Satisfactory Academic Progress

To comply with US Federal regulations, you must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to continue to receive your Financial Aid under the US Department of Education’s Title IV Funding.

Find out how Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured depending on your level and type of study, and how to submit an appeal if your financial aid is terminated. 

Overview

The University has a general policy for SAP and a policy specifically for you if you receive Title IV funding.

When does evaluation take place?

If you’re on a one-year course, your progress will be evaluated during the second semester before the disbursement of Federal Aid to establish eligibility for its continuation.

If your course is for more than one year, assessment will take place at the end of the academic year before certification of funding for your continuation of study.

You must provide a SAP confirmation form signed by your tutor confirming that you have met the SAP requirements for the particular period.

Direct loans governed by the regulations are:

  • Federal Direct Stafford Subsidised Loan
  • Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidised Loan
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan.

SAP standards by level and type of study

Undergraduate students

An honours degree requires 360 credits (120 at each of levels 1, 2, and 3).

  • You must complete the programme in no more than 150% of the normal time taken to complete the programme (for example a three-year programme must be completed in no more than 4.5 years (13.5 semesters)). This timescale includes any previous period of study at other institutions for the same programme.
  • You must have completed at least 30 credits for each semester (360 credits, divided by the maximum permitted length of the programme (13.5 semesters) then rounded up to the nearest 10 credits). The exception to this is if the programme offers fewer than 40 credits in any semester and where the programme is planned to make up the difference in future semesters.
  • You must have achieved a pass grade in each of these 40 credits (a minimum mark of 4.0, equivalent to a GPA of 2.0).

Taught graduate (postgraduate) students

A Masters degree requires 180 credits at M level.

  • You must complete the programme in no more than 150% of the normal time taken to complete the programme (for example a three-semester programme must be completed in no more than 4.5 semesters). This timescale includes any previous period of study at other institutions for the same programme.
  • You must have completed at least 40 M-level credits for each semester (that is 180 credits divided by the maximum permitted length of the programme (4.5 semesters)). The exception to this is if the programme offers fewer than 40 credits in any semester and where the programme is planned to make up the difference in future semesters.
  • You must have achieved a pass grade in each of these 40 M-level credits (a minimum mark of 5.0, equivalent to a GPA of 3.0).

Research graduate (postgraduate) students

  • The programme length cannot exceed 150% of the normal length of the programme (for example a three-year programme must be completed in no more than 4.5 years). This includes time for writing a thesis and viva examination. This timescale 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 the supervisor. To achieve SAP, your supervisor must agree that your research progress is satisfactory.

Resits

If you have to resit, your grade from your initial attempt can be discounted when considering your qualitative progress but it will be taken into account when assessing your quantitative SAP.

Financial Aid probation

The Student Funding team will tell you if you have failed to meet the minimum SAP requirements for both academic progress and course duration. You will be placed on a funding probation for the next available academic term and will still be eligible to receive funding for that time.

If you do not achieve SAP by the end of the funding probation period, your aid will be stopped. We don’t have the ability to waive the SAP requirements for any student. If you can demonstrate exceptional circumstances then you can appeal to the Student Funding manager.

Appeals

If you receive written notice that your Financial Aid has been terminated you can appeal within 10 working days provided you can demonstrate exceptional circumstances.

Examples of exceptional circumstances include:

  • death of an immediate family member (parent, spouse, sibling, child)
  • extended illness of an immediate family member (parent, spouse, sibling, child)
  • you suffering from an extended illness or personal injury
  • other exceptional circumstances as determined by the Student Funding manager.

You have to say why you believe your Financial Aid should not be terminated and provide reasons for failing to meet the SAP 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 or financial accounts
  • other relevant evidence specific to the appeal.

All appeals should be submitted in writing along with supporting documentation to:

Abi Shearsmith - Head of Student Finance & Support  
Student Education Service
Student Services Centre
University of Leeds
Woodhouse Lane
Leeds
LS2 9JT

Loan funding will not be paid while your appeal is being processed.

Appeal decision

You will be informed of your appeal’s outcome and decision within 21 days of submission (provided you submitted all the necessary supporting evidence). The appeals panel’s decision is final.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid

If your appeal is successful you will be eligible for funding for the entire period in which it was decided you had met the SAP requirement.