Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to define successful completion of coursework to maintain eligibility for financial aid. The College of Southern Nevada (CSN) is required by federal, state and institutional policy to determine whether a student is meeting SAP requirements. SAP evaluation for undergraduate students, will occur at the conclusion of the each semester.

The student's entire academic career history must be considered when determining SAP status regardless of whether or not the student has received financial aid during each period of enrollment.

Requirements of the SAP Policy

The following components are measured to determine whether the student is meeting SAP standards: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Maximum Timeframe.

Qualitative (Grade Point Average)

The qualitative component is measuring the quality of the student’s SAP by conducting a review of the student’s cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). To meet the qualitative requirement, the student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.

Specific federal, state, and institutional scholarships and grants may require a higher GPA for continued eligibility. This is a separate and distinct factor in renewing or continuing eligibility for these specific financial aid funds. The GPA for specific scholarships and grants supersedes the GPA requirements referenced above. Information about the terms and conditions of specific student aid programs that have GPA requirements are provided to the student at the time the award is offered.

The following grades and their values are used in computing the semester and cumulative GPA for SAP purposes:


Grade Point Value**



























*Other grades such as (W), (AU) and (P) are not included in the GPA.

Quantitative Measure (Calculating Pace or Completion Ratio)

The quantitative component is measuring the pace at which the student must progress through his or her program of study to ensure completion within the maximum timeframe permitted and provides for the measurement of the student’s progress at the time of the evaluation. Pace or completion ratio is calculated by determining the cumulative number of credit hours the student has successfully completed divided by the number of cumulative credit hours the student has attempted. Credits accepted from other schools that are applied to a College of Southern Nevada degree are counted in the calculation as both attempted and completed hours. To meet the quantitative requirement, the student’s completion ratio must be 67% or higher.

For financial aid purposes, the following definitions and conditions apply:

To earn hours at CSN, one must receive a grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- or P. All other grades, including F, I AU and W do not earn credit hours.

Audited courses count as attempted but not earned hours. Therefore, auditing classes will negatively affect a student’s ability to satisfy the hours earned standard. Accepted transfer credit will have no effect on cumulative GPA.

Maximum Timeframe Measure

To meet the maximum timeframe requirement, the following rules apply:

Undergraduate Pursuing a Certificate

Undergraduate Pursuing an Associate Degree

Not to exceed 45 attempted credit hours

Not to exceed 90 attempted credit hours

Undergraduate Pursuing a Baccalaureate Degree


Not to exceed 180 attempted credit hours


A student who completes the academic requirements for a program but does not yet have the degree or certificate is not eligible for further additional federal student aid funds for that program.

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Additional SAP Information

Effects of Remedial Courses

Remedial or developmental courses do not count toward the student’s degree requirements; however, they are counted as attempted and earned hours and are used to determine a student’s academic grade level or classification. Thus, developmental courses are calculated in the quantitative and maximum time frame measures.

(Financial aid may be awarded to cover up to 30 remedial course credits. Remedial course credits in excess of 30 cannot be calculated as enrolled hours for financial aid purposes. This rule is not related to SAP but is a general financial aid eligibility requirement).

Effects of Pre-Requisite and Repeated Courses

Pre-requisites (or preparatory courses) do not count toward the student’s degree requirements; however, they are counted as attempted and earned hours and are used to determine a student’s academic grade level or classification. Pre-requisite courses are classified as undergraduate, thus, for SAP purposes credit hours earned and attempted and grades are evaluated in accordance with the Financial Aid SAP Policy for Undergraduate Students.

If the student repeats a course, those credits and grades are used when measuring the qualitative standard. When a student repeats a course, the total attempted hours will increase with each repeat, but the student may only earn hours for a successfully completed course once.  Therefore, repeating courses negatively affects the student’s ability to satisfy Quantitative and Maximum Timeframe measures.

Effects of Withdrawal and Incomplete Grades

If the student withdraws from a course after the drop/add period for any given semester (e.g., student receives a grade of W for the course), the course credits are included in the count of attempted credit hours. Thus, withdrawn courses are calculated in the Quantitative and Maximum Timeframe measures.

Credits for an incomplete course (e.g., student receives a grade of “I” for the course) are counted as credits attempted for quantitative and maximum timeframe measures but only included in the credits completed when the “I” grade is replaced with a passing grade. The “I” grade is treated as an “F” in the qualitative measure (i.e., cumulative GPA calculation) until the incomplete grade is replaced with a passing grade.

Effect of Change in Major

If a student changes majors, the credits the student earns at CSN and accepted transfer credits under all majors will be included in the calculation of qualitative, quantitative and maximum time frame measures.

Additional Degrees

If a student successfully completes a degree and enrolls in a subsequent degree program at the College, that student's SAP eligibility remains the same as it was when the student finished the first degree.  This means that all of the credits taken during the first degree will be counted to determine if there is any remaining eligibility for the second degree.  In many cases, the student may not have remaining eligibility because of Maximum Time Frame.  To be considered to have credits "reset" and reviewed to remove courses that only apply to the first degree, the student must complete a SAP Appeal and comply with all other requirements for consideration for financial aid.  CSN limits financial aid eligibility to two degrees only.  A degree received at another institution will count as one degree. 

Regaining Eligibility for Financial Aid

To regain eligibility for financial aid, a student may consult with a financial aid advisor to determine the appropriate alternatives. The following may be considered for regaining eligibility for financial aid:

  • Taking courses during the summer sessions(s)
  • Repeating failed courses
  • Completing incomplete grades
  • Completing courses at another institution

Cumulative GPA can only be improved by course work at CSN. Hours-earned deficiencies may be remedied by attendance at CSN or another institution. However, if enrolling elsewhere, the student must complete the appropriate transfer credit evaluation request forms and have the course work pre-approved by the academic school/department prior to enrolling at the other institution. Following the completion of course work elsewhere, the student must request that an academic transcript be sent to the Student records department and follow the appropriate policy to have transfer credits evaluated. Once deficiencies have been remedied, the student must notify the Office of Financial Aid and request reinstatement of eligibility. This request should be made after all grades and credit hours are officially recorded by the appropriate academic offices.

Neither paying for one’s classes nor sitting out for one or more terms affects a student’s academic progress standing, so neither is sufficient to reestablish aid eligibility.

SAP Definitions

Good Standing

The Student meets the minimum GPA, Pace, and maximum time frame standard and, if otherwise eligible, can receive financial aid.


The student fails to meet the minimum standard for GPA, Pace, or both GPA and Pace the students will be placed on a warning status. The student can receive financial assistance for one additional semester, but will be suspended if he/she does not improve his/her academic performance and meet the minimum standards by the end of the next evaluation period.

Financial Aid Probation

Financial Aid Probation status is assigned to a student who fails to make SAP and who has successfully appealed and has had eligibility for financial aid reinstated. A student who is placed on financial aid probation may receive financial aid for one subsequent payment period. A student on Financial Aid Probation may be required to meet certain terms and conditions.  A student placed on Financial Aid Probation will be placed on an Academic Rehab Plan.  At the conclusion of the SAP Academic Probation payment period, the student must either meet the SAP standards or fulfill the requirements specified in the SAP Academic Rehab Plan, or be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

Financial Aid Suspension

Financial Aid Suspension is a status assigned to a student who fails to make SAP, fails to regain eligibility by meeting the minimum SAP standards after a successful appeal and a probationary period or does not fulfill the requirements set forth in his or her Academic Rehab Plan when placed on Financial Aid Probation.  A student who is placed on Financial Aid Suspension may only receive financial aid if the student re-establishes eligibility by meeting the standards set forth in this policy.


An appeal is a process by which a student who is not meeting SAP standards, petitions the school for reconsideration of his eligibility for federal student aid funds. An appeal must explain why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to make satisfactory progress by the next evaluation.

Academic Rehab Plan

An Academic Rehab Plan is a written agreement between the student and the Office of Student Financial Assistance that may extend the student's probationary period beyond one semester and specifies specific requirements (i.e., minimum course completion ratio and GPA) that the student must maintain while on probation in order to maintain financial aid eligibility. Academic progress will be measured at the end of each semester while a student is on an Academic Rehab Plan. A student that fails to meet the requirements of the Academic Rehab Plan will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

Appeal Process & Procedure

A student who fails one or more of the three measures (qualitative, quantitative and maximum time frame) after being placed on one semester of financial aid “Warning” will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. The student is not eligible for federal, state, and institutional financial aid, which include grants, scholarships, work-study and loans. However, students failing SAP standards who have had extenuating circumstances may request reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility by completing the SAP Appeal form and submitting it to the Office of Student Financial Aid - SAP Appeals Committee.

The appeal must include the following:

  • A detailed explanation for the why the student fails to meet the SAP standards
  • A detailed explanation of what has changed that will now allow the student to meet
  • SAP standards Supporting documentation for 1 and 2
Important Information about Appeal Processes

Families and students should realize that financial aid funds are limited and aid programs have statutory annual limits per student. In many cases, even if an appeal meets the criteria above, it may not result in any additional aid.

A total of two appeals will be considered for the student during the student’s entire academic career at CSN.

If a second appeal is required, the same recurring circumstances in a sequential year will be scrutinized more vigorously, as they are not extraordinary circumstances.

Review and decisions about Extraordinary Circumstance Appeals are made by a committee of staff professionals and faculty are final.  They cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.

SAP Appeals Committee and Decision

Students will be sent official notification of the appeals committee decision via email and placed in the MyCSN communications center. The decision of the SAP Appeals Committee is final.

If the extenuating circumstance, documentation and Academic Rehab Plan are acceptable to the Appeals Committee, the appeal will be approved. The student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and the student’s financial aid eligibility will be reinstated for one subsequent semester.

At the conclusion of the subsequent payment period after the approved appeal, if the student meets the standards of SAP, the Financial Aid Probation status will be removed. If not, the student’s academic performance for the term will be evaluated against the student’s SAP Academic Rehab Plan.  All Academic Rehab Plans must be more stringent than the standard SAP minimums. (Such as, if the students CUM GPA is lower than a 2.0, the student must earn greater than a 2.0 in order to bring up the cumulative GPA.)

If the student meets the requirements of the Academic Rehab Plan, the student will be assigned Financial Aid Probation for the subsequent payment period.

If the student fails to meet SAP standards or the requirements set forth in the SAP Academic Rehab Plan, the student will be deemed ineligible for financial aid. Once deficiencies have been remedied, the student may notify the Office of Student Financial Assistance and request reinstatement of eligibility. This request should be made after all grades and credit hours are officially recorded by the appropriate academic office and with the Office of Enrollment Services at CSN.

SAP Appeal Deadlines

Students wishing to be considered for SAP Probation, must submit a SAP Appeal form at least 4-6 weeks prior to the start of the following semester after sitting out one semester off or after the semester that you paid your own charges. Below is the last date to submit an appeal to the Office of Financial Aid:

  • Summer 2017        -           April 24,2017
  • Fall 2017              -            July 21, 2017
  • Spring 2018          -           December 8, 2017
  • Summer 2018       -           April 20, 2018

Only two appeals will be considered during a student’s entire academic career at CSN.