Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal and state regulations require that a student receiving financial aid adhere to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards set by Mendocino College for all financial aid applicants, regardless of previous financial aid history. Satisfactory Academic Progress standards apply also to non-federal aid, including state funds, and some scholarships. Additionally, the same standards are applied to all students and include all terms of enrollment, whether or not aid was awarded or received. 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 program of study before the total number of attempted units equals 150% of their declared academic program. All units on a student’s transcript count as attempted units, whether they were completed with a W; were retaken for a better grade, or eliminated from the transcript calculation by Academic Renewal.

The College Financial Aid Office will evaluate satisfactory academic progress after each term; before aid is awarded/released for the following term.  The process will be completed as soon as all faculty have posted grades.  Some certificate programs are ineligible for student financial aid, but those credits will be counted toward all SAP requirements (GPA Completion Rate, Maximum Timeframe, and Developmental Maximum) if the student later enrolls in an eligible program. Grade changes will not be reflective until the following evaluation period.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

1. GPA Standard (Qualitative): Maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.
2. Pace Rate (Quantitative): Complete at least 67% of all enrolled units (these include courses in which you received a W and courses you repeated)
3. Maximum Time Frame: Complete your educational goal within 150% of your program's required units.

Rights and Responsibilities

In order to be eligible to receive and continue to receive financial aid throughout this academic year you must follow the requirements listed below:

  • Be an enrolled student at Mendocino College.
  • Establish an educational goal leading to an AA or AS degree, a transfer degree, or the completion of an eligible certificate.
  • Meet with a counselor to create a comprehensive Education plan before reaching 100% of the units required for your degree or certificate program.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a scale of 4.0.
  • Complete 67% or more of the units attempted.
  • Continuing Loan Eligibility: Students who have loans must pass at least six (6) units each semester with a “C” or better.
  • Not exceed the maximum number of units allowed to complete your degree or Certificate. (The maximum number of units allowed is 1.5 times the published unit length of my academic program.)
  • Not withdraw from all my classes.

The following are consequences that may result of not meeting the responsibilities above:

  • You may be placed on financial aid probation;
  • You may have your eligibility to receive financial aid denied; and
  • You may have to return some or all of the financial aid you received.
  • Should your financial aid be denied, you should be aware that you can file an appeal to have that decision reviewed.

These terms apply to all types of financial aid you may be awarded, with the exception of the Board of Governors (B.O.G.) Fee Waiver and scholarships.  Your Satisfactory Academic Progress status may affect your eligibility to receive services/grants in EOPS, CARE, and CalWORKS.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals

Students are able to appeal their Satisfactory Academic Progress status by submitting the following to the Mendocino College Financial Aid Office: 

Each appeal must be accompanied by an Educational Plan, as stated on the appeal form. Students must meet with an academic counselor to develop an academic plan or review an existing plan. 

Keep in mind that submission of a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form does not mean that an appeal will be approved.

Extenuating Circumstances

A decision on a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal will depend on the nature of the extenuating circumstances preventing the student from meeting all SAP standards. In all cases, documentation is required to demonstrate the validity of the student’s circumstances.

Examples of extenuating circumstances:
Personal illness or injury
Death of a family member, roommate, or friend
Illness of a family member
Academic hardship due to disability

Inability to pass course material, the difficulty of classes, poor time-management, and changing majors multiple times are not extenuating circumstances.

Appeal Decisions

If a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal is approved, eligibility for financial aid will be reinstated on a probationary level. Students will be required to adhere to their Educational Plan and maintain good standing at the College. 

Students whose appeal is not approved must successfully achieve 67% pace rate completion in all courses attempted (cumulative) and maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average to regain eligibility. Additionally, students will need to adhere to the maximum time frame standard mentioned above. While a denied appeal may not impact a student's ability to enroll in courses, students will be required to do so without financial aid.