Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements

Your Responsibilities as a PRCC Student...

Pearl River Community College is required under federal regulations to establish minimum standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to determine a student’s eligibility to receive federal Title IV student aid for their chosen program of study. To maintain student aid eligibility, a student must progress satisfactorily toward completing a degree or certificate in a chosen academic or career/technical program. The financial assistance offered at PRCC to which these standards apply includes the following federal Title IV programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant (PELL)
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Work Study

There are three conditions for maintaining satisfactory academic progress in order to retain Title IV Federal Student Aid. Students must first progress qualitatively by earning the required minimum grade point average. Secondly, students must progress quantitatively by completing the required minimum number of credits each semester or term. Lastly, students must complete their program of study within a reasonable time period as defined by U.S. Department of Education guidelines.

PRCC students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) based on total hours attempted (including Withdrawals, Incompletes, Audits and repeated courses) as outlined in the chart below:

Cumulative Semester Hours Attempted 1 - 24 25 - 36 37 - above
Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average 1.5 1.75 2.00

All PRCC students must successfully complete 67% of all credit hours attempted. This is the number of hours successfully completed compared to the number of hours attempted. This quantitative or incremental measurement will be a completion of two-thirds of all cumulative attempted credit hours.

Federal regulations allow a maximum time frame of 150% of the number of credits needed to complete a degree or certificate program in which a student is allowed to receive federal student aid.  A student’s entire academic record at PRCC, as well as accepted transfer courses from all previously attended accredited institutions, will be evaluated to determine Satisfactory Academic Progress. This time frame applies to all students, even to those students who may not have previously received federal aid for prior years of study at PRCC or at another institution. A student who attempts 150% of their coursework for their degree or certificate program and who has not yet completed that program is suspended from federal aid eligibility.

At PRCC, most degree programs require completion of a minimum of 60 hours of coursework. Therefore, students must complete the requirements for a certificate or degree program within 90 hours, based on the 150% of the hours required (60 hours X 1.50 = 90). The maximum time frame can be adjusted on a case by case basis for programs requiring more hours, with approval from the Office of Financial Aid. Once a student earns an associate degree or higher, they are not eligible to participate in the federal student aid program without filing an appeal through the Office of Financial Aid. This does not guarantee, however, that the appeal will be approved and that financial aid eligibility will be reinstated. There are no provisions for federal student aid at Pearl River Community College for students who have already completed degrees at the bachelor's level or higher.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Review and Notification

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is reviewed at the end of each semester to determine compliance with grade point average (GPA), completion rate or incremental measure, and maximum time frame standards. Students who fail to meet SAP standards will be notified via their PRCC email accounts and any personal email accounts reported to the institution on file in the Office of Financial Aid. Students’ statuses are also updated for viewing through PRCC’s RiverGuide portal. It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with SAP requirements and to monitor his/her progress each semester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Disciplinary Actions:

Financial Aid Warning

A student at PRCC is automatically placed on warning following one semester of attendance if the minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) or 67% completion rate required for SAP at PRCC is not met. During this warning period of enrollment, the student remains eligible for federal assistance. Only one semester of automatic reinstatement will be granted to students during their program of study.

Financial Aid Suspension

A student at PRCC is placed on suspension if the cumulative required minimum grade point average (GPA) or the cumulative 67% completion rate is not met for two consecutive semesters, or when the maximum time frame of 150% for completion of a degree or certificate has been met or exceeded.

Special Note: Financial aid suspension does not prevent students from attending PRCC provided they are not on academic suspension; however, they must be prepared to make payment arrangements for their tuition and fees through the Business Services Office in accordance with institutional policies.

Reinstatement of Eligibility and Appeal Procedures:

Students who lose their eligibility for federal assistance for not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements have the right to appeal their suspension in accordance with federal regulations and under the policies established by the educational institution they are attending. In order to be eligible to file an appeal for financial aid reinstatement, the student must demonstrate that the student’s failure to meet SAP requirements was due to mitigating circumstances, such as:

  • Illness of or injury to the student
  • Illness of or injury to a close family member of the student (spouse, child, parent, grandparent)
  • Death of a close relative (spouse, child, parent, grandparent)
  • Undue hardship or extreme circumstances that can be fully documented
  • Natural or catastrophic disaster resulting in hardship to the student and/or family
  • Military Service

Appeals will be reviewed in the Office of Financial Aid at Pearl River Community College on a case by case basis and will be determined based on their individual merit. Appeals must be submitted with supporting documents (i.e. notes from physicians, death certificates, divorce decrees, funeral programs, military orders, etc.) to the Office of Financial Aid. Students will be allowed a maximum of three (3) reinstatements. Multiple appeals for the same mitigating circumstances are not allowed, as the student must demonstrate that mitigating circumstances have been resolved for the purposes of filing an appeal. The earlier an appeal is submitted, the sooner eligibility for financial aid can be determined. Students who file appeals just prior to, or during registration before an enrollment period, should be prepared to register with personal payment by the tuition payment date.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Academic reinstatement to PRCC through the Office of Admissions does not constitute financial aid eligibility reinstatement.

Additional Satisfactory Academic Progress Guidelines:

Academic Amnesty/Restart/Renewal:

There is no academic amnesty procedure in place at PRCC through which a student can apply to have credits attempted and grades earned in previous semesters excluded from the calculation of the student’s grade point average.  

Remedial/Developmental Courses:

Remedial/Developmental courses are included in the calculation of the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements and are treated in the same manner as regular courses since students receive institutional credit and grades for these courses.

Repeated Courses:

Repeated courses are counted in the determination of the number of semester hours attempted.  Students may receive federal aid for a repeated course they previously passed, only once. Upon the third attempt of a course that has been previously passed, the student will not receive federal aid for that course.


Any semester in which a student withdraws or is administratively withdrawn for any reason will be counted as a semester of attendance for purposes of determining the student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. A withdrawal grade (W) is counted as attempted hours for purposes of determining SAP.

Grade Changes/Addition of Grades:

It is the responsibility of the student to notify the Office of Financial Aid should there be grade changes or additions to the student’s academic transcript which may affect the student’s financial aid eligibility. The Satisfactory Academic Progress procedure is an automated process that is run each semester immediately following the posting of end of semester grades. Any changes to student records following the running of these processes must therefore be reported to the Office of Financial Aid so that the student’s record can be pulled for re-examination to determine financial aid eligibility.

Updated 2/27/19