The Overlooked Obstacle Part 2: Strengthening Satisfactory Academic Progress Policies to Better Support Student Success and Equity

Last updated Jan, 20 2023

In 2021, John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY) released the report “The Overlooked Obstacle: How Satisfactory Academic Progress Policies Impede Student Success and Equity,” revealing the disparate impact of SAP policies on first-year, low-income California Community College students. Overall, nearly one-in-four students did not meet SAP for their first two consecutive terms, jeopardizing their continued access to financial aid. Of the students who did not meet SAP, only 13 percent remained enrolled and continued to receive financial aid, indicating the enormous impact of SAP standards on students who struggle academically during their first year of college.

To address these concerns, JBAY launched a statewide SAP Community of Practice which included nineteen campuses across California. This webinar highlighted findings gleaned from the Community of Practice, including best practices and recommendations for postsecondary institutions to create student-centered and equity-based SAP policies and processes. Attendees learned methods to review their institutions’ policies, enhance communication with students regarding SAP requirements and financial aid appeals, and leverage data to provide targeted support to students at risk of financial aid disqualification. The webinar also featured students with lived experience navigating SAP policies and financial aid appeals, experts in translating and simplifying financial aid communication to students, and speakers from local campuses and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.