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Satisfactory Progress FAQs

To qualify for and receive financial aid, students must make satisfactory academic progress in a program of study that will lead to a degree or teaching certificate and must be in good academic standing at the University. When students apply for financial aid, they are measured to determine their academic progress toward their degree.
If you have questions about Satisfactory Progress not answered on this page, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

- How am I notified of my financial aid status?

All students are evaluated for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and notified by e-mail at the end of each semester after all grades have been posted. We send an e-mail to your Rams e-mail address explaining your SAP status and provide a link to the SAP policy on our website.

- How can I tell if I am on a SAP violation?

You can view your status on your RAMweb account. Select Financial Aid from the RAMweb home page, select the appropriate aid year, and click on the Eligibility tab toward the top of the page.

- What types of aid does a SAP violation affect?

A SAP violation makes you ineligible for federal aid (including loans and work-study), state aid, and most types of institutional aid including admissions and academic scholarships. Eligibility for scholarships outside of CSU depend on the donor’s requirements.

Aid that is not affected by a SAP violation includes athletic scholarships, departmental assistantships/fellowships/sponsorships, and alternative loans where the lender does not require SAP.

- Does being on a SAP violation at CSU mean that I’m not eligible for financial aid at any other school?

No. The violation is specific to Colorado State University. Each school will have its own policy regarding satisfactory academic progress.

- Is an appeal required?

No, however you will not be eligible for any federal, state, and most types of institutional aid. You may continue to attend Colorado State University and pay for your education on your own or you may explore the option of an Alternative Loan through an outside lender that does not require satisfactory progress. We review your progress each semester. You may regain eligibility for financial aid for future semesters by meeting all of the requirements of CSU’s satisfactory academic progress policy.

- I was placed on a violation previously and I am now in compliance with the SAP Policy. Do I still need to appeal?

Not if you are now meeting all aspects of SAP. It is possible, for example, to pass a class with a D which would improve your completion percentage but would hurt your GPA.

If you are now fully compliant with the SAP Policy, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

- What are the deadlines to appeal?

  • Fall: September 15th 
  • Spring: February 15th 
  • Summer: June 15th

If you miss the appeal deadline, your appeal will be considered only for the next semester.

- What should be included in an appeal?

An appeal should include three components:

  1. A clear explanation of extenuating circumstances
  2. A clear explanation of explanation of the changes that have been or will be made that allow you the ability to clear your violation
  3. Documentation of the extenuating circumstances
You should do your best to submit a complete and thorough appeal so the committee has all the information needed to make a decision. The Corrective Action section of the appeal should contain specific information.  For example, statements that include names and dates of meetings (e.g.: working with your doctor, CASA, Academic Advancement, etc.) carry more weight than vague statements about talking with an advisor or just that you plan to meet. Be as concrete as possible. 

- What extenuating circumstances are grounds for an appeal?

Federal regulations specifically cite injury or illness, death in the family, or other special circumstance as grounds for an appeal. Generally, circumstances that would be grounds for an appeal are things that are beyond your control. Time management issues, poor decision making or simply not doing well are typically not sufficient grounds for an appeal.

- Do I need to submit documentation of my extenuating circumstances?

Yes. You are expected to submit documentation supporting the extenuating circumstances stated in your appeal. This documentation should come from a third-party (death certificate, obituary, letter from healthcare provider, police reports, etc.). The documentation should provide evidence of your extenuating circumstances, not simply be a letter of support.

One exception to this is students who are on a Maximum Timeframe violation and:

  1. Do not have any other extenuating circumstances that occurred beyond their control
  2. Changed from one degree program to another and not yet graduated may have their program change considered as their extenuating circumstance on a one-time basis. If this applies to your appeal, you must contact SFS to invoke this option and have the documentation requirement waived.

- How long do I have to submit documentation?

You have 30 days from the date your appeal is submitted to provide documentation. After 30 days, the appeal will likely be denied for being incomplete. Only complete appeals are considered for approval.

- What forms of documentation are acceptable?

Some examples of acceptable documentation are a death certificate, obituary that mentions you as being a surviving family member, letter from healthcare provider, police reports, etc. For letters, acceptable documentation is usually signed and on official letterhead or other official document. Microsoft Word or other electronic text documents are generally not acceptable. Please do not submit copies of transcripts or grade reports.

- What if I cannot provide any documentation?

Contact SFS to explain your circumstances. You may request that the requirement be waived and the committee will review your appeal as-is. Understand though that appeals without verifiable documentation are less likely to be approved.

- Are there any other circumstances the committee will consider?

If you do not have a circumstance that was beyond your control, the committee could also consider an appeal if one or combination of the following situations apply:

  1. You have successfully completed classes at CSU that you paid for on your own for two or more regular semesters
  2. You have attended another school for two or more semesters and successfully completed coursework there, or 
  3. You have taken two or more regular semesters away from school. 

Contact SFS to explain your circumstances and request that the documentation requirement be waived so that the committee can review your appeal as-is.  You do not immediately regain eligibility for aid, but an appeal would be considered.

- When and how will I hear the results of an appeal?

You will receive a response by e-mail within 2-3 weeks after your appeal is complete.

- Is there anything that can be done to rush an appeal?

Decisions are made on an appeal after all documentation has been received. Depending on appeal volume, an appeal my take two to three weeks to complete committee review. You should watch your e-mail and RAMweb for additional information requests so you can provide information quickly.

- Who makes the decision on an appeal?

It is an anonymous committee.

- What is the process when an appeal is denied?

If your appeal is denied, you are sent an e-mail that your appeal was denied. The committee’s decision is final.

If you feel strongly that your appeal should be re-evaluated, you must have new information, which you can provide to the committee in writing along with any accompanying documentation. Denial decisions, however, are rarely reversed.

- Why are appeals approved for one term only?

Federal regulations necessitate that we approve the students for one semester only. You must either be able to clear your violation within one semester or be on an academic plan. The committee determines if an academic plan is appropriate for a student.

- Should I complete an Academic Plan now?

You should only complete an Academic Plan if the committee requests one from you. Most students are only approved for a single semester. If your appeal is approved with an Academic Plan, it is important to know that your academic progress will be evaluated at the end of each semester of the plan or until you clear any violation, whichever comes first. Therefore, it is important to work with your advisor to create a plan that you can complete successfully.

- How does financial aid violation affect summer financial aid?

SFS can only evaluate your progress after grades have been posted, which may not occur until after your summer aid has disbursed.

- Can I still complete a FAFSA application?

You may submit a FAFSA but no action will be taken until you have cleared your violation or an appeal is on file, complete with documentation, and has been approved.

- I have not received aid in the past but I am on a violation. Why?

Federal regulation require us to monitor all students academic progress and place them on a violation regardless of whether or not they are receiving financial aid.

Updated October 17, 2014