U.S. Federal regulations require that a student must be enrolled and making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in order to be eligible to receive Title IV Federal Loans. These regulations require that the University checks the students’ progress at regular intervals. For detailed information on U.S. Loan administration please read our guide to Funding and loans for US students studying in the UK.
This definition of SAP may be different from other University of Bath policies and is not a replacement for University academic regulations.
Note to academics: We require a report on a students’ progress at that point in the academic year. We are aware that sometimes the information requested is prior to any board of studies reviews and/or assessment outcomes. At the time of the progress request we also require information if a student has made changes to their studies such as from a MSc to a PG Cert or from full-time to part-time studies, or if such as request is in progress and has not been updated on the student SAMIS record system.
Definition of SAP
Our definition of Satisfactory Academic Progress for the purposes of receiving Title IV Federal Loans is measured by:
- Time frame – maximum time allowed in completing an academic programme
- Performance – student grade level average or equivalent
How SAP is assessed
Qualitative standard (grades)
Students must achieve minimum standards as required by the academic department and supervisor/tutor, equivalent to a 40% pass rate and academic standing consistent with graduation requirements. The minimum standards must be met prior to the next disbursement payment period.
Quantitative standard (pace)
Students must progress through their programme at a pace which ensures that they will graduate within the maximum time frame. The maximum time frame for completion is 150% of the standard, published time frame for a course. Students must also be studying at least half-time in order to be eligible for federal loans.
Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students Pace
A student must complete the programme in no more than 150% of the normal time taken to complete the programme (for example a three-year undergraduate degree must be completed in no more than four and a half years and a one-year Master's degree in one and a half years). This time scale includes any previous periods of study at other institutions at the same grade level. Students must normally pass each unit of assessment to gain the academic credits for that year of study, before being able to progress onto the following year, as appropriate.
ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits are used to illustrate how units fit together within a programme of study. The workload for a typical undergraduate year comprises 60 credits with 90 credits for a Master's. A student, for the purposes of SAP only, should complete a minimum of 66.7% credits in each year.
Refer to Programme Structures for further information.
Use our catalouges to find details of assessment regulations.
Postgraduate Research Students Pace
The programme length cannot exceed 150% of the normal length of the programme. This includes time for writing a thesis and viva examination (for example a three-year PhD should be completed in four and a half years.) This timescale includes any previous period of study at other institutions for the same programme.
The student must have met all University progress deadlines, plus any written deadlines agreed with their supervisor. The supervisor must agree that progress with research is satisfactory and meeting required time frames they set.
Academic Progress Review
Academic Progress Review will be prior to the next term's disbursement of loans. All students must submit a termly confirmation of Satisfactory Academic Progress from their course tutor, supervisor or Director of Studies as soon as possible to allow the payment of the next disbursement to be made. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain and submit a completed SAP form in time.
Wessex House 6.21 University of Bath
Procedure for assessing Satisfactory Academic Progress of US Federal Aid recipients at Bath
The academic progress of students will be assessed prior to the disbursement of Federal Aid, at the start of each academic term, to determine continued eligibility. The Admissions and Funding Team (US Loans) will seek confirmation from the student's academic school that satisfactory academic progress has been made under the following criteria, in line with US Federal Regulations:
- The student is on track to complete their academic course in no more than 150% of the published length of the programme measured as appropriate in academic terms.
- The student’s progress is in line with the level expected for his/her academic programme, as defined in the University’s Assessment Regulations, and sufficient to enable continued academic progression on their course.
- The student has appropriate standing at the time of the SAP assessment consistent with the institution’s requirements for the successful completion of his/her course.
Where SAP is confirmed, the student’s financial aid will be processed as normal.
Examples of changes that will affect your SAP progress.
Repetition or reassessment due to academic failure
Students who are resubmitting work or resitting examinations, but are not in attendance, are not eligible for Title IV loans. A student who is required to retake a year and is attending at least half time will be eligible for aid for this repeat year. This is subject to them meeting required pass rates, SAP warning/probation rules and 150% time frames.
Students who have not submitted assessments may have their Title IV loans withdrawn as they may not meet the minimum pass rates and pace of credit completion.
Transfer credits for the same grade level will count towards the 150% time frame.
Fail/Repeat/Pass and Progress
The Faculty and Board of Studies are responsible for determining a student's onward progression, in accordance with University regulations (3). In the case where a student is not permitted to progress onto the next term/semester/year, then no further loans will be payable.
Examples of changes that will not affect your SAP progress:
- Period of approved suspension/suspension of status, including maternity/paternity/adoption leave
- Change of programme of study (unless elements contribute towards the new programme and/or maximum time frames allowable)
Financial Aid Warning
Where the student's academic department is unable to confirm that they are making satisfactory academic progress, the student will be issued with a financial aid warning for the next academic term. The student will continue to receive their financial aid during this period but will be expected to have resumed satisfactory academic progress prior to the next scheduled disbursement of financial aid.
Where satisfactory academic progress is not confirmed by the end of the academic term, the student will be advised in writing that their financial aid will be suspended.
A student who has received written advice that their financial aid will be suspended may appeal (within ten days of receiving written notification) if they consider that exceptional circumstances surrounding their progress can be demonstrated.
Examples of exceptional circumstance may include:
- Student suffered an illness that necessitated he/she missing at least 15 days of lectures or equivalent research time
- Student suffered a loss in his/her immediate family. Immediate family is defined as parents, grandparents, and siblings for a dependent student. Immediate family for an independent student also includes his/her spouse and children.
- Student was the victim of a natural disaster that caused him/her to not attend the University
All appeals must be received within ten days of receipt of the Notice of Suspension.
Students will be required to indicate why they believe financial aid should not be terminated and provide reasons for failing to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements. Students will also be required to supply documentary evidence in support of their appeal. This may include:
- copy of death certificate
- medical certificate from a registered doctor or psychiatrist
- statement from tutor or other senior School official
- bank statements
- financial accounts
- other relevant evidence specific to the appeal
Students should submit an appeal to:
Wessex House 6.21
University of Bath
Disbursement of loan funding will not be made while an appeal is being processed.
The circumstances of the appeal will be considered further and a decision of the appeal will be communicated to the student in writing, within 14 days of submission, if all necessary supporting evidence is complete.
This process is separate to any academic appeals process.
Financial Aid Probation
Where an appeal is upheld, the student will have their financial aid reinstated, but will be placed on financial aid probation for next academic term. The student will be expected to have resumed SAP prior to the next disbursement of financial aid or where appropriate, meet the conditions of an academic action plan that has been put in place for the student. This will be through consultation with the student’s academic tutor and other relevant specialist staff, to ensure that the student is able to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards by an agreed time in the future.
Wessex House 6.21
University of Bath
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