Pritzker School of Law 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.
Law students must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress in three fundamental ways:
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.25 or higher
- Complete two-thirds (66.6%) of all credits attempted
- Complete program within a specified period of time
The Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations require that you maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) in order to remain eligible for financial aid. This minimum cumulative GPA is a 2.25 (on a 4.0 scale).
In order to meet the minimum standard of academic progress, Law students must complete at least two-thirds (66.6%) of all cumulative credits attempted since the start of their Law program. If a JD student transferred in beginning with their 2L year, each credit transferred in from their 1L year counts as one credit attempted and one credit earned and is included as part of this cumulative credit completion rate.
Courses dropped after the end of a term or session's add/drop period will be counted towards credits attempted. Grades of D, F, Y (Incomplete), W (Withdrawal), I (Incomplete), IP (In Progress), NC (No Credit), NR (Not Reported), or X (Unofficial Withdrawal) do not satisfy the requirements for the two-thirds (66.6%) completion rate.
Students have a maximum timeframe of 150% of the length of their standard program to complete their degree requirements. For example, if a program is six full-time terms, a student attending full-time may not exceed nine terms to complete their degree.
Term usage for students in part-time programs will be prorated based on the number of credits in which the part-time student is enrolled as of the end of the term's add/drop period versus the number of credits in which a student in the equivalent full-time program is expected to be enrolled for the same term.
All periods of enrollment, including Summer Term, are counted toward the maximum number of terms. Periods of academic leave or non-enrollment will not count against the maximum terms of enrollment.
Remedial and repeated coursework is counted in the same manner as all other coursework for the purposes of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Grades of Credit (C) are not awarded a grade point and so will not contribute to the overall GPA calculation but do count as attempted and completed coursework. Grades of No Credit (NC) will be included in the GPA calculation at a 0.00 rate and count as an attempted course. A student who receives all grades of "Credit" during their first term of enrollment and meets all other SAP requirements will be considered to be successfully maintaining satisfactory academic progress.
Students who earn credits through a consortium/contractual agreement do not qualify for additional terms of eligibility.
Students who have completed all required coursework for his or her degree but has not yet received the degree cannot receive further federal or state financial aid for that program.
Students must be on track to complete their degree within their maximum time-frame in order to maintain their financial aid eligibility.
Transfer Credits and Completion Rate
JD students who transfer into the Pritzker School of Law beginning with their 2L year will have six full-time terms to complete the remainder of their JD degree program at the Law School. All previous terms of enrollment will count against terms of eligibility, even if no financial aid was received.
Students who have questions about determining their personal maximum timeframe may contact the Office of Financial Aid.
Evaluation of satisfactory academic progress is made at the end of each academic year (end of Spring term unless you are enrolling in the Summer term and then it will be reviewed at the end of Summer term) 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.
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 two-thirds (66.6%) all cumulative credits attempted since the start of your degree program with a grade of “C-“ or higher. Grades of D, F, Y, W, I, IP, NC, NR, and X will not be considered sufficient for meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- Be advised that any courses you are enrolled in at the end of the term's add/drop period will count toward your SAP calculation.
- Maintain or achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.25 or higher.
- 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.
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 prior to the first day of the subsequent academic term.
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
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. If a student is not meeting the criteria identified in the SAP academic plan at each term review, the student may be asked to submit additional appeal documentation that reflects new extenuating circumstances or their aid may be suspended until they meet the terms of SAP without the use of federal aid.
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:
- Describe a specific reason, event, or circumstance that prevented you from meeting the academic progress requirements.
- Provide a specific plan/corrective action to improve your academic progress.
The University reserves the right to make adjustments to these policies.