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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

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

Important Changes to SAP Standards and SAP Appeals

The Office of Financial Aid is updating the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. At the conclusion of the summer 2022 semester, this policy will go into effect for the academic year of 2022-2023. The cumulative 2.0 GPA and the 150% Maximum Timeframe requirements will remain the same. However, the pace of progression or PACE standard will be changed from 67% to 66.67%.

Students who are currently suspended or become suspended at the end of the spring 2022 semester based on the previous policy of 67% PACE will remain suspended until they have reinstated their aid eligibility through the SAP Appeal process OR completing courses at their own expense until the new SAP standards have been met. Students will not be grandfathered into the new policy.

SAP Standard

Old Policy

New Policy effective end of Summer 2022

Cumulative GPA

2.0

2.0

PACE

67%

66.67%

Maximum Timeframe

Students cannot exceed 150% of the published number of credits in their program

Students cannot exceed 150% of the published number of credits in their program

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Updates

In addition to SAP Policy changes, the Office of Financial Aid is also updating several parts of the SAP Appeal process that will also go into effect at the conclusion of the summer 2022 semester.

  1. There are no limitations on the number of appeals a student can submit
  1. GET SAP and Financial Awareness Counseling is no longer required
  2. Students are not required to “sit out” a semester before appealing. This means students can submit a SAP appeal immediately after being suspended.
  1. The SAP Appeal deadline for each semester is 30 days after the semester starts. For example, students interested in reinstating their aid eligibility for the fall 2022 semester must submit their appeal by September 29, 2022. Please note that students must make payment arrangements if they have not received an approved appeal decision by the start of the semester in which they are appealing. Financial Aid will not hold students in their courses while their appeal is pending.

FAQ

Q: I haven’t attended CSN in one or more semesters and am currently suspended because my PACE was 66.67%, am I now reinstated?

A: No, because you were suspended under the previous policy, you must still resolve that suspension by completing new courses or reinstate your aid through a SAP Appeal.

Q: My PACE is currently at 66.67%, and I am suspended from financial aid. Can I appeal for financial aid due to the change in the policy?

A: The reason for an appeal must be extenuating circumstances beyond your control that resulted in your current PACE. Changes to the SAP Policy did not cause your PACE percentage. It is just a change in how the financial aid office determines your eligibility. 

Q: I am attending the summer 2022 semester. Which SAP policy will apply?

A: The new policy will be applied to all students attending the summer 2022 semester and students entering the fall 2022 semester.

Q: I was suspended after the spring 2022 semester. Why can’t I use the new policy to be eligible for aid?

A: Because your SAP status was determined using the older policy, it still applies until you take new courses that will allow you to be evaluated on the new policy.

Q: I reached the maximum number of appeals on the previous policy. Can I submit a new SAP appeal to receive aid for the summer 2022 semester?

A: No, the new changes do not go into effect until the end of the summer semester for eligibility for the fall 2022 semester. You may appeal during the summer 2022 semester for consideration for the fall. 

Q: Do I still need to sit out a semester if I am suspended at the end of the spring 2022 semester?

A: Yes, you will still need to sit out the summer 2022 semester. You can still take courses in the summer 2022 semester at your own expense. However, you can appeal for the fall 2022 semester during the summer semester.

SAP Standards effective for the 2022-2023 Academic Year

Qualitative Measurement

Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 at the end of each semester to remain in good standing. Students failing this standard will be placed on a “warning” status for the following semester.

Students can view CSN’s grading system and grade point value here.

Quantitative Measurement

Students must have a PACE of completion of 66.67% at the end of each semester to remain in good standing. Students failing this standard will be placed on a “warning” status for the following semester.

The 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.

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 Measurement

Students must complete their program within 150% of the published length of their program in credit hours. The number of attempted credits cannot exceed 150% measurement for their degree.

For example, if an Associates degree is 60 credit hours in length, students cannot exceed 90 attempted credit hours.

Please note: 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.

Regaining Eligibility for Financial Aid for the 2022-2023 Academic Year

It is highly recommended that students consult with the CSN Financial Aid Office to determine the best route to regain eligibility

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 coursework 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. After completing 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 CSN Financial Aid Office 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.

Students wishing to be considered for SAP Probation must submit a SAP appeal on or before the semester deadline as indicated in our Important Financial Aid Dates.

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 includes grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. However, students failing SAP standards who have had extenuating circumstances beyond their control may request reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility by completing and submitting the SAP Appeal Form.

The appeal must include the following:

  • A completed SAP Appeal Form
  • A signed, typewritten personal statement explaining:
  • Any extenuating circumstances that caused you to be placed on SAP suspension.
  • How the extenuating circumstance(s) caused you’re your academic underperformance; and
  • What you have done to overcome the extenuating circumstance(s).
  • Provide official documentation that supports your extenuating circumstance.
  • A completed Academic Rehabilitation Plan completed with your Academic Counselor or Health Sciences Advisor

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.

  • CSN limits financial aid eligibility to two earned degrees. A degree received at another institution will count as a degree (s).
  • 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 SAP Appeals are made by a committee of staff professionals and are final.  Decisions 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.

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 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 office and with the Office of Enrollment Services at CSN.

SAP Appeal Deadlines

Students must submit SAP Appeals by the 30th of day of the semester in which they are requesting financial aid reinstatement. The Financial Aid Important Dates page lists the deadline for the SAP Appeal for the academic year.

Please note: Students are eligible to appeal immediately after getting suspended from financial aid. There is no longer a “sit out” semester to submit a SAP appeal beginning the 2022-2023 academic year. Additionally, there is no longer a limit on how many SAP appeals a student can submit during their educational career at CSN.

Definition of SAP Statuses

At the end of each semester, the CSN Financial Aid Office reviews students’ academic progress and notifies students of their statuses through their MyCSN Communication Center and CSN-issued email. The following statuses are determined.

Good Standing

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

Warning

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

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 their 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 regains eligibility by meeting the standards set forth in this policy.

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 Rehabilitation 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.

Previous SAP Standards Prior to 2022-2023

Qualitative Measurement

Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 at the end of each semester to remain in good standing. Students failing this standard will be placed on a “warning” status for the following semester.

Students can view CSN’s grading system and grade point value here.

Quantitative Measurement

Students must have a PACE of completion of 67% at the end of each semester to remain in good standing. Students failing this standard will be placed on a “warning” status for the following semester.

The 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.

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 Measurement

Students must complete their program within 150% of the published length of their program in credit hours. The number of attempted credits cannot exceed 150% measurement for their degree.

For example, if an Associates degree is 60 credit hours in length, students cannot exceed 90 attempted credit hours.

Please note: 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.

Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility

The following may be considered for regaining eligibility for financial aid:

  • Paying out-of-pocket for courses until you regain eligibility on your own.
  • Students facing extenuating circumstances can submit a SAP appeal and supporting documentation to be reviewed for consideration of eligibility.
**SAP Appeal Deadlines for all terms prior to the 2022-2023 academic year have passed**

Things That Can Affect SAP Status

Effects of S/U Grades

Some courses use a Satisfactory or “S” grade and Unsatisfactory or “U” grade. In special cases, instructors can give students the option to receive an “S” or “U” in place of a letter grade.

An “S” grade will not impact the GPA calculation, but will positively impact the student’s completion rate and count towards the attempted credits.

A “U” grade is not a passing grade. While a “U” does not impact the GPA calculation it will negatively impact the student’s completion rate.

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., the 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., the 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

Additional CSN Degrees

If a student successfully completes a degree and enrolls in a subsequent degree program at CSN, a student can request for all credits from the previous degree not transferring towards their current degree be excluded from counting towards their maximum timeframe.  To do so, a Request for SAP Reinstatement and an Academic Rehabilitation Plan signed by an advisor/counselor should be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid. If approved, the student will only be granted the total number of credits needed to graduate from their second degree as indicated on the Academic Rehabilitation Plan. For consideration of eligibility, the student must also comply with all other financial aid requirements. CSN limits financial aid eligibility to two degrees. A degree received at another institution will count as one degree.

Additional Degrees from Other Institutions

If a student successfully completes a degree at another institution and enrolls in a different degree program at CSN, a student can request for all credits from the previous degree not transferring towards their current degree be excluded from counting towards their maximum timeframe.  To do so, a Request for SAP Reinstatement and an Academic Rehabilitation Plan signed by an advisor/counselor should be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid.  If approved, the student will only be granted the total number of credits needed to graduate from their second degree as indicated on the Academic Rehabilitation Plan.  For consideration of eligibility, the student must also comply with all other financial aid requirements. CSN limits financial aid eligibility to two degrees. A degree received at another institution will count as one degree.

Transfer and/or Military Credits

Transfer Credits

Students transferring credits from another institution(s) may find themselves on SAP Suspension due to Maximum Timeframe. Students should be aware that the Office of the Registrar may not have reviewed the transfer credits prior to the Office of Financial Aid determining the student’s initial SAP status. This could result in the student earning one semester of aid eligibility then getting suspended after their first semester due to the added transfer credits. Students suspended as a result of evaluated transfer credits may qualify to submit a SAP Appeal to continue receiving financial aid. Students may submit a Request for Reinstatement if they earned a degree at CSN or another institution(s).

Military Credits

A student can request for all transferred military credits not transferring towards their CSN declared major to be excluded from counting towards their maximum timeframe. To do so, a Request for SAP Reinstatement and an Academic Rehabilitation Plan signed by an advisor/counselor should be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid. If approved, the student will only be granted financial aid for the total credits needed to graduate from their declared major at CSN as indicated on their Academic Rehabilitation Plan.  For consideration of eligibility, the student must also comply with all other financial aid requirements. CSN limits financial aid eligibility to two degrees. A degree received at another institution will count as one degree.

Request for SAP Reinstatement

Students who are suspended due to not meeting one or more of the SAP standards and meet any of the following criteria may submit a Request for SAP Reinstatement form to have their SAP status evaluated for financial aid eligibility.

  • Have earned a degree at CSN or another institution
  • Did not receive a “warning” semester may
  • Have a change in their PACE or GPA due to updates in their academic records

Students may submit a Request for SAP Reinstatement at any time during the semester in which they are seeking financial aid eligibility.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about Satisfactory Academic Progress, please  Contact Our Office.