Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

About SAP

Federal regulations require Diné College to establish satisfactory academic progress standards for students that are receiving Title IV financial assistance. Diné College’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships reviews grades at the end of each semester and measures satisfactory academic progress in the following areas: grade point average (GPA), completion rate or pace, and maximum timeframe.

If students with disabilities can demonstrate equal or higher academic performances as their typical college peers and/or demonstrate the ability to maintain satisfactory academic progress, they may be considered eligible for accommodations such as course substitutions. Course substitutions could be a workshop, independent study, special topic classes, or practicum experiences.

The substitute course must be at the freshman and sophomore levels, and closely related in content, objectives, and outcomes to the original required course. Such accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure students with disabilities meet the necessary and required coursework for the specific degree or certificate program.

Students receiving financial aid must make satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a certificate or degree program. Diné College has both a qualitative and quantitative measure of academic progress:

Qualitative Standard:

  • Minimum grade point average (GPA)

Qualitative Standard:

  • Minimum grade point average (GPA)
  • The maximum timeframe a student has to complete a degree,
  • A minimum percentage of courses attempted must be passed, and
  • A maximum number of courses from which a student is allowed to withdraw or drop
Semester Hour Load 67% Minimum Completion Rate per semester
(12 or more credit hours)
Must satisfactorily complete 8 credits
3/4 time
(9 - 11 credit hours)
Must satisfactorily complete 6 credits
1/2 time
(6 - 8 credit hours)
Must satisfactorily complete 4 credits
Less than 1/2 time
(1 - 5 credit hours)
Must satisfactorily complete the number of credits funded (i.e. if a student is funded for 4 credit hours then the student must complete 4 credit hours.)

NOTE: Grades of F, I, W, or IP are not accepted as passing and could affect eligibility for future financial aid. (See “Non-Grade Designation Table” below).

(Effective: Fall 2012)

Classification Credit Hours GPA
Freshman 0 - 32 2.000
Sophomore 33 - 64 2.000
Junior 65 - 96 2.000
Senior 97 - 128 2.000

Maximum Timeframe / Pace
The US Department of Education places a credit hour limit on financial aid funding for students. Funding is available until a student has reached 150% of the credit hours required to complete their program. This includes all double majors, additional degrees, repeat credits, and transfer credits (example: AA in Bus Admin. = 69 credits × 150% = 103 credit hour maximum timeframe)

Recipients of financial aid will receive a financial aid warning notice after any semester in which their semester/term grade point average falls below the "Completion Rate/Pace" and/or they fail to satisfactorily complete 67% of the credit hours in which they are enrolled.

The financial aid warning letter serves as a WARNING to the student that he/she did not maintain satisfactory academic progress during the most recent semester of attendance at Diné College. Failure to meet one of the academic progress standards for one semester results in financial aid warning. Students on financial aid warning are eligible for Title IV Funds. Students will be removed from warning status after completing the following semester in good academic standing.

Financial Aid Suspension

Recipients of financial aid will be suspended if they fail to meet the semester grade point average and/or to complete 67% of their enrollment for two (2) semesters of academic coursework. Failure to meet one of the academic progress standards for two consecutive semesters may result in financial aid suspension. Students on financial aid suspension are not eligible for Title IV Funds.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility

A student may lose federal and institutional aid eligibility because he/she is not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) GPA or Pace standards.

A student may regain eligibility in one of the following ways:

Submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form with supporting documentation. A student must be advancing toward a degree and show progress within the SAP Academic plan for graduation.

Financial Aid Probation: If a student’s Financial Aid Suspension appeal is approved, the student will be awarded on a Financial Aid Probation Status. The student must complete all credits with a 2.0 GPA, otherwise, the student will go back on Financial Aid Suspension.

The student must complete one semester using his/her own resources or use the Diné College Deferred Payment Plan with at least half-time enrollment (6 or more credit hours). Courses taken must be chosen in consultation with an Academic Advisor. A student must advance toward attaining a degree and adhere to their Degree Checklist.

Once eligibility is restored, a student will be awarded aid for the following terms, subject to availability of funds.

Repeat credits are applied when a student repeats a course in order to improve a grade. Students are allowed to repeat any previously passed course and have it count toward enrollment for financial aid eligibility only once. Each attempt at the course, however, will count toward a student’s pace and maximum timeframe.

Official Withdrawal
A school’s SAP policy cannot exclude “W” grades in SAP reviews. Withdrawal hours are assigned when a student withdraws from a class after the drop period. Withdrawal hours count as credit hours attempted toward both pace and maximum timeframe.

Unofficial Withdrawal
A student who does not successfully complete any course (receives all “F” grades), stopped attending classes, and did not complete any coursework is considered an unofficial withdrawal. An unofficial withdrawal may be required to repay up to 50% of their financial aid received for the term. Student who never attended any of their classes and did not complete any course work are required to repay 100% of the financial aid received for the semester or summer term. Non-attendance does not relieve students of the financial responsibility for tuition charges once they are registered for a class.

Incomplete (I) is a temporary grade that is assigned only in exceptional circumstances. It will be given only to students who cannot complete the work of a course on schedule because of illness or other circumstances beyond their control. Once an official grade is received, student should notify the Financial Aid Office.

Transfer Credits
Coursework taken at another institution that is accepted as transfer credit by Diné College will count as both attempted and completed credit hours toward pace and maximum timeframe. Students who exceed the maximum timeframe can submit an SAP appeal to determine if their aid can be reinstated.

Change in Major
Students who have changed majors or are pursuing a second degree may reach their maximum time frame before their program of study is complete. All credits attempted are treated in the quantitative, qualitative, and maximum timeframe standards for SAP.

Additional Degree(s)
A student who already has an equivalent of an AA or AS degree (or higher) does not qualify for additional Pell Grant funds (see below) unless he or she is seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education.

(Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012: Effective July 1, 2012)

  • Federal Pell Grant Duration of Eligibility – Beginning award year 2012–2013, the duration of a student’s eligibility to receive a Federal Pell Grant is reduced from 18 semesters or its equivalent to 12 semesters or its equivalent. The calculation of the duration of a student’s eligibility will include all years of the student’s receipt of Federal Pell Grant funding.
  • Pell Grant Lifetime Limit – Beginning Fall 2012, students are now limited to receiving 12 semesters of Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime. This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant. Students may view their percentage of Pell Grant used by logging into Your ‘Lifetime Eligibility Used’ percentage will be displayed in the 'Grants' section.


Students may repeat courses previously taken at the college to better their understanding or to improve their grade. A transcript shows that the course was repeated, but only the higher grade is used to compute the student’s Cumulative Grade Average.


Courses may be retaken, but only one retake of a course counts towards a student’s eligibility for financial aid purposes.

Return of Title IV Funds (Refund and Repayment Policy)

If students receiving federal financial aid withdraw from the College, the amount of the financial aid to be repaid or refunded is calculated using a formula supplied by the U.S. Department of Education. The last day of attendance is used to calculate the total amount to be repaid. A refund is the difference between the amounts paid toward institutional cost (including financial aid and/or cash paid) and the amount the school may retain under the appropriate refund policy. See the Financial Aid Student Handbook for detailed information on the Title IV Refund/Repayment policy.

The order of refund of Title IV funds to the programs from which the student received aid during the payment period or period of enrollment is in the following, up to the net amount disbursed from each source:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans*
  2. Subsidized Federal Stafford loans*
  3. Unsubsidized Direct Stafford loans (other than PLUS loans)
  4. Subsidized Direct Stafford loans
  5. Federal Perkins loans
  6. Federal PLUS loans
  7. Direct PLUS loans
  8. Federal Pell Grants for which a return of funds is required
  9. Academic Competitiveness Grant for which a return of funds is required
  10. National Smart Grants for which a return of funds is required
  11. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) for which a return of funds is required
  12. Federal TEACH Grants for which a return is required.

* Diné College does not participate in the Federal Student Loan Program and will not certify enrollment or shareinformation with potential lenders.

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