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Satisfactory Progress Policy

Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB), in compliance with federal regulations, has established policies and procedures to ensure that students are making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) towards a degree, diploma or certificate.  These standards must be met throughout all enrollment periods regardless of whether or not a student receives federal financial aid.  These enrollment period include Fall, Spring and Summer term. In order to be eligible for federal student financial aid students must meet these standards or they are ineligible for federal aid until standards are met.  SAP is measured in the following areas.

I.   MEASURES OF SATISFACTORY PROGRESS are A: Qualitative academic standards (GPA), and B: Quantitative rate of progress (Pace)

          A. Qualitative Academic Standards grade point average (GPA)

            At the end of each semester, all students GPAs are evaluated at DCB. In order to meet the GPA average requirements, a student will need to have a cumulative grade point average of at least a 1.60 after their first term of attendance, 1.75 by the end of their 2nd term of attendance and a 2.00 in subsequent terms.

         B. Quantitative Rate of Progress (pace)

           1. Maximum Time Frame
               Students enrolled at DCB are eligible to receive federal student aid within 150% of the published program length required to complete their declared program.  For example, if a program required 60 credits to complete, a student would be allowed 90 attempted credits (60x 150% = 90).  Students who have attempted 125% of their program credits will receive a financial aid informational notice via email.  Students who have attempted 150% of their program credits will receive a notice of disqualification via email. The guidelines for maximum credit guidelines are as follows:

  • One Year Program: 45 credits
  • Two Year Program: 90 credits

           2. Completion of Attempted Credits

               In order to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress for federal financial aid purposes, undergraduate students must complete a minimum of two-thirds (or 66.67%) of the credits attempted each semester and cumulatively.  This percentage is calculated by dividing the total number of successfully completed credits by the total number of credits registered for on financial aid census date.  The financial aid census date is the first day after the last day to drop/add classes at a 100% refund. 


Credits Attempted

Credits not Competed

Completion Rate

SAP Status




50% = 6/12





100% = 12/12





75%  = 18/24



  Attempted Credits at DCB will apply toward the maximum number of credits specified above.  Successfully completed credits earn grades of A, B, C, D or S. Grades of fail (F), Unsatisfactory (U), Incomplete (I), Course Repeats (R#), Withdrawn (W), and Not Reported (NR) count as credits attempted but not completed, and will be applied toward the both the maximum number of credits and GPA.

  Repeated coursework does count into attempted credit calculations and the most recent grade counts into GPA.  Any course that was passed in a prior term and is being retaken for a higher grade may only be repaid once with financial aid.  Courses that were F’s and are being retaken can be repaid with financial aid until passed as long as the student is still otherwise eligible for the funding. 

  Remedial coursework is eligible for federal aid but does not apply towards degree completion or GPA calculations.  These courses do increase the number of credits you have attempted and will be measured in satisfactory academic progress.  

  Transfer credits including those with grades of W, I and F count towards attempted credit calculations.

  Second Degrees
Students seeking a second undergraduate degree are subject to the maximum timeframe component. In general, this is 45 credits in a one year program or 90 credits in a two year program. Students who reach this timeframe and wish to appeal should follow the appeal procedure outlined in Section D.

  Program Changes

If you change majors, you are still expected to complete your program within the maximum timeframe. In limited circumstances appeals will be considered. (See Section D)



  1.  Official Withdrawal – Students who officially withdraw from all classes during any given semester are placed on Financial Aid Probation for their next term of enrollment after approved appeal.
  2.  Unofficial Withdrawal – Students who receive all failing grades (which includes F’s, W’s and I’s) are considered to have Unofficially Withdrawn from the college and are immediately placed on financial aid disqualification without a warning first.  Federal Regulations require that a return of funds calculation be completed on all students who receive federal aid unless the financial aid office can document a last date of attendance past the 60% date in that semester.  This calculation may result in a student owing the college or the Department of Education a balance that must be paid prior to the next term of enrollment. 
  3.  Administrative Withdrawal or Academic Suspension– A student who has been administratively withdrawn or academically suspended from school is also disqualified from receiving financial aid. 
    1.  Notification Process and Status: Students will receive a notification on their status at the end of each semester after grades are posted.  Notification will be sent via email and by a service indicator on Campus Connection.  Students who are not on any negative status will not receive any notifications. 
    2.  Financial Aid Warning:  Students can receive federal aid while on this status. Students must work to improve their academic performance in the next semester of enrollment.  Students in their next semester must meet the 2.0 GPA requirement and 66.67% completion rate or they will then be placed on Financial Aid Disqualification.
    3.  Financial Aid Disqualification:  Students may not receive any federal financial aid while on this status.  Federal aid refers to federal grants, loans and work study programs.  See criteria for re-establishing eligibility below.  Note: Financial Aid Disqualification is not the same as academic suspension.
    4.  Financial Aid Probation: Students who have failed to meet SAP but have successfully appealed to have their financial aid reinstated may be placed on probation.  A student who is placed on this status may receive aid for one more semester, but must be able to meet SAP standards by the end of that semester.  They may be required to meet certain terms and conditions while on probation. 
    5. Academic Plan of Study (POS): Students who are on an Academic Plan of Study are students who have failed to meet SAP, but have successfully appealed their disqualification.  If they are mathematically unable to meet SAP by the end of the next term, they must have an arranged POS created by the SAP advisor. The SAP advisor is a campus academic advisor with a special contract to complete POS. The SAP advisor, if needed, will consult a student’s academic advisor for advice in academic planning.  The POS may cover more than one term of attendance.  

At the end of each term, students must either:

  1. meet regular SAP guidelines or
  2. be fulfilling the requirements in their POS.

The SAP advisor will review the plans at the end of each term of attendance. Students who do not meet their POS will be disqualified without appeal until they re-establish eligibility for aid.

  1. Criteria for Re-Establishing Eligibility for Financial Aid
    Students who fail to meet those standards of satisfactory progress and are on financial aid disqualification may make a formal request to re-establish eligibility for financial aid through whichever below method that is then approved by the Financial Aid Director. (Note: Students placed on academic suspension must follow standard university procedures for re-admittance).
    1. Students may re-establish eligibility by completing coursework till they meet the mathematical requirements of our qualitative and quantitative measures without federal aid.  
    2. Students who have failed to make satisfactory progress may appeal to re-establish financial aid eligibility on the basis of medical, legal, or emotional reasons, or other extenuating circumstances. Students are responsible for their own appeal applications and the financial aid appeal form is available on the web at this link. This form should be completed as directed in its entirety within 30 days of the notice that you were disqualified.  Students should be notified in writing of the appeal decision by the Financial Aid Office within 15 working days of the receipt of their appeal form. Such appeals will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. If an appeal is approved, the student's eligibility for financial aid will be reinstated for one payment period. After this period, the student’s progress will be reviewed and their status changed appropriately.
    3. If incomplete (I) grades are a factor in failure to maintain satisfactory progress, subsequent prompt completion of these credits may be used to re-establish eligibility for aid.
    4.  Students who have eligibility reinstated under the above provisions will be provided assistance based upon availability of funds at the time of reinstatement of eligibility.

Amendments to the SAP Policy – This policy will be amended whenever applicable federal regulations are changed or when institutional changes in policy are deemed necessary by the SAP Committee.

Policy updated 06/2018