The Overlooked Obstacle – How Satisfactory Academic Progress Policies Impede Student Success and Equity

Last Updated Jul 19, 2021

For college and university students, access to financial aid has been cited as key to addressing basic needs insecurity, improving academic outcomes, and addressing racial inequities. While much attention has been paid to the need to expand financial aid access at the beginning of a student’s academic career, virtually no attention is given to whether students are subsequently able to maintain financial aid once enrolled. What has been largely ignored is that sizable numbers of students lose access to financial aid after just one year of college due to academic standards known as Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) – and these students are unlikely to return.

This webinar explored the impact of SAP standards and policies on financial aid receipt and enrollment of first-year Pell Grant recipients attending a California Community College with specific attention to students of color and those with experience in foster care. It also introduce institutional-level recommendations to increase equity and remove barriers to student success.