Satisfactory Academic Process Alumni Updates

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) represents an acceptable level of performance in meeting degree requirements within specific time periods. It is used in both academic evaluation and in determination of financial aid eligibility.

AUA’s curriculum consists of 10 semesters of academic coursework leading to the degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD). There are two semesters varying from 15-20 weeks in length, in each academic year. At the end of every semester, the Promotions Committee evaluates all students’ academic progress to ascertain if the student is making SAP toward the MD degree. Students are encouraged to become familiar with these rules and regulations that are available in the Student Handbook and published on the University website.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and Impact on U.S. Federal Financial Aid

Financial Aid Office – SAP

SAP is reviewed by the Financial Aid Office at the end of each semester for every Direct Loan borrower who has attempted to complete coursework in that semester. The reviews are handled for each group of students as follows:

  • New Students with no transfer coursework being applied to their AUA graduate level transcript and are deemed as meeting SAP during their first semester.
  • Continuing Students, Returning Students, and Transfer Students have their previous course transcripts reviewed to determine if they are making SAP.

Evaluation Based on Qualitative and Quantitative Criteria

There are three criteria a student must satisfy in order to be viewed as making SAP for U.S. Financial Aid purposes: Qualitative (Grade Point Average) and Quantitative (Attempted Credit Threshold), which includes a measurement of the Pace on which the student is progressing through their program.

All non-remedial institutional and transfer coursework, including repeated courses, attempted by the student regardless of whether or not the student received U.S. Financial Aid for the coursework are included in the FAO’s SAP reviews. Repeated courses and courses with grades of Incomplete or Withdrawal, while may not be included in cumulative GPA, are included in the student’s attempted credit total for the determination of Pace and Attempted Credit Threshold.

  1. Qualitative Standard: The qualitative standard measures whether the student has achieved the minimum GPA required to make SAP toward the MD degree. AUA’s students must have achieved a cumulative average of at least a Pass (P= 70% on a 100 point grading system). Students repeating semester one will not have a calculated GPA at the end of the semester. SAP will only be measured based on the progression rate as specified below.
  2. Quantitative Standard/Attempted Credit Threshold: The number of credit hours for which a student may receive U.S. Federal Aid may not exceed 150% of the credit hours required to complete the degree.
  3. PACE: The quantitative measure evaluates the student’s pace of progression through the medical education program within the maximum timeframe. The pace of progression is calculated by dividing the cumulative course credits that the student has successfully completed by the cumulative course credits that the student has attempted. Students in their first academic year are subject to a pace progression rate of 50%. Students in the second academic year or higher are subject to a pace of progression of 67%. Courses with a grade of W, WP, WF, and I are not counted in the attempted credits. Transfer credits accepted will count as attempted and completed credits for the calculation.

Failure to Maintain SAP – Financial Aid Consequences

Financial Aid Warning Status

Students who fail to meet one or more of the standards for meeting SAP are placed on “Financial Aid Warning” status and may continue to receive U.S. federal loan disbursements for one semester, but will be expected to meet the minimum standards by the end of the warning semester to continue to receive federal aid. Failure to meet the minimum standards after a warning semester results in financial aid suspension. Students will receive a notification informing them that they are on “Financial Aid Warning.”

Financial Aid Suspension

Students who fail to meet the minimum SAP requirements for one or more of the following reasons will have their U.S. Federal Aid suspended.

  1. Students that fail to meet the requirements of the warning or probation status.
  2. Students that may be readmitted or a first-time applicant whose prior coursework is below the minimum SAP threshold and thus ineligible for U.S. Federal Aid unless the student submits a successful appeal.
  3. The student has exceeded the maximum time frame limits for the degree.
Financial Aid SAP Appeal Process

Students whose aid eligibility has been suspended may apply for reinstatement on a probationary basis by submitting a SAP Appeal Letter to the Financial Aid Office (FAO). Appeals are accepted for the following conditions only:

  • Death of a relative
  • Personal injury or illness
  • Other extraordinary circumstance

Required Appeal Documentation

In most cases, the documentation must verify

  1. The dates that the extenuating circumstance occurred/existed
  2. That the extenuating circumstance has been resolved to such an extent that it will no longer impact academic performance

Appeals must be submitted during the first half of the semester for which reinstatement is being sought. Exceptions are made only on an appeal basis and not retroactive once the semester has ended. Additional documentation may be requested by the FAO during the review process.

Academic Plan

Students receiving aid on a probationary basis may be required during the probation period and subsequent semesters to maintain compliance with an academic plan developed with their academic advisor during the appeal process. The academic plan must be submitted to the FAO in writing with a statement of support and the signature of the academic advisor. Failure to comply with the assigned academic plan will result in financial aid suspension. Students who are nearing or have exceeded the maximum timeframe may also need to submit additional documentation and statements of support from their academic advisor.

Appeal Results

Appeal results will be determined and communicated to the student via their AUA email within 14 days after the appeal has been received. Students submitting a SAP Appeal will be responsible for all financial obligations made to the University, regardless of whether this appeal is approved or denied.

Students who have their aid eligibility suspended after a probationary period may re-appeal and receive probationary eligibility status again only if new extenuating circumstances, which are unique from the previous appeal, can be documented as existing and now resolved.

Students whose current appeal has been denied are encouraged to submit an appeal for a future term only if there is significant improvement in performance since the previously denied appeal and they appear able to meet SAP standards within their maximum timeframe.