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Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy



In keeping with government regulations and Mills policy, financial aid recipients must make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate in order to remain eligible for and receive institutional, federal and/or state aid. The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy defines the minimum standards that must be met in order to maintain eligibility to receive financial aid. A traditional undergraduate student cannot graduate in four years if only the minimum standards are met. All students are encouraged to work with their academic advisor to plan for an on-time graduation.

This policy pertains only to a student’s eligibility to receive financial aid; for information about the Academic Standing policy which determines eligibility to enroll, please see the undergraduate or graduate Academic Standing policies.

Progress is monitored annually in accordance with the policy outlined below. Financial Aid SAP requirements fall into three categories:

  • Making progress toward your degree by completing a minimum number of credits.
  • Maintaining a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA).
  • Completing your degree within a maximum specified timeframe.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

A. Qualitative Standards

Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0. 

Graduate, credential, and certificate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and cannot receive an F (Failing) grade for any course.

B. Quantitative Standards

All Undergraduate and Graduate students must complete at least 67% of all attempted credits.

C. Attempted & Completed Credits

Attempted credits are enrolled credits as of the end of day on the add deadline for a term.  Courses dropped after this date count as attempted.  

Completed credits are enrolled credits for which credit is received. Courses in which a student receives a grade of “F”, “I”, “IE”, “NP”, “UW”or “W”, will be counted as attempted credits but will not be counted as completed credits for SAP purposes.

D. Transfer Credits

Transfer credits are counted as attempted and completed for the term in which the student was enrolled in those courses.  Transfer credits can only be counted after Mills has received official transcripts documenting those credits.  

E. Grades

Courses for which a grade of “F”, “I”, “IE”, “NP”, “UW”or “W” is received are counted as attempted but not completed. Ungraded courses dropped after the add deadline but before the withdrawal deadline are counted as attempted but not completed.  Course repeats are counted as attempted and completed if a satisfactory grade is received.

Courses for which a grade of “I” is received are counted as attempted but not completed, but a student may be petition the Financial Aid Office to perform a second review if the "I" grade contributed to a student failing to meet SAP requirements, if a letter grade is given before the end of the term following the term in which the course in question was enrolled, and if the new letter grade may result in the student meeting SAP requirements.

F. Maximum Time Frames

No student may exceed attempted credit hours above 150% of their required degree plan, to include all credits transferred in, registered, earned or attempted. In addition, any course withdrawn, dropped after the add deadline, duplicated or never completed are counted as attempted. For example, if a student is enrolled in a degree program requiring 120 credits, the student cannot exceed 180 credits attempted throughout the course of their enrollment. Further restrictions follow.

Students in the Nursing Program are eligible for financial aid for a maximum of four semesters while attending Mills College. For transfer students, the number of semesters of eligibility is established by the initial expected completion date defined by the M Center upon entrance to Mills.

Financial aid eligibility for all undergraduate students continues only to the original expected date of graduation for a first baccalaureate degree. For example, a request to extend a graduation date in order to complete a second major or to participate in an international visit (study abroad), domestic visit, international exchange, or domestic exchange program is not a basis for extending financial aid eligibility an additional semester(s).

G. Review Period

The Mills College Financial Aid Office reviews SAP following the end of each standard academic year (following the end of each Spring semester).

Academic Goals and Liberal Studies Majors

Federal financial aid regulations require that students be enrolled in a diploma or degree seeking program in order to be eligible for financial aid.

All incoming students are assigned the Liberal Studies major. In order to maintain financial aid eligibility, new first-time students or transfer students with fewer than 60 credits must declare their major of choice before completing 60 credits. Students who transfer to Mills with 60 or more units must declare their major of choice before the end of the student's first semester of enrollment at Mills in order to maintain financial aid eligibility. Students who do not declare their major of choice by the time required are not eligible to receive financial aid.

If you have questions regarding your degree and/or major status, please contact your academic advisor.


The Financial Aid Office reviews SAP annually after the end of the Spring semester.  If a student is found to have met SAP requirements no further action will be taken and the student may remain eligible to receive financial aid.

Failure to meet SAP requirements

Students who do not meet the qualitative or quantitative requirements at the end of the academic year are no longer eligible to receive financial aid. Disqualified students may appeal and, if the appeal is approved, be placed on financial aid SAP probation.

Failure to Complete Degree

Students who do not complete their degree within the maximum time frame are not eligible to receive financial aid.



Students who appeal and are placed on financial aid SAP probation are eligible to receive financial aid during the probation period. Probation may last for up to two semesters. No additional semesters of probation are available. Students on financial aid SAP probation are eligible to receive aid funds during probationary terms.

Failure to Comply

Failure to meet the qualitative and quantitative requirements or standards set in an academic plan approved by the Financial Aid Office (see the “Appeals Process” section below) during a probationary term will result in final financial aid disqualification. Students who are in final financial aid disqualification are ineligible to receive financial aid and may not appeal for subsequent terms of probation. Students on financial aid SAP probation are strongly encouraged by the Financial Aid Office to meet with the Division of Student life in order to plan for academic recovery. Graduates students who are placed on a probationary term are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor. The Financial Aid Office sends the notice of financial aid SAP disqualification to students.

Appeals Option & Process

Students who become ineligible for financial aid due to SAP and have experienced extenuating circumstances that have had a direct effect on performance may submit an appeal to to request continued financial aid eligibility through a period of probation. The deadline to submit an appeal is the end of the first week of the fall semester following disqualification. For example, if you are disqualified after the Spring 2017 semester, your deadline to appeal is the end of the first week of the Fall 2017 semester.

A. Basis for Appeal

Appeals for re-establishing eligibility may be based on extenuating circumstances that have prohibited the student from meeting SAP standards during the probationary period. Extenuating circumstances must be supported by official documents. Examples of extenuating circumstances are:

  • Death of an immediate family member.
  • Documented illness.
  • Major accident or injury (self, child, or parent).
  • Victim of a crime or unexpected disaster.

B. How to Appeal

Students must complete and submit a Mills College Academic Progress Appeal Request Form, along with official supporting documentation, the student’s statement, and a current educational plan. Incomplete forms will be returned to the student.

C. Appeal Review

The Financial Aid Appeals Committee is made up of representatives from Financial Aid and the Division of Student Life. The Committee will review requests and take one of four actions:

  • Approve reinstatement on probation.
  • Approve reinstatement on probation with an academic plan.
  • Request that the student provide additional information.
  • Deny the appeal.

D. Notification of Appeal Decision

The Financial Aid Office will notify the student in writing of the decision on the appeal.

E. Academic Plan

An academic plan may be offered by the committee if the committee both agrees to reinstate the student and believes that the student cannot realistically make SAP within one standard academic year. The academic plan will provide alternative milestones and may require more frequent review of the student’s academic progress.




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Last Updated: 5/25/17