Satisfactory Academic Progress



Federal regulations require institutions of higher education to establish minimum standards of satisfactory progress for students receiving financial aid. Students are expected to achieve certain minimum levels of progress toward the successful academic completion of course requirements for a degree, certificate, or diploma. Progress is measured both qualitatively and quantitatively. To ensure that a student is making sufficient progress throughout their course of study, a maximum timeframe divided into increments is required.  At the end of each increment (semester) an institution must determine whether the student has successfully completed a minimum percentage of work toward his or her educational objective degree, or certificate for all increments completed.

This policy applies to those students applying for or receiving federal and state funds. To reasonably measure a student's satisfactory academic progress toward completion of his/her degree, certificate, or diploma, the student's total academic record will be evaluated regardless of whether or not they had received financial aid in the past. As a recipient of federal or state financial aid, students have certain rights and responsibilities. Failure to fulfill any part of the agreement, as described, may result in the cancellation of a student's award and the student may be responsible for repaying any received funds.


Quick Links




Probation &



To be eligible for financial aid, students must meet the following minimum guidelines:

Qualitative Standard—Must not be suspended according to the College's academic suspension procedure. Maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.0 each semester as computed by the Financial Aid Office-this may be different than your transcript GPA 

Quantitative Standard—Complete a minimum of 67% of cumulative credit hours attempted each semester (eg if the student has attempted 50 credit hours, the student must earn credit for at least 33 hours). The number of hours attempted is defined as the total cumulative number of credit hours for which the student enrolled at the general 10% point of each term.The total number of credit hours earned is defined as the total cumulative number of credit hours from each term at CPCC for which the student received a passing grade as noted on the student's academic transcript.

Maximum Time Frame—Must complete program of study in a timeframe not to exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program for full-time students. this will be measured in credit hours (eg if the academic program length requires 60 credit hours, maximum timeframe cannot exceed 90 hours attempted). Transfer credit hours accepted from other institutions and evaluated in the student's current program of study are included in the calculation of maximum timeframe.

back to top


The Financial Aid office will monitor satisfactory academic progress for all students receiving or applying for federal or state aid to ensure that they are making progress toward program completion. All programs will be reviewed for satisfactory academic progress at the end of each semester.

In order to measure a student's satisfactory progress toward a degree, diploma, or certificate requirements, the student's total academic record at Central Piedmont Community College will be evaluated whether or not the student received financial aid for the entire time of enrollment.

Special Notes:

Cumulative Credit Hours Attempted—Cumulative credit hours attempted are defined as all credit hours attempted at CPCC, and all credit hours transferred from other institutions. Attempted credits include courses with grades of "A" through "F", "W", "I/A", "I/B", "I/C", "I/D", "I/F" or "I".

Repeated Courseswill be counted as hours attempted and also toward maximum credits allowable for each type of program for financial aid.

Cumulative Credit Hours CompletedCredit hours successfully completed are defined as grades "A" through "D", "I/A", "I/B", "I/C", "I/D", "I/F". Credit hours not successfully completed are defined as "F", "W."

Audited CoursesCredit hours taken for a grade of "audit" do not apply toward an associate degree, diploma, or certificate program. Therefore, credit hours with this designation are not included in determining enrollment status for financial aid or satisfactory academic progress.

Students with changes grade type of an "audit" (AU) after the disbursement of financial aid will be reviewd for an enrollment status change. This change may result in a reduction of financial aid eligibility and a balance owed to the college.

Incomplete GradesCourses with grades of "I" (Incomplete) will be considered as credit hours attempted and not completed. Student who have made arrangements with the instructor to complete required course work are not required to re-register for the same class during a subsequent semester to complete the work. Any course carried forward to the next semester for completion will not be counted as part of the new semester enrollment status. If the "incomplete" grade resulted in a student being placed on financial aid probation or suspension, once completed, the student may appeal for a re-evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress by submitting the Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal form to the Financial Aid office at CPCC. Should the grade become final before the review, the actual grade, credits attempted, and credits earned will be used to determine if the student is making satisfactory progress.

Cumulative Grade Point Average - A student's cumulative grade point average must meet the minimum standards of the institution according to their degree intentions. The minimum cumulative grade point average for graduation at CPCC is 2.0.

Course Withdrawals – Students who withdraw from classes officially or unofficially should understand how withdraws affect their eligibility for financial aid as determined by this Satisfactory Academic Progress procedure. A “Withdrawal” will count as attempted, not completed, and will not count in the GPA calculation. Financial Aid recipients should discuss their possibility of withdrawing with a Financial Aid Officer before doing so.

Reducing enrollment during any semester can create serious consequences for financial aid recipients:

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress may be affected;
  • In cases of complete withdrawals, students may be required to repay a percentage of financial aid received for that semester. (See Return of Title IV Funds).

Developmental Studies Standards of ProgressFinancial aid recipients may take a maximum of 30 credit hours in developmental coursework. Developmental courses (designated by course numbers below 100, eg MAT 050) are included in the calculation of satisfactory academic progress. Students enrolled in developmental courses must receive grades of A, B, or C to remain in good standing.

English as a Second LanguageIf a student enrolls in ESL coursework while enrolled in an eligible program of study, he/she may also receive FSA program funds. In this case, ESL courses are treated as remedial (developmental) coursework and will not count towards the student's 150% timeframe.

Developmental hours in excess of total semester credit hours cannot be counted towards enrollment status for federal and state grants or for the cost of attendance for any campus-based programs or loan programs.

Transfer studentsAll transfer students will be considered to be making satisfactory progress based on the number of credit hours accepted toward their current program of study.

Change of MajorsStudents who change their major are still responsible for maintaining satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the procedures as outlined. A review of satisfactory academic progress will be based on the student's current program of study. A student changing from an associate program into a diploma or certificate program may lose federal and state eligibility immediately upon making the change.

Summer SessionCredit hours attempted and earned during the summer session are included in the calculation of Satisfactory Academic Progress. Full-time status is the same for summer session as it is for the fall and spring semesters (12 credit hours).


back to top

Probation & Suspension


The minimum credit hour completion requirement and the academic standards are assessed at the end of each term. If a student does not make a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and pass at least 67% of the credit hours for his/her cumulative enrollment status, the student is placed on Probation for the next term attended. Financial aid may be received during this probationary term.

Continued Probation

At the end of the probationary period, students whose term completion rate and GPA meet SAP standards, but not cumulative standards, are eligible for Continued Probation for the next enrolled semester. During the Continued Probation period, students will receive financial aid. Students are expected to use this term to work on re-establishing satisfactory academic progress.

If at the end of the Continued Probation term(s) the student is able to re-establish cumulative satisfactory academic progress, the student will be placed on Satisfactory progress.

If a student does not reestablish progress, the student will be placed on Suspension.


Students who are Continued Probation and do not meet the SAP standards for an enrolled term will be placed on Suspension and the student is not eligible for financial aid.

A student who does not meet the satisfactory academic standards for aid eligibility may attend the next term(s) without financial aid in order to make up the deficiencies (2.0 grade point average and/or 67% cumulative completion rate.) This only applies if the student has been placed on academic suspension.

When a student takes action that brings the student in compliance with the qualitative and quantitative components of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards including the maximum timeframe the student will be placed on Satisfactory progress.

After Suspension

Other than when an appeal is granted for unusual or mitigating circumstances, a student can reestablish eligibility only by taking action that brings the student in compliance with the qualitative and quantitative components of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards including the maximum timeframe.

Each student is notified in writing when placed on probation or suspension. If the student takes the necessary action that brings the student in compliance with the qualitative and quantitative components of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards, the Federal Pell Grant and other types of financial assistance (depending on availability of funds) are reinstated at the beginning of the next term of attendance, if otherwise eligible. Whether approved by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee or approved after one semester of satisfactory progress, the student’s status upon reinstatement will be satisfactory.

back to top


A student may appeal the termination of financial aid by completing an appeal form obtained from the Financial Aid/VA Office and indicating in writing: a) reasons why he or she did not achieve minimum standards, b) reasons why his or her eligibility should not be terminated, but reinstated. Appeals must be submitted in writing with supporting documentation explaining any unusual circumstances that caused the student’s academic progress to be less than required. Federal law gives some examples where allowances might be made for mitigating circumstances: for instance, if a student becomes very ill or is severely injured, or if a student’s relative dies. An appeal may not be based upon a student's need for financial aid or on the student's lack of knowledge that the assistance was in jeopardy.

Other than when an appeal is granted for unusual or mitigating circumstances, a student can reestablish eligibility only by taking action that brings the student in compliance with the qualitative and quantitative components of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards including the maximum timeframe.

Students who successfully appeal the 150% rule, are required to complete successfully 100% of everything attempted from that point forward to complete their degree (no withdrawals, no incompletes no grades lower than a C). 


The Financial Aid Appeals Committee determines if justifiable evidence or extenuating circumstances exist and if the student may receive financial aid for a specified probationary term. Satisfactory progress must be demonstrated by the end of the specified probationary term before further aid can be awarded.

A student suspended for exceeding the maximum hours allowed for degree completion should have an academic advisor submit in writing the remaining hours required for degree completion if extenuating circumstances require the student to exceed the maximum hours limit.

Any student who is reinstated with a “stipulation” is required to meet all reinstatement stipulations in order to have continued eligibility for federal and state financial aid.

To initiate a financial aid appeal, the student must complete a Financial Aid Appeals packet and an appeals letter, and submit it along with required supporting documentation. This information will need to be submitted to the Financial Aid Office at least ten working days prior to the appeal committee meeting. Appeals after this date will be processed at the next month’s scheduled appeals meeting. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee, comprised of staff, faculty, and student members, will not review incomplete appeals. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee normally meets the second Wednesday of each month. A student may make a personal appearance at the meeting by making an appointment in the Financial Aid office.  The student will be informed of the committee's decision with eight business days of the meeting. The FA Appeals Committee's and/or Director of Financial Aid/Veteran's Affairs decision will be final. All appeals along with supporting documentation must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office, Central Piedmont Community College, PO Box 35009, Charlotte, NC 28235.

Note: Students participating in the Federal Work-Study program and are suspended from financial aid, cannot continue working until satisfactory academic progress is re-established. In addition, students on approved financial aid appeal are not eligible for Federal Work-Study for the term of the approval. During this period the student must re-establish progess.

back to top