Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The United States Department of Education requires that students successfully progress toward graduation from their program of study. Students who do not maintain a 2.0 GPA, earn at least 67% of the credits they attempt, or take too many credits before they graduate will be suspended from receiving financial aid.

The information below will help you understand Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and how to maintain eligibility.

Satisfactory Academic Progress - Credit Students

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

There are three primary standards that all students must meet to continue receiving federal and state financial aid. These standards are based on Department of Education regulations and Tennessee Board of Regents policies and apply to all colleges and universities in Tennessee.

  1. 2.0 Cumulative GPA: Students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA by the end of their second semester. Students whose GPA is below 2.0 at the end of their second semester at Chattanooga State will be suspended from receiving financial aid.
  2. 67% Completion Rate: Students must successfully complete at least 67% of the credits they attempt. This means that students must pass at least 2 credit hours out of every 3 credit hours attempted. Students who do not have a 67% completion rate by the end of their second semester at Chattanooga State will be suspended from receiving financial aid.
  3. 90-Hour Time Limitation: Students are allotted 150% of the number of credit hours necessary to complete a degree. Chattanooga State offers associate’s degrees which require about 60 credit hours to earn. Students who do not or cannot earn a degree before reaching 90 attempted credit hours will be suspended from receiving financial aid. The 150% credit limit applies to all credentials and is not limited to associate’s degrees.
Grade Point Average

The Grade Point Average that determines your SAP eligibility is called your cumulative GPA. All of your classes and grades that you have ever attempted will count toward your cumulative GPA.

Click here to calculate your GPA.

If you enrolled at Chattanooga State 10 years ago and return this semester, all of your credits and grades will count toward your eligibility. There is no possibility that your grades or attempted credits can be discounted from your SAP eligibility.

This also means that students can be suspended from aid eligibility after earning a perfect 4.0 GPA within a single semester if their cumulative GPA is not 2.0 or higher. A single semester of GPA will not determine your SAP eligibility. Conversely, a single semester of GPA will not result in your suspension.

The following chart displays the point values for each earned grade type. These grades factor into your Grade Point Average and the minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA that you must maintain.













Completion Rate

Students must earn an A, B, C, or D to be considered as earning credits for an attempted course. Grades of F, W, I, AU, and FA count against your completion rate. In addition to maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA, at least 2 out of every 3 credit hours you attempt must receive a grade of A, B, C, or D in order to meet the minimum 67% completion rate requirement. Transfer and dual enrollment credits count toward the completion rate evaluation.

Click here to calculate the number of passed courses needed to reach the 67% completion rate.

Below is a chart of grades that count against your completion rate. Some of these grades count against your GPA and your completion rate.



Counts Against GPA


Failed Class






Unearned Failure








Maximum Timeframe

All of the college credits you attempt at Chattanooga State or any other college or university count toward your SAP eligibility. Students must submit all prior college transcripts to the Admissions & Records Office as part of the admissions process. Those transcripts will be reviewed to determine your transfer credits and transfer GPA. Transfer and dual enrollment credits count toward the 90-hour limit.

All students must be able to complete a degree before they reach 90 attempted credit hours. Students who exceed 90 credit hours and students who cannot mathematically complete their degree before they reach 90 credit hours will be suspended.

The 90-hour limit applies to transfer students and returning students. Students who transfer or return to Chattanooga State with 90 or more credit hours will be automatically suspended from aid. Additionally, students who have already earned an associate’s degree or higher will be automatically suspended from receiving aid.


The Financial Aid Office updates SAP statuses for all continuously enrolled students at the end of each semester. SAP statuses are not updated at the end of each part-of-term or session within a semester.

Students who violate one or more of the SAP standards will receive a Warning status for one semester. Students can continue to receive aid while they are in SAP Warning. Students will be suspended if they do not achieve an eligible GPA or completion rate at the end of their second semester.

Students who approach the Maximum Timeframe SAP standard will receive a SAP status of Approaching to indicate that they are in danger of being suspended in a future semester. When the student reaches 90 attempted hours or when it becomes mathematically impossible to complete a degree within 90 hours, the student will be suspended.

SAP statuses will be updated regardless of whether students have received aid. Students who are non-degree seeking or have not submitted all college transcripts will have an ineligible SAP status.

Below is a chart that shows different SAP statuses and their meanings.

SAP Status

SAP Standard

Eligible For Aid


Student has no prior college credits



Student is in good standing



Student is failing at least one SAP standard



Student has failed to meet SAP standards



Student is approaching 90 attempted hours



Student has reached or exceed 90 attempted hours



Student has been approved for an appeal



Student can only take specific classes to graduate



Appeal denied



Transient or non-degree program



Student is missing one or more college transcripts


Satisfactory Academic Progress - TCAT Students

Qualitative Standard

Students enrolled in a clock hour program must maintain a minimum cumulative grade of C (2.0) unless otherwise specified by the program. They must also receive passing grades to continue to be eligible for the program. Grades of Incomplete, Failure, or Withdrawal will result in ineligibility.

Time Frame Standard

TCAT students can remain eligible for financial aid for the length of their program. Students will not receive financial aid for clock hours beyond their program length.

Below is an estimate of the maximum time frame students have based on program length. Some programs vary in size and time limits can differ from those listed below.

Program Length

Time Limit

900 Clock Hours

30 Weeks

1290 Clock Hours

43 Weeks

1357 Clock Hours

43 Weeks

1500 Clock Hours

57 Weeks

Satisfactory Academic Progress - Appeals

Students enrolled in credit programs can appeal their eligibility if they are suspended from receiving aid due to SAP violations. Students enrolled in vocational programs in TCAT cannot appeal their loss of eligibility.

Appeals will be added directly to students’ unsatisfied requirements in TigerWeb self-service.

  • Academic Appeal: this appeal can be submitted if a student has failed the GPA or Completion Rate standards but are still within the Maximum Timeframe standard. This appeal can be submitted without an advisor because students will only receive financial aid for classes that are required for their current program of study.
  • Graduation Appeal: this appeal can be submitted if a student has failed the Maximum Timeframe standard. Students must meet with an advisor to develop a graduation plan to submit with this appeal. If approved, students can only take the courses indicated by their advisor. Students will be given a deadline to graduate, after which point they will be suspended.

Appeals might require documentation to prove a justifiable reason for a lack of success. Documents including medical forms, obituaries, financial statements, court documents, or other evidence can be submitted with the SAP Appeal or emailed to

Appeals Committee

The SAP Appeals Committee reviews all appeal requests in the order that they are received prior to the beginning of a semester. Late appeals are not guaranteed to be reviewed regardless of a student’s awareness of their current or pending suspension from financial aid. It is the responsibility of all students to understand that eligibility is contingent on the successful completion of courses. Students will not be granted an appeal based on their lack of awareness of SAP policies or their academic progress.

Appeal Timeline

Please refer to the schedule below for information about deadlines and appeal decisions. Only appeals submitted by the priority deadline of each semester are guaranteed to be considered by the Appeals Committee.

Appeals submitted after a priority deadline are not guaranteed to be considered prior to the following semester.


Priority Deadline


July 15


December 10


April 1

Students should anticipate a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks for the appeals committee to review the appeal and make a decision. Incomplete appeals (lack of supporting documentation, missing Academic Plan or Advisor signature) will delay the review process.

Notifications will be posted in TigerWeb once the review process is complete. Students pending an appeal decision at the beginning of a semester are responsible for securing their classes via payment to the Bursar’s Office. Class schedules will not be held due to a pending appeal decision.

Appeal Decisions

Students must monitor their Academic Progress on TigerWeb and Chattanooga State email account for updates about appeal decisions or documentation needed for incomplete appeals. SAP statuses are updated at the end of each semester once grades are finalized. Appeals will not be reviewed and decided during a semester.

Appeals are not guaranteed to be approved. Students must demonstrate an ability to succeed in their courses. Repeated withdrawals and failures for any reason can be denied. There is no secondary appeal process. Students who are denied can continue enrollment at their own expense and attempt to appeal in a future semester.

  • Appeal Conditions: Approved appeals will be subject to minimum GPA and completion rate standards, such as a minimum 2.5 GPA each semester or a minimum 75% completion rate each semester. Students who fail their appeal terms will be suspended again with no guarantee of approval or reconsideration.
  • Appeal Limits: Students who receive up to 3 appeal approvals and fail to graduate have no guarantee that any further appeals will be considered.
  • Cancellation: Chattanooga State reserves the right to deny or cancel a student's financial aid in the event of extraordinary circumstances that may not be covered in the current policy.
  • Right to Appeal Decision: Students who are denied appeals are entitled to a notification of ineligibility and an explanation of the appeal determination.
  • Maximum Timeframe Denials: Appeals for maximum timeframe are likely to be denied if students have attempted excessive hours or repeatedly demonstrated an inability to succeed, for any reason. Students with existing associate’s or bachelor’s degrees are less likely to receive an appeal approval.