Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards


The U.S. Department of Education requires each institution to establish and consistently apply standards of reasonable academic progress to all students who want to establish or maintain financial aid eligibility. This federal requirement indicates that students must maintain satisfactory progress toward their degree objectives in order to receive financial aid. Iowa Lakes Community College has established their standards, which are based on qualitative and quantitative measures. They require students to:

  1. Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average at the completion of each term.
  2. Maintain a specific pace of completion at the end of each term.
  3. Achieve their program completion within 150 % of the published length of the program in credit hours attempted:

    Maximum Time Frame Requirement: 
    You will not be eligible to receive financial aid once you have attempted more than 150% of the normal credits required for your degree or diploma program, or once it becomes clear that you cannot mathematically finish the program within the 150% maximum time frame. (For example; programs requiring 60 credit hours for graduation, 90 credit hours would be the 150% program maximum.)  All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received, or the course work was successfully completed.

Standards are established as minimum requirements for students who receive financial aid from any federal, state, and institutional programs administered by Iowa Lakes Community College.


Students must maintain a minimum 1.75 cumulative G.P.A. at the end of the first term of enrollment. Each subsequent term after the first, students will be required to maintain a 2.0 cumulative G.P.A.

The student’s pace must successfully complete 67% of their attempted credit hours.  Successful completion of courses are defined as receiving a grade of A, B, C, D, or P.  Courses receiving grades of F, I, W, K, Z or Q are not counted as completed grades.

Students must complete their program requirements within a time frame equivalent to 150% of their program length and/or credit hours required for graduation purposes.

Transfer credits attributable to the student’s degree will be evaluated to determine the students Satisfactory Progress status.


Students are placed in a warning status the first time they do not meet the minimum cumulative grade point average and/or pace of completion requirement.  During the warning term, students remain eligible to receive financial aid for one term.  To remain eligible to receive financial aid in future terms the student must, during the warning term:

  1. Increase their cumulative grade point average to meet the minimum grade point average.
  2. Successfully complete all courses attempted with grades of A,B,C,D, or P.
  3. Be able to reach Satisfactory Academic Progress by the end of the semester.


Students are declared ineligible for financial aid if they:

  1. Do not meet the warning status requirements as listed above.
  2. Do not achieve their program objectives within 150% of the published time frame of the academic program as measured in credit hours.
  3. Complete the semester with only letter grades of F, I, and/or W.
  4. Complete the semester with a G.P.A. of 0.0.
  5. Completing 0.0% of their attempted credit hours.


Students may earn the necessary grade point average or semester hours while not receiving financial aid (enrolled at their own expenses).

Students may submit written appeals documenting extenuating circumstances that prevented them from meeting the standards.  Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to

  • Injury or illness of student
  • Death of immediate family member

Appeals should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office at Emmetsburg or Estherville. The appeal needs to be accompanied by an Academic Plan Worksheet signed by the student and his/her advisor. Decisions on appeals will be made and the decision will be communicated to the student within 15 working days of receipt of the appeal. When appeals are approved, students are given specific requirements to meet. Students who do not have appeals approved are declared ineligible for financial aid.

If an appeal is granted, the student will be placed on an Academic Plan:

If the student is placed on Probation, they are eligible for financial aid for that term. At the end of the term, they are re-evaluated and are either making satisfactory academic progress or are ineligible. If they are ineligible, they have the opportunity to appeal.

If the student is placed on an Academic Plan, they will remain on the plan until they either are meeting satisfactory academic progress, or they fail to follow the plan. If the student fails to follow the plan, they will become ineligible. They have the opportunity to appeal.


The academic progress of financial aid recipients is reviewed at the end of each term. Students will be notified of status changes by letter.


If you have questions, please call the Iowa Lakes Financial Aid Office.

712-362-7917 or

800-242-5108 (Emmetsburg) or 800-242-5106 (Estherville)

Iowa Lakes Community College does not discriminate in its educational programs and activities based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex, age, or disability.

These standards may be subject to change pending Federal Legislation.