Standards of Progress


Federal and state regulations require that all student financial aid recipients maintain specific academic standards in order to maintain their financial aid eligibility. Except for some private and institutional funds, all forms of financial aid (grants, loans, work-study and scholarships) are affected by this policy. These standards are applied to a student’s entire academic history at Colorado Northwestern Community College, including periods when financial aid was not received.

The financial aid office will evaluate student academic progress at the end of each semester based on three criteria:

  • Cumulative GPA
  • Cumulative Completion Rate (%)
  • Maximum Time Frame

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Cumulative GPA

2.0 or above

Cumulative Completion Rate

Students must complete at least 67% of cumulative attempted credit hours. The completion rate is defined as the percentage of the total number of credits completed divided by the total number of credits attempted over the entirety of a student’s academic record at the school performing the calculation. Transfer credits on the student’s record are included when computing the student’s completion rate. Remedial credits are also included in the calculation of the cumulative completion rate.

Maximum Time Frame

Once students have attempted 110% of the number of credit hours required for their degree or eligible certificate program, they will be sent an alert letter. This letter will explain to the student that they will be ineligible for aid when their total attempted credits are 150% of their total program credits.

Students who meet these three standards will be considered to be in Good Standing.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Warning

A student will be placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress Warning if he/she:

  • Fails to maintain a Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater.
  • Has a Cumulative Completion Rate of less than 67%.
  • Students maintain their financial aid eligibility while on warning but must bring their Cumulative GPA and Cumulative Completion Rate above the stated standards to avoid Ineligibility in subsequent terms.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Alert

A student will be placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress Alert if he/she has attempted 110% of the number of credit hours required for their degree or eligible certificate program. This is your official ALERT that once you have reached 150% you will be Ineligible for Financial Aid.

Ineligible For Aid

A student will be placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress Ineligibility if:

  • Student failed or withdrew from all of his/her classes.
  • After a warning term the Cumulative GPA is below 2.0.
  • After a warning term the Cumulative Completion Rate is below 67%.
  • Student has attempted more than 150% of the required number of credits for a degree or certificate. If at any point in time it is determined that a student cannot complete their program of study within 150% of the program length, student will be ineligible for aid.

While ineligible for aid students lose their eligibility for financial aid. No aid will disburse to student accounts for terms that a student is ineligible for aid.

Appeal Process

Students who are submitting appeals, please read this section carefully.

If a student is placed on Financial Aid Ineligibility, they have the right to submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Office.

Appeals must explain any mitigating circumstances that prevented the student from successfully completing their coursework and must be accompanied by supporting documentation.

Examples of mitigating circumstances may include, but are not limited to: severe illness, severe injury, death in the family, an unforeseen or unavoidable personal circumstance.

The appeal must also explain why the circumstances no longer exist and what the student will do to ensure that they will meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards in the future.

Appeals can take up to 2 weeks to review. It is the responsibility of the student to submit an appeal in a timely manner if they wish to have their ineligibility reconsidered and aid reinstated for subsequent semesters.

Any student request denials can be sent to the Vice President of Instruction for re-appeal.  The decision of the Vice President is final.

How Satisfactory Academic Progress is Measured

Attempted Credit Hours

Defined as any credit hours for which a student is registered at the census date for the class.

Earned Credit Hours

Defined as any class for which a student has received credit. Grades of A,B,C,D, S, S/A, S/B, and S/C are considered earned.

Incomplete Credit Hours

Defined as any class a student has attempted but did not receive credit for. Grades of F, U, I, W, AW, Z, U/D, U/F, SP, and AU are considered incomplete credit hours.

Grade Changes

Students are responsible for notifying the Financial Aid Office of grade changes that affect their SAP standing. Check the college catalog for change of grade information.

Cumulative Completion Rate

Determined by dividing the total number of Earned Credit Hours by the total number of Attempted Credit Hours. Students must maintain a completion rate of 67% or more in order to maintain their good standing.

Maximum Time Frame

Defined by using the required number of credits needed in order to complete a certificate or degree. For example, an Associates Degree requires 60 credits, maximum credits would be 90 (60 x 150%). The same calculation applies towards certificates.

Transfer credits and repeated courses will be included when determining maximum time frame.

Students who have attempted 110% of the required number of credits for a degree or certificate will be sent a Alert notification.

Students who have attempted 150% or more of their degree requirements will be ineligible for aid and will need to appeal.

Academic Requirements for Outside Scholarships

Students receiving certain scholarships such as Honors Scholarships and Foundation Scholarships may have other academic requirements to maintain their eligibility. Please refer to documentation on your scholarship, the awarding institution or the Financial Aid Office for additional information.

Reinstatement of Aid

In order to regain Financial Aid Eligibility students must meet all three standards (Cumulative GPA, Cumulative Completion Rate and Maximum Time Frame) at the time that academic progress is reviewed.

Questions? Contact Us