Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

This Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy is effective July 1, 2016, and supersedes all other CCBC SAP policies published on the web and/or in prior catalogs. All financial aid funds will only pay for courses required for your declared program of study.

Federal regulations require that all federal financial aid recipients be enrolled in a degree-seeking or approved certificate program and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to maintain eligibility. The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) complies with this requirement by monitoring each student’s academic progress against three standards: minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA), minimum completion rate, and maximum time frame for completion of a degree or certificate consistent with the provisions of this policy. All federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs administered by CCBC are governed by this policy.

Degree Seeking Students
  • CCBC evaluates SAP once a year, after the spring semester, for students currently in Good Standing who are seeking an Associate’s degree.
  • Students, who are assigned a status of Warning or Probation or are currently on an Academic Plan, are required to be reviewed at the end of each semester/payment period.
Certificate Seeking Students
  • Students, who are enrolled in a Certificate program are required to be reviewed at the end of each semester/payment period.
Fall, spring, and summer terms are considered a semester/payment period. The SAP evaluation will be based on attendance in all prior semester(s) and will include all classes attempted whether or not financial aid was received. Each student who receives either federal or state assistance (including student/parent loans) must make satisfactory academic progress toward the attainment of his or her degree or certificate as a condition of receiving financial aid.

The programs governed by these regulations are (but not limited to):
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loans (Subsidized & Unsubsidized)
  • Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
  • Student Employment (Federal Work-Study and Institutional Student Employment)
  • CCBC Opportunity Grant
  • CCBC Completion Scholarship
  • CCBC Foundation Inc. Scholarships
  • Maryland State Education Assistance and Guaranteed Access Grants
  • Maryland State Delegate & Senatorial Scholarships
  • Maryland State Tuition Waiver Program
All financial aid applicants are responsible for knowing the financial aid SAP policy. The Financial Aid Office sends a notification of aid ineligibility to a student who has been placed on suspension status. Whether or not a student receives the notification, responsibility for meeting the minimum SAP requirements to qualify for student aid remains with the student. Students, who are ineligible for aid, may enroll if they are able to pay their education expenses (tuition, fees and books).

SAP Standard Measurements

Cumulative financial aid grade point average (GPA)

A student is in violation of SAP for financial aid purposes if he/she does not maintain the required cumulative financial aid GPA relative to the number of credits/billable hours attempted.

Billable Credits Required GPA
1 — 18 1.50
19 — 31 1.75
32 — 44 1.85
45 or more 2.00

The financial aid GPA calculation includes all courses taken at CCBC including legacy coursework (Catonsville C.C., Dundalk C.C., and Essex C.C.). Developmental coursework, including English as a Second Language (ESOL), is counted in the cumulative financial aid GPA. Please note the cumulative GPA on a student’s college transcript may not match the cumulative GPA for the financial aid calculation.

ESOL, English, and Reading developmental course grades of Satisfactory will be treated as a “C” grade and Unsatisfactory will be treated as an “F” grade for financial aid GPA calculations. Mathematics developmental course grades will be treated as posted by the instructor (A, B, C, or F).

Completion Rate

Students must complete at least 67% of their total attempted coursework, including ESOL and developmental billable hours and credits, to remain eligible for federal and state financial aid.

Maximum Timeframe

Students must keep within a maximum timeframe which would be limited to no more than 150% of the published length of the program for undergraduate study. Students enrolled in an Associate degree program who have attempted 90 credits or more, including transfer courses, will be required to meet with an Academic Advisor to complete a degree audit. Students appealing their suspension due to maximum timeframe must submit a completed SAP appeal form with the degree audit, signed by an Academic Advisor, to the Financial Aid Office.

Loss of Financial Aid Eligibility

Students, who are not in compliance with the cumulative GPA and/or completion rate SAP standards, will not be granted a one semester warning status (attendance prior to fall 2016 semester). Students who were previously placed on warning (attendance prior to fall 2016) and do not meet the published standards by the next review will be suspended from eligibility for Federal Title IV Aid, state funded programs, and any other aid programs requiring that students meet SAP standards.

Developmental Coursework

Developmental coursework will be included in the completion rate and the financial aid GPA calculation. Students may receive financial aid for developmental courses up to a maximum of 30 billable hours.

ESOL courses will be included in the completion rate and financial aid GPA but are not included towards the maximum 30 billable hours of developmental courses.

Withdrawals, Incompletes, Repeats, and Audits

Credits/billable hours with a grade of “W” (withdrawal) assigned after the drop/add period of a term are treated as attempted but not earned. Credits/billable hours with a grade of “I” (incomplete) or “AU” (audit) are treated as attempted but not earned.

Credits for repeated courses are treated as attempted but not earned except for the course with the highest grade, which is included in the GPA calculation.

Billable hours for developmental coursework with a grade of “S” (satisfactory) are treated as attempted and earned. A grade of “U” (unsatisfactory) is treated as attempted but not earned.

Repeated Coursework

Repeated courses count as credits attempted during each semester the student is enrolled in the course; however, they will be counted once as credits completed the first time a passing grade is received for the course. Credits for repeated courses are treated as attempted but not earned except for the course with the highest grade, which is included in the GPA calculation. Any second or subsequent repetition of the passed course will not be included in the student’s enrollment status for purposes of the Title IV programs.

Example: If a student receives an “F” the first time he or she takes a course and subsequently passes the course with a “D”, the student may only receive financial aid once to improve their “D” grade.

Transfer Credits

Credits transferred from another college are counted in the number of credits attempted and completed to measure completion rate and maximum time frame. Transfer credits are not counted in the calculation of grade point average.

Second Degree Students

Financial aid is available for students pursuing a second degree. Credits/billable hours attempted and/or completed toward a prior degree will be included in the measures of completion rate and maximum timeframe along with any transfer credits. Students seeking a second degree will only receive financial aid for the required courses to complete the program of study. Financial aid will not pay towards prerequisite courses for the second degree.

Students with double majors are monitored like any other students under this policy. Students will be limited to receive financial aid for only 2 majors.

Change of Degree Program

If a student changes degree programs, the credits from the prior program will be counted as attempted and earned credits. If the student does not meet the minimum SAP requirements, the student may appeal on the basis of a change in degree program. It is up to the Financial Aid Office to use professional judgment to allow a student to change the program of study after an appeal has previously been approved. If the revised program of study requires more than 24 credits to complete the degree, the appeal may be denied.

Should a student exceed the 150% maximum time frame allowed for their degree program, the student may appeal if they have extenuating circumstances. All transfer hours accepted by CCBC will be included when determining maximum timeframe eligibility.

SAP terminology

Good Standing

A student is meeting all SAP standards.

Warning (attendance prior to Fall 2016)

Any student not making SAP standards for the first time; no appeal is necessary.
  • The Financial Aid Warning period will be applied to the next semester the student is enrolled in classes.
  • Students will continue to receive financial aid while on Financial Aid Warning.


Any student not meeting minimum SAP requirements and is ineligible for any further financial aid.
  • A student is not eligible for financial aid until minimum SAP standards are met.
  • A student has the right to appeal and request reinstatement of federal and state financial aid eligibility.


Status assigned by the institution to a student who fails to make SAP, but has appealed to the Financial Aid Office and regained financial aid eligibility for one semester. The student must be able to achieve minimum SAP standards at the end of the Probation semester.

Probation with Academic Plan

Status assigned by the institution to a student who fails to make SAP, but has appealed to the Financial Aid Office and regained financial aid eligibility for a specific period of time. The Academic Plan is a plan of action developed with an Academic Advisor that will help the student achieve minimum SAP standards within a reasonable time period or to degree/certificate completion at CCBC. The Academic Plan is part of the appeal process.

Appeal Process

Appeal Procedure

Students with a suspended status and documented extenuating circumstances may appeal their suspension.  You may appeal for GPA, completion rate, and maximum timeframe.

An appeal must be based on a documented extenuating circumstance or situation which prevented the student from completing/passing your courses, or which necessitated a withdrawal from classes. A work conflict, repetitive withdrawals and/or failures are not extenuating circumstances.

The submitted appeal must:
  • Include information describing why minimum SAP standards have not been met and how the situation has changed so that SAP will be met at the next evaluation.
  • Detail any extenuating circumstances and include supporting documentation from a 3rd party (e.g., police reports, detailed hospital bill or physician’s statement, death certificate, military deployment, etc.).
  • Include enrollment plans for next period of enrollment (e.g., number of credit hours, change in major, Academic Improvement Plan details, any other academic-related documentation, etc.).
  • Be complete and submitted to the Financial Aid Office by the deadline for each period of enrollment.\
An appeal may be approved only if the school has determined that the student will be able to meet minimum SAP standards after the subsequent semester/payment period. Approval of financial aid based on an appeal is normally granted one time during a student’s academic career at CCBC. If a student has not achieved the minimum SAP standards after the first probationary period, the student is ineligible for aid until the minimum SAP standards are achieved.

Students, who have lost eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs for reasons of satisfactory academic progress, can regain eligibility only by enrolling at CCBC at his/her own expense and achieving minimum SAP standards. A period of non-enrollment will not restore eligibility to a student whose financial aid has been suspended for failure to make satisfactory academic progress.


Once the appeal is granted and/or an academic plan is approved, the student is placed on financial aid Probation. A student on financial aid Probation may receive federal and state funds for one payment period.

Academic Plan

All students, who appeal successfully and are subsequently placed on Probation with Academic Plan will automatically have an academic plan consisting of achieving a grade of C or better and 100% completion rate within subsequent periods of enrollment. Academic Plans for individual students, based on the particular situation and content of appeal, may vary on a case by case basis. The requirements of Academic Plans for students that deviate from the minimum will be made in writing and signed by the student prior to a subsequent financial aid disbursement. All Academic Plans will be monitored by the Financial Aid Office in subsequent terms. Failure to maintain the required GPA and completion rate while on Probation with Academic Plan will result in loss of aid eligibility in subsequent terms and a second appeal may be denied.

Note: the SAP policy differs from CCBC’s Academic Probation/Dismissal Policy (see college catalog) and a student may be ineligible to receive financial aid but still be permitted to attend classes. These two policies also have separate appeal procedures.

At the end of the semester of Probation with Academic Plan, the Financial Aid Office will determine if the student is meeting the minimum standards for satisfactory academic progress.

  1. If the student has met the minimum standards for SAP, the student will no longer be considered on Probation with Academic Plan and will be placed back in Good Standing.
  2. If the student is not meeting the minimum standards for SAP, the Financial Aid Office will determine if the student met the terms of his/her academic plan.

a. If the terms of the plan are met, the student will be eligible to continue on Probation with Academic Plan status for financial aid.

b. If the terms of the plan are not met, the student will be ineligible for financial aid until the student is meeting the minimum standards of SAP on a self-pay basis.


Appeal Denial

There is no secondary appeal process.
  • If an appeal is denied, students can only be reinstated for financial aid eligibility if they satisfy the minimum SAP requirements.
  • If an appeal is approved and the student does not fulfill the conditions of his or her Probation or Probation with Academic Plan, the student will not be eligible for aid for any future semesters during their academic career unless the student satisfies all deficiencies. Students in this situation cannot have their financial aid reinstated and have exhausted their right to appeal.

Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility

  • A student, whose financial aid has been suspended, may regain eligibility after taking classes at his/her own expense and meeting the minimum requirements of a 2.0 GPA, minimum 67% completion rate, and not exceeding the 150% maximum timeframe.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office when these conditions have been met.