GH Hall

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require Reynolds to establish and apply reasonable standards of satisfactory academic progress to students for the purpose of the receiving financial assistance under the programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The law also requires institutions to develop written policies regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Each institution must design criteria which outline the definition of student academic progress towards a degree and the consequences to the student if satisfactory progress is not achieved. Reynolds students who wish to be considered for financial aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress. Satisfactory academic progress will be reviewed at the end of each semester based upon the following criteria:


1. Cumulative GPA Requirements (GPA Rule)
Students must meet minimum cumulative grade point average requirements based on a progressive scale. Only non-remedial courses with grades of A, B, C, D, and F are included in this calculation. Transfer credits are not included in this calculation.

Total number of credits attempted GPA Requirement
1-15 1.5
16-30 1.75
31+ 2.0


2. Completion Rate (67% Rule)
Students must be evaluated for the 67% Rule before aid is awarded and after grades are posted for every term, starting with their first term of enrollment. Their completion rate must be 67% or higher. Credits with satisfactory grades are those for which a grade of A, B, C, D, S, or P is earned. Developmental and ESL coursework are included in this calculation. Accepted transfer credits will be counted as both attempted and completed.

3. Maximum Timeframe (150% Rule)
Students must complete their programs before attempting 150% of the credits required for their program. Developmental and ESL course work are excluded in this calculation. Attempted credits from all enrollment periods at the College plus all accepted transfer credits are counted. All terms of enrollment at Reynolds are included whether or not the student received financial aid and regardless of the age of the coursework.

4. Developmental and ESL Coursework
Students may receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 semester hours of Developmental Studies courses as long as the courses are required as a result of placement testing, the student is in an eligible program of study, and SAP requirements continue to be met. ESL credits are unlimited in number as long as they are taken as part of an eligible program and SAP requirements continue to be met.

5. Automatic Warning Period 
Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress for the first time (excluding students who have already attempted 150% of the credits required for their programs of study) will be automatically placed in a Warning Status for one (1) term and are expected to meet SAP requirements by the end of that term. Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements at the end of the warning status term will lose their eligibility for financial aid. However, with a successful SAP appeal, those students will be placed on an financial aid academic plan and will retain financial aid eligibility. This warning period has been incorporated into the VCCS SAP customization.

6. Financial Aid Probation 
Students who have successfully appealed the loss of their financial aid are placed on probation. Students on probation are eligible to receive financial aid for one (1) semester, after which they MUST be meeting all of the satisfactory academic progress standard or the requirements of an academic progress plan that was pre-approved by the Reynolds Financial Aid Office.

7. Repeated Coursework 
Students can repeat courses with financial aid until successfully completed. There is no limit assuming all other SAP requirements are met. Students may only repeat a passed course once as long as it is in order to meet an academic standard (i.e., a higher grade is required for their program of study). Repeated coursework will be included in the evaluation of completion rate and maximum timeframe. 

The Appeal Process

Students who do not meet the course completion and/or cumulative grade point average requirements will be immediately ineligible for financial aid. Removal from financial aid does not prevent students from enrolling without financial aid if they are otherwise eligible to continue their enrollment.

If extenuating circumstances exist that caused the student to be placed on Financial Aid Suspension, the student may file an appeal and document the circumstances. If an appeal is granted, a student in financial aid suspension should expect to continue classes at his or her own expense until satisfactory academic progress requirements are again met.

Students who fail to meet these Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and who choose to enroll without benefit of student financial aid may submit an appeal requesting a review of their academic records after any term in which they are enrolled without the receipt of financial aid to determine whether they have again met satisfactory academic progress standards. If the standards are met, eligibility is regained for subsequent terms of enrollment in the academic year. Students should consult their campus financial aid advisors for assistance in appealing any element of this policy or to determine how to regain eligibility for financial aid.

Under certain circumstances, students who fail to meet SAP standards and lose eligibility for financial aid can appeal the financial aid suspension. Students must clearly state what caused the suspension and must also clearly indicate what has changed that will now allow the student to succeed. Appeals are encouraged if: 

  • Extenuating circumstances exist (i.e., student’s serious illness or accident; death, accident or serious illness in the immediate family; other mitigating circumstances), or
  • The student has successfully completed one degree and is attempting another. 

Students appealing a suspension must: 

  • Complete the College’s SAP Appeal Form in entirety (contact RCC Financial Aid Office for the form),
  • Attach documentation in support of the appeal
  • Submit all items and the appeal form to the College Financial Aid Office. 

Only complete appeal submissions, with documentation, will be evaluated by the SAP Appeal Committee. Students whose appeals have been denied by the SAP Appeal Committee have the right to pursue final appeal through the Reynolds Financial Aid Office. The decision would be final. Depending on the circumstances, the student could be required to complete additional requirements (i.e., see a career counselor or another type of counselor, meet with an advisor to develop an academic progress plan for completion, limit enrollment, etc.) before an appeal is granted. The goal is to help the student get back on track for graduation. The reasonableness of the student’s ability for improvement to again meet SAP standards and complete the student’s program of study will be carefully considered. Appeals will be approved or denied. Students who have appeals approved will be placed on an Academic Plan for the coming term. While on the academic plan, the student must meet the conditions of the appeal as communicated to him or her in the SAP Appeal decision notification, or the student will return to suspension. If an academic progress plan has been pre-approved by the committee, continuing to meet the requirements of that plan will put the student back into good standing. 

A student whose eligibility for financial aid has been suspended may submit an appeal if mitigating
circumstances prevented the student from achieving Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
Circumstances that may be considered include death in the family, accident, illness, or other academic
performance factors that were outside the student's control. If a student feels he/she violated J.
Sargeant Reynolds' SAP standards due to one of these or other factors, the student may submit a SAP
Appeal form to the Office of Financial Aid.

Appeal Decisions

Appeal decisions are based on the information presented on the appeal form and the SAP criteria;
therefore, it is important that the appeal contain as much supporting information and documentation
as possible. Lack of supporting documentation is grounds for denial of the appeal. If the appeal is
denied due to lack of documentation, the student may resubmit the appeal with the appropriate
documentation. Appeal decisions will fall into one of the following categories: 

1. Pending – additional information is needed to make a decision

2. Denied – student is not eligible to receive financial aid

3. Approved – student enters into a SAP contract which details the academic performance required in future semesters for continued receipt of financial aid.

College Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy 
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form 
Instructions for Preparing a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal 
Financial Aid SAP Appeal Example Letter
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Degree Audit Form