Satisfactory Progress Policy

Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB), in compliance with federal regulations, has established policies and procedures to ensure that all students, full time and part time, 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 student 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 the following:

                   Minimum Cumulative GPA Required*:

                     1st Semester: 1.60

                     2nd Semester: 1.75

                     3rd Semester: 2.0

                     4th semester: 2.0

                         *Students who have a program plan of Certificate-Practical Nursing or AAS-Associate Degree Nurse must maintain a minimum of 2.50 Cumulative GPA for all college courses competed. 


    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 (60 x 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 approximate maximum credit guidelines are as follows and may vary depending on the program:

·         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, this is the date the financial aid office uses to lock in the enrollment status.  This corresponds with the 8.99% of the semester where a student is able to withdraw at 100%.  The cumulative credits calculations include all credits attempted even if they do not pertain to the current degree.             




Cumulative Credits Attempted

Credits not Competed

(Grade received W, I, U, or F)

Completion Rate

SAP Status

Example A





Semester 1



50% = 6/12


Semester 2



75%  = 18/24


Example B













62.5%  = 13/24


Attempted Credits at DCB will apply toward the cumulative 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), and Withdrawn (W) count as credits attempted but not completed

Repeated coursework does count into attempted credit calculations and the most recent grade counts into GPA.  Any course that was previously passed that is being retaken for a higher grade may only qualify for Financial Aid one additional time.  Failed courses may be repeated and paid 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.  

Treatment of Non-Standard Credits

Type of Credit

Included in GPA Calculation

Included in 66.67% Calculation (Pace)

Included in Max time frame











Yes (excluding developmental courses and “W” grades)

Yes (excluding developmental courses and “W” grades)



Yes (if enrolled at census)

Yes (if enrolled at census)





Repeated Courses

Yes (most recent grade)

Yes (each attempt)

Yes (each attempt)

Developmental Courses (ASC)




Transfer credits/Major Changes/Second Degrees

Students who have changed their major, are pursuing a second degree or have transfer credit are more likely to reach the maximum time frame limit.  If a student changes majors or has transfer credits the credits earned will be included in the calculation of attempted credits, earned credits, and maximum time frame.  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.  Through the appeal process the financial aid office can approve a student to take additional credits in order to finish their program.  The appeal process can be found under section IV. 



A.     Official Withdrawal – Students who officially withdraw from all classes during any given semester are placed on financial aid disqualification for their next term of enrollment.  Students may appeal their disqualification, if their appeal is approved students will be placed on financial aid probation for that term of enrollment.

B.      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.

C.      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 SAP 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 one subsequent semester of federal aid while on this status. Students receive the following status if they are not meeting one or more of the SAP requirements.  Students in their next semester must meet SAP requirements of 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, some state and institutional aid eligibility may be suspended with this status.  Federal aid refers to federal grants, loans and work study programs.  Students are placed on Financial Aid Disqualification if they have failed to meet SAP requirements or have failed to meet the requirements set forth in their Plan of Study.  Students may re-establish eligibility for federal aid by completing the steps below (see section IV).  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, such as taking a reduced course load or taking specific courses.  A student assigned a Financial Aid Probation status will be required to submit a Plan of Study signed by the SAP advisor. 

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 an academic advisor with a special contract to complete plan of studies for students who are not meeting SAP. 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.  Students meeting their POS will be granted  a POS renewal .

Students who fail to meet the standards of satisfactory academic progress and are on financial aid disqualification may make a formal request to re-establish eligibility for financial aid funds through multiple methods (Note: Students placed on academic suspension must follow standard university procedures for re-admittance).  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

1)      Students may re-establish eligibility by completing coursework until they meet the mathematical requirements of the qualitative and quantitative measures of SAP.  Student who choose this method will not be eligible for federal financial aid, eligibility for state and institutional aid may also be effected.     

(a)   If a student does not have a qualifying circumstance on which to base their appeal they must successfully complete a semester (no minimum registration required) without the benefit of federal aid. Following the successful semester, they may appeal based on demonstrated ability to be successful.

2)      Students who have failed to make satisfactory progress may appeal to re-establish financial aid eligibility based on the following: medical issues, death or serious injury of a family member, other extenuating circumstances, or cumulative credit limits. Students are responsible for their own appeal applications and the financial aid appeal form is available on the web at  This form should be completed and returned with all evidence and supporting documents as soon as possible after the notice that you were disqualified is received.  Students should be notified in writing of the appeal decision by the Financial Aid Office.  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.

(a)   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.


Policy updated 03/2019