Federal regulations require the Student Financial Services Office to monitor the academic progress of all students toward the completion of a degree or certificate. This monitoring process is called Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Satisfactory Academic Progress is required of all financial aid applicants, including those who have not previously participated in federal aid programs.  SAP requirements are not the same as Academic Requirements.

Contact the Student Financial Services Office if you have any questions or need any assistance.

This information is subject to change without notice.

Increments of Evaluation

Academic progress is evaluated at the end of each semester and students are notified of their status via COM student email. Developmental courses are included in all aspects of the SAP calculations.

Academic Progress Measurements

Grade Point Average

Changes to SAP requirements have changed.  To remain financial aid eligible, all students will need to maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA (previously 1.5 cumulative GPA for first 30 credit hours).

SAP Calculator


The completion rate at which students progress through their program of study must be the minimum of 67%. Pace is determined by dividing the cumulative number of credits earned by the cumulative number of credits attempted.

Maximum Timeframe

The maximum timeframe is 150% of the number of credit hours needed to complete degree requirements. Students are considered to have met the maximum timeframe to complete their degree/certificate plan when the number of hours that are needed to graduate with the degree/certificate is greater than the number of eligible aid hours remaining in the maximum time calculation for the degree/certificate plan. For example, an associate degree that requires 60 credits to complete would result in a maximum timeframe of 90 credit hours (60 x 150%).

  • Successful course completion is defined as earning the “A”, “B”, “C”, or “D” grade.
  • All courses attempted at COM, including developmental courses, repeated courses, courses with a grade of “F”,
  • "FN", “I”, “W”, “WX” and all transferred hours will be counted in the total of hours attempted.
  • Students with earned bachelor's degree or higher are considered to have exceeded the maximum time frame at a community college and will be assigned an unsatisfactory (USAP) status, they may submit an appeal for extenuating circumstances.

Change of Program of Study/Major

A student may change from one program of study/major to another during his attendance at COM. Students who change from one program of study/major to another are still expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress and complete the course work within the time frame limitations. All previously attempted coursework is counted toward the maximum time frame.

Financial Aid Status


Students not meeting the SAP standards will be placed on financial aid warning. This status is meant to serve as a warning for students who are in danger of losing their financial aid eligibility. During this semester on warning, a student must gain compliance status.


Students not meeting the SAP standards at the end of the warning term are no longer eligible for aid due to unsatisfactory (USAP) status.  Students that do not complete their program of study within maximum timeframe, students that violate their approved appeal/academic plan, and students with bachelor’s degree or higher are considered unsatisfactory and not eligible to receive financial aid.

Probation with Academic Plan

This status is granted upon the approval of a financial aid appeal, student is placed on academic plan and evaluated at the end of each semester. The student will remain on probation and eligible to receive financial aid if the student continues to follow that academic plan without deviating from it.

Financial Aid Appeal

When a student loses financial aid eligibility because they failed to make satisfactory academic progress, they may appeal that result based on their injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other extenuating circumstances. The appeal must explain why student failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in their situation that will allow them to meet satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on probation with an academic plan. Progress is evaluated at the end of every term and student will be eligible to receive financial aid if they continue to meet the requirements of the academic plan.

Students must also appeal to change their plan. They must explain what has happened to make the change necessary and how they will be able to make academic progress.

The financial aid appeal deadline is the 1st of every month. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee meets monthly, except in December. Appeal requests submitted in December will be reviewed at the January meeting. Students are allowed to appeal their financial aid status twice during the entire period of enrollment at College of the Mainland. This includes degree plan changes.

The Financial Aid Appeal Request is available online at the Financial Aid Forms page.

Return of Title IV Funds

Federal regulations require that a Return of Title IV Funds (ROF) calculations be performed on any student that is receiving federal aid during the semester they withdraw or stops attending class before the semester ends. Federal aid includes the Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Direct Loans, and Direct PLUS Loan. If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the College would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds and may result in student having a balance due to the College. If the student initiates the withdrawal process after completing over 60% of the enrollment term, they will have earned 100% of the federal financial aid for that term and no repayment is required.

The withdrawal date is the date when student began the school’s official withdrawal process or officially notified the school of intent to withdraw. “Officially notifies” means the student contacts and notifies the Admissions/Registrar’s office of their intent to withdraw or leave school. Student’s official notification can be written or oral. If the student drops out (i.e., unofficially withdraws without notifying the school), the withdrawal date is the midpoint of the payment period or period of enrollment.

For students awarded all “FN” grades at the end of the semester will be considered to have unofficially withdrawn and the midpoint of the semester will be used to calculate the return of funds. Additionally, if a student is reported as “never attended” class, 100% of federal aid that was credited or disbursed to the student will be reversed from student’s account and returned to U.S. Department of Education. The reversal will create a balance owed to College of the Mainland on student’s account for that semester.


A class is considered a module if the class does not span the entire length of the payment period (semester). A student enrolled in a module will be considered withdrawn from the semester unless one of the following criteria is met:

  • College of the Mainland obtains written confirmation that the student will attend a later class in the same semester.
  • The student completes the requirements for graduation.
  • The student completes one or more classes that together comprise at least 49% of the days in the semester or the successful completion of half-time or greater enrollment for the semester.  Successful course completion is defined as earning the “A”, “B”, “C”, or “D” grade.

If the student owes a grant overpayment, the student has 45 days in which to repay it in full or to enter into an agreement with the school or ED. If, after 45 days, the student fails to repay the overpayment or enters an agreement with the school or ED, the school must report the student’s overpayment status to NSLDS and turn the overpayment over to ED’s Borrower Services-Collections.

Title IV aid programs subject to the return of Title IV funds calculation are:

Order of return of funds

First to loan programs in this order:

  • Unsubsidized FFEL/Direct Stafford
  • Subsidized FFEL/Direct Stafford
  • FFEL/Direct PLUS

Then to grant programs in this order:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
  • Federal SEOG