Overview

Prior to each disbursement of your Title IV loans you must evidence that you are progressing satisfactorily towards completing your course. If you do not meet this then you may not be eligible to receive further Title IV loans. We also request evidence of your progress for other loan types, for example Sallie Mae, Americorps or Veterans Aid.

US Federal regulations require that you must be enrolled and making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in order to be eligible to receive Title IV loans. These regulations require that we check your progress at regular intervals. For detailed information on US 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 a 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 loans is measured by:

  • timeframe – maximum time allowed in completing an academic programme
  • performance – student grade level average or equivalent

How SAP is assessed

Qualitative standard (grades)

You 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)

You must progress through your programme at a pace which ensures that you will graduate within the maximum timeframe. The maximum timeframe for completion is 150% of the standard, published timeframe for a course. You must also be studying at least half-time in order to be eligible for Title IV loans.

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students' pace

You 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 timeframe includes any previous periods of study at other institutions at the same grade level. You 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. For the purposes of SAP only, you should complete a minimum of 66.7% credits in each year.

The Student Records Office has information on programme structures and 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 at the most). This timeframe includes any previous period of study at other institutions for the same programme.

You 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 meets the required timeframes they set.

Academic Progress Review

An 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 your responsibility to ensure that your completed SAP form is sent back to us in time.

You can download the SAP form and email it to us at usloans@bath.ac.uk, or collect it and submit it in person:

US Loans
Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach
Wessex House 6.21
University of Bath
Claverton Down
Bath
BA2 7AY

Procedure for assessing Satisfactory Academic Progress of US Federal Aid recipients at Bath

Your academic progress will be assessed prior to the disbursement of your US loans at the start of each academic term, to determine continued eligibility. The Scholarships and Bursaries Team (US Loans) will seek confirmation from your academic department/school that satisfactory academic progress has been made under the following criteria, in line with US Federal Regulations:

  1. You are on track to complete your academic course in no more than 150% of the published length of the programme measured as appropriate in academic terms.
  2. Your progress is in line with the level expected for your academic programme, as defined in the University’s Assessment Regulations, and sufficient to enable continued academic progression on your course.
  3. You have appropriate standing at the time of the SAP assessment consistent with the institution’s requirements for the successful completion of your course.

Where SAP is confirmed as satisfactory, your student loans will be processed as normal.

Examples of changes that will affect your SAP progress

Repetition or reassessment due to academic failure

If you are resubmitting work or resitting examinations and not in attendance, you are not eligible for Title IV loans. If you are required to retake a year and are attending at least half-time you will be eligible for aid for this repeat year. This is subject to you meeting required pass rates, SAP warning/probation rules and 150% timeframes.

Incomplete grades

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

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 your onward progression, in accordance with University regulations (3). In the case where you are 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 timeframes allowable)

Financial aid warning

Where your academic department is unable to confirm that you are are making satisfactory academic progress, you will be issued with a financial aid warning for the next academic term. You will continue to receive your 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, you will be advised in writing that your financial aid will be suspended.

Appeals

If you have received written advice that your financial aid will be suspended you may appeal (within ten days of receiving written notification) if you consider that exceptional circumstances surrounding your progress can be demonstrated.

Examples of exceptional circumstance may include:

  • you suffered an illness that necessitated he/she missed at least 15 days of lectures or equivalent research time
  • you suffered a loss in your 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.
  • you were the victim of a natural disaster that caused you to not attend University

All appeals must be received within 10 days of receipt of the Notice of Suspension.

You will be required to indicate why you believe financial aid should not be terminated and provide reasons for failing to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements. You will also be required to supply documentary evidence in support of your 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

You can submit an appeal to:

US Loans
Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach
Wessex House 6.21
University of Bath
Claverton Down
Bath
BA2 7AY

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, you will have your financial aid reinstated, but will be placed on financial aid probation for next academic term. You 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 you. This will be through consultation with your academic tutor and other relevant specialist staff, to ensure that you are able to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards by an agreed time in the future.