Satisfactory Academic Progress

What Is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

To be eligible for federal and state financial aid programs, students are required by the U.S. Department of Education and the State of California to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) as they work toward completing their educational objective – certificate, AA or AS degree, or transfer program. The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) has established guidelines to promote timely completion of its educational programs, which are applied to all classes taken in the LACCD.

What Are the SAP Policy Requirements?

  • Maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher (a "C" average).
  • Complete a minimum of 66.5% of all units attempted (all attempted courses). Withdrawals (W), Incompletes (INC), Fails (F), No Credit (NCR), and No Pass (NP) are considered non-grades and must be less than 33.5% of all units attempted.
  • Have attempted less than 150% of the units needed to complete the program pursued.

Who Is Affected by the SAP Policy?

All students who apply for, receive, and/or wish to receive financial aid are affected by the SAP policy and requirements.

All students are monitored for Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of each semester/session (Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring). Federal guidelines require that we count all classes, even if a student was not receiving financial aid at the time they were enrolled. Units from all semesters and terms are counted and evaluated. Also, units from non-LACCD colleges noted on transcripts received by Admissions & Records Offices in the LACCD will be counted and evaluated. Official transcripts from non-LACCD colleges should be submitted to the Admissions and Records Office.

Classes taken at any of the colleges in our District count toward your enrollment status when determining how much you will be disbursed. We therefore hold you accountable for all of the classes that you take within the District.

Which Financial Aid Programs Are Affected by the SAP Requirements?

Programs governed by the LACCD SAP policy include:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS)
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Nursing Loan
  • Federal Direct Stafford (student) and PLUS Loans (parent)
  • Cal Grants (B & C)
  • Child Development Grant
  • California Chafee Grant
  • California National Guard Education Assistance Award Program

Why Is There a 150% Attempted-Units Limit?

Community Colleges are two-year institutions, but some students may take longer. Students are allowed to complete up to 150% of the units required for their academic program. Most of our Associates degrees and transfer programs require approximately 60 degree-applicable units to complete. Many certificates require less than 60 units. For example, if a certificate requires 30 units, it must be completed in 45 units or 150% or less before losing financial aid eligibility.

The additional units are allowed by the LACCD SAP policy and federal guidelines to provide for unforeseen circumstances. For example, a change of major, prerequisite coursework, or unexpected medical issue may result in a student attempting more than the number of units required to complete his/her academic program.

Program Limits/Educational Goals

Financial Aid will pay for the completion of up to TWO educational goals. This means any combination of certificates, Associates degrees, or transfer program. For example, a student may pursue one Associates degree and a transfer program, but not three educational goals.

Note: Students must be strategic with their units as combining some Associates degrees and transfer programs may exceed 90 units, putting the student into disqualification. Talk to an academic counselor for advice on completing your program(s) of study within 150% time-frame.

Changing Majors/Adding Majors

Students are discouraged from changing their majors and educational goals more than once (certificate, Associates degree, transfer), particularly when the student has accumulated more than 45 units. In most cases, students that reach 150% of the time frame established for their goal may not be allowed to change majors or add new educational goals and continue getting financial aid.


Students are required to submit all official transcripts from colleges and universities attended outside of the LACCD to the Admissions Office. In some cases, financial aid may request unofficial transcripts from other institutions in order to evaluate financial aid appeals.

What Happens When a Financial Aid Recipient Does Not Meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress Minimum Requirements?

Warning Status notifications are sent to students who were initially in good standing but now have a cumulative GPA less than 2.0 and/or their completion rate is less than 66.5%. Students who receive Warning letters should see an academic counselor as soon as possible. Students should work with their counselor to determine the steps they can take to improve their GPA and/or percentage of successfully completed classes. A warning letter is exactly what it says: it is a WARNING. Students remain eligible for financial aid for that semester, but they may jeopardize future eligibility if their progress does not improve and meet the SAP standards by the end of that semester.

Advisory notifications are sent to students after the end of the semester when the number of units attempted reaches or exceeds forty-five (45). Again, you should see an academic counselor to make sure you are taking the classes you need to reach your educational goal before you reach the 150% time frame allowed.

Disqualification notifications are sent to students when they continue to not meet the first or second SAP policy requirements (as noted under the "What Are the SAP Policy Requirements?" section above) after a semester for which they received a Warning Letter. Disqualification letters are also sent to students after they exceed 150% of the time frame stated for their goal.

What Is the Procedure If A Student Wants to Appeal a Disqualification from Financial Aid?

Petition for Reinstatement: Students disqualified due to a cumulative substandard GPA (below 2.0) and/or substandard cumulative completion rate (below 66.5%) may submit an appeal to reinstate their financial aid eligibility.

Petition for Extension: Students disqualified due to exceeding 150% of the time frame stated for their goal must meet with an academic counselor at LACC and submit an appeal for extension of their financial aid eligibility.

Students may submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Office explaining why they were unable to meet SAP policy requirements.

There are two (2) levels in the petition process at the college for each type of petition (reinstatement or extension):

  • The first-level petition will be reviewed by the Appeals Committee. The result of the petition will generally be provided to the student in writing to the student's LACCD email within 45 calendar days.
  • If the first-level petition is denied, the student may submit a second-level petition. During peak periods, which are July through September and January through February, the review process may take up to six (6) weeks due to the number of petitions received. The second-level petition is reviewed by the Associate Dean or his designee. Students will be notified in writing to the student's LACCD email of the result of the petition generally within 14 calendar days.

An Administrative District Review may be initiated by the student who reasonably believes that the college, state, and/or federal guidelines were applied incorrectly, and therefore, adversely affected the student's financial aid status, rights and privileges. A request for Administrative Review can only be submitted after denial from the first-level and second-level petitions. An Administrative Review is conducted by a district-appointed administrator. Administrative Reviews must be submitted before the end of the specified semester for which the student is requesting reinstatement or extension of financial aid eligibility.

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