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 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 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)
Students must achieve minimum standards as required by the academic department and supervisor/tutor, and academic standing consistent with graduation requirements. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 which is equivalent to a C grade. At Bath this equates to a minimum mark of 40%.
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 federal loans.
Therefore you should maintain a minimum completion rate of two thirds of the credits attempted to ensure your programme of study will be completed within the maximum time frame allowed.
Credits transferred from all other credit sources will be considered as attempted/completed credits in the evaluation of the completion rate standards, but these do not affect the calculation of the grade point average.
Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students' pace
A programme of study must be completed in no more than 150% of the normal time taken to complete it. For example a 3 year undergraduate degree must be completed in no more than 4.5 years and a 1 year Masters degree in 1.5 years. This time scale 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 Masters.
For the purposes of SAP only, you should complete a minimum of 67% of your credits in each year.
- For example a 3 year undergraduate degree = 3 x 60 credits
- Maximum timeframe: 150% x 180 credits = 270 credits
- Pace of completion: 180 credits / 270 credits = 0.666 = 0.67 = 67%
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 3 year PhD should be completed in 4.5 years.) This time scale includes any previous period of study at other institutions for the same programme.
All University progress deadlines plus any written deadlines agreed with your supervisor must be met. The supervisor must agree that progress with your research is satisfactory and meeting required timeframes set by them.
Academic Progress Review
Academic progress will be prior to the next terms disbursement of loans. We will request a termly confirmation of Satisfactory Academic Progress from your course tutor, supervisor or Director of Studies. It is your responsibility to obtain and submit a completed SAP form in time to ensure no delay to your loan disbursements. The form can be collected from and submitted to the Scholarships & Bursaries Team (US Loans), UG Admissions and Outreach Reception, Wessex House 6.38.
Procedure for assessing Satisfactory Academic Progress of US loans recipients at Bath
Your academic progress will be assessed prior to the disbursement of 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 that satisfactory academic progress has been made under the following criteria in line with US Federal Regulations:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 but are 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 loans for this repeat year, subject meeting required pass rates and SAP warning/probation rules and 150% timeframes, as detailed.
If you have not submitted assessments you may have your Title IV loans withdrawn as you may have not met the minimum pass rates and pace of credit completion.
Transfer credits for the same grade level will count towards the 150% timeframe/pace as detailed.
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)
US loans warning
Where your academic department is unable to confirm that you are are making satisfactory academic progress, you will be issued with a US loans warning for the next academic term. You will continue to receive your US loans during this period, but will be expected to have resumed satisfactory academic progress prior to the next scheduled disbursement of US loans.
Where satisfactory academic progress is not confirmed by the end of the academic term, you will be advised in writing that your US loans will be suspended.
If you have received written notice that your US loans will be suspended you may appeal if you consider that exceptional circumstances surrounding your progress can be demonstrated.
Examples of exceptional circumstance may include, but are not limited to:
- 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 your US loans 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 should submit an appeal to: Scholarships & Bursaries Team (US Loans), UG Admissions and Outreach Reception, Wessex House 6.38, University of Bath, BA2 7AY
Disbursement of loans 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 in place by the University.
US loans probation
Where an appeal is upheld, you will have your US loans reinstated, but will be placed on US loans probation for next academic term. You will be expected to have resumed SAP prior to your next loan 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.