Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

According to U.S. Department of Education regulations, all students, regardless of matriculation status or financial aid status, must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to continue to be enrolled as a student and/or receive federal financial aid. All students are measured for satisfactory academic progress, both academically and financially, at the end of each semester (Fall, Spring, Summer) by the Financial Aid Office according to three federal standards: minimum GPA, Pace/Completion Rate and 150% Rule (see description below).

SAP Standards

According to U.S. Department of Education regulations, students must maintain SAP in order to continue to be enrolled and/or receive federal financial aid at MWCC. SAP Policy identifies the three standards used to measure student academic progress. These standards are:


Financial Aid: Minimum GPA f 2.0 (C or better)
Academic: GPA according to the chart below

Total Number of Credit Hours Attempted Min Required GPA
12 or less 1.65
13–24 1.70
25–36 1.76
37–48 1.82
49–60 1.88
61+ 2.00


Students must pass (or “earn”) 2/3 of all courses that they attempt. Note that a withdrawal (W) or failure (F) is a course attempted but not earned.

Example: If you register for 4 courses, at 3 credits each, you are registered for a total of 12 credits. If you pass 2 courses, withdraw from one, and fail one, you will have a 50% completion rate and therefore would not be meeting the Pace requirement.

150% Timeframe

Students must complete their academic programs within 150%of the normal time expected for their degree

Example: You are in a program that requires 60 credits to complete. You earn 60 credits, so you are at 100% of the credits allowed for that program. But you repeated some classes and changed your major, so you still have to take some classes. Under SAP standards you are allowed an additional 50% of credits—in this case 30 for a total of 90 credits to complete a 60 credit program. If you attempt 90 or more credits, you will not meet the Timeframe requirement of the policy.


When not meeting any of these three standards, students are placed on Financial Aid Warning and/or Academic Probation. Once on Financial Aid Warning or Academic Probation, students have one semester to get back into good standing or risk moving into Suspension. NOTE: Warning is not the same as Suspension!

Satisfactory Academic Warning/Probation

Students who have a SAP status of Warning/Probation:

  • have one semester to get into compliance with the three standards set in the college’s  SAP Policy
  • are still allowed to attend MWCC and access financial aid
  • risk moving into Suspension status if they are not back into compliance with the SAP Policy after the Warning/Probation semester

Satisfactory Academic Suspension

Students not meeting the financial or academic SAP standards for more than one semester are placed on Suspension and must complete the four-step appeal process to try to reinstate to the college or financial aid eligibility.

SAP Appeal Process

  1. Attend a SAP Appeal Workshop & complete an appeal
  2. Meet with Student Services
  3. Academic/Financial Aid review board(s) & decision
  4. If approved, complete Reinstatement Plan

Still have questions? Download this easy SAP flowchart or feel free to contact Holly Kreidler-Phaneuf, Financial Literacy Counselor – Perkins Career & Technical Education Programs at or 978-630-9197/978-630-9109. Advisors are located in room 125 on the Gardner campus or by appointment in Leominster.