Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

  1. Purpose


    Students who receive federal financial aid must, in accordance with federal regulations, be in good standing and maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward their degree. Under Federal Title IV law, the school’s SAP requirements must meet certain minimum requirements and be at least as strict as the institution’s established standards for good academic standing. This policy applies to students receiving federal financial aid for terms of enrollment that begin on or after July 1, 2011.
    The standards used to evaluate academic progress are cumulative and, therefore, include all periods of the student’s enrollment, including periods during which the student did not receive federal financial aid funds.

  2. Applicability


    All Title IV federal aid recipients pursuing a medical degree in the University of South Alabama College of Medicine must maintain satisfactory academic progress to be considered eligible for federal aid including student loans. In conjunction with the academic standards required in the College of Medicine Student Handbook, students awarded federal aid must also meet qualitative, quantitative and time frame standards necessary to continue receiving federal aid.

  3. Definitions

    Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): To continue receiving federal financial aid at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine (COM), students must demonstrate satisfactory progress toward their academic objectives. Federal regulations require three measurements to determine SAP: qualitative, quantitative and time frame. SAP is reviewed at the end of every term by the COM Associate Director of Financial Aid.

    Maximum time frame: Per federal regulations, the maximum number of years after first enrollment that a student may complete COM courses in the full-time pursuit of a degree and receive federal financial aid funding.

    Financial Aid Warning: A status assigned to a student who is failing to make SAP. A student has one semester under Financial Aid Warning to attempt to meet the qualitative and quantitative academic requirements of the program.

    Financial Aid Appeal: A process by which a student who is not meeting SAP standards petitions the school for reconsideration of Title IV aid eligibility.

    Financial Aid Probation: A status assigned to a student who is failing to make SAP and who successfully appealed. Eligibility for aid may be reinstated for one payment period.

  4. Policy Guidelines


    4.1 Qualitative Review


    4.1.1 In determining a student's academic progress, the Financial Aid Office follows the College of Medicine’s Student Promotions and Evaluation Committee academic review policy in the College of Medicine Student Handbook, which is established for all students regardless of financial aid eligibility and meets the minimum Title IV academic policy requirements.

    4.1.2 Students must achieve the minimum grade in all required courses, electives, and
    clerkships to show progress.

    4.2 Quantitative Review


    4.2.1 Students must have academic standing consistent with COM’s curriculum and graduation requirements to maintain continued financial aid assistance. To meet graduation requirements, students must successfully complete the prescribed courses of study of the first through the fourth years (See COM Student Handbook).

    4.2.2 Courses attempted and completed will be evaluated by the COM Associate Director of Financial Aid at the end of every term. A student must be completing at least 67% of their cumulative attempted coursework since matriculation into the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. Once final grades are posted, the COM Associate Director of Financial Aid will review them.

    4.3 Maximum Time Frame


    4.3.1 Based on federal regulations, maximum time frame is defined as the maximum number of years after first enrollment that a student may complete COM courses in the full-time pursuit of a degree and receive federal financial aid funding. For federal student aid purposes, the maximum time frame to complete a medical degree in the COM is six years after which a student is no longer eligible to receive federal student aid. The federal six-year maximum time frame requirement differs from the academic seven year time frame stated in the COM Student Handbook.

    4.4 Treatment of Courses


    4.4.1 Grades for required courses and clerkships will be evaluated as ‘attempted and earned’ and ‘attempted and unearned.’

    4.4.2 If a student attempted and earned a grade for a course or clerkship, an ‘H’, ‘P’, or ‘UP’ will be assigned grade.

    4.4.3 An ‘F’, ‘I’, ‘U’, ‘UF’, ‘X’, or ‘W’ will be designated for courses or clerkships that are attempted but not earned. ‘I’, ‘U’, and ‘X’ grades will be changed to completed once a final grade is earned.

    4.4.4 Students may receive federal financial aid funding to repeat a course in which they received a failing grade or from which they withdrew. Repeat of a course may only be funded once.

    4.4.5 Under current federal financial aid guidelines, students who failed a course(s) and are required to repeat an entire year of coursework, which would also include successfully University Policy XXX-XXX Shorthand Policy Title Page 3 of 4 completed courses, will be eligible for federal loans for the repeat of that year. Funding will be provided only once for the repeat of the same academic year.

  5. Procedures


    5.1 Review


    5.1.1 The Associate Director of Financial Aid in the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will review the Satisfactory Academic Progress of all federal financial aid recipients at the end of each term when final grades post.

    5.1.2 Students whose academic records are reviewed by the Student Promotions and Evaluation Committee will be notified in writing of the committee’s decision by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. The communication will outline the Student Promotions and Evaluation Committee recommendation for the student, and this communication is sent to the COM Associate Director of Financial Aid.

    5.1.3 Once notified by Student Promotion and Evaluation Committee of students who have a disruption in their academic coursework such as academic probation, withdrawal, or leave of absence, the COM Associate Director of Financial Aid will review these students for failure to meet the additional required financial aid SAP standards (qualitative, quantitative and/or time frame). These students who do not meet the academic standards of the Student Evaluation and Promotion Committee and the financial aid SAP standards (qualitative, quantitative and/or time frame) will be placed on financial aid warning beginning with the term immediately following the term in which the SAP requirements were not met. The COM Associate Director of Financial Aid Office will notify the student in writing of their federal aid warning status.

    5.1.4 Students who continue to not meet the required academic standards stated in the COM Student Handbook and financial aid SAP standards (qualitative, quantitative and/or time frame) during the financial aid warning term will no longer be eligible for financial aid the following term. These students will be notified by the COM Associate Director of Financial Aid in writing of their status along with appeal procedures. All appeals are due to the COM Associate Director of Financial Aid within fourteen business days of students being notified of their status.

    5.1.5 Students who are academically dismissed from the medical degree program in the COM are not making academic progress and will no longer qualify for financial aid assistance as a medical degree seeking student in the COM.

    5.2 Appeal Process


    5.2.1 Students who may have lost their federal aid eligibility for reasons stated in 5.1.4, but who successfully petitioned for reinstatement through the federal financial aid appeal process, may regain eligibility for federal financial aid funding. All appeals are due to the COM Associate Director of Financial Aid within fourteen business days of students being notified of their status.

    5.2.2 For financial aid purposes, students not meeting financial aid SAP requirements (qualitative, quantitative and/or time frame) as well as academic standards may appeal to the COM Associate Director of Financial Aid for review. The COM Associate Director of Financial Aid will notify the student if they must complete the appeal process for reinstatement of aid. The student must appeal within fourteen business days of being notified of the appeal procedures. The appeal must contain a detailed letter stating the reasons for failing to meet SAP requirements such as special circumstances that contributed to the student’s failure to make SAP along with documentation of the special circumstances. The appeal must also contain what has changed in the student’s situation that would allow the student to academically progress successfully. If the Student Promotions and Evaluations Committee approved an academic plan for the student, the academic plan must be included in the financial aid appeal documentation. 

    5.2.3 Students who have appealed for reinstatement of federal financial aid funding and the appeal has been approved, will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and allowed an additional term of federal financial aid. Students must show improvement in coursework and progression in their program in order to continue receiving federal financial aid. Students must achieve the minimum grade in all required courses, electives, and clerkships to show progress.

  6. Related Documents


    6.1 Related Regulations and Policies


    6.1.1 Return of Title IV
    6.1.2 COM Student Handbook