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Feinberg School of Medicine Policy

Federal and state regulations require recipients of financial aid to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in their program of study. It is the University's expectation that students will make progress towards completion of the degree or professional development program in which they are enrolled. These requirements apply to part-time as well as to full-time students for all terms of enrollment within an academic year, including those terms for which no financial aid was granted.

FSM students must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress in three fundamental ways:

  1. Maintain an academic status of “Good Standing”
  2. Complete and pass two-thirds of all credits attempted
  3. Complete program within a specified period of time

1. Maintain an academic status of “Good Standing”

The academic status of “good standing” indicates that a student is not on probation (enrollment permitted), is not on suspension (enrollment not permitted) and has not failed an initial attempt to remediate an academic deficiency. This status is determined by the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Student Promotions Committee.

2. Complete two-thirds (66.6%) of all credits attempted

In order to meet the minimum standard of academic progress, FSM students must complete with a grade of pass at least two-thirds (66.6%) of all cumulative credits attempted since the start of their FSM program.

Because Feinberg School of Medicine is on a special, year-long calendar, the last date on which a student may drop a course and not have it included as credits attempted are set as follows for each cohort of students:

M1 Students: 

Last date in which, for financial aid purposes, a course may be dropped and not counted toward the attempted units calculation are set as the Monday following the mid-point of the payment period. The payment period is defined as the period of enrollment that is covered by the disbursement of federal financial aid. Typically, this is the beginning of the term to the mid-point (payment period 1) and the mid-point to the end of the term (payment period 2). This may vary for students on special calendars.

For example, payment period 1 ( beginning 08/06/2014) would have a drop deadline of 10/13/2014. Any courses dropped after 10/13/2014 will be counted toward credits attempted. Payment period 2 (beginning 01/05/2015) would have a drop deadline of 03/16/2015. Any courses dropped after 03/16/2015 will be counted toward credits attempted. 

M2 Students: 

Last date in which, for financial aid purposes, a course may be dropped and not counted toward the attempted units calculation are set as the Monday following the mid-point of the payment period. The payment period is defined as the period of enrollment that is covered by the disbursement of federal financial aid. Typically, this is the beginning of the term to the mid-point (payment period 1) and the mid-point to the end of the term (payment period 2). This may vary for students on special calendars.

For example, payment period 1 (beginning 07/28/2014) would have a drop deadline of 10/06/2014. Any courses dropped after 10/06/2014 will be counted toward credits attempted. Payment period 2 (beginning 01/05/2015) would have a drop deadline of 02/09/2015. Any courses dropped after 02/09/2015 will be counted toward credits attempted.

M3 and M4 students: 

Any course dropped following the Monday after the mid-point of the course start will be counted toward credits attempted. 

Grades of F, Y (incomplete), W (withdrawal), or X (unofficial withdrawal) do not satisfy the requirements for the two-thirds (66.6%) completion rate. Note that the attempted units calculation will be based on the date the drop/withdraw was entered into the system.

3. Complete your program within a specified period of time

Students have a maximum timeframe of 150% of the length of their standard program to complete their degree requirements. For example, MD students have up to six years to complete the MD program. If a student is enrolled in a joint or dual program, the timeframe will be extended as needed to complete the program.

All periods of enrollment, including Summer Term, are counted toward the maximum number of terms. Periods of academic leave (with no enrollment) or non-enrollment will not count against the maximum terms of enrollment. Periods of academic leave with enrollment (for example, a leave of absence that includes registration in an independent study) for purposes of research or fellowship will not count toward the maximum timeframe.

Remedial and repeated coursework is counted in the same manner as all other coursework for the purposes of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Students who earn credits through a consortium/contractual agreement do not qualify for additional terms of eligibility. Please note that this does not apply to away rotations.

Students who have completed all required coursework for his or her degree but have not yet received their degree cannot receive further federal or state financial aid for that program.

Students must be on track to complete their degree within their maximum timeframe in order to maintain their financial aid eligibility.

Students who have questions about determining their personal maximum timeframe may contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Evaluation of satisfactory academic progress for FSM students is made at the end each payment period by the Chicago Office of Financial Aid once grades are published in the university system. This review is completed through a manual review of grades received, courses attempted, pace toward graduation and GPA.

If grades have not been updated in the system prior to the disbursement date of next payment period, disbursement of federal student loans may be held until the grades have been updated in the system and Chicago Office of Financial Aid is able to evaluate satisfactory academic progress.

The payment period is defined as the period of enrollment that is covered by the disbursement of federal financial aid. Typically, this is the beginning of the term to the mid-point (payment period 1) and the mid-point to the end of the term (payment period 2). This may vary for students on special calendars. SAP progress will be evaluated at the end of each payment period (typically twice a year for FSM students).

SAP Warning

If a student fails to meet the requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress for any payment period, he/she is placed on SAP warning for the next payment period. While on the SAP Warning, the student will still be eligible for federal and state financial aid for the next payment period but he/she must meet the following criteria by the end of that payment period:

  1. Complete at least two-thirds (66.6%) of all credits attempted with a grade of pass. Courses dropped after the end of the second week of the scheduled start date for that course will be counted towards credits attempted. Grades of  F, Y (incomplete), W (withdrawal), or X (unofficial withdrawal) do not satisfy the requirements for the two-thirds (66.6%) completion rate.
  2. Maintain an academic status of “good standing”.
  3. Be on track to complete their degree within their maximum allowed time-frame.

The student will be notified via their NU email account that he/she has been placed on SAP Warning.

If a student does not enroll in the following payment period after a SAP warning is issued, the warning period will move to the next payment period for which the student is enrolled.

A student’s SAP will continue to be reviewed at the end of the payment period. If a student meets the terms of their SAP Warning period, they will be removed from SAP Warning and will continue to receive federal financial aid.  If a student does not meet the terms of the SAP Warning, they will be placed on SAP Suspension.

SAP Suspension

Students who do not meet the terms of Satisfactory Academic Progress will be subject to a SAP Suspension, during which time the student will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid. In order to reinstate federal financial aid eligibility after a SAP suspension, students must meet the following criteria for reinstatement:

  • Complete at least two-thirds (66.6%) of all credits attempted with a grade of pass. Grades of F, X, Y, N, W, and V will not be considered sufficient for meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress.
    • Be advised that any courses enrolled in after the end of the second week of the scheduled start date for that course will be counted towards credits attempted.
  • Maintain an academic status of “good standing”.
  • Have not exceeded the maximum time-frame allowed to complete your degree.

Once a student meets all requirements for reinstatement of financial aid after a suspension, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the Chicago Office of Financial Aid to request a SAP review for reinstatement of federal and state financial aid eligibility. Once the Chicago Office of Financial Aid determines that a student is now in compliance with SAP requirements, aid will be reinstated for the following academic term.

Appeals

If a student fails to meet the SAP requirements as stated above due to extenuating circumstances such as a family member’s death, illness (of the student or immediate family member), or other exceptional circumstances that were encountered during their time in their degree program, the student may submit a written appeal to the Chicago Office of Financial Aid. The appeal must be received by the Chicago Office of Financial Aid within 15 days of receipt of the notice of SAP Suspension.

The written appeal should be in a Word document format (i.e. not email) and explain any relevant extraordinary circumstances, address the reason(s) for failing to meet the minimum academic requirements, and offer some solution to the problems that affected prior academic performance. Supporting documentation, such as statements from academic advisers, professors, professional health care workers, etc., may also be requested.

The appeal will be reviewed by a committee chaired by the Director of Financial Aid. All decisions made by the committee are final. Students will be notified if their appeal is granted or denied via an email to their NU email account.

If an appeal is granted, the student will be placed in one of two categories:

1. SAP Probation

If a student is placed on SAP Probation after an appeal, he/she will be eligible for aid during one additional payment period. During the probationary period, the student must meet all SAP requirements. If the student fails to meet SAP during their probationary period, their aid will be suspended without the ability to appeal. In order to reinstate federal financial aid eligibility after a SAP suspension, students must meet the criteria for reinstatement listed above without the use of federal financial aid.

2. SAP Academic Plan

Students may be placed on an academic plan upon submission of a successful appeal. If it is mathematically impossible for a student to resolve all deficiencies during one term of attendance and the student’s reason for appeal is appropriate according to federal regulations, the student may be placed on an academic plan with the end goal being to resolve all deficiencies. An academic plan varies in length and is determined by the SAP committee. It does not have to equate to the exact number of terms it would take a student to resolve all deficiencies. If the student is meeting the criteria identified in the SAP appeal approval at each term review, the student’s academic plan may be extended.

Special Considerations for First-time Financial Aid Applicants

Current students who apply for financial aid are required to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements. If you are a currently enrolled student but have not received federal financial aid for previous terms of enrollment in your current program, you are considered to be a First-Time Financial Aid Applicant. Your previous coursework must meet the minimum academic progress requirements.  If it does not, you will need to complete a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) appeal for first-time aid filers. Your appeal should include the following:

  1. Describe a specific reason, event, or circumstance that prevented you from meeting the academic progress requirements.
  2. Provide a specific plan/corrective action to improve your academic progress.

The University reserves the right to make adjustments to these policies.