Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

The Education Amendments of 1987 require that a student must be making “satisfactory progress” in the student’s course of study to be eligible for financial aid. In order to satisfy this requirement and prevent abuse of the intentions of the federal aid programs, satisfactory progress guidelines must be adhered to by students who receive any type of Title IV federal aid (Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grant, Federal Work Study, Direct Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized), Direct Parent (PLUS) Loan, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant).

To be eligible for federally funded financial aid programs, and some State of Michigan and institutional awards at NMC, students must meet the following qualitative and quantitative requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Our policy is required to be at least as strict as the policy the institution applies to a student who is not receiving assistance under the Title IV, HEA programs.

These standards are for all students applying for assistance for any federal financial aid program administered by the NMC Enrollment Services office. Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) through the State of Michigan follows this SAP policy. For other State programs, please refer to the policies for the specific program on our website or the MI Student Aid website. Academic progress requirements for scholarships are defined by the respective donors and maintained in the NMC Enrollment Services or NMC Resource Development office.

Frequency and Interval of Review

SAP will be reviewed prior to the awarding of any federal and state financial aid. It will also be reviewed and monitored at the end of fall, spring and summer semesters, and prior to the disbursement of aid for the following semester.

Establishing Initial Eligibility

A student’s past academic transcripts will be reviewed according to the following guidelines:

  1. Students who have never attended NMC will be considered in good standing with regard to minimum credits completed and minimum GPA requirements.
  2. Students who have previously attended NMC will have their past academic transcripts reviewed regardless of whether financial aid was received for previous attendance.
  3. Transfer credits from other institutions that apply to a student’s current degree program will be considered in determining eligibility under the maximum time frame criteria.

Maintaining Qualitative and Quantitative Eligibility

  • Minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement (Qualitative): All financial aid students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average. All graded courses are included in the grade point average.
  • Minimum completion requirement (Quantitative): All financial aid students must complete a minimum of 67% of the credits for which they registered. When calculating completion the following designations will be considered as non-completion of the class: Incomplete, audit, withdrawal (Administrative, Instructor, and With Record), failure-to-attend, unsatisfactory, not-qualified, in-progress, and zero (0.0). It is the student’s responsibility to notify NMC’s Enrollment Services Office of any official grade change that takes place after grades are final for the semester. SAP will be re-evaluated at that time.
  • A student may be paid for unlimited repeats after failing a course (although NMC’s quantitative and qualitative SAP policy still applies). Once a student receives a 1.0 grade or higher in a course, Title IV funds will only be paid to repeat the course one time in the attempt to improve the grade. If a student withdraws before completing the course they are repeating with Title IV funds, the withdrawal is not counted as a repeat for the course.

Maximum Time Frame

Maximum time frame for completion of the certificate or degree program must not exceed 150% of the published length of the program.

Maximum Total Attempted Credit Hours Allowed by Program Type:

Program Type

Total Credit Hours Required

Maximum Attempted Hours Allowed for Aid Eligibility

Certificate of Achievement Programs



Associate in Applied Science (AAS)



Associate in General Studies (AGS)



Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)



Associate of Science in Engineering (ASE)



Associate in Science and Arts (ASA)



Bachelor of Science in Maritime Technology



When a student’s number of attempted credits is close to the total credits required for their program (see chart below), NMC will review students progress based on their My Academic Plan (MAP), which shows progress toward completion and remaining credits required. NMC will calculate the credits needed to complete the current program(s) and enter the number of credits needed in the system to limit aid to this number of attempted credits. The student is notified of the number of aid eligible credits remaining when evaluated as well as at the end of each semester.

NMC procedures for maximum time frame – review is completed when student reaches the number of attempted credits designated below:

Type of credential

Number of credits attempted


Immediately when program is declared

Associate’s degree

45 credits

Bachelor’s degree

105 credits

Note: Credits accumulated under a previous or concurrent program(s) at NMC or other postsecondary institutions, repeats, and remedial/developmental credits shall be counted in attempted credits. Credits are counted toward maximum time frame regardless if the student did or did not receive financial aid.

If the student has graduated or exceeded the number of credits remaining to complete their current degree program(s), the student can complete a SAP Appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee regarding a change in major or other reasons for exceeding attempted credits.

Other Factors

  • Audit
    Classes registered for audit at the start of a semester will not be considered when determining semester award amounts or minimum credits completed. Classes taken for audit will not be considered as attempted credits toward the maximum time frame for completion. If a student changes their registration status to audit after the start of a semester, it will have an adverse effect on SAP.
  • Remedial/Developmental Courses
    After a student has attempted 30 credits of remedial/developmental credit hours, the student cannot receive financial aid for remedial/developmental credit hours. Remedial/developmental credit hours will count in attempted hours for qualitative, quantitative and maximum timeframe calculations. Aid eligible remedial courses will count in the student’s enrollment status for determining awards.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Status

Financial aid status applies only to a student’s status for purposes of financial aid eligibility at NMC. This does not become part of the student’s permanent academic record and is not transferable to other institutions. Please be aware, your financial aid status may differ from your academic status. At the end of each payment period (fall, spring, and summer), SAP status is determined. Students are notified by NMC email of status changes. Status is also displayed on NMC Self-Service under Financial Aid Eligibility.

  • OK
    Students who are meeting the minimum quantitative (67%) and qualitative (2.0 cumulative GPA) requirements are in Financial Aid Good Standing and are eligible for financial aid.
  • Warning (WARN)
    Students who fall below the minimum quantitative (67%) and qualitative (2.0 cumulative GPA) requirements, will be placed on a warning status for the next payment period. A student remains eligible to receive financial aid while on a warning status. If the minimum cumulative qualitative and quantitative requirements are met at the end of the warning period, the student will be removed from warning status and placed in good standing.
  • Suspension (SUSP)
    If a student does not meet the minimum quantitative (67%) and qualitative (2.0 cumulative GPA) requirements at the end of the warning payment period, eligibility for financial aid programs will be suspended. The student will be placed on financial aid suspension.
  • Probation (PROB)
    When a student on suspension status submits a SAP appeal, and is approved, the student will be placed on an Academic Plan for Financial Aid. This requires 100% completion for the payment period with the required minimum GPA determined by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The GPA requirement will be based on what is needed to enable the student to reach a 2.0 GPA by completion of degree requirements in order to be eligible to graduate. If the student fails to meet the requirements of the Academic Plan for Financial Aid after the probation semester, the status will revert to suspend and the student will be notified.
  • Academic Plan (PLAN)
    If a student’s Academic Plan for Financial Aid exceeds one semester, the status is updated to PLAN in order to monitor each payment period to ensure the student continues to meet the terms of the Academic Plan for Financial Aid. If the student fails to meet the requirements of the Academic Plan for Financial Aid, the status will revert to suspend and the student will be notified.
  • Maximum Time Frame (150M)
    A student who has reached or exceeded the maximum time frame for completion will no longer be eligible for Title IV aid for that program of study. The student may appeal for additional credits to complete that program or begin another (see next section).

Reinstating aid eligibility

For SAP Appeals and supporting documentation received after the following due dates, any reinstated financial aid will apply to the following semester.

SAP Appeal Due Dates


Due Date


September 30, 2023


February 15, 2024


June 15, 2024

Any time that a student meets the minimum quantitative (67%) and qualitative (2.0 cumulative GPA) requirements, they will be placed back in financial aid good standing and regain eligibility for Title IV Aid.

An appeals process is available to students who lose financial aid eligibility based on failure to meet minimum quantitative (67%) and qualitative (2.0 cumulative GPA) requirements or exceeding the maximum time frame. SAP appeals can be completed at To request the appeal, follow the steps below:

  • First step: complete your FAFSA and wait for our confirmation email that we have received it.
  • Visit and create your account, if not already created.
    • Use the request button in the upper right corner to request the form, this will create a new task on your home page.
    • Click on the green task bar and follow instructions to complete your appeal.

If you have had your financial aid suspended or have reached your maximum credits allowed for aid, you can appeal this decision by providing additional information surrounding the unusual circumstances beyond your control that has led to not meeting the SAP standards. You will be asked to explain the circumstances that caused you to fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress, or the reason why you have run out of credits allowed for your program, but still have classes to complete. You can upload supporting documentation under the following mitigating circumstances:

  • Medical
  • Death/Illness of an immediate family member
  • Change of Program of Study
  • Other – student must explain the circumstance that contributed to the failure to maintain SAP and provide appropriate related documentation.

In addition to the appeal request, the student will need to provide information regarding how they are now in a position to meet SAP in the future, by addressing your plan to resolve the issues that led to failure to meet SAP.

If the appeal is approved, the student will be notified and reinstated on probationary status. A student is eligible to receive financial aid while on probation. The student will need to meet the requirements of the Academic Plan for Financial Aid at the end of each payment period. If the student continues to meet the requirements of their Academic Plan for Financial Aid, they will have a PLAN status. If at the end of a payment period, the student fails to meet the requirements of the Academic Plan for Financial Aid, they will be suspended from financial aid.

Students will be notified of denied appeals and given guidance on other ways to regain eligibility. If a student has a financial aid status of suspended or has met the maximum time frame, including if appeals have been denied, the student may be eligible to enroll in courses, but not eligible for Title IV Financial Aid. Students may re-appeal after successful completion of one or more payment periods, or with new supporting documentation that was not included in the previous appeal.

Learn more about appeals