All students who receive federal or state financial aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) towards the completion of an eligible program of study.

At the end of each semester, students are evaluated based on the following standards:

Quantitative – Pace

Students must complete at least 67% of units that they attempt. Units for a class are considered "non-complete" if you receive any of the following grades for that class:

  • F – failing
  • NC – no credit
  • W – withdrawal
  • NP – no pass
  • IP – in progress (IP is used for courses that extend beyond the normal academic term and indicates that a grade won’t be given until the course is completed)
  • I – incomplete
How to calculate your progress percentage

To figure out your progress percentage:

  1. Review your transcript and find the sum of all units you have completed (it may be easier to count all units that are considered non-complete and subtract those from the total units you have attempted).
  2. Divide that number by the total number of units you have attempted.
  3. Multiply by 100 to get your progress percentage.

For example, if you have taken 18 units total and you failed one 3-unit class, then you have completed 15 out of 18 units and your progress percentage is .83, or 83%.

Qualitative – Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0. The most recent grade for a repeated course is used to determine GPA. All grades for academic renewal courses are used to determine GPA.

Maximum Timeframe

The following students have taken too many college units to be eligible for some federal and state financial aid:

  • Students who have completed a Bachelor degree or higher (including a foreign degree)
  • Students who have attempted more than 150% of the units required for their degree or certificate program
What Units Count Towards Maximum Timeframe?

The following units count toward maximum timeframe:

  • Most units completed at American River College
  • Units earned at another college and transferred to American River College
  • Units for English as a second language (ESL) courses
  • Units for all repeated courses
  • Units for all academic renewal courses
Do Remedial Courses Count Toward Maximum Timeframe?

Up to 30 units of remedial courses taken at American River College will not be counted toward the total number of units attempted. Students who enroll in excessive remedial courses may exhaust their financial aid eligibility.

How to Regain Financial Aid

If you lose financial aid because you have not met SAP standards, then you can regain your financial aid two ways: by meeting SAP standards based on your own actions, or by appealing. 

Meet SAP Standards Based on Your Own Actions

Meeting SAP standards based on your own actions means taking the initiative to correct SAP deficiencies and make sure you meet each of the SAP criteria. If you re-establish your financial aid eligibility by meeting SAP standards while you are on probation status, then you are no longer required to meet your probation requirements.

Once you have met the SAP standards, contact the financial aid office to have your financial aid eligibility re-evaluated.

Appeal Process

You may be able to appeal to continue to receive financial aid.

Step 1: Complete Online SAP Workshop

You must complete the online SAP workshop and pass the quiz to access the appeal form. You must complete this workshop even if you previously completed it for a prior appeal. 

Step 2: Complete Appeal Form and Compile Supporting Documentation

Complete the appeal form and address the reasons you are appealing in detail. Reasons include:

  • You were unable to attend classes for medical reasons beyond your control
  • A member of your immediate family died (immediate family members include parents, siblings, spouses, and grandparents)
  • You received military orders for reassignment or were called to active service
  • A natural disaster occurred that impacted your academic performance
  • You experienced a personal tragedy beyond your control and you have professional third-party documentation, such as police, court, or medical records

Appropriate professional documentation for the above reasons includes:

  • Medical records
  • Obituary or death certificate
  • Court records
  • Police records
  • Military orders

Make sure you indicate in your written statement what action(s) you have taken to ensure deficiencies will not occur in the future.

If you failed to meet the maximum timeframe standard because you attempted 150% of the units required for a degree or certificate program or you already have a degree, then please address your reasons for remaining at this level of education or why you are not currently using the degree you completed and why you are returning to a community college.

Step 3: Submit Appeal to Financial Aid Office

Submit your appeal form and supporting documentation by the date indicated on the appeal form. You only have one chance to submit a completed appeal packet – additional documentation will not be accepted at a later time.

Appeal Outcomes

Approved Appeals and Probation Status

If your appeal is approved, then you will be placed on probational status. Students on probation must meet the following requirements to continue to receive financial aid:

  • Take courses that are applicable to their degree or certificate program
  • Successfully complete at least 67% of all courses attempted in each term following the appeal approval
  • Complete all coursework with a GPA of 2.0 or higher in each term following the appeal approval
  • Stay within maximum timeframe requirements allowed in any prior appeal
  • Meet any other requirements defined by the academic plan

Denied Appeals

If your appeal is denied and you correct the deficiency for which you were initially denied – but then you are dismissed for a different deficiency in the same award year – then you may be able to appeal again. Students cannot appeal twice in one year for the same deficiency. A student can appeal a maximum of two times in one award year (for two different deficiencies). Decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

Students who have attempted 150 units or more (includes transferred units and units completed at another Los Rios college) or have Bachelor's degree or higher cannot appeal the denial of aid, regardless of the reason.

If you were approved on appeal prior to reaching 150 units, then you may continue to receive aid until the end of your degree or certificate program as long as you meet the requirements of their probation. If you fail to meet the your probation requirements and move beyond 150 units, then you can no longer appeal.