Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Federal regulations (34 C.F.R. § 668.34) mandate that institutions define Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for enrolled students who are Title IV recipients. SAP requires the successful completion of degree requirements according to established increments that lead to awarding the degree within known completion limits. The SAP evaluation measures the student’s progress qualitatively and quantitatively. The student will have up to 140% of the published program to successfully complete the program. The following policy outlines the standards for SAP as defined by the HMSOM. The policy applies to all matriculated students, whether or not they are recipients of financial aid.
SAP is assessed on an annual basis at the end of the academic year which ends approximately June 30th each year. Students who fail to achieve SAP during any established increment may be placed on financial aid probation and/or an academic plan following a successful appeal, suspended and/or dismissed. Students who are placed on any of these statuses will be informed of their status in writing.
Each student at the HMSOM is required to successfully complete all the HMSOM’s required courses, clerkships, examinations and advanced clinical rotations in order to graduate with the MD degree.
Following the annual Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluations, the Office of Student Financial Services will send a notification in writing to all students via email, who have not met the standards of SAP. The notification shall indicate the nature of the deficiency, any methods that may be available for correcting the deficiency and any consequences that have resulted or may result, such as financial aid probation and/or academic plan following a successful appeal, suspension or dismissal.
A student who fails to meet one or both of the standards for SAP (qualitative and/or quantitative) is ineligible for financial aid beginning with the term immediately following the term in which the SAP requirements were not met, pending results of the appeal process, outlined below.
The HMSOM measures progress with Phase 1 courses with grades of Pass or Fail. Each of the summative components of the final grades are evaluated using a specific rubric. Performance reports of “Meets Expectation (ME),” “Meets Expectations with Recommendations (MER),” or “Does not meet Expectation (DNM),” are assigned for each component of the course. Any course from which the students has received a withdrawn, incomplete or a failed grade at the time of annual review will be counted as an unsatisfactory grade when measuring SAP. At this time, HMSOM does not allow transfer of credits from another institution and therefore not counted in SAP.
In order to be successfully meeting SAP requirements, a student cannot have more than one unsatisfactorily completed course at the time SAP is measured. Students who are withdrawn from HMSOM are not making SAP.
Phase 2 and 3
The HMSOM measures progress with Phase 2 Clerkships and Sub-Internships with the following grade assignments. Each of the summative components of the final grades are evaluated using a specific rubric. Grades of “Honors (H)”, “High Pass (HP)”, “Pass (P), or “Fail (F)” are assigned for the final grade. Electives, Selectives, Human Dimension and Phase 3 ILP completion will be graded as Pass/Fail. Any clerkship, rotation or activity from which the students has received a withdrawn, incomplete/conditional or a failed grade at the time of annual review will be counted as an unsatisfactory grade.
In order to be successfully meeting SAP requirements, a student cannot have more than one unsatisfactorily completed, non-remediated clerkship/rotation at the time SAP is measured.
Students are expected to take and successfully pass USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 (CK and CS). Students must pass USMLE Step 1 in order to progress into Advanced Clinical Rotations. Students must pass USMLE Step 2 in order to move on to Phase 3 of the curriculum, including before graduating. If each of these Step exams is not passed, the student is considered to not be making SAP. A student who has not passed Step 2 (CK and CS) by the expected graduation date, but has completed all other graduation requirements will not be enrolled as full-time and will not be eligible for financial aid.
Students who complete the required coursework within established cohort timeframes are considered to be meeting the quantitative measurement at the end of each academic year even though the phase is not complete at that time. In those cases where students are taking more than the initial allotted time, the following timeframes are considered as meeting the quantitative component. Each student’s progress will be measured at the end of the academic year regardless of their position in the phase. Students are expected to be on track to meet the following expectations of progression during their enrollment. Those not on track to complete within the below timeframes are not meeting the quantitative component for SAP.
- Phase 1: All Phase 1 courses and units are on track to be completed within 20 months.
- Phase 2: All Phase 2 Courses and Clerkships are on track to be completed within 20 months. Required courses and rotations during Advanced Clinical Rotations are on track to be completed within 9 months.
- Phase 3: Activities conclude no later than 6 months past the end of the 4th year.
Approved leaves of absence for pregnancy, illness, or death of a family member may be excluded from this calculation.
Financial Aid Probation and Academic Plans
Students have the right to appeal an unsatisfactory determination of their Satisfactory Academic Progress. If approved, a student may be placed on financial aid probation for the subsequent term if it is determined that he/she can regain SAP eligibility after one term. Financial aid probation means a status assigned by an institution to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic
progress and who has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated.
During the financial aid probation period, the student must meet all SAP requirements. If the student fails to meet SAP during their one semester financial aid probation period, the student’s aid will be suspended with the ability to appeal for the upcoming term. (This will usually only occur if a student needs to make up an exam, not repeat an entire course).
If it is mathematically impossible for a student to resolve all deficiencies during one semester of attendance on financial aid probation, 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. If the student fails to meet the requirements of financial aid probation and the academic plan, the student would need to submit another appeal to be placed on financial aid probation again and/or an academic plan or be suspended. It cannot automatically be extended.
The Student Performance Review Committee, in conjunction with the Associate Dean of Medical Education and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, the student and the Registrar, will develop a comprehensive academic plan for the student that will ensure, if followed, that the student is able to meet the HMSOM’s SAP standards by a specific point of time and continue to receive financial aid during that period as long as the conditions are met without exception.
The student is eligible for financial aid for a financial aid probation period of one term and, if applicable, the time frame stated in the academic plan. The student will be monitored on a semester basis to ensure that the conditions of the academic plan continue to be met. A student who does not comply with each SAP standard by the end of the financial aid probation period and, if applicable, the time frame stated in the academic plan, will be suspended from financial aid eligibility.
A student who has lost eligibility for federal aid due to not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress cannot automatically regain eligibility by taking a leave, sitting out for a term or paying their tuition out of pocket. Eligibility can only be reinstated by eliminating all SAP deficiencies and filing a successful appeal or filing a successful appeal demonstrating mitigating circumstances.
The SPRC, the Associate Dean of Medical Education, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, the offices of Registrar and Student Financial Services collaboratively shall have the responsibility for monitoring and enforcing Satisfactory Academic Progress. The HMSOM Registrar will notify the SPRC annually of any students who are not making SAP. The SPRC will determine whether academic sanctions are warranted and will inform the student accordingly. The Office of Student Financial Services will inform any student whose financial aid has been impacted.
Appeal for Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility
Eligibility for continued financial aid will only be re-established if the student subsequently meets Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements and submits a successful appeal, or if the student successfully appeals the decision in writing to the Office of Student Financial Services.
Exceptional circumstances warranting an appeal and possible exceptions include pregnancy, injury or illness of the student, death of a family member, other special circumstances.
- A signed appeal letter request that must include a detailed statement of the facts and circumstances supporting the appeal and why the student believes the determination should be changed.
- All information supporting the appeal.
- The student should also provide information on what had led to the unsatisfactory performance and what has changed situationally that will allow the student to progress academically at the next evaluation.
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