Satisfactory Academic Progress

To be eligible for financial aid, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward an eligible degree or certificate program, based on Federal, State, and College requirements. Satisfactory academic progress is reviewed when you apply for financial aid each year and at the end of each quarter. It is a federal requirement that our review take into consideration your entire Shoreline Community College transcript even if you did not receive financial aid at the time you earned the credits.  Additionally, we may also request that you submit an official transcript from other schools you attended if your record indicates recent or unusual enrollment at other colleges. 

Standards of Academic Progress

Four different measures are used to determine whether students are making satisfactory progress in their academic programs: minimum grade point average, minimum quarterly credit completion, minimum cumulative credit completion, and maximum time frame. In order to begin or continue receiving financial aid, students must meet all four minimum requirements. Pace of progression is reviewed based on a specific program of study. Qualitative and quantitative measures are reviewed quarterly for all attempted courses.

Students on financial aid must earn at least a 2.0 GPA each quarter and maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA. A quarterly GPA below 2.0 means you are placed on warning status for the next quarter. A cumulative GPA below 2.0 results in cancellation of financial aid.

Students on financial aid are expected to complete all of the credits they register for or attempt each quarter. However, there is a required minimum completion percentage each quarter to meet academic progress standards and a cumulative completion percentage to finish a program on time (see Maximum Time Frame below).
Completing credits means successfully finishing or passing the class.

  • Grades of: 0.0 (Fail), H (in progress), W (withdrawal), I (incomplete), N (audit), NC (no credit), V (fail), Z (hardship withdrawal) do not count as completed credits. However, such grades are counted as part of attempted credits for aid eligibility determination.
  • Courses with a Credit/No Credit are assigned a GPA of 2.0 for Credit (CR).
  • Courses with a Pass/Fail option are assigned a GPA of 2.0 for Pass (P).
  • Repeated coursework in which Academic Renewal has been applied is not calculated in the GPA, but does count in attempted credits.
  • The GPA for courses transferred to Shoreline from any prior institution is included in your overall GPA.

See the credit completion chart below to determine how your enrollment level affects the minimum number of credits you must complete each quarter to keep your financial aid eligibility.

If you received aid
for an enrollment
level of:
You are expected
to complete at
You will be placed on
you complete only:
Eligibility will be
complete fewer than
Full-time (12+ credits) 12 credits 6 - 11.5 credits 6 credits
3/4-time (9-11 credits) 9 credits 5 - 8.5 credits 5 credits
1/2-time (6-8 credits) 6 credits 3 - 5.5 credits 3 credits
Less than 1/2-time
(5.5 or fewer credits)
All credits No warning status; must
complete all credits
All credits

Students must maintain a minimum credit completion rate of 67%*, also known as pace of progression. Pace of progression is calculated by dividing the total number of completed credits by the total number of attempted credits for a specific program of study.

*The college uses standard rounding rules. Your completion rate is rounded up for .5 and higher and rounded down if below .5 (Example: A 66.66% completion ratio is rounded up to 67% and a 65.25% completion ratio is rounded down to 65%)

Federal rules require you to complete your program within a maximum time frame. Students may receive financial aid to take up to 150% of the required credits for their program of study.

Federal regulations also state that a student becomes ineligible for financial aid whenever it becomes mathematically impossible to complete degree program without exceeding the maximum time-frame/hours. Students in this scenario are no longer eligible for federal aid and are placed on financial aid cancellation. All attempted courses are counted, including incompletes, withdrawals, audits, repeated courses, courses for which you received no credit, and credits transferred from other institutions. Students are placed on warning status when:

  • Quarterly GPA falls below 2.0 at the end of each quarter
  • Not all credits attempted are completed (see credit completion chart)
  • Pace of progression is less than 67%

When you are placed on warning status you are still eligible for aid the next quarter, but you must complete all of the credits you register for with at least a 2.0 GPA the next quarter. You are removed from warning status once all conditions are met. If you cannot mathematically complete your program within its maximum credit limit, you are no longer eligible for aid. To complete your program within its credit limit, you are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with an academic advisor and focus on completing required classes.

You may attempt up to 45 credits of remedial classes (below 100 level) without the credits counting against your maximum timeframe. Transitional courses (ESLAB, ABE, and CECO), and Parenting Education classes are not eligible for aid and are not counted in the maximum credit limit.

If you had unusual circumstances that prevented you from completing a program within the allowed time frame, you may appeal for additional quarters of aid by submitting the Maximum Credit Limit appeal form.

  • The appeal must explain the circumstance (s) that prevented you from completing the program.
  • You must consult with your academic advisor and list all the remaining courses required to complete your program at Shoreline. The appeal must be verified and signed by your academic advisor.
  • Appeals are considered only for required classes to complete your Shoreline degree as verified by your academic advisor.

Academic Progress Status

Definitions of the various statuses you can fall into based on your academic status:

You are meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. Great Job! Keep up the good work!

Students are placed on warning status when:

  • Quarterly GPA falls below 2.0 at the end of each quarter
  • Not all credits attempted are completed (see credit completion chart)
  • Pace of progression is less than 67%

When you are placed on warning status you are still eligible for aid the next quarter, but you must complete all of the credits you register for with at least a 2.0 GPA the next quarter. You are removed from warning status once all conditions are met.

Students are placed on cancellation status when:

  • Cumulative GPA falls below 2.0
  • All attempted credits are not completed (see credit completion chart)
  • Requirements of aid reinstatement (warning status, probation status, academic plan) are not met
  • You exceed 150% of credits required for program (Maximum Time Frame)
  • Financial aid funds are owed due to withdrawing from all classes, dropping classes during census period, or withdrawing from classes before the 60% point in the quarter

When you are placed on cancellation status you are not eligible for financial aid including work study and student loans. You do have the option to appeal for reinstatement of aid (see below) . All financial aid funds owed must be paid back in full or repayment requirements are satisfactorily resolved before reinstatement.

Students are placed on probation status when aid has been reinstated after an appeal. Students are required to meet specific academic conditions including academic plans to meet SAP requirements. Failure to meet the conditions of your reinstatement results in the cancellation of your aid. During a probation status, students must complete 100% of the credits attempted and earn at least a 2.0 GPA.

You are notified of your financial aid status (warning, cancellation, and probation) by e-mail or U.S. mail.

Repeated Classes

Students may repeat a previously passed course once. The repeated course is counted as part of their credit load for that quarter for financial aid awarding purposes. It is also be counted in the 150% maximum timeframe calculation and pace of progression.

Financial Aid Limitations

Students must declare an eligible program of study to qualify for financial aid. Financial aid may be received at one school at a time. If you transfer to another college you must cancel your aid at your current school before accepting aid at your new school.

Per Shoreline Community College Graduation Policy, to receive a degree or certificate from Shoreline a student must earn at least 25 credits or 25% (whichever is lower) of the credits being applied toward the degree or certificate from Shoreline.

Students who have their academic transcripts evaluated from prior colleges or universities and need less that 25 credits or 25% of credits (whichever is lower) to fulfill degree/certificate requirements at Shoreline are not eligible to receive financial aid for their selected program.

The expectation is for students to complete the program of study they started with. If for any reason students need to change their program, they need to submit a program change request to Enrollment Services. Other funding limitations could apply. Multiple Certificates of Proficiency programs that are eligible for financial aid may be pursued as long as they lead to a degree program (AA, AFA, AM, AS, AAS-T, AAAS).

Students must update their program of study with the Enrollment Services office and consult with their academic advisor.

Students pursuing a second program prior to completing their original program may be restricted from financial aid until the first degree is completed. If is determined that the student may reach Maximum Time Frame before the new program can be completed, the student will need to appeal and meet with an academic advisor to create an educational plan.

Please see the chart below for funding limitations if you have completed a program at Shoreline or any other institution, foreign or domestic:

If you have
comlpeted a:
Transfer Degree
(AA, AS, AM,
or Prof/Tech
Degree (AAAS)
Certificate of
Bachelor's degree
(or higher)
Transfer degree
degree (AAAS)
One or more

There are limits on the number of quarters or the total dollars you may receive over the course of your education. To preserve aid eligibility, you are strongly encouraged to complete your program of study in a timely manner and avoid taking unnecessary courses, dropping classes, failing classes, or repeating classes. This is even more important if you are planning to transfer to a bachelor’s program or further your education somewhere else.

Students who have reached their Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility and/or Washington College Grant maximum eligibility have limited funding options.

Lifetime limits on Federal Pell Grant (Pell LEU):

The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding. Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding you can receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%. If your LEU equals or exceeds 600%, you may no longer receive Pell Grant funding.

Maximum Limits on Direct Student Loans:

The Direct Loan program’s undergraduate maximum limit for independent students for Subsidized Loan is $23,000 and a maximum of $57,500 combined Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. For dependent students the maximum limit is $23,000 in Subsidized and a maximum of $31,000 in combined Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans.

Limits on Washington State Aid:

Washington College Grant (WCG) and College Bound Scholarship (CBS):

A WCG recipient may receive the grant for a maximum of 15 quarters, 10 semesters, or the equivalent combination of the 2 at a full-time rate of enrollment.

CBS recipients may receive CBS funds for a maximum of 12 quarters, 8 semesters, or the equivalent combination of the two at a full-time rate of enrollment.

Typically, if a student’s financial aid package has been determined prior to the start of the quarter, aid is disbursed one business day prior to the start of the quarter. In some cases the student may owe a financial aid overpayment or repayment.

1. Overpayments

The Financial Aid Office reviews enrollment on the census date, which is the tenth day of the quarter (summer quarter differs). Students are required to repay part of their grant aid if credits have been dropped by the census date.

2. Repayments

Students that officially withdraw or stop attending all classes are billed for the amount of aid they were not eligible to receive. Students that receive funds and withdraw from all credits prior to the start of the quarter must repay all aid received for that quarter. Students who have received a student loan disbursement and failed to begin attendance are referred to the designated Department of Education loan servicer. A 30-day collection notice is issued if satisfactory payment arrangements are not made with the Department of Education Loan servicer. Students must respond to this notice to avoid defaulting on their loan.

For more information refer to our Withdrawals, Refunds and Repayments page.

Students may not eligible for future aid if they owe a Federal, State, or institutional overpayment or repayment. Debts are referred to collection agencies by the Department of Education, Washington Student Achievement Council, and Shoreline Community College.

If you owe a repayment to any Federal and State financial aid program at any other institution you might not be eligible for aid at Shoreline. Eligibility may be regained by making full repayment or satisfactory repayment arrangements.

Credits transferred from prior schools towards a program at Shoreline are counted in the total maximum credit limits of eligibility for aid.

Reinstatement of Aid Eligibility

If you are placed on Cancellation or Ineligible Status there are steps you can take that may lead to a reinstatement of your aid. 

1. Appeal your financial aid cancellation

You may appeal your cancellation by submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal.  We consider mitigating or unusual circumstances that prevented you from successfully completing the quarter.  It is very important to provide details in your appeal.  Details may include dates and times, relationships if others were involved in your circumstances, etc.  We also take into consideration your overall progress and whether or not you are meeting the GPA, Pace and Maximum Time Frame requirements.  We do not limit the number of times you can appeal.

We take into consideration the following types of circumstances:

  • A death in your immediate family, which includes parents/step-parents, siblings, children, spouse or domestic partner, and in some cases grandparents.
  • An extreme physical or mental health illness of you or an immediate family member.
  • You are a victim of a serious crime.
  • You, or an immdiate family member, is involved in a serious accident.
  • Academic difficulties - you must demonstrate that you have taken steps to resolve or address the difficulty in your appeal.
  • You experience a sudden layoff or business closure beyond your control and that requires you to search for a new job based on Employment Security requirements.                                                                   

The list above does not include all circumstances we may consider; it is meant to give you an idea of situations we do consider.  Generally situations that include roommates, housing and transportation issues are not considered extreme or unusual circumstances.  Have backups in place so that problems in these areas do not affect your ability to attend or complete your classes.

1A.  How to File an Appeal

  • Complete and submit your appeal to our office within the first 3 business days of the quarter in which you wish to receive aid.  Appeals submitted after the  first 3 business days of the quarter may mean any aid reinstatement is delayed.
  • Provide supporting documentation.  Documentation may include, but is not limited to, a letter from your health care provider, legal paperwork, receipts, other documents that support your mitigating or unusual circumstances.

1B. Review of your Appeal

Appeals are reviewed weekly by the Financial Aid Office committee.  It is not possible for students to meet with the committee.  During the appeal process we may ask for additional documentation, including official transcripts from other colleges you attended.  We reserve the right to take into consideration your progress at other schools when determining your eligibility for continued aid at Shoreline Community College.

If your appeal is approved:

  • We notify by you by mail or email (students can also check their status through the Student Center on ctcLink).
  • Financial aid funding is reinstated on a funds available basis. It is possible that you might not receive your aid as originally offered. In some situations, aid might be reinstated with conditions such as limitations to your enrollment level or approved courses.
  • We may require you to develop an Academic Plan detailing the steps you must take to bring yourself back into good standing.  Continued financial aid eligibility is contigent on successfully completing the Academic Plan's requirements or until you meet the requirements and are once again making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • If you owe repayment of financial aid funds you cannot receive additional aid until the repayment requirements are satisfactorily resolved.

If your appeal is denied:

  • We notify by you by mail or email (students can also check their status through the Student Center on ctcLink).
  • We give you the option to pay your tuition using your own funds (or other funding), or you may withdraw from your classes.
  • You may file an additional appeal if you have new information or documentation that was not included in your first appeal.
  • You may ask the Director of Financial Aid to review the outcome of your appeal.

2. By meeting standards on your own without financial aid

Successfully completing courses that apply to your degree or certificate on your own funding does not guarantee reinstatement of your eligibility. You must demonstrate that you are meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.  To meet standards on their own, you need to:

  • Complete a quarter (or more) on your own by taking a minimum of 5 financial aid eligible and required credits for your program.
  • Improve overall completion rate to 67%.
  • Demonstrate the ability to complete your program within 150% of required credits.
  • Notify the financial aid office in writing when all attempted credits are completed.
  • All previous coursework is considered when determining financial aid eligibility whether financial aid was received or not.  

Shoreline Community Standard

Shoreline Community College is a place for students, employees, and the community to pursue excellence in education in an environment dedicated to equity, inclusiveness, and self-reflection. We value respectful, dynamic interactions and lively discussion. We strive to create an environment where everyone is supported and valued. Shoreline Community College does not tolerate hateful, violent, or discriminatory actions that target any person or group based on their beliefs, customs, identity, or affiliations. When one of us is diminished, all of us are diminished.

Student Conduct Policy

For more information, please view Shoreline's Student Conduct Policy

Please Note: This Satisfactory Academic Progress policy is subject to change at any time due to federal and state regulations and/or requirements established by the Financial Aid Office.