the signed SAP appeal contract. Failure to meet contract will result in automatic suspension status.

Students who do not meet Pace of Progress and/or GPA may also reinstate themselves to Satisfactory status if they are meeting all the SAP standards.

Is there a limit on how many times I can appeal?

Yes. Students can complete a SAP appeal once per academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer) and THREE times during their lifetime at College of the Desert (effective Fall 2023).

2023-2024 Deadline to Appeal:

  • Fall 2023: December 1st, 2023 (Friday)
  • Spring 2024: May 10th, 2024 (Friday)
  • Summer 2024: July 18th, 2024 (Thursday)

May I receive financial aid for non-degree applicable and repeated courses?

Yes, up to 30 units of non-degree/remedial courses can qualify for federal financial aid. You may also be paid for any repeated class (one time) if you previously passed ('D' or better). To review an example on repeated coursework, please watch the video below:

May I receive financial aid for classes not needed for my program of study?

No. Financial aid is intended to fund your program of study, including any preparatory courses needed. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) vs Academic Standards

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a policy specific to the Financial Aid Office that follows federal laws and is tied to a student's eligibility to receive federal and/or state financial aid. However, students attending College of the Desert are required to follow the school's academic standards, as outlined in the school catalog.