Standards of Academic Progress (SAP)

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Burlington College is required by federal law to establish, publish, and apply reasonable standards for measuring whether a student is maintaining satisfactory progress toward an academic degree. For every matriculated student, the College assesses qualitative components and quantitative components (pace) within maximum timeframe limits at the end of each enrolled term. Any student determined not to be maintaining satisfactory academic progress on the evaluation deadline of an enrolled semester will be individually notified regarding the actions that s/he is responsible for taking to remain an eligible degree-seeking student.

Quantitative Components: Maximum Timeframe and Pace
In order to continue to qualify for federal financial aid programs, students must complete their program of study within a maximum timeframe. The maximum timeframe is limited to 150% of the published length of an undergraduate program. Students may continue to receive Title IV financial aid funds only when it remains mathematically possible to achieve graduation requirements by the end of the maximum timeframe. For example, a 120-credit bachelor’s degree must be completed within a maximum of 180 attempted credits. Note that graduate students must complete all degree requirements within seven calendar years of matriculating into the Master of Arts program.

Pace is determined by dividing the number of hours the student has successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours attempted. This calculation excludes remedial credits, but includes credits accepted in transfer to fulfill Burlington College degree requirements from another institution.

Qualitative Component: Cumulative Completion Ratio
Burlington College does not use traditional grade point averages to assess the student’s qualitative progress; it is measured using a cumulative completion ratio calculated by evaluating only credits taken at or through the institution (exclusive of transfer credits, inclusive of cross-registration credits). In order to maintain satisfactory qualitative progress, a student must be earning credits in satisfactory proportion to the number attempted. A cumulative earned/attempted ratio is determined for each student at the end of a term.

To be in good academic standing, all students must maintain cumulative completion ratios consistent with graduation requirements. Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum 75% cumulative completion ratio; graduate students must maintain a minimum 85% cumulative completion ratio. Full credit awarded at the undergraduate level is consistent with a C letter grade at minimum. At the graduate level, expectations are higher; the award of full credit represents achievement of at least a B letter grade equivalent.

All evaluations are due by the evaluation deadline at the end of each semester. It is important to note that credit is not awarded for a learning activity until an acceptable student evaluation for the learning activity is received and recorded. Missing student evaluations will bring down the completion ratio. All student evaluations still missing at the end of the following semester will be administratively changed to no credit at the evaluation deadline.

Credits taken through cross-registration at other institutions during a student’s enrollment in a Burlington College degree program are included in the calculation of the student’s completion ratio and affect academic standing. It is the student’s responsibility to request that official transcripts for cross-registered courses be sent to the Registrar’s Office at the end of the semester of registration to maintain his/her good academic standing.

If a student withdraws from attempted credits within the first one-third of the semester but after the Free Add/Drop period, those credits are calculated as a withdrawal with no academic penalty (WN); the credits are included in the maximum number of cumulative attempted credits, but excluded from the calculation of the cumulative completion ratio. If the student is replacing the withdrawn credits with equivalent new credits within the same term, ARC and the Business Office must be petitioned to allow for replacement of the originally attempted credits. After the first one-third of the semester, withdrawn credits are calculated as a withdrawal with academic penalty (W); this is included in the calculation of both the semester and cumulative attempted credits and the completion ratio.

Unfinished incompletes will be administratively changed to no credit at the end of the following semester; these are included in the calculation of the cumulative completion ratio and the maximum cumulative credits attempted.

Low Passes
The maximum numbers of low-pass credits allowed are twelve for a bachelor’s degree, nine for an associate’s degree, zero for a certificate program, and zero for a master’s degree. No low-pass credits may be counted to satisfy a writing, mathematics, or computer requirement or any requirement in a student’s major; no low-pass credits are applicable within certificate and graduate programs.

In the case of course repetitions, only the highest credit award is counted toward the degree requirement. All attempted credits are included in the calculation of the maximum cumulative attempted credits (above) and the cumulative completion ratio; however, the number of earned credits for the repeated activity will only be counted once toward fulfilling degree requirements. Per federal regulations, in cases when a course is passed with a grade that is insufficient to satisfy degree requirements (e.g., low pass), only one repetition is allowed. Remedial-level course credits are included in the cumulative completion ratio calculations; however, these credits are not applicable to degree requirements.

Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress by the evaluation deadline of an enrolled semester will be assigned financial aid warning status for their next semester of enrollment. A student on financial aid warning may continue to receive Title IV aid for one term despite a determination that the student is not meeting SAP standards. Students on financial aid warning status are required to have in place an Academic Plan submitted to and approved by the Dean by the end of the first week of the Add/Drop period, or be subject to administrative withdrawal from any enrolled coursework. (See Academic Plan below.)

Students who have been conditionally admitted must have in place an academic plan that formalizes the terms outlined in the acceptance letter during their first semester. The plan must be approved by the Dean by the end of the first week of the Add/Drop period. These students are subject to dismissal at the end of that period of enrollment if the terms of the academic plan are not met and/or they are not making satisfactory academic progress. These students may appeal to be allowed to remain enrolled on financial aid probation (see below).

Academic Dismissal
At the evaluation deadline, students on warning who failed to make satisfactory academic progress will be dismissed. In most cases, this will occur after two successive semesters of failure to achieve a satisfactory overall completion ratio. The Dean will notify the student and the Financial Aid Office of academic dismissal following the semester’s evaluation deadline. Academically dismissed students will be administratively dropped from any coursework they have registered for upcoming terms. These students may re-enroll in learning activities at Burlington College as non-matriculated students, but will be ineligible for financial aid or veteran’s benefits. Note: If any student has not earned any of the credits attempted in a semester, the last date of the student’s attendance will be determined and may necessitate the collection and return of disbursed financial aid funds.

Appeal Process
Students may appeal academic dismissal to remain matriculated and have eligibility for aid reinstated for one semester by filing an Appeal Request Form to the Dean. Acceptable grounds to appeal academic dismissal must be documented and include, but are not limited to, death in immediate family, incapacitating illness or injury of the student, late instructor paperwork (instructor confirmation necessary), late study abroad and cross-registration official transcripts (student must have documentation that s/he requested official transcript on time), or other special circumstances. In addition to acceptable grounds, the form must contain the following: 1) information regarding why the student failed to make SAP, and 2) what has changed in the student’s situation that would allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress in the next term. The Appeal Request Form must be accompanied by an Academic Plan.

Academic Plan
An appeal to be allowed to remain enrolled on financial aid probation status may be approved only if the student includes an academic plan developed with an academic advisor that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet SAP standards by a specified point in time. Achievement of the required overall completion ratio must be possible within the maximum cumulative attempted credits for degree completion listed above in order to maintain financial aid eligibility. The purpose of the academic plan is to put the student on track to successful program completion. It may be as complicated as a course by course plan toward degree completion, or as simple as a mathematical calculation that specifies the percentage of coursework the student must now complete.

The College may require that a student on probation fulfill specific terms and conditions, such as taking a reduced course load or enrolling in specific courses. Students on financial aid warning status must have an academic plan approved by the Dean by the end of the first week of the Add/Drop period, or be subject to administrative withdrawal from enrolled coursework.

Financial aid probation reinstates eligibility for federal funds for one semester. It is a status assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress and who has successfully appealed academic dismissal. Once an appeal request and academic plan have been approved by the Dean, the student may re-enroll in coursework for the upcoming term. Following one term on probation, Burlington College can disburse Title IV funds only if the student is meeting SAP standards or the College determines that the student met the requirements specified in the Academic Plan developed during the appeal process.

At the end of the contract semester when progress reports are mailed, the Dean, working with the student’s academic advisor, will determine if the student has satisfied the conditions of the academic plan. Students who fail to satisfy the requirements of the contract or to achieve the necessary minimum cumulative completion ratio are subject to academic dismissal. Students who met the requirements specified in the academic plan, but who still fail to meet minimum SAP standards, will be allowed to appeal academic dismissal in order to remain enrolled on probation and eligible for aid until satisfactory SAP standards are achieved.

Returning to the College following Academic Dismissal
To return to the College as a degree-seeking student, an academically dismissed student must reapply through the Admissions Office after at least one semester away from the College as a matriculated student. Mathematically, the student must be able to achieve the minimum required completion ratio within the maximum timeframe. Enrolling as a non-matriculated student or interrupting attendance for one or more semesters do not in themselves affect a student’s academic standing. Accomplishments during this period are considered as criteria for readmission. Requests will be considered on an individual basis and readmission is at the sole discretion of the College.

A student who returns from academically dismissed status with a cumulative completion ratio below the required minimum remains ineligible for financial aid until satisfactory academic progress is achieved. These students must contract to the terms of an academic plan as part of the readmission decision and is considered on Academic Probation. Failure to meet the terms of the academic plan at the end of the first semester after returning from academic dismissal will result in dismissal from the College.