Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations governing the student financial assistance programs stipulate that in order to continue to be eligible for Title IV funds (e.g. Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan, Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, Federal Perkins Loan) students must maintain satisfactory academic progress toward a degree. To maintain satisfactory academic progress, students must achieve a required cumulative minimum grade point average (GPA), complete a minimum number of credit hours, and graduate within a specified timeframe.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Guidelines by Academic Program

For the purpose of Title IV financial aid eligibility only, the standards of satisfactory academic progress for enrolled students are as follows:

Program

Qualitative (Cumulative GPA)

Minimum Hours to Complete Each Semester (Fall/Spring)

Maximum Time Frame to Graduate

JD

2.3

9 credits

5 years

JD/MBA, MPP,  MTS, or MEM

2.3

9 credits

6 years

JD/MD & JD/PhD

2.3

9 credits

determined by Dean

LLM-LE

2.3

6 credits

2 years

LLM (international)

2.3

6 credits

 2 years

JD/LLM

2.3

9 credits

6 years

JD/LLMLE

2.3

9 credits

6 years

JD/MA or MS

2.3

9 credits

6 years

Minimum Hours for Summer Terms

Students must complete 50% of credits attempted in a Summer Term to meet the pace requirement for SAP.

Frequency of Evaluation & Communication of Status

Satisfactory Academic Progress will be checked when grades become available for each term in which the student is enrolled (including summer).  Students not achieving SAP will be notified of their status (Financial Aid Warning, loss of eligibility, or Financial Aid Probation) by email to their University email account. 

A student who fails to meet any of the standards will be placed on a Financial Aid Warning for the next semester.  (Students already on a Financial Aid Warning will lose federal aid eligibility.)

Financial Aid Warning & Loss of Federal Financial Aid Eligibility

A student who fails to meet SAP will be automatically placed on “financial aid warning” for the next enrollment period. 

During the “financial aid warning” enrollment period, the student may receive federal financial aid despite the determination that the student is not meeting SAP standards. 

The student must meet SAP standards at the end of the financial aid warning period or will be suspended from further financial aid until such time as the student:

  • meets SAP standards (student must pay for any additional course enrollment after the financial aid warning period through personal or private funds), or
  • successfully appeals and is placed on financial aid probation (outlined below)

Students will be notified of their status at the time of each SAP evaluation.  Those who lose eligibility will be notified by email, and the email will include instructions for appealing the loss of eligibility.

Financial Aid Probation and Appeal Process

A student who becomes ineligible for Title IV assistance at the end of a term during which he/she was on financial aid warning may appeal the determination if the student believes there were extraordinary circumstances that prohibited them from achieving SAP.  A letter of appeal should be submitted by the student to the Office of Financial Aid outlining the basis on which they are appealing the termination of federal student aid. The letter should address the following:

  • Mitigating circumstances that prevented the student from meeting the requirements of academic progress (e.g. death in the family, student illness or injury, other personal circumstances). Mitigating circumstances do not include: withdrawing from classes to avoid failing grades, pursuing a second major or degree, etc.
  • Steps the student has taken/will take to ensure future academic success. This plan should outline the student’s academic goals for each period (e.g. number of credit hours and/or cumulative GPA) that will enable the student to meet the requirements of satisfactory academic progress at a specified future point in time.

The appeal will be reviewed by a committee convened by the Director of Financial Aid and including the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and the Assistant Dean for Academic Advising.  The committee shall review the student’s progress in light of any extenuating circumstances, and make a recommendation to the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, who will render a written decision to the student.  The written decision will be placed in the student’s financial aid record and the student will be notified by email.

If the SAP appeal is approved, financial aid will be awarded for the next semester on a probation period. An approved Academic Plan may be required as a condition of the appeal. An Academic Plan must be formulated with in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Academic Advising.  Academic Plans and/or other conditions of appeal approval will be included in the notification letter.

Students who fail to meet the requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress for their probationary semester or do not complete the requirements of their academic plan (if applicable) will again be ineligible for financial aid and subject to the appeal process. Any subsequent appeal must include information regarding new extenuating circumstances or what has changed since the last appeal.

Students who meet the requirements for academic progress for their probationary semester will resume good standing and again be evaluated at the conclusion of the following enrollment period.

Incompletes, Withdrawals, Repetitions, and Transfers of Credit from Other Institutions

Incompletes and Withdrawals

Courses with marks of (I)ncomplete or (W)ithdrawn are not included as credits completed and are not included in the GPA calculation. 

Repeated Courses

The Law School's policy regarding repeated coursework is outlined in Rule 3-15

If a course is retaken for credit and passed, the grade earned when the student retook the course shall appear on the student's transcript but no additional credit shall be awarded for the course, and such grade shall not be factored into the student's grade-point average. The original failing grade shall also remain on the transcript and shall be factored into the student's grade-point average. 

Transfers of credit from other institutions

Credits transferred from another institution shall be counted as completed credits but are not included in the GPA calculation.