Date of Award



© 2017 Brian Clemmons

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Brianna Parsons

Second Advisor

Michael Patrick

Third Advisor

Fannie Gordon


Community college administrators face multiple battles in the pursuit to educate students who are working multiple jobs, raising children, and who may have been away from college for an extended period of time. While Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) regulations were established to help students persist towards graduation, some students at community colleges are incapable of adhering to the academic guidelines upon entry. As a result, the mission of community colleges that includes adhering to an open-door admission policy often collides with SAP regulations.

The purpose of this qualitative instrumental case study was to determine how SAP regulations affected persistence for financial aid recipients at a community college after receiving a warning notification. The site of this study was a community college in Central New Jersey where approximately 25% of students who received financial aid did not persist from one academic semester to the next due to SAP regulations. With the current construct of SAP regulations, students are only provided one warning period to improve their academic standing. The regulations also require students to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0, a minimum cumulative passing rate of 67%, and graduate from a program of study within 150% of the published timeframe.

This study was conducted to understand the student experience associated with persisting after receiving a SAP warning notification. Helping community college students retain their financial aid eligibility and persist towards graduating or transferring to a four-year university is just as important as awarding financial aid to these students. Many students at community colleges lose their financial aid eligibility annually for failing to meet the academic requirements of SAP. The theory of justice and principles of self-efficacy were used in this study to understand the experience of students who had received a SAP warning notification at a community college in Central New Jersey and were able to persist under the current SAP warning guidelines.


Ed.D. Dissertation