Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Students receiving federal financial assistance, including Federal Direct Loans, must maintain satisfactory academic progress towards graduation while in attendance at the Law School.

Satisfactory academic progress is measured both qualitatively (i.e. by grades) and quantitatively (i.e. by credits earned). Evaluations of satisfactory academic progress are made at the end of each academic year. Law Financial Aid Services notifies students who do not meet the standards and lose eligibility for financial aid as a result.

Students who fail to comply with the satisfactory academic progress policy standard will have the opportunity to appeal the decision. Details and instructions are given below in the Appeals Process section of the policy.

Qualitative and Quantitative Components

To satisfy the qualitative component of the standard, students must achieve a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.300 by the end of their second academic year. “Second academic year” is measured as a period of time, not by the student’s grade level. A student must maintain a 2.300 cumulative grade point average until graduation.

To satisfy the quantitative component of the standard, a student must comply with the following schedule of minimum earned credit hours.

Full-time Students

End of First Year: 18 earned credit hours
End of Second Year: 42 earned credit hours
End of Third Year: 66 earned credit hours
End of Fourth Year: 90 earned credit hours

Part-time Students

End of First Year: 12 earned credit hours
End of Second Year: 26 earned credit hours
End of Third Year: 41 earned credit hours
End of Fourth Year: 57 earned credit hours
End of Fifth Year: 73 earned credit hours
End of Sixth Year: 90 earned credit hours

Any student who fails to meet the qualitative and/or quantitative requirements will not be making satisfactory academic progress and will lose eligibility for federal financial aid unless an appeal is granted.

Students taking twelve (12) or more credit hours per semester are considered full-time. Those taking less than twelve (12) credit hours per semester are considered part-time. Students may be allowed to shift their enrollment status from part-time to full time status or vice versa. In order to compute a student’s continuing compliance with the quantitative component of the satisfactory academic progress requirement, the appropriate ratio of part time to full time equivalents is computed and an evaluation made on the cumulative values of each semester enrollment status. The cumulative values include all previously attempted credit hours.

Maximum Time Limit

Full-time students may receive federal financial aid only for course work falling within four (4) years from matriculation. Part-time students may receive federal financial aid only for course work falling within six (6) years from matriculation.

Withdrawals, Incompletes, Repetitions and Transferred Courses

If a student withdraws from a course after the end of the add/drop period, the credit hours for that course are counted as attempted credit hours toward the completion of the degree program in evaluating a student’s satisfactory academic progress.

Incomplete courses are counted as withdrawals for purposes of evaluating satisfactory academic progress until the incomplete in made up and graded.

Repeated courses are counted as attempted credit hours toward the completion of the degree program in evaluating a student’s satisfactory academic progress. If a student is readmitted after withdrawal, courses taken before the withdrawal are counted as attempted credit hours toward the completion of the degree program in evaluating the student’s satisfactory academic progress.

Courses from other law schools for which a student has been granted transfer credit are treated in the same way as courses taken at the University of Massachusetts School of Law-Dartmouth in evaluating a student’s satisfactory academic progress.

Appeal Process

Students may appeal a determination by Law Financial Aid Services that they are not making satisfactory progress by submitting a written request. The request for appeal must outline the reasons that contributed to their failure to make satisfactory academic progress, such as an illness, death in the family, or other mitigating circumstances, and the conditions that have changed to ensure that their academic standing will improve going forward. The appeal, along with all supporting documentation, must be submitted to Law Financial Aid Services within fourteen (14) days of the notice of their failure to make satisfactory academic progress. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee shall make a final determination within ten (10) business days of receipt of the letter of appeal.

If their appeal is not granted, students will be expected to make arrangements for payment of their tuition prior to attendance.

If the student’s appeal is approved, federal financial aid eligibility will be reinstated for a probationary period of one semester. Students who cannot make satisfactory academic progress by the end of the probationary period will be required to meet the conditions of an academic plan crafted to ensure satisfactory academic progress will be achieved at a future specific point in time. Satisfactory academic progress and the assigned academic plan will be evaluated after each semester of attendance to ensure stated requirements are met prior to subsequent semester disbursements of federal financial aid funds.

Should a student fail to meet the conditions of his or her academic plan, and the qualitative and quantitative standards of the satisfactory academic progress policy are not satisfied, the student will lose eligibility for federal financial aid until and unless another request for appeal is granted and a new academic plan is created with new conditions to be met.