91 is required to have Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress to comply with the federal and state regulations governing financial aid programs. The standards for federal and state financial aid programs differ so students should be aware of both requirements. Federal and State Standards of Academic Progress includes a qualitative (GPA) and quantitative (earned credit hours) measure in reviewing a student’s academic progress. To ensure that a student is making both qualitative and quantitative progress throughout their course of study, the College will assess the student’s progress at the end of each semester. Part-time students shall be evaluated by the same standards as full-time students from the date they first matriculate. However, part-time students need only to accrue courses at one-half the rate of full-time students.

Students must complete a first associate degree within the 90 attempted credit hours. A student who is in good academic standing or on an academic plan can apply for a waiver of the 90 credit rule by completing the Loss Eligibility and Waiver Request Form.

The College will attempt to notify you if you fall below the minimum requirements. However, students often do not update their address with the College, so it is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the standards and their own progress. Check your current status on your account. MyCayuga and your Cayuga email are official means of College communication. Please check these often for any changes to your requirements and account.


The following applies to Pell, Federal Direct Student Loans, PLUS, FSEOG, and College Work/Study.


The total accumulated credits and grade point average will be checked after the final grading process for each semester. If deficiencies are found (see following table), they must be made up before a student can qualify for further federal financial aid. Grades of W, I, and Audit are not considered to have a status of passing and do not count toward earned credits.

Required Accumulated Credits
Required Credits Attempted % of Credits Successfully Completed Minimum GPA
1-11 25% 0.75
12-30 50% 1.50
31-45 60% 1.70
46-90 70% 2.00
Over 90 No Federal Aid

After the warning semester, if you have not regained eligibility, you may complete a Waiver Request in the Financial Services Office if you can show extenuating circumstances.


For financial aid purposes, a student may repeat any course in which they have received an F grade. Students can also receive federal financial aid for any course they received a passing grade once. However, if the student receives an “F” on their repeated course, it counts as their one-time repeat. They can not retake this “F” and receive financial aid.

Repeated courses will count as Credits Attempted regardless of the reason for repeating, or the grade received.

A course may be repeated, but credit will be granted only for the most recent attempt and the most recent grade will be used to compute the grade point average (GPA) unless the student has already been awarded a degree or certificate. In such cases, if a repeated course was part of the degree or certificate program, the original attempt and grade will be included in the GPA.

The right to repeat courses in certain programs, such as (but not limited to) Nursing, is not automatic. If you fail to complete a course successfully, you may be denied the opportunity to continue in that curriculum. Please contact the relevant department or division for more information concerning program requirements.


Students pursuing a second degree who have attempted ninety credits or more must complete the Second Degree Waiver Form. Students must apply and be approved for a waiver with the Financial Services Office before additional financial assistance can be granted. Students will be required to complete an academic plan with the Student Engagement Office as part of the form.


Incomplete courses earn credits and are considered attempted courses when calculating earned credit hours. Students are encouraged to complete all incompletes before the beginning of the next semester. If a student completes their courses after Satisfactory Academic Progress has been determined for the next semester, the student may request in writing a re-evaluation of their academic progress.


Check your myCayuga account for your current status.


Students who do not achieve satisfactory academic progress as outlined in the chart above for the first time will be placed on a Financial Aid Warning semester. This can only be granted to students who at the end of a semester were making academic progress in the previous semester enrolled, or who have completed their first semester. The College will reinstate financial aid eligibility for one semester only, without the need to file an appeal.

Students who fail to make Satisfactory Academic Progress after the warning period lose their aid eligibility for each subsequent academic period until academic progress standards are met. All students have the right to appeal their loss of federal financial aid. The student must complete the Loss Eligibility and Waiver Request Form. These forms are available online or in the Financial Services Office. Submission of a completed Loss Eligibility and Waiver request form does not guarantee that the request will be approved. Students will be asked in their waiver to (1) explain the reasons the student failed to meet satisfactory academic progress and (2) describe what actions the student plans on taking to ensure their academic success in the next semester. The waiver will be granted only when there is a reasonable expectation that the student will meet future satisfactory academic progress requirements.
Students should submit their Loss Eligibility and Waiver Request Form by the deadline date listed on the form. Any forms received after this date are considered late requests and will be considered for the following semester. If a student is granted a financial aid waiver, that student is placed on Financial Aid Probation (Federal Waiver).

Students should use their waiver semester to achieve good academic standing. However, the College realizes that is not always possible. Therefore students in their probation status who enroll for at least (6) credits, complete all of their coursework and earn a semester GPA of 2.0 or higher will be placed under an Academic Plan. However, students need to be aware that at any time they cannot achieve their academic degree within the 90 credit limit, they will not be able to remain on an academic plan and will lose their financial aid eligibility unless the committee grants an over ninety credit waiver.

Students who have lost their federal financial aid and have not been granted a waiver may restore their aid eligibility in one of the following ways:

  • Attend 91 without financial aid. The Financial Services Office will review academic progress every semester. When past academic deficiencies have been addressed, aid can be reinstated. Financial aid cannot be retroactively reinstated for semesters the student was not achieving satisfactory academic progress.
  • If satisfactory academic progress based on earning the required number of credits has not been achieved, a student could attend another institution and earn credits that could be transferred back to Cayuga.


Federal policy assumes that federal financial aid is based on the period of time enrolled. If a student withdraws from the College within the first nine weeks of classes, the federal government does not view the student as having “earned” all of the funds awarded. In that instance, the College is required to return the “unearned” portion of the aid to the government. The College bears potential liability for any federal aid disbursed to students before the ninth week of classes. While Cayuga makes an attempt to disburse aid at the earliest possible time, the College must be fiscally prudent in those disbursements.

Federal regulations govern the return of Title IV funds (Ford Federal Direct Student Loans, Pell, FSEOG) for students who completely withdraw from Cayuga prior to completing 60% of the semester. The percentage of the period that the student remains enrolled is determined by dividing the number of days the student attended by the number of days in the semester. Calendar days are used, but breaks of at least five days are excluded from both the numerator and denominator.

In the case of “aid not earned” in federally funded grants or scholarships, the student is expected to repay the “unearned” portion to the College. Failure to do so will result in the student becoming ineligible to receive further federal financial aid. (This policy is based on 34 CFR, Section 668.22 of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.)


For financial aid purposes, the date of withdrawal from the College is:

  • The date the student began the College’s withdrawal process or officially notified the College of intent to withdraw, or
  • The midpoint of the period if the student leaves without notifying the institution, or
  • The student’s last date of attendance at a documented academically-related activity, in lieu of any other withdrawal date, or
  • If the student leaves without notification because of circumstances beyond their control, a date determined by the College related to those circumstances.