Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Requirements

Students receiving federal or state financial aid and/or veterans benefits must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in accordance with FIDM’s SAP policy. A student who does not meet SAP standards is subject to loss of financial aid. The SAP standards for students receiving financial aid are stricter than those for students who do not receive financial aid.

Financial Aid SAP Standards

SAP is monitored periodically during the student’s program of study. At each monitoring period, the student must meet SAP standards in three areas:

  1. GPA
  2. Pace
  3. Unit completion

GPA: A student must maintain a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Pace: A student must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of the units attempted on a cumulative basis. For financial aid SAP purposes, “units attempted” are defined as units for classes for which the student has a grade at the completion of a quarter, with the exception of the classes Writing Skills and Financial Skills Workshop. Units for classes dropped prior to the deadline to drop in a quarter are not considered attempted, but units for a class with a grade of “W” are considered as units attempted. “Successfully completed” units are units for classes with grades of “A”, “B”, “C” “D” or “P”. Units considered to be not successfully completed are units for classes with grades of “F” or “W.” Units for classes with a grade of “I” can be either successful or not, depending on the eventual resolution of the incomplete.

Unit completion: A student must successfully complete a minimum number of units at each monitoring point. The chart below shows the minimum requirements for FIDM programs. Programs of other lengths or units are usually modifications (additions or reductions) of these standard programs, but have the same minimum unit requirement. Contact the Financial Aid Office at financialaid@fidm.com if you have questions about the unit completion requirement for your program.

Monitoring Period

Except as noted* below, a student’s financial aid SAP will be monitored at the completion of three quarters of attendance (once per academic year). To be in compliance with SAP standards, the student must meet all three components of SAP at the point of monitoring, meaning the student must: 1) Have successfully completed at least 67% of the units they have attempted;, 2) Have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0, and 3) Have successfully completed the minimum number of units during the monitoring period. A student who is not meeting all of these standards is subject to SAP disciplinary action.

*Exception for students enrolled in the Master’s program. A student’s financial aid SAP will be monitored at the completion of two quarters of attendance.

*Exception for students enrolled in a 3 quarter Professional Designation or Advanced AA Program. The SAP for students in a program of study of three quarters or less will be monitored on a quarterly basis. If a student in one of these programs fails to meet SAP standards, they will be placed on “Financial Aid Warning” status. A student in “Warning” status may receive financial aid for one additional quarter. If the student fails to meet SAP standards in that additional quarter, they are subject to SAP disciplinary actions as described below.

Program Description Program units SAP Monitoring point Minimum number of successfully completed units required at each monitoring period:
  1st 2nd 3rd 4th
3 quarter PD or Advanced AA 45 at the end of every quarter of attendance 11 22 33 45
3 quarter Advanced AA 48 at the end of every quarter of attendance 12 24 36 48
1 year Bachelor 46 at the end of every quarter of attendance 12 24 36 46
2 year AA 90 at the end of every three quarters of attendance 30 60 90  
2 year Bachelor 91 at the end of every three quarters of attendance 30 60 91  
Master’s MBA 61 at the end of every two quarters of attendance 24 48 61  
5 quarter PD 72 at the end of every three quarters of attendance 30 60    
5 quarter PD 60 at the end of every three quarters of attendance 27 54    
4 quarter PD 66 at the end of every three quarters of attendance 33 66    
4 quarter PD 60 at the end of every three quarters of attendance 30 60    
4 quarter PD 57 at the end of every three quarters of attendance 30 57    
4 quarter PD 54 at the end of every three quarters of attendance 30 54    
4 quarter PD 51 at the end of every three quarters of attendance 30 51    

SAP Disciplinary Actions

A student who has not met all of the SAP standards and who wants to retain financial aid eligibility must appeal their SAP determination. If the student does not appeal, the student will lose their financial aid eligibility in the quarter immediately following the period of monitoring. For example, if the student is determined to have not met SAP standards at the end of their third quarter of attendance and does not appeal that determination, the student loses their aid eligibility beginning with their fourth quarter of attendance. Likewise, if the student appeals and the appeal is not approved, the student loses their eligibility for aid in the first quarter following the period of monitoring. The school will notify the student of the outcome of the review.

A student who appeals their SAP standing may regain their financial aid eligibility only after the appeal has been reviewed and approved by FIDM Staff. In some cases, adherence to an academic plan may be required for the student to regain their aid eligibility. An academic plan is specific to the individual student, and may require the student to successfully follow a schedule of specific coursework, unit loads, etc. If a student’s SAP appeal is approved, they are considered to be on “SAP Probation” status, and are eligible for one additional quarter of financial aid eligibility. If the student’s SAP appeal is approved and requires adherence to an academic plan, the student will retain financial aid eligibility as long as the student meets the terms of the plan. If a student who is on SAP Probation subject to the terms of an academic plan meets the minimum SAP requirements at a standard monitoring period, the SAP probation status can be removed at the discretion of FIDM financial aid staff.

Should a student meet the terms of their financial aid academic plan but nonetheless be placed on FIDM academic disqualification or academic dismissal, the student would also be considered to be disqualified for financial aid purposes. If the student is allowed to return to school after academic dismissal or academic disqualification, a new SAP appeal and academic plan would be required.

Appeal Procedures

A student who has not met SAP standards at the point of monitoring (and is not entitled to “Financial Aid Warning” status) will lose their eligibility for financial aid. The student will receive a communication from the Financial Aid Office with instructions on how to appeal. The student must follow all the instructions, including the timeframe for return of the appeal form. The appeal form must be returned to the Financial Aid Office at the student’s campus of attendance, unless otherwise directed. FIDM Staff will review and respond to the appeal. The response will inform the student if:

  1. the appeal has been accepted and aid has been reinstated,
  2. the appeal has been accepted and aid has been reinstated for one quarter subject to the student’s successful adherence to the terms of an academic plan, or
  3. The appeal has been denied and the student has been disqualified from receiving further aid.

Subsequent Appeal

FIDM staff may accept a subsequent SAP appeal from a student who has failed to meet the terms of her Academic Plan. A subsequent appeal will only be approved if the student has encountered challenges in addition to those on which her original appeal was approved. A revised Academic Plan would be created. To maintain financial aid eligibility, the student would then need to meet the terms of that new Plan.

Course Incompletes

For purposes of pace, units for a class with a grade of “I” are counted as units attempted but not completed. For purposes of unit completion, units for a class with a grade of “I” are counted as units successfully completed. If the grade is changed prior to the final SAP monitoring for the previous quarter, appropriate action will be taken, depending on the changed grade (SAP status will be changed to warning, suspension, disqualification, “OK”, or no action if the SAP status is not affected). If the grade is changed after the final SAP monitoring for the previous quarter, the student’s SAP will be monitored as usual at the next monitoring marker.

Course Withdrawals

Grades for classes with a grade of “W” are not included in the calculation of GPA. Units for classes with a grade of “W” are counted as attempted but not successfully completed for purposes of pace. For purposes of unit completion, classes with a grade of “W” are considered not successfully completed.

Quarters of Non-attendance

Quarters of non-attendance are not included in SAP monitoring. Students are required to meet standards of attendance in addition to standards of SAP. FIDM’s policies that limit the number of quarters of non-attendance can be found on our Refund & Return of Title IV Funds Policies page.

Course Repetitions

If a student repeats a class for which they received a “D” or an “F,” in subsequent SAP monitoring the original grade will not be counted in the GPA calculation, but the pace and unit completion calculations will include the units for the original grade. If a student repeats a class for which they received a grade of “C-” or better, SAP will be monitored normally as if the class was not a repeat. However, a student who repeats a class for which they received a passing grade (“D-” or better) may only receive federal financial aid for one repeat of that class.

Changes of Major

A change of major within a program (for example, a student in a two-year AA program changes her major from Fashion Design to Product Development) will often result in an increase in the length of time required for completion of the program. In those situations, FIDM will recalculate the unit completion requirements for the new length of time. The student will be held to that new unit completion requirement, as well as the existing Pace and GPA requirements.

Transfer of Credit from Previous Institutions

For purposes of the measurement of pace, credit accepted in transfer from previous colleges is counted as both units attempted and units completed. The student’s GPA at FIDM is not affected by transfer units. For purposes of the measurement of unit completion, credit accepted in transfer from previous colleges is counted as successfully completed units.

Reestablishing Aid Eligibility

As described above, a student may retain their aid eligibility by meeting the terms of their academic plan. A student who has been disqualified for reasons of SAP may also regain aid eligibility if they meet the minimum standards of SAP for their program at the next period of monitoring.

All questions pertaining to this policy should be directed to the Student Financial Services Office.