Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

SAP is key to keeping your financial aid eligibility

Federal regulations require that a student receiving federal financial aid achieve and maintain satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the standards set by TCC and the federal government.

What does SAP stand for?

These standards include all terms of enrollment, whether or not aid was awarded or received. At TCC, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards also apply to non-federal aid, including state grants, Institutional and Educational Foundation scholarships.

Federal student loan borrowers must meet satisfactory academic progress requirements at the point of loan certification and again prior to the disbursement of any loan proceeds.

How progress is measured

Progress is measured throughout the academic program by the student’s cumulative grade point average (qualitative) and by credits earned as a percentage of those attempted (quantitative or pace of completion). In addition, students must complete their programs of study before attempting 150% of the credits required to complete the program.

The Central Financial Aid Office will evaluate satisfactory academic progress before aid is awarded and again after grades are posted for every term, starting with the first term of enrollment.

Some career studies certificate programs are ineligible for student financial aid, but those credits will be counted toward SAP requirements (GPA, Completion Rate, Maximum Timeframe and Developmental Maximum) if the student enrolls later in an eligible program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Status Levels

Meeting SAP Status: Students who are meeting all aspects of the satisfactory academic progress policy or successfully following a designated academic progress plan.
Warning Status: Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress for the first time (excluding students who have already attempted 150% of the credits required for their programs of study) will be automatically placed in a Warning Status for one term and are expected to meet SAP requirements by the end of that term.
Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements at the end of the warning status term will be placed on financial aid suspension. However, with a successful SAP appeal, those students will retain financial aid eligibility.
Financial Aid Suspension: Students who do not meet the credit progression schedule and/or the cumulative grade point average standard will be placed on financial aid suspension. Students in Suspension Status are not eligible to receive financial aid, unless an appeal is submitted and approved.

Probation Status: Students who have successfully appealed their financial aid suspension may be placed in a Probation Status for no more than one semester. After completion of the Probation semester the student MUST be meeting the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Academic Plan Status: Students who have successfully appealed their financial aid suspension may be placed in an Academic Plan. Students placed in an Academic Plan are eligible to receive financial aid for multiple semesters, provided that they meet the term by term requirement of their plan. Failure to meet the term by term requirements will result in termination of the Academic Plan and the student will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid.

Evaluating Progress

Quantitative Standards or Pace of Completion

Completion Rate (67% Rule): Students must, at a minimum, receive satisfactory grades in 67% of cumulative credits attempted. Credits with a grade of A, B, C, D, S or P are considered satisfactory. Courses with a grade of F, W, U, I, R, or X are considered unsatisfactory.

The calculation is made by dividing the cumulative total number of successfully completed credits by the cumulative total number of credits attempted. All credits attempted at TCC (except audits, which must be entered as such by the class census date) are included.

All credits accepted in transfer count as both attempted and successfully completed credits. This evaluation will be made prior to aid being awarded and after grades are posted at the end of each semester a student is enrolled at the college.

Maximum Hours - 150% Rule

In order to continue receiving financial aid, a student must complete his/her program of study before attempting 150% of the credits required for that program. Developmental and ESL course work is excluded in this calculation.

Attempted credits from all enrollment periods at the college plus all applicable transfer credits are counted; whether or not the student received financial aid for those terms is of no consequence.

  • Transfer Students:  Accepted transfer credits will be counted in the 67% rule and in determining the maximum number of allowable semester credit hours for financial aid eligibility.
  • Second degree students: Credits earned from a first degree or certificate must be counted if the student changes programs or attempts a second degree or certificate. Depending on the circumstances, an appeal might be warranted.
  • ESL and Developmental Studies: Students may receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 semester hours of Developmental Studies courses as long as the courses are required as a result of placement testing, the student is in an eligible program of study, and SAP requirements continue to be met.

English as a Second Language (ESL) credits are unlimited in number as long as they are taken as part of an eligible program and SAP requirements continue to be met.

Additional Considerations for Quantitative or Pace of Completion Standards

  • Withdrawals (W grades) that are recorded on the student’s permanent academic transcript will be included as credits attempted and will have an adverse effect on the student’s ability to meet the requirements of the completion rate for financial aid.
  • Incompletes (I grades) are included in cumulative credits attempted. These cannot be used as credits earned in the progress standard until a successful grade is assigned.
  • Repeated courses enable the student to achieve a higher cumulative grade point average. Students can repeat courses with financial aid until successfully completed, but repeating courses adversely affects the student’s ability to meet completion rate requirements. Financial aid can be considered for successfully completed classes that are repeated to achieve a higher grade but for only one additional attempt. Only the latest attempt will count toward the cumulative grade point average.


Qualitative Standards

Cumulative GPA Requirements (GPA Rule): In order to remain eligible for financial aid consideration, students must meet minimum cumulative grade point average requirements based on a progressive scale. Only non-remedial courses with grades of A, B, C, D and F are included in this calculation.

Transfer credits are excluded from GPA evaluation. In order to graduate, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is required in all courses that are applicable to the degree plan.

Total Number of Credits Attempted Minimum Cumulative GPA Requirement
1-15 1.5
16-30 1.75
31+ 2.0
Developmental Courses

Federal regulations state that students may only receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 credit hours of developmental course work. Students who wish to take developmental courses beyond the 30 credit hour maximum will not receive financial aid for those additional developmental courses.

Auditing Courses

Students are not eligible to receive financial aid for audited courses. Students who begin in a graded course and then change that course to audited status will lose financial aid eligibility for that course.

Financial aid suspension appeal

It's possible to regain your eligibility for grants, loans and scholarships through an appeal.


Financial Aid Offices

Financial aid help is available 24/7/365 by phone and online

Regular office hours are:
Monday and Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Pass Building, Room 175
1428 Cedar Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322

Phone: 855-308-5614


Andrews Building, Room 1120
300 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23510

Phone: 855-308-5614


Building A, Room A152
120 Campus Drive
Portsmouth, VA 23701

Phone: 855-308-5614

Virginia Beach

Building B (Bayside), Room B205
1700 College Crescent
Virginia Beach, VA 23453

Phone: 855-308-5614

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