Skip Main Navigation

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a federal regulation that requires financial aid applicants to be evaluated on a qualitative standard (cumulative GPA) and quantitative standards (unit progression rate/pace and maximum time frame) every year.

All periods of enrollment at Allan Hancock College (AHC) and transferable units from other colleges (determined from official transcripts on file at AHC will be included as part of the SAP review. 

Financial Aid SAP standards are separate and distinct from general academic policies, and apply only to financial aid applicants.

For academic policies, please refer to the General Catalog or review this information with your academic counselor. 

SAP standards apply to all the following federal and state funded programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)
  • Cal Grant Program (B & C)
  • Student Success Completion Grant (SSCG)
  • State Chafee Grant Program

Grade Point Average (GPA): Qualitative

Students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 or better to achieve satisfactory SAP status. 

Pace of Unit Progression: Quantitative

Students must maintain a satisfactory completion rate of all course work attempted. Students must complete a minimum of 67 percent of the units attempted to maintain a satisfactory SAP completion rate.  The completion rate – or pace - is measured by dividing the cumulative number of units the student has successfully completed by the number of units the student has attempted.

 Examples of unit progression rate of 67 percent or greater:

Enrollment Status

Attempted Units

Minimum Completed Units (67 percent)










Maximum Timeframe: Quantitative

The maximum timeframe allowed for a student to maintain satisfactory academic progress is 150% of the minimum required units to complete their academic program. For example, 60 units is the standard length of completion for an Associate’s Degree at Allan Hancock College. Therefore, 60 units x 150% = 90 units, which is the maximum units that student is allowed to attempt and still be eligible for financial aid.  However, not all academic programs are 60 units in length, such as Certificates of Achievements and specialized technical programs. The maximum time limit is calculated specifically for each individual academic program.

The maximum time frame will not be extended for students who change academic programs or have prior degrees or certificates.

All units of ESL (English as a Second Language) course units will be excluded from the maximum unit limit

Up to a maximum of 30 units of Basic Skills/Remedial courses will be excluded from the maximum unit limit.

Any student who fails to meet any of the above listed SAP standards will be disqualified. Students that do not meet SAP standards will be notified via email of their cancellation status, Check your myHancock emails for any satisfactory academic progress notifications at the end of the term.

A student on cancellation status will not be eligible to receive Federal or State aid, with the exception of a California College Promise Grant (which is exempt from SAP regulations but subject to income eligibility requirements set by the state legislature). Students will also be notified by email of their ability to appeal the cancellation status.

If it is determined that you are on cancellation status, follow the below steps:

Step 1: Review the SAP policy and the SAP appeal instructions (tab below)

Step 2: Write your SAP appeal statement and explain your extenuating circumstances by given term

Step 3: Include and attach your supporting documentation that demonstrate your extenuating circumstance(s), if attending courses and applicable include your completed and signedSatisfactory Academic Progress Report

Step 4: Complete, sign and scan your SAP appeal form along with all of above form(s) and supporting documentation

Step 5: Email and submit your SAP appeal packet before the applicable deadline to

Students may learn how to appeal their SAP cancellation or disqualification by first completing an online SAP workshop and then submitting a completed appeal packet to the Financial Aid Office.

Your satisfactory academic progress (SAP) appeal explanation must include:

  • Explain what happened
  • Why were you unable to maintain satisfactory progress?
  • Explain what has changed
  • Corrective measures have you taken to achieve and maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • A current Student Education Plan (SEP), if appealing because of max units;

Special circumstances may include, but are not limited to:

  • medical emergencies, 
  • severe health issues,
  • severe personal or family problems, 
  • financial or personal catastrophe,
  • death of a family member,
  • auto accident or
  • any other situation beyond your own control

Tips for writing your appeal explanation statement

  • Take a hard look at your situation to determine what has kept you from making satisfactory academic progress. 
  • Perhaps you need help with time management or study skills.
  • Admit the problem and explain how will you get assistance.

Supporting documents (i.e. medical records, legal documents, death certificate) that may assist in justifying the student’s situation/case

If this is not your first SAP appeal, your explanation statement must include information about what has changed since your last appeal.

Note: Lack of awareness of withdrawal policies, requirements for satisfactory academic progress or unpreparedness for college coursework will not be accepted as reasons for the purpose of an appeal.

Complete appeal packets are forwarded to the Financial Aid Committee to If the Financial Aid Committee approves the appeal, the student will be reinstated for financial aid and placed on “Probation” or on an Academic Plan. In order to remain eligible for financial aid, the student must comply with the conditions of the approved appeal and academic plan.

Please allow 2-4 weeks for processing. If the appeal is denied, the student will remain disqualified and ineligible for financial aid.

All decisions made by the Financial Aid Appeal Committee are final. 

If you have been disqualified/cancelled or suspended from financial aid due to failure to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements and wish to appeal, you must complete either an online SAP Workshop and the steps listed in the SAP Appeal Instructions.

Sign up for any of the below SAP Workshop at SAP Workshop registration.

Each school sets its own SAP policy within the federal guidelines, and students must meet the requirements of the SAP policy of the school they are enrolled in to be eligible for federal financial aid. See the Allan Hancock Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for further information.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Workshops 
Thursday 1/25/2024 10:00 AM Last Online Workshop Zoom Mtg # 301 072 3567
Monday 2/12/2024 4:00 PM AHC Santa Maria Main Campus A103
Friday 2/23/2024 11:00 AM LVC Campus 102H
Wednesday 3/13/2024 1:30 PM AHC Santa Maria Main Campus A103
Tuesday 3/26/2024 5:00 PM LVC Campus 102H
Friday 4/5/2024 11:00 AM AHC Santa Maria Main Campus A103
Friday 4/19/2024 10:00 AM LVC Campus 102H
Friday 5/10/2024 11:00 AM AHC Santa Maria Main Campus A103


Students who have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher from an accredited domestic or foreign school are not eligible for financial aid, with the exception of the California College Promise Grant, FWS, and federal student loans (if qualified).

Recipients of financial aid must be enrolled in a program of study, which leads to a Certificate of Achievement, Associate Degree, or a transferable program that leads to a Bachelor’s Degree. It is the student's responsibility to have an eligible academic program of study declared at Allan Hancock College. Students without an approved program of study cannot be evaluated for SAP.

Students should also meet with an academic counselor to create an updated Student Education Plan (SEP), which outlines the required courses to be taken to complete their new academic program.