Policies

Satisfactory Academic Progress policy

Overview

All students who receive US Federal Title IV funding whilst studying at the University of Leicester are required to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to continue to be eligible to receive funding. Although the University has Senate Regulations for standard academic achievement, this policy relates specifically to US students in receipt of Title IV funding. Please note the standards for any student in receipt of Title IV assistance are the same as the standards for students not receiving Title IV funding. There is a consistent application of standards to all students within categories of students such as full time, part time, undergraduate and postgraduate students.

In order to meet the US Department of Education requirements, the University of Leicester evaluates a student’s academic progression at the end of each payment period for all educational programs offered by the University, to ensure they are meeting the requirements outlined below. An assessment of both grade-based and time-based progress is made to determine a student continues to be eligible for Title IV funding. Students must be meeting both the qualitative and quantitative requirements outlined below in order to be maintaining the SAP requirements.

Satisfactory Academic Progress qualitative (grade-based) requirements

  • An Undergraduate degree requires 360 credits (120 at each of levels 1, 2, and 3)
  • A Master’s degree requires 180 credits at M level

Grading 0-100 

Undergraduate  Postgraduate taught  US equivalent 
70  First class  Distinction 
60-69  Upper second class  Merit 
50-59  Lower second class  Pass 
40-49 Third class  Fail 
Less than 40  Fail  Fail 

All students are expected to maintain satisfactory progression throughout their program of study. The performance of all students will be reviewed by a Board of Examiners to determine whether they have met the requirements to progress to the next level of study. For all courses of more than 2 academic years students must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) consistent with the University’s graduation requirements in order to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. The University’s graduation requirements are 40% (GPA D) for undergraduate courses and 50% (GPA C) for postgraduate taught courses.

Requirements to pass assessments

To pass an undergraduate assessment a student must achieve a minimum mark of 40% (Grade D), to pass a postgraduate assessment a student must achieve a minimum mark of 50% (Grade C). This is consistent with the academic standing requirements set by the University for Graduation.

Requirements to pass modules

Each module specification states how the components of a module shall be combined to form a module mark and whether a particular mark must be gained in an individual component for the module to be passed.

Progression requirements

Undergraduate students

To progress automatically to the next level students must have passed all modules and achieved an overall credit weighted average for the level of at least 40.00% (GPA D). In the case of an Integrated Master Degree (4 year undergraduate degree) the threshold mark students are required to obtain in order to progress to the M degree at each level will be stated in the relevant program specification. Students who do not meet the threshold requirement will normally be required to transfer to the equivalent Bachelor Degree (3 year undergraduate degree). This is consistent with the academic standing requirements set by the University for Graduation.

Postgraduate students

The progress of each student shall be considered by a Board of Examiners at the end of the taught component of the program. The Board of Examiners shall determine whether a student is permitted to progress to the dissertation or research project. Where the structure of a program is such that a student has already begun work on his/her dissertation or research project, the Board of Examiners shall determine whether the student may continue with this work. To progress automatically to the next level students must have passed all modules and achieved an overall credit weighted average for the level of at least 50.00% (GPA C). This is consistent with the academic standing requirements set by the University for Graduation. In making progression decisions for students on MA, MSc, LLM, MEM, and MBA programs, a Board of Examiners shall adopt the following progression requirements.

Taught module credits failed at first attempt

Up to 30 credits

A student will proceed to, or continue with, the dissertation or research project and is entitled to re-sit failed modules up to the maximum credit value set out in paragraph 6.23 above, at the earliest opportunity.

If, after reassessment, a student has any module mark of < 40%, Grade ‘F’, s/he will not be allowed to continue work on the dissertation or research project and shall be considered at the next meeting of the Board of Examiners

31 - 45 credits

A student will proceed to or continue with, the dissertation or research project and is entitled to re-sit failed modules up to the maximum credit value set out in paragraph 6.23 above, at the earliest opportunity.

If, after reassessment, a student has more than 30 credits of failed modules, or any module mark of < 40%, Grade ‘F’, s/he will not be allowed to continue work on the dissertation or research project and shall be considered at the next meeting of the Board of Examiners.

46 – 60 credits

A student will not proceed to, or continue with, the dissertation or research project but is entitled to re-sit failed modules, up to the maximum credit value set out in paragraph 6.23 above at the earliest opportunity.

If, after reassessment, a student has 30 credits or fewer of failed modules, and no module mark < 40%, s/he will be allowed to progress to, or continue with, the dissertation research project.

If, after reassessment, a student has more than 30 credits of failed modules, or any module mark of < 40%, Grade ‘F’, s/he will not be allowed to continue work on the dissertation or research project and shall be considered at the next meeting of the Board of Examiners.

More than 60 credits

A student will not proceed to, or continue with, the dissertation or research project, but is entitled to re-sit failed modules up to the maximum credit value set out in paragraph 6.23 above in order to meet the requirements for intermediate award, where the relevant program specification makes provision for such an award.

Where there is no provision for an intermediate award, or where the number of credits failed is such that the student cannot redeem a sufficient number to meet the requirements for an intermediate award, a board of examiners shall terminate his/her course for academic failure.

In making progression decisions for students on MRes programs, a Board of Examiners shall adopt the progression requirements set out above, but shall not permit a student to progress to, or continue with, a dissertation or research project unless it would be possible for the student to meet the requirements for award following successful reassessment.

Satisfactory Academic Progress quantitative (time-based) requirements

Pace of completion

Pace of completion is defined as the rate at which a student is progressing through a program of study. It is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credit hours the student has successfully completed by the cumulative number of credit hours the student has attempted. If a student’s Pace of Completion falls below 67% the student is deemed to no longer be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Maximum Timeframe

Maximum timeframe is measured in credit hours, a student must complete the program in a maximum of 150% of the standard number of credit hours taken to complete the program. For example, a three year (360 credits) undergraduate program must be able to be completed in no more than 4.5 years (540 credits attempted). This time scale includes any previous period of study at other institutions for the same program. For example, an undergraduate student with 1 year of previous study (120 credits attempted) at another institution much complete their studies within 3.5 years (420 credits attempted) at the University.

For all postgraduate taught programs eligible for funding, this includes full Masters programs and not Certificates and Diplomas, the maximum timeframe is 150% of the standard number of credits (180 credits). The standard timescale for research postgraduates is 48 months so in order to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress students must remain on track to complete within 6 years.

If a student temporarily suspends their studies, this period of interruption does not count towards the 150% Maximum Timescale to assess eligibility for Federal funding as no credits are being attempted. However, as outlined in the University Senate Regulations, the maximum period of registration for a program is inclusive of all periods of study, any additional periods of time permitted for reassessment or delayed assessment, and any periods of agreed suspension of study.

For students studying some or all of their program below full time intensity the 150% calculation is based on the full time equivalent of their study.  For example, two years of study at 50% intensity is the equivalent of 1 year of full time study.

The below examples show a student meeting the time-based SAP requirements and a student not meeting the requirements:

Example 1

  • Undergraduate (360 credits) student has attempted 30 credits at another university and has passed all 60 credits attempted at the University.
  • Pace of completion: 60 credits/ 90 credits = 67% - meeting requirement
  • Expected timeframe: 390 credits (less than 150% of 360 credits) - meeting requirement

Example 2

  • Postgraduate taught (180 credits) student has attempted 120 credits and passed 60 credits
  • Pace of completion: 60 credits/ 120 credits = 50% (less than 67% minimum pace) - not meeting requirement

Financial aid warning

Students who fail to meet the requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progression will no longer be eligible to receive assistance under the Title IV HEA program. Any such students will be notified of an evaluation that impacts their eligibility for the Title IV HEA program in writing by the US Loan Team who will issue them with a Financial Aid Warning. The warning lasts for one payment period, until the next loan disbursement, and students are able to continue to receive Title IV funding during one payment period.

The University of Leicester does not have the authority to remove the requirement for students to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress. If a student fails to meet the requirements before the start of their next payment period they will no longer be eligible to receive Title IV funding. The only exception to this is if the student is able to successfully appeal the decision by demonstrating their exceptional personal circumstances.

Appealing loss of Title IV eligibility

Students who have received a financial aid warning and failed to meet the SAP requirements by the end of the payment period are no longer eligible to receive funding. Any such students are permitted to appeal within 14 calendar days of receiving the notification if exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. The basis on which a student may file an appeal are as follows:

  • Death of relative (parent, spouse, sibling or child)
  • Extended period of illness of relative (parent, spouse, sibling or child)
  • Extended period of illness of student
  • Injury to student

Any students wishing to submit an appeal must confirm why they have not been making Satisfactory Academic Progress and how their personal circumstances have now changed to enable them to meet the requirements before the next review date. Documentation to support the appeal will also need to be provided, this could include the following:

  • Copy of Death Certificate
  • Letter or certificate from doctor or other registered medical professional
  • Supporting evidence from academic department
  • Financial records

All appeals and the supporting evidence should be submitted in writing to:

Miss Aimee Jones
Head of Student Fees and Income Management
Division of Finance
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester
LE1 7RH
UK

USloans@le.ac.uk

Appeal decision

The US Federal Loan team will communicate in writing the outcome, justification and consequences of the decision in terms of eligibility to receive Federal Title IV funding from the US Department of Education, of any appeal submitted by a student within 21 working days, providing all relevant supporting evidence has been provided. Whilst the outcome of the appeal is pending, no further disbursements of Title IV funding will be made.

The decision is final, there are no further grounds to appeal for a student after they receive the outcome of their appeal.  However, the student may make a complaint if they are not satisfied with the standard of service that has been provided.

Financial aid probation

If a student successfully appeals the loss of eligibility, they are put on Financial Aid Probation. The student will continue to be eligible to receive funding for one further payment period. The student must be on track to meet the SAP requirements by the end of the subsequent payment period.

A student that has their Title IV Funding suspended but continues by funding their studies through alternative sources can regain probationary status should they reach Satisfactory Academic Progress in the future. They are eligible to apply for and receive Title IV funding.

If Satisfactory Academic Progress has not been achieved at the end of the Financial Aid Probation period, the student’s aid will be terminated, unless they are successful in a further appeal and develop an academic plan approved by their academic department (personal tutor or supervisor).

Students that exceed 150% time limit to complete their course cannot receive Federal Aid and cannot be reinstated at any point.

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