Satisfactory Academic Progress - Undergraduate Students Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress - Undergraduate Students Policy


Office of Academic Affairs


College Registrar





Effective Date:


Implementation History:

10/1980 (supersedes 1979 policy), revised 01/1995, 12/2000, 02/28/2002 and 09/2014


Satisfactory academic progress, pre-college study

Background Information:


This policy statement describes the academic conditions under which an undergraduate student is eligible to remain enrolled in the college and specifies procedures for warning and dismissing students who do not make satisfactory academic progress.



The college’s policy on satisfactory academic progress defines both whether a student is in good academic standing and whether a student is eligible for financial aid.

A student is expected to complete learning contract studies or courses, to accumulate credit in proportion to the credit attempted (i.e. meet academic progress expectations), and to make progress toward a degree. Though nonmatriculated students are by definition not pursuing a degree, academic progress rate expectations do apply to them.

Sometimes a student makes less academic progress than expected. When this occurs, the college notifies the student with an academic warning or dismissal.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Determination

  1. A student is making satisfactory academic progress when s/he has earned the minimum number of credits expected for the number of terms of enrollment at Empire State College. The satisfactory academic progress (SAP) table, illustrates cumulative credit expectations for full-time and half-time students. A student enrolled for other amounts of credit must make progress proportionate to what is illustrated in the table. Program or center staff can advise individual students regarding these calculations.
  2. Academic progress is monitored at the end of each enrollment term.
  3. Academic progress is cumulative across associate and bachelor's degree study at Empire State College.
  4. Pre-college credit equivalence is given for learning contract studies or courses that are developmental rather than college level.

Pre-college study does not count toward the credit required to earn an associate or bachelor's degree. Therefore, it does not count toward meeting satisfactory academic progress expectations.

Pre-college study does count toward enrollment status (full- or part-time) and financial aid eligibility within an enrollment term.

For example, 4 credits of pre-college study and 8 credits of college-level study count as 12 credits or full-time status. In this example, while all 12 credits count as credits attempted and all 12 credits count in establishing financial aid eligibility, only the 8 college-level credits will count toward satisfactory academic progress.

See the policy on pre-college study for more information.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Table*

At the end of term numberA full-time student
must have earned
this number of credits
A half-time student
must have earned
this number of credits
1 4 2
2 12 4
3 24 8
4 36 12
5 48 18
6 60 24
7 75 30
8 90 36
9 105 42
10 120 48
11 124** 54
12 NA 60
13   68
14   75
15   83
16   90
17   98
18   105
19   113
20   120
21   124**
22   NA

* The SAP table is used for two purposes: to determine whether a student is in good academic standing at Empire State College and to determine whether the student is eligible for financial aid.

**For students matriculating September 8, 2014 or after, a degree plan may exceed 124 credits only to preserve the integrity of components that meet degree requirements. A full-time student still must meet all degree requirements by term 11. A half-time student must meet all degree requirements by term  21.

Empire State College's academic progress expectations meet or exceed the minimum standard for NYS financial aid eligibility. For information on implications for aid eligibility, see the Empire State College statements on Eligibility for New York State Financial Aid and Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid.

The table illustrates SAP expectations for full-time (12 or more credits) and half-time (6 to 8 credits) enrollment, which are the most common enrollment choices made by Empire State College students. A student who enrolls for other amounts of credit, or who moves back and forth between full- and part-time enrollment, must make progress proportionate to what is illustrated in the table. Program or center staff can advise individual students regarding these calculations.

  1. Academic progress advances only when a student earns credit for college-level study. A student earns no college-level credit and makes no progress academically under the following conditions:
    • The student receives any of the following outcomes for a study or course:

      • incomplete
      • no credit
      • administrative withdrawal.

        These three outcomes count in the determination of credits attempted, and thus affect the calculation of the student's cumulative rate of progress. (A complete discussion of study outcomes is in the learning contract study -- undergraduate student.)
    • The student successfully completes a pre-college credit study.
    • The student withdraws from a study more than 28 days after the start of an enrollment term.
Academic Progress Warning

The center or program administrator gives the student a written academic warning if the student has not accumulated the expected number of credits.

Students who are on academic progress warning are not normally eligible for NYS financial aid. For further detail, see the statement on Eligibility for New York State Financial Aid.

Rescinding An Academic Progress Warning

An academic warning is in effect until it is rescinded or the student is academically dismissed. The center/program administrator rescinds the academic warning in writing when the student's progress rate returns to a satisfactory level. The center/program administrator academically dismisses the student if the student’s progress rate does not return to a satisfactory level within the next 16 credits attempted by the student.

Academic Progress Dismissal
  1. The center/program administrator gives the student a written notice of academic dismissal if all of these conditions are met:
    • the student has been given an academic progress warning,
    • the warning has not been rescinded,
    • the student has attempted 16 credits since the warning was issued and
    • the student's cumulative rate of progress remains below the minimum
  2. If it is not possible for a student on academic warning to achieve a satisfactory rate of progress within the next 16 credits of enrollment, the student is dismissed.
  3. In rare instances, when it is evident that a student is unable to benefit from continued enrollment in the college, the center/program administrator may academically dismiss a student without warning as warranted by the student's academic record.

Reinstatement After Academic Progress Dismissal

In order to be reinstated, a student must present written evidence to the center or program administrator that the student is ready and able to make satisfactory progress.

The center/program administrator is responsible for acting on requests for reinstatement after academic dismissal. Students are not eligible for reinstatement for at least 16 weeks or one term, whichever is longer, after an academic dismissal.

Students who are academically dismissed for a second time are not eligible for reinstatement.

If the center/program administrator reinstates a student, s/he may establish terms and conditions that promote future academic success. For example, the center/program administrator may:

  • place the student in warning status,
  • impose specific conditions for subsequent enrollments, such as requiring a reduced academic load or requiring enrollment in studies to build academic skills, or
  • clear the student's progress rate, i.e., allow the student to begin at term 1 on the satisfactory academic progress table with the next enrollment. (However, note that the determination of a student's further financial aid eligibility may not match this placement.)

Students who have been reinstated after academic dismissal and who have received financial aid (NYS or federal) in the past are not automatically eligible for such aid again.

Written Notice

The center/program administrator provides written notice to the student when the student is placed on academic progress warning, warning status is rescinded, the student is academically dismissed, or the student is reinstated. Copies of written notices are sent to the Office of the Registrar, Student Financial Services Office and the student's mentor.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices