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Shared Student Services

MD Program Satisfactory Academic Progress

How to Keep Your Aid: Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid Recipients

MD Standards

SAP is reviewed for medical students at the end of each academic year. Student’s academic standings must be reviewed by the Academic Performance Review Committee (APRC) before the Office of Student Financial Aid can finalize a SAP review. If aid eligibility will be impacted students will be notified via email from the office of financial aid. SAP requirements apply to all students as one determinant of eligibility for financial aid and include three components:

  • Qualitative (GPA or Equivalent Measure)
  • Pace or Quantitative
  • Maximum Time

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Qualitative Review

Because several terms of the medical school curriculum will not yield a GPA (as courses may be graded pass/fail), the concept of promotion to the next year will be used to determine whether a student has made sufficient qualitative progress for financial aid purposes. Any student who does not promote to the subsequent year automatically is not making satisfactory progress and is therefore ineligible for further financial aid disbursements. Therefore, any student who requires review by the APRC is not making SAP and not eligible for further aid. Once the ARPC has reviewed the student’s situation and made a determination, the following rules apply:

  • Student is promoted to subsequent medical school level.
    • In this case, the student is determined to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress and aid eligibility is reestablished.
  • Student is required to remediate one or more courses before promotion will be allowed.
    • Student has not made Satisfactory Progress and is not eligible for financial aid. If after remediation the student is allowed by APRC to promote, student’s status will be changed to making SAP and aid eligibility restored. Students are not eligible for financial aid during the period of remediation.
  • Student is required to repeat a year or an entire semester of medical school.
    • Students who are required by ARPC to repeat a year of medical school (assessed tuition) will be placed on financial aid probation and can continue to receive financial aid for that repeated year. For financial aid SAP purposes, the student is considered to be on an “academic plan,” during this time, consisting of completing required courses to the satisfaction of the medical school. For students repeating a year, at the end of the first term of the probationary period, the Office of Financial Aid will request a review from the Associate Deans’ office (or ARPC) to determine whether the student has made satisfactory improvement to warrant the additional financial aid disbursements for a second term of financial aid probation. Students who have not made sufficient progress in the first term of the financial aid probation will not receive subsequent financial aid disbursements. Students may not receive financial aid for a year or semester repeated for the second time (3rd attempt).
  • Student is dismissed from the medical school.
    • If the ARPC dismisses a student, the student becomes immediately ineligible for further financial aid disbursements. Students who appeal the decision of the ARPC will not receive any further financial aid disbursements during the appeal period. If the appeal is successful, financial aid eligibility will be restored and aid awarded retroactively back to the beginning of the term in which the appeal is granted.

Qualitative SAP component is dependent upon the ARPC rulings, and therefore cannot be appealed to the Office of Financial Aid.

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Quantitative Review

At the end of each academic year, the number of attempted credits or courses divided by the number of successfully completed credits or courses must be at least 67%. If a student’s pace of completion is below this threshold, the student is not making SAP and is not eligible for further financial aid. In the unlikely event that a medical student is allowed by the ARPC to promote and continue attendance after having not met this threshold, the student must appeal to the Office of Financial Aid for continued aid eligibility. (See Appeals section below)

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Maximum Time Frame

A student must complete all requirements of the MD degree for graduation within six years from the date of the first day of Year 1 classes. An exception (e.g., qualifying leaves of absence, students pursuing an additional degree or research) may be made on a case by case basis by the APRC. Under ordinary circumstances, a student must be eligible for promotion to Year 3 of the curriculum within four academic years from the start of Year 1 classes to allow sufficient time to complete the curriculum in six years. Students unable to meet these time limitations are subject to immediate suspension of financial aid. Federal regulations requires that a student becomes ineligible for financial aid as soon as it is no longer mathematically possible for them to graduate within the maximum time frame. Students who are notified that they are ineligible due to maximum time frame must appeal to the Office of Financial Aid for continued aid disbursements. (See Appeals section below)

The Review Process

The SAP review must include the student’s total academic history—meaning all attempted hours at current degree level.

Students who have extenuating circumstances that have contributed to their failure to maintain SAP may petition their status by completing a SAP appeal. The written appeal should be submitted to the USF Health Financial Aid Office. The written appeal must be submitted within 10 business days, from receipt of the deficit SAP status notification.

A response by the financial aid office will be provided to the student within 10 business days of appeal receipt.

As required by the US Department of Education, submitted appeals should include:

  • Narrative and supportive documentation (as appropriate) noting the reasons for failure to meet academic progression standards for financial aid eligibility.
  • Narrative and supportive documentation (as appropriate) explaining how student circumstances have changed, with a description of steps undertaken to attain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Narrative and signed copy of the required academic plan (as provided by the ARPSAC). The narrative should include language describing the changes to be implemented to avoid future academic difficulties.

An approved appeal will permit the student to receive financial aid for one payment period. At the end of this payment period academic progression will be re-evaluated, and the student must be demonstrating satisfactory academic progress. Any student who is unable to demonstrate satisfactory academic progression will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will be ineligible to receive financial aid.