The University of East Anglia (hereafter referred to as ‘the University’) has a duty to ensure that all students applying for, or receiving, Title IV (US Federal Student Aid) funds (hereafter referred to as ‘Students’) are making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in their educational programme. This is in accordance with the US Department of Education’s regulations, in order for the Students to remain eligible for US Federal Student Aid funds (Subsidised, Unsubsidised and PLUS Loans).
The University sets out its expectations relating to student attendance, engagement and progression in the General Regulations as well as Student Engagement Procedures Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students. Postgraduate Research students should refer to the UEA Regulations for Postgraduate researchers.
2.0 Academic Standards
Our SAP standards for Students are stricter than for non-Title IV students enrolled in the same educational programmes as we are carrying out more frequent checks of their progress on the course.
3.0 Outline of SAP
Whilst studying at the University, Students must maintain at least half-time enrolment in a degree granting programme and maintain SAP throughout the course. We apply consistent application of SAP standards to evaluate, investigate and monitor all Title IV students (full-time, part-time, undergraduate and graduate).
We have two payment periods within each academic year, with a disbursement for each. All Students will have their SAP evaluated at the end of each payment period, prior to their next loan disbursement. An exception to this is during the final payment period of a course about to end, where instead we await confirmation of successful course completion.
SAP evaluation takes place at the end of each payment period for all educational programmes. This equates to a minimum of two times each academic year in most cases.
4.0 New Students
For new Students about to start a course with us, SAP is met by attaining the University’s entrance criteria and being unconditionally accepted by the University. Before disbursing Title IV funds we will check to ensure that new Students have fully registered with the University and are enrolled on their intended course.
5.0 Current Students
Title IV Students continuing onto the next academic year must make a new application for US Federal Student Aid by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). On submission of a new application for Federal Aid the University will check to confirm that Students have met SAP requirements in the previous payment period.
6.0 SAP Evaluation
The SAP evaluation process takes both qualitative and quantitative measurements to consider a Student’s academic progress. When assessing whether a Student meets SAP we evaluate whether their grades are being maintained at a certain level (qualitative) and they are progressing at a pace that ensures they will complete the course within the maximum timeframe (quantitative).
In order to retain eligibility for Financial Aid:
- Undergraduate (UG) Students are required to maintain the equivalent of no less than a 40%, Grade C average (this is broadly equivalent to a GPA of 2.0) throughout the course.
- Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Students are required to maintain the equivalent of no less than a 50%, Grade B/B- average (this is broadly equivalent to a GPA of 2.8-3.0) throughout the course.
- Postgraduate Research (PGR) Students are required to maintain regular contact and review through their monthly supervisory meetings. For any assessments recorded, no less than a 40%, Grade C average (this is broadly equivalent to a GPA of 2.0) is required.
|UK Class||UEA Percentage||US Grade||US GPA|
70 - 100
60 - 69
3.0 - 3.33
50 - 59
2.8 - 3.0
40 - 49
35 - 39
0 - 34
(Source: USA Grading System - National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom)
In order to be making SAP a Student should also not exceed 150% of the published standard course length and should remain enrolled on at least a half time basis. Students are expected to be completing on time with the pace being the standard course length when we evaluate SAP. However, going outside the standard pace of completion is deemed acceptable provided the course can still be completed within 150% of the published standard course length i.e. a 3 year standard degree programme would have to be completed within a maximum of 4.5 years.
Where required we will contact the relevant Learning and Teaching Service (LTS) School Team for Undergraduate (UG) and Postgraduate Taught (PGT) students, or the relevant PGR Service for Postgraduate Research (PGR) students for further details regarding a Student’s academic progress (GPA and pace of completion).
In some cases (for PGR Students & for those students where no formal assessments have been recorded to date) we check directly with the Student and their Supervisor/Academic Adviser. In this case the Student is sent a ‘SAP Review Form’ (Appendix A) which they have to complete with their Supervisor/Academic Adviser and send back to the University at email@example.com. The Student will be notified of this requirement at the end of their current payment period and the Review Form must be completed and returned within a given deadline.
When a course is about to end, SAP evaluation undertaken during the final payment period will be based on confirmation of course completion. The course completion date is identified as the point at which the Student has completed the length of the programme, in line with reporting on NSLDS as Graduated.
6.1 Failing to meet SAP requirements
Students will be notified in writing if they do not meet the SAP requirements based on the evaluation stated above. The University cannot waive the SAP requirement for any Student. A Student who fails to meet SAP requirements at the end of a Payment Period will be sent a notice of Financial Aid Suspension informing them that they have not met the SAP requirements and are at risk of being ineligible for further disbursements of US Federal Student Aid. A Student can regain eligibility only by submitting a successful appeal, within 14 calendar days, to be placed on Financial Aid Probation and then subsequently taking action that meets the SAP requirements.
6.2 Financial Aid Probation
The University will place a Student on Financial Aid Probation if the Student successfully appeals against the decision that they have failed to meet the SAP requirements.
During the period of the Financial Aid Probation a Student will still receive their Federal Student Aid loan, providing that the University evaluates the student and determines that they should be able to meet SAP standards during the subsequent Payment Period OR that the University develops an academic plan for the student, that if followed, will ensure the student is able to meet SAP by a specific point in time. SAP will be evaluated in the normal way at the end of the next Payment Period, where an assessment will be made to determine if SAP has been achieved.
If SAP standards have been satisfied the Student regains eligibility without penalty for the following Payment Period. If, however, the Student fails to meet SAP at this time, they will be issued with a final notice of Financial Aid Suspension.
6.3 Financial Aid Suspension
In the event that a Student issued with a notice of Financial Aid Suspension does not submit an appeal within 14 calendar days or that appeal is unsuccessful, or a Student on Financial Aid Probation fails to meet the further SAP requirements by the end of the given Payment Period, eligibility to receive future US Federal Student Aid loans will be suspended, until such time they are able to achieve the required standards.
An appeal procedure for verifiable or unforeseen extenuating circumstances is available, if a Student believes that they meet those criteria. We permit Students to appeal within 14 calendar days after receiving a notice of Financial Aid Suspension.
A Student may appeal by emailing a request for reconsideration based on extenuating circumstances (bereavement, personal injury/illness or other special circumstance etc.) that they have faced and believe have affected their SAP. Documentary evidence of these circumstances must be submitted with the appeal, along with details of what has changed in the Student’s situation that will allow them to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation. Only appeals sent directly by email to the US Financial Aid Office firstname.lastname@example.org within the given timeframe will be accepted as valid.
If an appeal is turned down, the Student is considered ineligible for further US Federal Student Aid and there are no grounds for appeal against the decision.
7.0 Interruption to Period of Study and Withdrawal
If a Student who receives Title IV funding withdraws, interrupts their study for more than 180 days, or drops below half time attendance the University will follow the requirements for returning funds as specified by the US Department of Education. Please see the University’s Return of Title IV Funds Policy for further information about this.
Students who wish to apply for an interruption to their period of study or withdraw from their course are expected to follow the Universities guidance on Interrupting your Study or Withdrawal as well as its Fee Liability Cut-off Dates for Withdrawals and Interruptions. For interruptions at Postgraduate Research Level please refer to the PGR Concessions Guide.
7.1 Interruption to Period of Study
If a Student is facing serious personal or medical difficulties outside of their studies that is affecting their SAP they are able to apply for an interruption to their period of study while these difficulties are resolved. This is an authorised interruption to studies for an agreed length of time, i.e. period of study is suspended for an agreed period with an agreed date on when to return to study.
If the Student’s planned interruption exceeds 180 days the University will follow the Return of Title IV Funds Policy as specified by the US Department of Education. When the Student returns to study their eligibility for Title IV Funds will be reassessed.
Any period of Interruption is not part of the 150% pace of completion calculation; therefore the student will not be impacted, providing on their return they can still complete their course within these quantitative measures of SAP.
If a Student decides to withdraw from their course at the University they should contact their Academic Adviser/Supervisor in the first instance to discuss. If they decide to go ahead with their intentions to withdraw they are required to notify the US Financial Aid Office at email@example.com and contact their relevant LTS or PGR service to confirm their withdrawal and for information on what to do next.
8.0 Repeating Study
A repeat in study often follows an Interruption to a period of study and as long as the Student will not be exceeding 150% of the published standard course length for it to be completed, this will satisfy SAP requirements. The period of Interruption is not part of the 150% pace of completion calculation.
However, Students who repeat will do so with any SAP warning or sanction previously in place and will still need to meet the SAP requirements in the repeated programme.
9.0 Change of Course/Route
A change of course or route would not necessarily affect SAP. Providing a Student is still progressing at the required rates and it is a justifiable change that will not affect their expected course end date they would complete a Course Change Form which has to be approved by the Admissions Office, the relevant LTS School Team (for undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses) or PGR Service (for postgraduate research courses) and the Student Visa Compliance Team, where applicable.
However, Students who transfer into a new academic programme will transfer with any SAP sanction previously in place and will still need to meet the specified criteria in the new programme.
In order for continuing Students, progressing up a level i.e. BSc to MSc, to meet SAP we require confirmation that the Student has passed their current course and that they have met the conditions to be accepted onto the new course.
10.0 Transfer of credit from other institutions
UEA will admit students based on using Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). APL is defined as a system whereby academic credits can be awarded for previous learning that has taken place, either through Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) as detailed in UEA RPL Policy. Credits from another institution that are accepted towards the Student’s educational programme do count as both attempted and completed credits when looking at the total GPA and pace of completion.
11.0 Further information
Further details of the SAP evaluation process at the University can be obtained through:
US Financial Aid Office
Sciences Building, SCI 3.09
University of East Anglia
Norwich Research Park
Norwich NR4 7TJ
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591701
This policy is reviewed on an annual basis the University’s US Financial Aid Office. Updates of the policy will be released at the beginning of a new academic year or as required by changes in US Federal Regulations and via the UEA hyperlink: www.uea.ac.uk/study/international/country/usa/federal-loans
Updated September 2023