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 or certificate.  These standards must be met throughout all enrollment periods regardless of whether a student receives federal financial aid.  These enrollment periods include Fall, Spring and Summer term. To be eligible for federal financial aid students must meet these standards or they will be ineligible for federal financial aid until standards are met.  Programs affected by SAP include Pell Grant, SEOG, Work-Study, Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans, PLUS Loan, State Grant, and some Private Loans such as the Bank of ND DEAL, this is not a complete list, other programs may also be affected by SAP such as institutional waivers and scholarships.  Students must be aware when selecting a program that certain certificates or degrees are not eligible for financial aid.  Please view for a list of programs not eligible for aid. 


I.   MEASURES OF SATISFACTORY PROGRESS: Qualitative academic standards (GPA) and Quantitative rate of progress (PACE)

   A. Qualitative Academic Standards Grade Point Average (GPA)

     At the end of each regular period of enrollment (i.e., semester), all student GPAs are evaluated at DCB. To meet the GPA requirements, a student will need to have a cumulative GPA of the following:

Minimum Cumulative GPA Required:

1st Semester: 1.60

2nd Semester: 1.75

After the 3rd semester students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. 

   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 requires 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 service indicator in campus connection, campus email and postal mail. The approximate maximum credit guidelines are as follows and may vary depending on the program:

·         One Year Program (30 semester credits): 45 credits

·         Two Year Program (60 semester credits): 90 credits

The maximum number of credits includes all prior credits attempted at other colleges or universities as well as the credits you have attempted at DCB. 

        2. Completion of Attempted Credits

           To maintain SAP for federal financial aid purposes, students must complete a minimum of two-thirds (or 66.67%) of the credits attempted 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 can 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 Completed

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

Completion Rate



75% = 9/12






66.67% = 16/24

Attempted Credits at DCB will apply toward the cumulative number of credits.  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.

Students have 30 days from the Monday after classes are completed to resolve their “I” grade for a regular term of enrollment or 15 days from the Monday after classes are completed to resolve their “I” grade for an 8-week course. 

Grade changes, including changes of “I” grades and letter grade changes, will have their SAP status recalculated to include the updated grade change in their SAP status for the current term. 

Repeated coursework does count into attempted credit calculations and the most recent grade counts into GPA.  Any course that was previously passed (a grade of “D” is considered passing), 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 if 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.  

Academic Amnesty (Academic Forgiveness) Academic amnesty (forgiveness) will not change your financial aid status.  Courses removed or changed because of academic amnesty (forgiveness) must still be counted in financial aid calculations since SAP is a cumulative process.

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 to finish their program if additional courses are needed for that specific program and the second/subsequent degree type is different from their initial degree type.  The appeal process can be found under section IV. 


Official Withdrawal – Students who officially withdraw from all classes during any given semester are placed on financial aid warning for their next term of enrollment unless the student already has a signed POS.  If a signed POS is in place the student will be disqualified due to not meeting the terms of the POS.  Students can receive one subsequent semester of federal aid while on this status.  Students in their next semester must meet SAP requirements. 


Unofficial Withdrawal – Students who receive all failing grades are considered to have unofficially withdrawn from the college and are immediately placed on financial aid disqualification without a warning.  Federal regulations require that a return of funds calculation be completed on all students who receive federal aid.  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.


Administrative Withdrawal or Academic Suspension – A student who has been administratively withdrawn or academically suspended from school is disqualified from receiving financial aid. 


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 official campus email and by a service indicator in Campus Connection.  Students who are disqualified will also receive a notification via postal mail.  Students who are not on any negative status will not receive any notifications. 

Financial Aid Information:  The student has reached 125% to 149.99 % of the maximum attempted credit limit of 150%.  The student is eligible to receive federal financial aid until they have attempted 150% of the maximum credit limit.  If the student will not graduate before they reach the 150% attempted credit limit, the student will be eligible to file an appeal of their status. This appeal should be submitted after the disqualification notice is received.

Financial Aid Warning:  Students can receive one subsequent semester of federal aid while on this status. Students may receive the following status if they are not meeting GPA or completion requirements.  Students in their next semester must meet minimum GPA requirements and 66.67% completion rate (as specified in section I) or they will then be placed on financial aid disqualification.

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 in section IV.  Note: Financial aid disqualification is not the same as academic suspension.

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 signed Plan of Study.

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, if needed, will consult a student’s academic advisor for advice in academic planning.  The POS will be issued for one term, if the terms of the POS are met and the student has not changed programs a new POS will be issued for the next term of enrollment. 

At the end of each term, students must either:

1.       meet regular SAP guidelines or

2.       fulfilling the requirements of 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 unless the student changes their academic program.

Students who fail to meet the standards of satisfactory academic progress and are on financial aid disqualification may appeal 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, this is in addition to appealing financial aid disqualification.  These are 2 different processes.).  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.

A.     Students may re-establish eligibility by completing coursework until they meet the mathematical requirements of the qualitative and/or quantitative measures of SAP.  Students who choose this method will not be eligible for federal financial aid until SAP is calculated and the end of the regular period of enrollment (i.e., semester), eligibility for state and institutional aid may also be affected.     

-          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.

B.   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 in Campus Connection.  After logging in, click the DCB eForms button then the Financial Aid folder, under the folder the SAP Appeal form is available to fill out. This form should be submitted online with all evidence and supporting documents within 30 days of the start of the semester.  Students will be notified in writing through their campus email of the appeal decision by the financial aid office within approximately one week of receipt of all required documentation.  Appeals will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, appeal reviews will begin 30 days before a semester begins or after grades post if a student is enrolled in a semester, students must be enrolled in the semester before their appeal will be reviewed. If an appeal is approved, the student's eligibility for financial aid will be reinstated for one payment period. After this period, the students’ progress will be reviewed, and their status changed appropriately.

-             Students who have eligibility reinstated under the above provisions will receive financial aid based upon availability of funds at the time of reinstatement of eligibility.

If the appeal is denied the student may request a 2nd review by the SAP committee, within 10 days, if the student can provide new information and documentation that may have been omitted from the initial appeal.  Decisions on the 2nd appeal are final. 


Policy updated 05/2023