Satisfactory Academic Progress

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the minimum standards required to maintain financial aid eligibility for federal and state programs.

Federal and state financial aid is intended to assist students as they make successful progress toward completing a degree or certificate. Therefore, each student carries the responsibility to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress.

A review of satisfactory academic progress will be completed at the conclusion of each semester (fall, spring, summer) for all degree and certificate students.

There are multiple components of the SAP policy and it is the student's responsibility to read and understand the components.

A complete statement of the Holyoke Community College policy on satisfactory academic progress is available in the Financial Aid Office, Frost 201. You can also download the policy.

Students may also find it helpful to download this brochure as a reference.

Qualitative Standard (Grade-Based)

To meet the qualitative standard a student must maintain a cumulative grade point average high enough to avoid academic probation or dismissal according to Holyoke Community College's academic standards, specified below using the financial aid GPA*:

Cumulative Quality Hours Cumulative Financial Aid GPA Required
Below 9 No minimum
9 – 30 1.75
Above 30 2.0

*A student may have a different financial aid GPA than their College GPA due to the inclusion of both pre- and post-Fresh Start grades and the inclusion of final grades from remedial/developmental courses in the calculation.

Quantitative Standard (Completion-Based)

The quantitative standard, which has two aspects, is based on the U. S. Department of Education requirement that recipients of federal student aid complete degree or certificate requirements within 150% of the normal time frame. The limit of the maximum time frame is one aspect of the quantitative standard; the complementary pace standard requires that the student make reasonable progress toward earning the degree or certificate within that time frame as they attempt coursework along the way.

Pace Toward Program Completion

For a student to meet the pace standard they must earn semester hours at HCC equal to at least two-thirds of the cumulatively attempted semester hours (calculated at 0.67). For example, a student with 48 attempted credits must successfully complete 33 credits (48 x 0.67= 32.16 and rounded up to the nearest whole credit is 33).

Maximum Time Frame

The maximum time frame for students in both degree and certificate programs is stated in terms of attempted semester hours. Students must complete their program of study within 150% of the published number of semester hours (credits) required to complete the program at HCC. A student is ineligible to receive financial aid once they have reached the 150% limit or it becomes clear that they will not be able to complete degree requirements within the 150% time frame. For example, a student in an Associate Degree program involving 60 semester hours (some may require more) would need to complete degree requirements before attempting 90 semester hours. Likewise, a student in a 24 semester hour certificate program would need to complete certificate requirements before attempting 36 semester hours.

The time frame can be automatically extended without requiring an appeal for up to 36 semester hours of attempted ESL coursework.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Statuses

Financial Aid Warning

This period is a one time, one semester warning period for students who fail to meet the GPA and/or pace toward program completion standards for the very first time. Students in these categories will be warned of their failed status but will not lose their financial aid for that one semester. Students exceeding the maximum time frame do not receive a warning.

Financial Aid Suspension

This status occurs when a student did not meet SAP standards while in Financial Aid Warning or Financial Aid Probation status, or it is determined that the student will not be able to graduate within 150% maximum time frame limit, or a student on a Financial Aid Academic Plan fails to follow the plan. A student is not eligible to receive financial aid while on Financial Aid Suspension.

Financial Aid Probation

This status is only granted upon the approval of an appeal. A student on financial aid probation will be eligible to receive financial aid for one semester. To remain eligible following an appeal approval, the student must meet normal SAP standards and/or fulfill the requirements of an academic plan.

Appeals Process

Students who do not meet the SAP standards will not be eligible to receive financial aid. Students who are no longer eligible to receive financial aid due to one or more of the standards, and believe that documented extraordinary circumstances prevented them from meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards, may submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Office.

The deadline for a student to file a completed SAP appeal for financial aid in a term is two weeks prior to the scheduled end of the semester they are attending.

For complete appeal information and instructions, please view the SAP Appeal Form.

Resources for Students

The college wants you to succeed. If you are concerned about your academic progress then we encourage you to learn about resources available on campus that may assist you with improving your academic performance. It is highly advised that you seek assistance before your financial aid is cancelled. To view a list of campus resources available to assist students please click here.

HCC provides mental health support services to all students. 

*Paper copies of all Financial Aid policies, forms, instructional brochures, etc. are available in the Financial Aid Office. Please feel free to visit us in Frost 201 and we would be happy to provide you with a hard copy of what you need.

Net Price Calculator

These calculators will help you get an estimate of the amount of grant aid you might expect to receive if you attend HCC full-time and meet all federal and state financial aid eligibility requirements.


Contact us

Questions? Contact the Financial Aid office:

Frost 201