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Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (Policy)

Office of Origin: Financial Aid
Responsibility: Executive Director, Advising & Financial Aid, Vice President of Student Affairs
Original Date Adopted: 12-04-18    
Dates Reviewed: 9-9-2018, 4-7-22, 4-18-23
Last Date Board Approved: 12-04-18, 4-18-23

The U.S. Department of Education requires all colleges and universities to have a Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. Students must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward the completion of a certificate or degree to be eligible for federal student financial aid (Pell, SEOG, loans, college work study). To fulfill the Department of Education’s requirement, a school’s SAP policy must meet two separate standards. It must measure how successful a student is at completing their courses and how quickly a student is completing their degree or program. Student SAP status is reviewed for financial aid eligibility at the end of each semester.

Minimum Course and Credit Requirements

  • Maintain required cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher for all coursework completed at Lake Michigan College (LMC or the College).
  • Successfully complete at least 67% of the cumulative attempted credit hours (inclusive of any transfer hours applicable to the degree, whether financial aid was received for those credits or not) and
  • Make satisfactory academic progress toward a program of study within 150% of the average published program length.

All financial aid recipients are required to meet SAP standards toward completion of certificate or degree requirements to be eligible for Title IV federal financial aid (Pell, SEOG, work study, loans), some state aid, and some institutional financial aid programs. Students who do not meet these requirements will be ineligible for financial aid in future terms. Students who lose eligibility may file an appeal to regain eligibility, if approved. See Extenuating Circumstances below.

Financial Aid Eligibility Statuses

  • Eligible – Student is meeting the minimum academic standards or has no academic history. Students with this status are fully eligible for financial aid.
  • Warning – Student did not meet minimum standards for cumulative GPA and or 67% completion rate in the previous evaluation period. Students with this status are still eligible for financial aid for one additional term but must reach all minimum standards by the end of the next evaluation period to maintain eligibility.
  • Suspended – Student has failed to meet minimum standards for cumulative GPA, Maximum Timeframe and/or 67% completion rate SAP at the end of the evaluation period. Student is ineligible for financial aid.
  • Maximum Timeframe – Students must complete their program of study within 150% of the published program length (i.e., the student enrolled in a 60-credit hour program has reached 90 credits or greater to complete their degree. The student enrolled in a 30-credit hour program has reached 45 credit hours or greater to complete their degree). Students who exceed these credit hour limits are not making progress toward a degree within the 150% federal requirement and are ineligible for financial aid.

Students are also suspended from financial aid when it becomes mathematically impossible for them to complete their program of study within the 150% required timeframe.

New Financial Aid Students with prior academic history

LMC students with academic history prior to receiving financial aid (dual enrollment, early middle college, direct credit) will be evaluated at the time they apply for financial aid and will receive the appropriate status based on their academic record..

Transfer Students and Transfer Credit Hours

Students transferring to LMC are required to have all prior college transcripts evaluated for transfer credits. All transfer courses that apply to the student’s degree will be used to determine the student’s completion rate and maximum timeframe.


The following grades are included in the calculation of the GPA:A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, E, and I

Completion Rate

The following grades are considered attempted and successfully completed when calculating the completion rate and maximum timeframe:A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, and D-

The following grades are considered attempted and not successfully completed when calculating the completion rate and maximum timeframe:E, W, and I

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades are considered unsuccessful attempts. Incompletes are counted in the GPA calculation and in completion rate calculations. After a final grade is issued, SAP is reevaluated either at the end of the next term or at the request of the student in writing to the financial aid office.

LMC SAP policy allows the exclusion of classes from the SAP maximum timeframe calculation for one change of program (major or program of study). If a student changes their program of study, the courses from the old program that also apply to the new program will be included in SAP evaluation. Elective courses that apply to the new degree would also be considered in the new calculation

Subsequent Degrees

A student working on a subsequent degree is not required to file a formal SAP appeal.  However, to receive financial aid for a second credential, the student must notify the financial aid office.

Stackables: In situations where the credentials are “stackable” this exception would not apply. A stackable credential would be a situation in which the first credential is contained within the second. An example would be a certificate that a student earns as they work on their associate degree.

To be considered a subsequent degree, the institution must be willing to issue a new diploma for that degree. Some programs have multiple concentrations or tracks a student can pursue. In those cases, the student receives one diploma regardless of the number of concentrations or tracks that are completed. Changing or pursuing a new concentration within the same credential would not result in a new maximum timeframe calculation.

Re-establishing Eligibility

A student must increase their GPA to a minimum of 2.0 and their completion rate to minimum of 67%.

Extenuating Circumstances

If a student has been suspended from receiving financial aid, the student can submit an appeal. The student must show extenuating circumstances for the appeal to be considered. Extenuating circumstances include but are not limited to student illness, family illness, change of work schedule, or death of immediate family member.

Examples of situations that are not considered extenuating circumstances include but are not limited to change of program or major, poor academic performance, taking courses outside of the degree requirements, failure to attend class, poor time management, or withdrawing from class.

To file an appeal related to extenuating circumstances, the student must:

  • Complete the LMC SAP appeal form;
  • Meet with an academic advisor to complete the academic plan section on the appeal form;
  • Attach a letter explaining the extenuating circumstances which led to the current academic standing;
  • Attach supporting documentation. Appeals that lack supporting documentation may be denied. Supporting documentation might include but is not limited to a copy of an obituary, doctor’s note, or a letter from an employer.

If an appeal is approved, the student will be placed on SAP appeal approved status. To continue eligibility, the student must:

  • Follow all conditions of their academic plan;
  • Not withdraw from any courses;
  • Earn a “C” (2.0) or better in all courses;
  • Not receive an incomplete in any courses

Failure of the student to adhere to any of these requirements will result in termination of financial aid.

Students will be notified of the decision regarding their SAP appeal via their online student account. Students should review their account on a regular basis.

Decisions of the SAP Appeals Committee are final and will not be overturned.

Academic Progress policy
Course Repeat Policy
SAP Procedure

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