Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satifactory Academic Progress

A student's eligibility for financial aid in the 2017-2018 academic year and later will be determined using these Standards.

The POLICY FOR STANDARDS OF SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRSS FOR FINANCIAL AID RECIPIENTS became effective with the Summer 2016 semester and supersedes all previous standards.

Please be aware, the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy has changed. The SAP standards have been strenthened and the appeal process and the reinstatement process are now enforced more rigorously.


Federal regulations require that colleges set standards that you must meet in order to be eligible for financial aid and to keep it from one academic year to the next. Even if you have never applied for or received financial aid, your overall history in college will be reviewed before you are awarded financial aid to make sure you are meeting these standards. To be eligible for aid, you must comply with all standards regarding maximum time frame, completion rate, and cumulative GPA.



You must declare a specific major area of study. You may choose an Associate’s degree or transfer program. Our catalogs list the requirements for various majors. If you are undecided about your major course of study, we suggest you discuss your educational objective with an academic counselor.

  • San Diego Mesa College Baccalaureate Pilot Program: You may declare that your major is the Health Information Management (HIM) Program only after being admitted into the program.


We strongly recommend that you obtain a counselor-approved Educational Program Plan*. Your educational plan is an unofficial outline of the courses you need to complete your major. You use it as a guide to see how many credits and required courses you have completed at all colleges, and how many more credits and required courses you need to complete your educational objective.

*To get an Educational Plan, you must make an appointment with an academic counselor at your campus.


If you transferred from a college outside the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD), you must request an official academic transcript from the college(s) you attended to have an Educational Plan developed. Transcripts will be reviewed by the District Student Services staff to determine the transferable units. These units will be used to determine if you have exceeded the Maximum Time Frame (Section D) and the Completion Rate (Section E).


Completion of an Associate Degree normally requires 60 units. Based on federal regulations, a student is allowed a maximum time frame not to exceed 150% of the published length of the educational program (60 units x 150% = 90 units).

Completion of the Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program in Health Information Management (HIM) at San Diego Mesa College normally requires 120 semester units. Based on federal regulations, a student admitted into this program is allowed a maximum completion time frame not to exceed 150% of the published length of the educational program (HIM) 120 units x 150% = 180 units.

  • You may receive aid until you have attempted 90 semester units (134 quarter units) of college credit. This includes units attempted within the SDCCD and all transfer units accepted by the SDCCD.
  • A student accepted into the HIM BS Pilot program may recieve aid until you have attempted 180 semester units of college credit. This includes all units attempted within the SDCCD and all transfer units accepted by the SDCCD.
  • You may be paid financial aid for up to 30 attempted units of remedial course work. A maximum of 30 units of remedial course work will be excluded in the calculation of the maximum time frame.
  • ESOL classes are not counted as remedial coursework.
  • The maximum time frame will not be adjusted for a change of major.
  • Repeated courses will be included in determining the maximum time frame.
  • Academic renewal does not apply to the Financial Aid standards and the calculation of units attempted and completed.


In order to be making satisfactory progress you must complete at least 67% of all units attempted in the SDCCD and all transfer units accepted by the SDCCD.

  • AA/AS or Certificates = Must complete 60 units out of 90 units attempted
  • BA/BS (San Diego Mesa College HIM BS Pilot Only) = Must complete 120 units out of 180 units attempted
  • Units completed are "A" through "D" grades, or "P" passing with credit.
  • Units not completed are "F" grades, "W" Withdrawal, "I" Incomplete, "NP" Not Passing or "RD" Report Delayed.
  • Remedial courses and repeated courses will be used in the determination of academic progress (completion rate).

Your academic progress will be evaluated once each year at the end of the spring semester. A year is defined as summer, fall and spring. Using our professional judgment, we may monitor your SAP on a case by case basis once a semester.

Exception: If you are enrolled in a Certificate program that does not lead to an Associate's Degree, your academic progress will be evaluated every semester.


Your cumulative GPA progress will be evaluated once each year at the end of the spring semester. A year is defined as summer, fall and spring. To be in Good Standing,

      • You must have a cumalative GPA of 2.00 or higher at the end of each year for AA/AS and Certificate programs.
      • You must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher at the end of each year for the BS HIM Pilot at Sand Diego Mesa College.
      • Pass/No Pass (P/NP) is a non-punitive grading system wheres such units earned will be disregarded in determining a student's GPA.


      You will be disqualified if, at each cumulative, yearly evaluation period, you

        • Have completed less than 67% of the total cumulative units attempted or
        • Have not met the 2.0 cumalative GPA Progress standards or
        • Have attempted more than 90 units for an AA/AS or 180 units for the BS Pilot program or
        • Have earned a Bachelor or higher degree (includes 1st Professional, Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate degrees). This includes degrees from all colleges in the United States or from foreign countries.

          F. APPEALS

          If you are disqualified and you have documented extenuating circumstances such as injury or illness, death of a relative or other special circumstances, you may submit an appeal to your campus Financial Aid Office for the Appeal Committee's consideration. Appeals will be considered in the date order in which they are received. Your appeal and any supporting documents must be received in the Financial Aid Office no later than the third Friday before the end of the semester or your last day of classes, whichever comes first, for the semester that you are filing an appeal.

          Note: To submit an appeal, you MUST obtain and submit a counselor-approved Educational Program Plan.

          In your appeal, you must include the following:

            • Why have you failed to make Satisfactory Academic Progrss
            • What has changed or what steps you have taken that will allow you to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
            • If you have a Bachelor Degree or higher, please explain why you are enrolled at a community college and the purpose of returning to a two year or less academic program.

              If your appeal is approved, you will be placed on "Financial Aid Probation" for one payment period (one semester) only and you must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and comply with any specific conditions in your appeal decision. If you do not make SAP or meet the conditions in your appeal decision, you will be disqualified again and you must meet the reinstatement conditions as described in Section G to be considered for further aid.



              You may apply again for financial aid after complying with all the specific conditions in your previous appeal decision and you must be enrolled in at least six applicable units or in the remaining units required to complete your current degree or program. We will evaluate your enrollment and progress at the end of the semester and after final grades have been posted to determine if you have followed these conditions and are therefore, under federal regulations, eligible for one additional semester of aid under "Financial Aid Probation". If it is determined that you did not follow all the conditions, a notification of your disqualification will be mailed to you.

              You may need to submit a new appeal for every academic term you want to be considered for further financial aid. Reinstatement is not an automatic process and is not guaranteed.


              These standards apply to the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work Study (FWS), Federal Direct Loan Program, Cal Grant programs and any other Federal or State programs taht may be required to follow these standards. They are effective beginning with the Summer 2015 semester and will be used at the end of each Spring semester for eligibility determination for the following school year. These standards supersede all previous standards.

              The "Policy for Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients" was approved by the San Diego Community College District Student Services Council on May 2016.