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Satisfactory Academic Progress: Graduate Students

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Students who receive Federal Financial Aid must, in accordance with federal regulations, be in good standing and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward their degree. Under Federal Title IV law, the school’s SAP requirements must meet certain minimum requirements, and be at least as strict as the institution’s established standards for Good Academic Standing. This policy applies to students receiving Federal Financial Aid for semester/periods of enrollment that begin on or after July 1, 2011.

The standards used to evaluate academic progress are cumulative and, therefore, include all periods of the student’s enrollment, including periods during which the student did not receive federal financial aid funds.

What is the SOM SAP Policy?

To continue receiving federal financial aid at SOM, students must demonstrate satisfactory progress toward their academic objectives. Federal regulations require three measurements to determine SAP; qualitative, quantitative and timeframe/pace.

Qualitative Review

In determining student’s academic progress, the Financial Aid Office will follow the Graduate Departments academic review policy which is established for all students and meets the minimum Title IV academic policy requirements. Each department reviews and assesses the academic progress of all students in the program.

  • A student must satisfactorily complete all course work with a grade of B- or higher
  • Must receive B or better in all required courses
  • Course with grade lower than B- must be repeated. Students may only repeat course once.
  • Grade of C or lower, student placed on academic probation or may be dismissed from program.
  • Additional grade review:
    • P-unconditional pass
    • CP-conditional pass
    • F-failed -reexamined by Doctoral Board Oral Exam Committee
    • Failed twice, must leave program

Any student who is not progressing academically, and who has been determined to have received federal financial aid funding, will have their financial aid status reviewed by the Financial Aid Office to determine continued aid eligibility.

Completion Rate

Each academic year, the Registrar’s Office in consultation with the Financial Aid office, will evaluate all students’ academic progress by comparing the number of successfully completed attempted courses with the courses successfully completed during the academic year. Information will be provided by the Program Directors of each Graduate department.

Courses will be considered as attempted or earned as follows:

Attempted and Completed

  • Courses with a grade of A, B,B-,C, P,CP
  • Courses successfully repeated are counted once towards the completion rate

Attempted but not Completed

  • Courses with a grade of F, I, U W
  • Courses attempted but not completed will not count toward completion rate
  • F- Fail
  • I –Incomplete
  • U-Unsatisfactory
  • W-Withdrawal

Not Attempted and Not Completed

  • Courses with an Audit designation
  • Courses taken as an audit shall not be counted as attempted or completed

Quantitative Review

The Financial Aid Office will monitor the quantitative “maximum” time frame for completion of the degree program. Maximum time frame is the maximum number of years after first enrollment that a student may complete SOM courses in the full-time pursuit of a degree. Review will be completed on an annual basis by the Financial Aid Office to determine if the student has exceeded the maximum years in which courses were attempted.


Maximum time frame is the maximum number of years after first enrollment that a student may complete courses in the full-time pursuit of a degree and receive federal financial aid funding.


2 years

4 years


6 years

9 years

Treatment of Courses

Grade not counted as attempted or earned: A (audit)

Grades earned at another institution by a student who transfers into JHU Grad Program will not be included in the determination of the passing grade of “B.”

Treatment of Repeat Coursework

Repeat Coursework

Students may receive financial aid funding for the repeat of a failing grade or withdrawal of any class or classes. Repeat of the same course may only be funded one additional time. Every attempt of a repeated course counts as attempted towards completion rate but it only counts once as completed.

Leaves of Absence

The period of time for which a student received an approved leave of absence will be excluded from the maximum time frame required to complete their program.

Loss of Financial Aid Eligibility

Students will automatically lose financial aid eligibility if they receive two failing grades, one failing and one unsatisfactory grade, or unexcused incompletes in two or more courses.

How often is SAP Reviewed?

The Financial Aid Office will review the Satisfactory Academic Progress of all aid recipients at the end of each academic year. Evaluations will be made on both a qualitative and quantitative basis. Determination of a student’s academic status will be in collaboration with each department Program Director, the Associate Dean of Graduate Student Affairs or designee, and the SOM Registrar.

Students who fail to meet the required Financial Aid SAP standards (qualitative and/or time frame) will be ineligible for continued federal financial aid funding beginning with the term immediately following the term in which the SAP requirements were not met. The Financial Aid Office will notify the student in writing of their federal aid suspension status and the appeal process.

Academic Dismissal or Withdrawal

Students who are academically dismissed or who withdraw from the school are not making academic progress and will no longer qualify for financial aid assistance.

Appeal Process

Students not meeting financial aid SAP requirements (qualitative and/or time frame) may appeal to the Financial Aid Office for review. The Financial Aid Office will notify the student if they must complete the appeal process for reinstatement of aid. The appeal must state the reasons for failing to meet SAP requirements, such as special circumstances that contributed to the student’s failure to make satisfactory academic progress (e.g., the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances).

Financial Aid Probation

Students who have appealed for reinstatement of financial aid funding, and the appeal approved, will be placed on financial aid Probation and allowed one additional payment of financial aid during the award period. Students must show improvement in coursework and progression in their program in order to continue receiving federal financial aid. Progress will be based upon the terms outlined by the Department’s Standards Committee requirements for continued academic progress.

Students will remain on Financial aid Probation during the period of academic review.


Students in academic difficulty will be notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office of their status for continued financial aid funding.

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