Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress – Graduate Students

Graduate Students

The standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) measure a student’s academic progress using both qualitative and quantitative measurements. These measurements include a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) requirement, a Pace/Course Completion Rate requirement, and a Maximum Timeframe requirement.

Students who receive financial aid must demonstrate SAP as determined by the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in accordance with federal regulations. Financial aid recipients are required to be in good academic standing and to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward their degree requirements for each semester in which they are enrolled.

SAP is evaluated at the end of each term in which a student is enrolled (Fall, Winter, and Summer). Federal regulations require the College to evaluate students who receive federal financial aid using standards that are at least as strict as standards that apply to students who do not receive federal financial aid; CCS evaluates all students using the same standards. SAP is evaluated based on the student’s cumulative academic record.



At the end of each semester, a student’s cumulative grade point average is calculated. He or she must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 to achieve SAP.


Required course completion rate also determines SAP. Students must complete their academic program within 150% of the published length of the program. To meet this requirement, students must successfully complete, with a grade of C or better, at least two-thirds (67%) of attempted cumulative credit hours. Examples are as follows:

Credits AttemptedMust Complete


Federal regulations require that a student must complete his or her educational program within a MTF no longer than 150% of the published length of the educational program measured in credit hours attempted.

Example: Graduate Student
If a graduate student is enrolled in an academic program that requires 60 credit hours for graduation, he or she would be allowed a maximum of 90 (60 x 150%) attempted credits in order to obtain his/her degree.


Courses that are transferred from another institution and accepted toward an academic degree program at the College (at the time of SAP Review) count as attempted and completed hours for Pace/Course Completion Rate (CCR) and MTF. The GPA is determined only with courses taken in residence at the College.


Students who have a grade change or incomplete grade changed after SAP has already been process for any semester must notify Academic Advising and Registration of the change. At that time SAP will be recalculated to determine if the SAP status needs to be modified and the Office of Academic Advising and Registration will notify the Office of Financial Aid.


If a student decides to change majors, all classes already taken will count in the maximum timeframe SAP evaluation. It is possible a change of major could impact your SAP standing.


Successful completion of attempted courses is required for SAP. Therefore, grades of A through C are acceptable unless otherwise specified. Courses for which these grades are received will be used to establish your cumulative GPA and CCR.

Grades of D, F (failing), I (incomplete), W or WN (withdraw), WF (withdraw-unofficial) are not acceptable. Courses for which these grades are received will not be counted as successfully completed courses and will be valued at 0.00 grade points, thus also lowering your CCR and cumulative GPA.

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, students have the option to request that their grade(s) be changed to P/NC (Pass/No Credit) for the Winter 2020, Fall 2020, and Winter 2021 semesters. Please see the Pass/No Credit – Winter 2020 and Pass/No Credit – 2020 – 2021 Academic Year policies for more details.

DROPPING CLASSES (after the Add/Drop period)

Courses for which a student is enrolled at the conclusion of the Add/Drop period will be used to determine attempted courses for the CCR. Therefore, if it is necessary to adjust one’s class schedule, it is best to do so during the Add/Drop period of the semester. Courses that are dropped after conclusion of the Add/Drop period will show a recorded grade of W or WN. This will be counted as an unsuccessfully completed course valued at 0.00 grade points, thus lowering your completion rate and cumulative GPA.


Students who officially withdraw from the College or stop participating in their courses (unofficial withdrawal) after the Add/Drop period are considered to have no successfully completed courses for the semester. This will lower your CCR and cumulative GPA and can result in being placed on Academic Probation or being suspended from the College resulting in the loss of financial aid eligibility if you already had a low pace/course completion rate or GPA or there are consecutive withdrawals over a number of semesters. Unofficial withdrawals will be reviewed at mid-term and end of the semester.  If a student has been determined to be unofficially withdrawn, the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) will reach out to all enrolled course professors to determine last date of attendance (LDA).  If the OFA does not receive a response, mid-term date will be used to determine the withdrawal date.


When a successfully completed course is repeated, the previous enrollment is not counted as a successfully completed course; therefore, this will lower your CCR. Only the last grade received is counted in the cumulative GPA.

Per the Federal Student Aid Handbook, students may repeat a course as many times as necessary to receive a passing grade and receive federal funding for that course. The federal definition of a passing grade is anything above an F.

Once the student has taken the course and received a grade above failing (anything above an F), the student may repeat the course only one additional time to try to earn a higher grade and receive federal financial aid funds. Any subsequent repeats of that course cannot be covered by federal financial aid funds. CCS does have some required courses that require at least a C grade per College policy. The College policy does not affect federal eligibility, so the student may still only retake this course one after receiving a grade above an F and receive federal funding.


SAP is monitored at the end of each semester and if a student fails to meet the 3.0 cumulative GPA requirement or does not complete two-thirds (67%) of the cumulative credit hours attempted to date, he or she will be placed on SAP financial aid warning for a period of one semester. During the SAP financial aid warning semester, a student can receive financial aid. If the student fails to raise the GPA to 3.0 or the completion rate to two-thirds (67%) at the end of the financial aid warning semester, they will lose eligibility for financial aid.


Students who do not meet SAP standards will be notified, by the Director of Financial Aid, in writing via email, which will be sent to their College for Creative Studies email.


Students may appeal their loss of financial aid eligibility by submitting an appeal letter to the Director of Financial Aid. Appeals should be based on circumstances beyond the student’s control such as, injury or illness, death of a relative, or other special circumstances. The appeal must explain the failure to make satisfactory progress and what has changed that will allow satisfactory progress in the future.

If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on SAP financial aid probation and will be required to follow an Academic Success Plan. This status is limited to one semester (or time as specified by the Academic Success Plan), during which the student may receive financial aid. At the end of that semester, a student on SAP financial aid probation will have his/her academic progress reviewed and must be meeting the SAP standards. If a student fails to meet these standards, the student loses financial aid eligibility.


Students who become ineligible for assistance can reestablish their eligibility by attending CCS at their own expense until they achieve the minimum SAP standards.

Note: Neither paying for classes nor sitting out periods of enrollment in and of themselves improves a student’s SAP standing; therefore, neither action is sufficient to regain financial aid eligibility.

February 2, 2018

March 30, 2021

Enrollment and Student Services