Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

I. General Provisions

The U.S. Department of Education requires that in order to receive federal student financial aid under the programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act, a student must be maintaining satisfactory academic progress throughout his/her course of study according to the standards and practices of the institution in which she or he is enrolled.

The Title IV programs administered by the University of San Diego School of Law are: Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized and/or Non-subsidized), Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans, Federal Perkins Loan and Federal Work Study.  In addition to federal student aid, all institutional aid (scholarships, grants and loans) is contingent on the student meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Following the final grade processing for the spring semester, those students who are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards will be notified of their ineligibility to receive further financial aid for the following academic year. The following Satisfactory Academic Progress standards for the University of San Diego School of Law financial aid eligibility must be met during the academic year and the following summer in order to receive Title IV and University need-based financial aid for the following academic year.

II. Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for Full-Time JD Students

Unit Standards

Students must complete and receive credit ( F, U, W, IP grades excluded) for a minimum of 19 units during the academic year and the following summer. For students not attending the following summer this will equate to a minimum average of 9.5 units per semester of enrollment (see section IV). Note: Students are not eligible for aid in fall/spring semesters in which they are enrolled for less than 6 units during the academic year.

Grade Standards

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0. Note: Our SAP procedures include a review of your cumulative GPA prior to the start of fall semester which includes summer session grades. Although your GPA may have met the SAP standards of 2.0 at the end of the academic year, if your cumulative GPA falls below the standards at the end of summer session, your financial aid eligibility status for next year will be affected.

Pace/Duration Limits

There are limits on the number of academic years students are eligible for financial aid. These limits apply whether or not the student received aid or withdrew after the deadline to add classes (typically the end of 2nd week) and are based on a reasonable time to complete the program. All financial aid funding includes the Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Non-subsidized and/or Graduate PLUS) and USD aid - i.e. grants, scholarships and University Loan. Per U.S. Department of Education regulations, students have 4.5 years in which to earn the 86 units required to complete the JD degree and be eligible for financial aid.  Additionally, students must complete and receive a passing grade on 68% of the units attempted for the term to maintain pace toward graduation (see IV,B).

III. Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for Part-Time JD Students

Part-Time Status

To meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standard the student's part-time status must be approved by the Office of the Law School Registrar and the Office of the Dean of Students.

Unit Standards

Although part-time students may register for 8-11 units, to meet financial aid standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress, the student must complete and receive credit (F, U, W, IP grades excluded) for a minimum of 14.3 units during the academic year and the following summer.   For students not attending the following summer, this will equate to a minimum average of 7 units per quarter of enrollment (see section IV). Note:  Although 14.3 units must be completed at the end of the academic year, a student must enroll in at least 6 units (fall/spring) to be eligible for student aid.

Grade Standards

Students must maintain an overall grade point average of at least 2.0. Note: Our SAP procedures include a review of your cumulative GPA prior to the start of fall semester which includes summer session grades. Although your GPA may have met the SAP standards of 2.0 at the end of the academic year, if your cumulative GPA falls below the standards at the end of summer session, your financial aid eligibility status for next year will be affected.

Pace/Duration Limits

There are limits on the number of academic years students are eligible for financial aid. These limits apply whether or not the student received aid or withdrew after the deadline to add classes (typically the end of 2nd week) and are based on a reasonable time to complete the program. All financial aid funding includes the Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and/or Graduate PLUS) and USD aid - i.e. grants, scholarships and University Loan. Per ABA rules and U.S. Department of Education regulations, students have 6 years in which to earn the 86 units required to complete the JD degree and be eligible for financial aid.  Additionally, students must complete and receive a passing grade on 68% of the units attempted for the term to maintain pace toward graduation (see IV,B).

IV. Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for LLM and MS in Legal Studies Students

Unit Standards

Students must complete and receive credit (F, U, W, IP grades excluded) for a minimum of 87.5% of the number of units attempted at the end of the academic year.  A student may make up any deficient units from fall and/or spring term during the summer.  Note: Students are not eligible for financial aid in semesters in which they are enrolled for less than 6 units.

Grade Standards

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0. Note: Our SAP procedures include a review of your cumulative GPA prior to the start of fall semester which includes summer session grades. Although your GPA may have met the SAP standards of 2.0 at the end of the academic year, if your cumulative GPA falls below the standards at the end of summer session, your financial aid eligibility status for next year will be affected.

Pace/Duration Limits

There are limits on the number of academic years you are eligible for financial aid. These limits apply whether or not the student received aid or withdrew after the deadline to add classes (typically the end of 2nd week) and are based on a reasonable time to complete the program. All financial aid funding includes the Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Non-subsidized and/or Graduate PLUS) and USD aid - i.e. grants, scholarships and University Loan. Students have 6 years in which to earn the 24 or 25 units required to complete the LLM/MS in Legal Studies degree. Additionally, students must complete 4 units per year to maintain pace for graduation and remain eligible for financial aid (see IV,B).

IV. Additional Satisfactory Academic Progress Unit Requirement Information

Students who withdraw for the semester after the add/drop deadline (typically the end of 2nd week) are, for financial aid purposes, considered enrolled for the term and are still required to meet the unit standards (see sections II, III and IV above) prior to the following fall semester. Students who withdraw for the term before the add/drop deadline, are notrequired to complete the units and that semester would not be counted in determining financial aid pace eligibility.

Chart with minimum units completed to maintain pace toward graduation:

Year JD Full-Time JD Part-Time LLM/MS in Legal Studies
1 19 14.3 4
2 38 28.6 8
3 57 42.9 12
4 76 57.2 16
5 86* 71.5 20
6   86 24

*Financial aid eligibility for one semester

V. Consequences for Failing to Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress

Law students who fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress as delineated in sections II through IV, will automatically be disqualified from any further financial aid eligibility beginning the subsequent fall term.  Consequently, the student will be responsible for funding all costs associated with attending the following term of enrollment.  If during the term in which the student did not receive financial aid, satisfactory academic progress is satisfied, the student will once again regain financial aid eligibility for the following term. 

An alternative to self-funding the term, students may appeal to re-establish financial aid eligibility.  Valid reasons for approval of appeals are:

  • Death of a relative
  • Student injury or illness
  • Other special circumstance

Students submitting appeals for special circumstances are required to submit an academic plan developed with the assistance of the Dean of Students.

Appeals will be reviewed by the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee throughout the year.  If an appeal is approved, financial aid eligibility is re-established for one semester at which time, an additional review will be conducted to determine academic progress.

Contact:

Financial Aid
Warren Hall, Room 203
Phone: (619) 260-4570
Fax: (619) 260-2218

Hours

M, T, Th, F: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
W: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.