Federal regulations require that students demonstrate satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in their educational program in order to maintain eligibility for financial aid. SAP is established and reviewed by the Law School's Office of Financial Aid and is evaluated independently from the academic and other standards set forth in the Law School's Official Rules and Regulations.
Because there are two different standards-Federal and Institutional- involved, it is possible for a student to be making satisfactory academic progress as determined by the Office of Financial Aid, but fail to be in good academic standing under the Law School's Rules and Regulations. It is also possible for a student to be in good academic standing under the Law School's Rules and Regulations, but not be making satisfactory academic progress as determined by the Office of Financial Aid (OFA).
Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements
- All Suffolk University Law School students must meet relevant qualitative and quantitative standards to maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Qualitative measurement: Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0. Transfer credits will not be factored into the GPA at Suffolk University Law School.
- Quantitative measurement: Students must earn at least 67% of cumulative attempted credits at each point when satisfactory academic progress is measured by the OFA. For purposes of the satisfactory academic progress measure, earned credits are calculated by dividing the number of successfully completed credits by the number of attempted credits. Grades of F, I, NC, W, NG, U, and X will be counted as attempted, but not earned. All other grades will count as attempted and earned. Transfer credits will be included as attempted and completed credits. Credits dropped during the first ten calendars days of the Fall and Spring semesters and credits dropped during the first five calendar days of a Summer program will not be counted as attempted credits. All courses dropped after the first ten calendar days of the Fall and Spring semesters and after the first five days of a Summer program will be counted as attempted credits.
- When a student receives a final grade for a course that was previously incomplete, the GPA and completion rate will only be recalculated at the student's request.
- Students will be eligible for financial aid to cover a repeated course only once.
- Financial aid eligibility is limited to 84 months after a student has commenced study at the Law School.
- The most recent grade for a repeated course will be the only grade counted in the GPA and will be considered the earned grade for the course. Both the original and repeated grades will be counted as attempted grades for that course.
- If a student changes from the JD program to a joint degree program, from one joint degree program to another, or from a joint degree program to the JD program, the OFA will only evaluate SAP for credits attempted and grades earned toward the new program. Any credits and grades attempted at the Law School will always be evaluated for purposes of SAP regardless of whether a student changes programs.
- For a student enrolled in the LLM program, only previous academic coursework accepted for purposes of advanced academic standing will be considered in the calculation to determine satisfactory academic progress in the LLM program. These credits will be treated the same as transfer credits for the purpose of satisfactory academic progress.
- All Joint Degree students must meet the criteria for satisfactory academic progress at the Law School even if all attempted credits are at the Sawyer Business School and/or the College of Arts and Sciences at Suffolk University.
Procedure for Measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress
- JD/and all Joint Degree programs
The OFA will review each student's progress annually after the Spring semester and students will be notified of the results of an evaluation that impacts eligibility for financial aid. A student not meeting the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements will be denied all eligibility for financial aid beginning with the Summer semester immediately following the most recent review of satisfactory academic progress.
- LLM program and post LLM programs
The OFA will review each student's progress after each semester and students will be notified of the results of an evaluation that impacts eligibility for financial aid. A student not meeting the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements will be denied all eligibility for financial aid beginning the semester immediately following the most recent review of satisfactory academic progress.
- JD/and all Joint Degree programs
- Any student (JD, Joint Degree, or LLM) may appeal a financial aid denial if extenuating circumstances exist (e.g., serious illness, hospitalization, death of a family member, etc.), which negatively impacted the student's ability to maintain satisfactory academic progress. A signed, written appeal must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid and addressed to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee describing the reasons that the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress and how the student plans to meet the standard by the end of the next semester. Financial Aid appeals must include all relevant supporting documentation that a student desires to be considered (e.g., hospital records, doctor's note, etc.).
- If an appeal is granted, the student will be placed on financial aid probation for one semester and an academic plan with conditions will be developed. The student must meet the terms of the conditions by the end of the probationary semester. At the end of the probationary semester, academic performance will be reevaluated. At that time, the student must either be meeting the conditions for satisfactory academic progress or have successfully met the terms of the academic plan in order to continue receiving financial aid.
- The Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee will meet as needed to evaluate any appeals. Decisions on appeals will be communicated by a letter mailed to the student's permanent address on file with Suffolk University Law School. Decisions will be mailed out within one week from the time an appeals decision is made. All appeal decisions are final.