Satisfactory Academic Progress

Requirement and Purpose

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require that students make satisfactory progress toward attainment of a degree, diploma, or certificate objective in order to participate in federal student assistance programs. Carroll interprets federal intent of the satisfactory progress regulations as a means to prevent abuse of federal student assistance programs as opposed to placing limitations on students.

Carroll's financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy is provided to ensure compliance with federal regulations and to prevent abuse of federal student assistance programs while supporting students’ efforts to attain educational objectives. These standards represent minimum performance requirements based on federal statute and regulation and do not necessarily coincide with academic program requirements. In addition to meeting these standards a student must fulfill all other requirements to receive financial aid.

Indicators of Progress

Financial aid satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is measured "qualitatively" and "quantitatively." Quality of work is measured by cumulative grade point average (GPA) resulting from work done at Carroll College. Quantity of work is measured against a maximum time frame in which the student must complete the 
educational objective. The quantitative measurement requires designation of a minimum amount of work a student must successfully complete (credit hours earned) by the end of designated periods of enrollment (full-time equivalent semesters). The quantitative measure is cumulative for all periods of enrollment and for all schools attended, including periods of enrollment in which students did not receive federal student financial assistance.

Students Subject to SAP Measurement

Students currently enrolled and re-admits are subject to SAP measurement. In most instances, a financial aid package will be provided before grades are posted. If SAP standards have not been met, the financial aid package is voided, pending appeal. New students, to include transfer students, while subject to SAP, are not measured for satisfactory progress until grades have been posted for the first year of attendance at Carroll.

SAP Measurement Date

SAP measurement is made after completion of each semester (fall, spring, summer).

Measurement Standards of SAP

Qualitative Measurement

  • A student must possess a GPA of 2.0 or higher.  Students accepted into the Nursing Program must possess a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher.  Students in the Masters of Accountancy program or the Masters of Social Work program must possess a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher.
  • A student must meet the above qualitative standard in addition to the quantitative standards discussed below.

Quantitative Measurement

Students must pass 67% of the cumulative credits attempted at Carroll College in their degree level. Attempted credits will be based on a student’s credit load at the end of the add/drop period for each term. 

Qualitative and Quantitative Measurement Explanations 

Audit and non-credit remedial work are not considered in the measurement of SAP. Remedial and repeated course work for which a student received credit multiple times is treated as any other course work.   If repeating a course, the most recent grade shall be counted in computing GPA.  The credit hours for a repeated course will be counted only once as completed but both count toward attempted.  Incompletes are considered as credits attempted when considering maximum time frames.  Incompletes are considered failed for GPA until completion of the course.  Transfer credits are also considered when determining maximum time frames but not GPA. If a student withdrew from a class or classes, the student is considered to have attempted those classes, even though the student did not receive any earned credits from registering for the classes. Withdrawal from classes has a negative impact on SAP measurement.  Students with multiple majors or who changes majors must adhere to the same qualitative and quantitative measures (measures do not expand or restart).  Post Baccalaureate or second degree students are limited to 243 cumulative credits attempted and only credits toward the new degree will count toward GPA.

Duration of Eligibility (Pace Progression)

You are expected to earn a degree in a specific amount of time, measured by the credits attempted. Credits earned at prior post-secondary institutions and accepted toward your Carroll College degree will be included with your Carroll College credits in determining the credits you have attempted. The number of attempted credits allowed is 1.5 times the number of credits required to earn your degree (150%). For example, if your degree requires 122 credits, you are eligible for financial aid until you have attempted 183 credits or have earned the credits required for your degree, whichever comes first. Students must declare a major by the time they earn 45 credits. Students should register only in credits required for completion of their program. If credits are needed in addition to the required credits listed in the catalog, an appeal must be completed and reviewed to determine additional eligibility.  Students with multiple majors or who change majors who exceed timeframe must appeal to continue receiving aid.  Post Baccalaureate or second degree students are limited to 243 cumulative credits attempted.

Student Notification of SAP Decisions

The Financial Aid Office will, in most instances, measure SAP after developing a financial aid package for a student. In this case, the student will be notified in writing if he or she has not met SAP standards and that the financial aid package may be cancelled. At the same time, the student will be notified of the appeal process if required (described below). A student may be placed on Financial Aid Warning status if they were making SAP in the payment period. A Financial Aid Warning status reinstates aid eligibility for one payment period and does not require an appeal by the student.


A student who is notified of failure to meet SAP standards may be placed on warning or may need to appeal the con- clusion reached by the Financial Aid Office and/or request that he or she be granted an exception to the policy. The Academic Dean’s office must grant academic reinstatement to students on academic suspension before the Office of Financial Aid will consider an appeal for financial aid eligibility reinstatement.  Nursing students must be approved to stay in the program for the upcoming term by the Nursing Department Chair before the Office of Financial Aid will consider an appeal for financial aid eligibility reinstatement.

Appeal Requirements

If the student is not placed on a warning status, the student must respond and appeal in writing to the notification of failure to meet SAP standards. The response must be directed to the Financial Aid Director at Carroll. The response must describe in specific terms, why Carroll should grant an exception to its established SAP policy. The appeal form is available online in the Financial Aid Forms Bank.

As a minimum, the response must include the following:

  1. A personal statement, plus supporting documentation, as appropriate, explaining the circumstances that have led to failure to meet established SAP standards.
  2. The nature and timing of the circumstances (e.g., Injury or illness, death of a loved one). A student with a maximum credit hour violation must address the circumstances that prevented their graduation within the applicable credit limit.
  3. How the circumstances affected the students ability to meet the standards. If more than one enrollment period was affected, each enrollment period and the relevant circumstances must be specifically addressed.
  4. How the circumstances have been resolved or managed to permit the student to meet the standards.
  5. The statement should also include an academic plan outlining how the student expects to meet the SAP standards, as well as the time frame in which the student expects to be back in compliance with such standards.

Appeal Deadlines and Processing

Appeals for financial aid eligibility reinstatement must be received in the Office of Financial Aid no later than November 15 for fall semester, no later than March 31 for spring semester and no later than June 1 for summer session. Appeals will be reviewed by the Satisfactory Progress Appeals Committee on a case-by-case basis as soon as possible, and may take two weeks or more for an answer depending on the appeal volume at the time submitted.

The Financial Aid Director and Satisfactory Progress Appeals Committee will review the student’s response and will make a decision on the appeal. Two actions may result on the appeal:

  1. The Financial Aid Director may deny the appeal. The Financial Aid Director is the final authority regarding SAP decisions. The student will be notified, in writing, of action on the appeal in a timely manner.
  2. The Financial Aid Director may approve the appeal. If such is the case, the student will receive written notice of the approval, along with conditions to be met in the future, if appropriate. A student may be approved in one of two statuses:
    • Probation: Carroll determines that the student should be able to make satisfactory Satisfactory Academic progress during the subsequent payment period and meet the college’s satisfactory progress standards at the end of that payment period.
    • Academic Plan: The Satisfactory Progress Appeals Committee develops an academic plan for the student that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet the institution’s satisfactory academic progress standards by a specific point in time.

Students approved on an Academic Plan will complete and sign the plan with the Director of Academic Advising or for nursing students, the Director of Nursing. The plan will be recorded in the Financial Aid Office and will be monitored by the Satisfactory Progress Appeals Committee every term. If a student is not academically progressing as planned, financial aid will be cancelled.


Requalification for federal student financial assistance and Carroll need-based assistance programs after failing to meet SAP standards

A student who is disqualified from participation in college need-based, merit and other institutional scholarships, and federal student financial assistance programs may regain eligibility by satisfying the established SAP standards. This can be done by attending college without the financial assistance offered by the applicable financial aid. If a student is deemed not to be making satisfactory progress, but later meets the standards, his or her eligibility for aid is reinstated. A student may be paid for the payment period in which he/she regains satisfactory progress, but may not be paid for any payment periods in which the student did not meet the standards.

Sample SAP Chart

Student ATermAttempted CreditsCumulative Completed Credits% Credits CompletedCumulative GPA
John Doe2019FA1212100%3.20
Cumulative 534890%3.20

Student complaints can be submitted to the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education at 2500 Broadway, PO Box 203201, Helena, MT  59620-3201 or 406-444-6570.

Contact Us

Carroll College Financial Aid Office 
1-800-992-3648 x 5425 
fax 406-447-5187