Pop Quiz - Has the Student Exceeded Their Maximum Time Frame for SAP?


The school is a community college offering associate degrees. The school has been considering changes to their satisfactory academic progress (SAP) based on an environmental scan of other college practices. They have found some community colleges’ maximum time frame for SAP appeal policies state that if a student is returning to study another major within the original associate degree program (AS, AA, or AGS), the student cannot receive additional Title IV Aid for those courses. Is this an accurate reflection of the regulations? If a student at our school completes an associate of science (AS) in math, but comes back for an AS in theater, would the student be ineligible for Title IV aid? 


No, the student would be eligible in this circumstance. Please see page 66887 of the preamble discussion in the Federal Register on 10/29/10 (top of the first column). The maximum time frame applies to a student's current program of study. For the student in your scenario, the credits already earned which now also count toward the student's current program would be counted. The maximum time frame is then established based on the remainder of credits needed for the student's current program of study.

You can find more information about Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in the Student Aid Reference Desk.


Publication Date: 5/17/2022

Raymond G | 5/18/2022 11:57:00 AM

In my previous comment the key words in the sources are "may" and "flexibility." This clearly shows the school would be in compliance if they included all credits attempted regardless if the student changed majors. At community college's students can usually change their major multiple times at term and can easily avoid MTF by doing so. The MTF "flexibility" is necessary but should a school decide to not to include previous credits from a prior major then a school "may" do so.

Robert W | 5/18/2022 8:24:07 AM

I think it depends on the specifity of the AA degrees are conferred. If a community college offers one AA degree for all academic programs of study in its catalog, NASFAA's answer is not correct. A seperate, different AA degree would have to be awarded for each program of study which would require seperate accreditation for each AA degee program listed in the catalog for NASFAA's answer to be correct. NASFAA's answer would also be correct for a student having earned an AA degree and then pursuing an AAS degree or certificate and vice versa, or pursuing another AAS degree.

Bob Walker.

Raymond G | 5/17/2022 9:1:57 PM

Are you sure the Answer is "No"? - 2122 FSA Handbook –
“Your policy may permit that for students who change majors, credits and grades that do not count toward the new major will not be included in the satisfactory progress determination.
vs. Federal Register (from Oct 2010) – Under these regulations, institutions retain flexibility to define their programs of study in their SAP policy, as well as how they will determine how previously taken coursework applies to the student’s current program of study.

James C | 5/17/2022 9:24:03 AM

If you have ever worked at a community college you would understand how flawed this guidance is.

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