Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

The Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 requires institutions of higher education to establish and apply standards of academic progress that must be met by all students receiving Federal Student Aid (FSA), under Title IV programs, including Federal Work-Study, Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, and Parent PLUS Loan programs. These standards also apply to the following State of Ohio funded programs: Ohio Academic Scholars, NEALP, Frank O’Bannon, Choose Ohio First, and Ohio Safety Officer Scholarships.

All Cincinnati State scholarship recipients and CState Accelerate recipients are expected to adhere to this policy as well.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy was established to encourage students to successfully complete courses and to progress satisfactorily toward degree completion.

  • Successful completion of a course is defined as receiving one of the following grades: A, B, C, D, or S.
  • The following grades/statuses are not considered as successful completion of a course: F, W, I, IP, U, N, or NS.

SAP includes a student’s total academic history, including any enrollment periods in which a student did not receive financial aid or received academic forgiveness. SAP will be reviewed after each semester for financial aid recipients. If it is determined that a student is not meeting SAP, the student will receive a warning via College e-mail at the end of the semester. Students will be allowed financial aid conditionally for one additional semester of attendance, and future aid will be put on hold pending a review of grades. After the review of grades, if it is determined that a student is not meeting SAP, the student will receive a suspension notice via College e-mail indicating their financial aid has been suspended. The student must submit an SAP Appeal e-form for review in order to potentially receive financial aid for the upcoming semester.

It is the student’s responsibility to read, understand, and adhere to the SAP policy in order to remain eligible for financial aid. Failure to comply with this policy can result in the student’s financial aid being terminated at Cincinnati State.


There are three specific measurements of academic performance pertaining to financial aid eligibility.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

Maximum Time Frame (MTF)

Students are expected to complete a degree/certificate within a maximum time frame (MTF) of 150% of the published length of that program.

To determine how many credits a student may attempt for a given program, multiply the number of credits required to complete the program by 150%. For instance, if a program requires 64 credit hours to graduate, a student must complete their program within 96 credit hours (64 x 1.5 = 96).

Students will be notified when they have attempted a number of credit hours equivalent to 100% of their curriculum. If the student has not completed all courses necessary for graduation at 150% of their curriculum, their financial aid will be terminated. The student may appeal for additional financial aid funds if they are required to take more credit hours than are listed in the Catalog curriculum.

Transfer credit hours are counted into the formula. Students who transfer more credit hours than are applicable to their program should complete an appeal.

All appeals for MTF should include the MTF appeal e-form and a progress review e-form completed by their academic advisor.

After a student graduates from one associate's degree or certificate program, they are no longer eligible for financial aid. Students who wish to complete another degree or certificate must appeal.

Course Completion

To ensure that students will graduate within the Maximum Time Frame of their program, they must complete 67% of all attempted credit hours. To determine a student’s completion rate, the number of completed credit hours is divided by the number of attempted credit hours. For instance, if a student registers for 12 credits, but completes only 4 credits, their completion rate is 33% (4/12 = 33%).