Please Note: The Suffolk University Law School's Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy has been updated and revised with the new policy effective July 1, 2016.
Areas updated include:
- Closer alignment of academic requirements with the Law School’s Rules and Regulations. Law students with 2 or more unsatisfactory grades in a given term will be reviewed by Student Financial Services. This change should eliminate the potential issues of students meeting the financial aid SAP standards, but not satisfying the Law School’s Academic Standing requirements.
- Measurement of the maximum time frame for a student’s enrollment in attempted credits rather than months and exclude periods of non-enrollment, which allows for more flexibility for students who leave and then return to the Law School.
- SAP reviews will be conducted after each term, instead of once annually, for all programs. This change will allow affected law students to be informed of their failure to meet the SAP standards, while still retaining their eligibility for financial aid.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Federal regulations require that students demonstrate satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in their educational program in order to maintain eligibility for all federal, institutional, need-based and merit-based aid. In addition, some private alternative loan programs with SAP requirements may also be included in this policy. SAP is established and reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Service and is evaluated independently from the academic and other standards set forth in the Law School’s Rules and Regulations. Because there are two different standards involved, it is possible for a student to be making satisfactory academic progress as determined under this policy, but fail to be in good academic standing. It is also possible for a student to be in good academic standing under the Law School’s Rules and Regulations, but not be making satisfactory academic progress as determined by Student Financial Services. Students who are dismissed from the Law School do not retain eligibility for financial assistance.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements
- All Suffolk University Law School students must meet relevant qualitative and quantitative standards to maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Qualitative measurement: Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0. Transfer credits will not be factored into the GPA at Suffolk University Law School.
- Quantitative measurement: Students must earn at least 67% of cumulative attempted credits at each point when satisfactory academic progress is measured by the OFA. For purposes of the satisfactory academic progress measure, earned credits are calculated by dividing the number of successfully completed credits by the number of attempted credits. Grades of F, I, NC, W, NG, U, and X will be counted as attempted, but not earned. All other grades will count as attempted and earned. Transfer credits will be included as attempted and completed credits. Students who withdraw or take a leave of abscence from the Law School at any time after classes have started will be subject to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. Credits dropped during the first ten calendars days of the fall and spring semesters and credits dropped during the first five calendar days of a summer program will not be counted as attempted credits unless the student withdraws from all classes during this period. All courses dropped after the first ten calendar days of the fall and spring semesters and after the first five days of a summer program will be counted as attempted credits.
- When a student receives a final grade for a course that was previously incomplete, the GPA and completion rate will only be recalculated at the student’s request.
- Students will be eligible for financial aid to cover a repeated course only once.
- Financial aid eligibility is limited to 84 months after a student has commenced study at the Law School.
The most recent grade for a repeated course will be the only grade counted in the GPA and will be considered the earned grade for the course. Both the original and repeated grades will be counted as attempted grades for that course.
- If a student changes from the JD program to a dual degree program, from one dual degree program to another, or from a dual degree program to the JD program, the OFA will only evaluate SAP for credits attempted and grades earned toward the new program. Any credits and grades attempted at the Law School will always be evaluated for purposes of SAP regardless of whether a student changes programs.
- For a student enrolled in the LLM program, only previous academic coursework accepted for purposes of advanced academic standing will be considered in the calculation to determine satisfactory academic progress in the LLM program. These credits will be treated the same as transfer credits for the purpose of satisfactory academic progress.
- All Dual Degree students must meet the criteria for satisfactory academic progress at the Law School even if all attempted credits are at the Sawyer Business School and/or the College of Arts and Sciences at Suffolk University.
Procedure for Measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress
JD/and all Dual Degree programs
The OFA will review each student’s progress annually after the spring semester and students will be notified of the results of an evaluation that impacts eligibility for financial aid. A student not meeting the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements will be denied all eligibility for financial aid beginning with the summer semester immediately following the most recent review of satisfactory academic progress.
LLM program and post-LLM programs
The OFA will review each student’s progress after each semester and students will be notified of the results of an evaluation that impacts eligibility for financial aid. A student not meeting the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements will be denied all eligibility for financial aid beginning the semester immediately following the most recent review of satisfactory academic progress.
Failure to Maintain SAP-Automatic Warning Semester & Appeal for a Probationary Semester
Failure to Maintain SAP – Automatic Warning Semester
Law students not meeting the minimum SAP requirements are placed on financial aid warning and will receive a written warning indicating they have not met SAP standards. Financial aid warning lasts for one academic term. During the financial aid warning period, financial aid will be awarded and the student will be given one term to improve his/her academic standing. No action is required of the student who is placed on warning status and no appeal of the decision to place a student on financial aid warning is permitted.
If a student’s subsequent SAP evaluation determines the student is still not meeting SAP standards, the student will be notified in writing that he/she is ineligible for future financial aid. Students should be aware this includes all federal, institutional and many alternative loan programs. If a student is ineligible for financial aid due to failure to make SAP after the warning term, he/she may request reconsideration by submitting an appeal to the Office of Student Financial Services for a probationary semester.
Appeal for a Probationary Semester
Students who fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements at the end of the warning semester may appeal in writing to the Office of Student Financial Services if extenuating circumstances exist which negatively impacted the student’s ability to make SAP.
Examples of situations where appeals will be considered include serious illness, hospitalization, or death of a family member. A student’s appeal must address why the student failed to make SAP and what has changed that will allow the student to satisfy academic progress requirements at the end of the next academic term. Appeals must also include supporting documentation (i.e. hospital records, doctor’s note, etc.). Students who submit an appeal will be notified in writing of the outcome. In evaluating an SAP appeal, the Office of Student Financial Services considers both the extenuating circumstances that led to the failure to make SAP and whether the student will be able to meet SAP standards by (i) the end of the following academic term or (ii) a specific later date by adhering to an academic plan.
The Office of Student Financial Services will respond to all written appeals by mailing a letter of decision to the student’s permanent address on file with Suffolk University. All appeal decisions will be made by the Financial Aid SAP Appeals Committee. These decisions are final. If a SAP appeal is granted, the student will be placed on financial aid probation. Conditions may be imposed on the student’s continued eligibility through an academic plan, which is developed in conjunction with the Academic Dean’s Office in the Law School. At the end of the first financial aid probation term, the student must either be making SAP or successfully completing the conditions of the academic plan in order to be eligible for further financial aid.