Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal and State regulations require that all financial aid recipients maintain specific academic standards called "Satisfactory Academic Progress" (SAP).  Except for certain private, state, and institutional funds, students must meet SAP standards in order to receive all forms of financial aid (grants, direct loans, work-study, and scholarships). At the end of each semester (including summer), all students' academic progress is measured using the four SAP standards listed below. Each student's entire academic history at Red Rocks Community College, including transfer credits and credits attempted during periods when financial aid was not received, is included in the SAP calculation. We will notify you if you are being placed on financial aid Warning, Alert, or if you are Ineligible for Aid due to SAP. If we determine that you are Ineligible for Aid, you may attempt to have your aid reinstated by completing a semester on your own successfully, or by submitting an appeal packet to the Financial Aid Office, along with supporting documentation of circumstances outside of your control that interfered with your classes.

How to maintain good SAP standing:

  • Have a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0, and
  • Complete at least 67% of all the credits you attempt at RRCC, and
  • Complete at least 1 credit you attempt during a semester, and
  • Not attempt 150% of the total number of credits required to earn your declared degree or certificate (maximum timeframe)

Withdrawals and Incomplete grades

  • Any courses that are not passed, including “W,” “AW,” "WD," "WX," "SP," and “I” grades, count as attempted hours. These grades affect both your completion rate and maximum time frame.
  • All withdrawals and Incompletes must be factored into your SAP status, even if you were passing the class before withdrawing/receiving a grade of Incomplete.

Repeated courses

  • If you repeat a class for an improved grade and have it removed from your academic history or GPA calculation, we must still include it in the calculation of your SAP status.
  • Grades removed from your record through an academic appeal process can still impact your SAP status.

Transfer courses

Transfer courses are counted toward maximum time-frame (total attempted credits). Upon receipt of the transcript, the initial evaluation performed by the school is based on the program that you have declared at that time. Students who have changed programs and are later required to appeal due to exceeding the maximum time-frame for their declared program of study must address in their appeals any transfer credits that do not count toward their current program. Those excess credits may be excluded subjectively by the Financial Aid Office in the decision process. Accepted transferred credits count positively toward your completion rate, but do not count toward your RRCC GPA.

Changes in majors or degrees

If you have changed your major, you may be required to appeal due to having exceeded the maximum time-frame (total attempted credits) before graduating. You could address this in your appeal.  See Grounds for Submitting a SAP Appeal below for documentation needed for such appeals. Changes in majors or degrees, and completing an additional program of study after graduating, are looked at subjectively by the Financial Aid Office and will be considered in the decision process.   


Warning status

If you were in Good Standing during the prior semester of attendance, and failed to meet the SAP criteria for overall GPA and/or cumulative completion rate, you will be placed on a Warning status the subsequent semester.* While on Warning, are eligible for financial aid, but you will become Ineligible for Aid if you do not bring your overall GPA and completion rate back above the standards outlined to maintain Good Standing by the end of the Warning semester.

*If you do not meet the SAP criteria for program length, or if you did not successfully complete at least one course during your last semester, you will not be granted a Warning semester but will become Ineligible for Aid, effective immediately for their next attending semester at RRCC.

Ineligible for Aid status

  • After a Warning status, your cumulative GPA remains below 2.0, and/or
  • After a Warning status, your cumulative completion rate remains below 67%, and/or
  • You have attempted more than 150% of the required number of credits to earn your degree or certificate, and/or
  • You do not pass at least one attempted course during a single semester.

To attempt to re-establish aid eligibility, you may do one of the following

  • Submit a SAP appeal to the Financial Aid Office for review. See following sections for details regarding appeal decisions.
  • Pay out of pocket until you meet the SAP standards.
  • Attend another financial aid eligible institution.**

Grounds for submitting a SAP appeal

  • You experienced circumstances that were outside of your control during the affected semester(s), such as medical problems, military duty, a family emergency, etc.
  • You are seeking another certificate or degree
  • You changed majors during your academic career
  • You attempted developmental coursework which, when disregarded, would mean you have not attempted 150% or more of the total number of credits needed to earn your RRCC degree or certificate
    • Note: Developmental coursework may be disregarded for the maximum timeframe component but is included when calculating completion rate. Also, developmental coursework is not college-level and does not impact your GPA.

How to appeal your Ineligible SAP status

Appeal deadlines:  To request financial aid for Fall, submit your appeal packet to Financial Aid by December 1st at the latest.  Requests for Spring must be received by May 1st at the latest, and requests for Summer must be submitted by July 15th. After you submit your SAP Appeal to the RRCC Financial Aid Office, the Appeal Committee should email their decision to your RRCC-issued student email account within 10-14 business days. An appeal may be approved, denied, or pended for additional information/action. Decisions can take 10-14 business days from the date a complete Appeal is received.

The SAP Appeal Packet can be found here. The fully completed packet, including your typed personal statement and any supporting documentation must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office for review before the posted deadline. You can submit your Appeal in person at the Lakewood or Arvada campus, via mail, via fax, or by emailing it to from your RRCC-issued student email account.

Decision letters are typically emailed to your secure, RRCC-issued student email address within 10-14 business days.  For additional information on appealing your SAP status, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

When SAP appeals are approved at RRCC

  • Until you are able to meet the SAP standards, you will remain on Probation.  While on Probation, you must pass all attempted credit hours. This is part of the agreement in the Academic Plan you sign when submitting a SAP appeal.  You may receive financial aid while on Probation, and funding is subject to availability at the time your appeal is approved.
  • In addition, if you have appealed for maximum timeframe, you may take only the courses needed for your RRCC degree/certificate.
  • Probation status will continue as long as you are meeting the above requirements or until you are again meeting SAP standards. This status is reviewed at the end of every semester and you will be notified of your SAP status for the upcoming semester via your student email account.
    • Note that the Appeal Committee’s decision applies to the current or upcoming semester and cannot be applied retroactively.

When SAP appeals are denied at RRCC, you have the following options:

  • Pay out of pocket until meeting the SAP standards.
  • Pay out of pocket for a minimum of six credit hours at RRCC (or another financial aid-eligible school***) and, after successfully passing all attempted courses with at least Cs or better, re-appeal at RRCC for the next semester.
  • If you have additional information that was not included in your denied appeal, you may appeal one more time with additional documentation to the SAP Review Committee.  Their decision is final and cannot be appealed.

**Upon successful completion of courses taken at another financial aid-eligible school, you could request to transfer the credits to RRCC. You would need to then request that the Financial Aid Office re-evaluate your SAP status to determine if you are now meeting the SAP standards. If you do meet the standards, you would not have to submit an appeal and your RRCC SAP status will be updated.
            Note: If you choose to take courses elsewhere, we highly recommend that you consult an RRCC Academic Advisor before doing so. This will ensure that the credits can be applied to your RRCC program of study.

More information is provided at the following links:
SAP is explained further in the RRCC SAP Pamphlet
RRCC SAP Appeal Packet