Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress  

The academic requirements for the M.D. degree include the satisfactory completion of the M.D. curriculum at Tufts University School of Medicine. The progress of each student working towards the M.D. degree is monitored carefully, and the determination of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is reviewed by the TUSM Student Ethics and Promotion Committee (SEPC) on a semester basis. At the end of each academic year, students must have academic standing consistent with TUSM’s curricular and graduation requirements. Also see Student Ethics and Promotions Committee Standards for Promotion.

 Federal law and regulations require that all students receiving financial assistance maintain satisfactory academic progress, and this policy is applied equally to all students regardless of financial aid status. Satisfactory Academic Progress is the successful completion of degree requirements according to established increments that lead to awarding of the M.D. degree within established time limits. The following policy details the standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress at TUSM, which apply to all students.

Time Frame

The maximum time permitted for completion of the M.D. degree is six academic years (excluding approved leaves or other approved academic experiences).

The standard time frame for completion of requirements for the M.D. degree is four academic years. Due to academic or personal difficulties or approved academic enrichment activities, a student may require additional time.

To be making satisfactory academic progress, a student must complete the pre-clerkship phase of the curriculum within a three academic years. Students must also complete the clinical phase of the curriculum within three academic years. The student can, therefore, be expected to receive the M.D. degree within a six-year period, excluding approved leaves of absence and/or participation in the Research Concentration Program or Active Citizenship Program.

SAP and Leaves of Absence

A student may be granted a leave of absence, of not more than one year, for a variety of reasons. The approved period of leave is excluded from the maximum time frame in which a student must complete all degree requirements. However, a student will not be allowed to take more than 8 years (10 years for MD/PhD students) from the time of matriculation to complete the requirements for the M.D. degree, inclusive of leaves of absence. 

Qualitative Measures of SAP

Each student is required to complete successfully all of TUSM’s required courses, clerkships, examinations and other requirements in order to graduate with the M.D. degree.

TUSM does not measure academic progress by means of a cumulative grade point average but with grades of Pass or Fail in pre-clerkship years and with grades of Honors, High Pass, Pass, Low Pass or Fail in clinical clerkships (Third and Fourth Year).

Depending on a student’s enrollment history, taking a Leave of Absence could have an impact on the student’s qualitative measure.  It could be possible that upon return from LOA, the student may be on financial aid warning.

Quantitative Review

Students must have academic standing consistent with TUSM curriculum and graduation requirements to maintain continued financial aid assistance.   To meet graduation requirements, students must successfully complete the prescribed courses of study of the first through the fourth years (See TUSM Student Handbook).

All courses in First Year must be completed with a grade of Pass for progression to Second Year. 

All courses in Second Year must be completed with a grade of Pass and the USMLE Step 1 exam must be taken by the deadline set by the Dean of Students for progression to the Core Clerkships/Basic Electives component of the curriculum (3rd Year).

A student who has 4 or more failures in any given semester will be automatically put on financial aid warning status.

All students are required to successfully complete the Core Clerkships/Basic Electives with a minimum grade of Pass and have achieved a passing score on the USMLE Step 1 exam in order to be promoted to the Advanced Clerkships and Electives phase of the curriculum (4th Year). Performance resulting in grades of Low Pass or Fail is reviewed by the TUSM Student Ethics and Promotions Committee, and may result in dismissal.

In the Advanced Clerkships and Electives year, students must complete all clerkships, courses or other requirements with a minimum grade of Pass to meet graduation requirements. Performance resulting in grades of Low Pass or Fail is reviewed by the TUSM Student Ethics and Promotions Committee, and may result in dismissal.

Treatment of Courses:

Grades for core courses and clerkships will be evaluated as follows:

Attempted and earned:  H, HP, P, LP only when approved by SEPC

Attempted but not earned: F, I, W

Grade not counted as attempted or earned: AU (audit)

Treatment of Repeat Coursework

 Repeat Coursework or Clerkship

Students may receive financial aid funding for the repeat of a failed course or withdrawal of a course(s).  Repeat of the same course may be funded one additional time once the student has successfully passed the individual course.  

Repeat of Entire Year

Under current financial aid guidelines, students who failed a course(s) and are required to repeat either an entire year of coursework or a partial curriculum of at least half-time status, which would also include successfully completed courses, will be eligible for federal loans for the repeat of the required academic year.  Funding will be provided only once for the repeat of the same academic year.

Review and Notification of Lack of Satisfactory Academic Progress

At the end of each semester there is a review of a student’s SAP by the TUSM Registrar. Progression to the next term or academic year is based upon a review of all grades, including withdrawals, incompletes and unsatisfactory grades. Any student who has not achieved a minimum of a satisfactory grade in all core courses/clerkships cannot progress to the next year with the exception of a Low Pass grade the Student Ethics and Promotion Committee has reviewed and voted to allow the grade to stand and the student is eligible to graduate with a Low Pass.

The Assistant Dean for Student Enrollment/Registrar, will notify on a per semester basis, in writing, all students who have not met the standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress outlined above. The notification will indicate the nature of the deficiency, any methods that may be available for correcting the deficiency, and any consequences that have resulted or may result, such as Academic Probation, or dismissal. Upon determining that a student is not making satisfactory academic progress, students will be informed in writing by the Assistant Dean for Student Enrollment/Registrar notifying the student they have been placed on a “financial aid warning status” for a period of one semester during which the student will continue to be eligible for financial aid.  This status is assigned to a student automatically once determined that the student is not progressing satisfactorily and is effective for the next semester.  No appeal is necessary and the student will be reviewed again at the end of the next semester.  The status of students who have reached are meeting Promotions Committee requirements will be considered to be making SAP at the end of the warning period and no additional action will be warranted.

Once the initial warning period has ended, students who are not making satisfactory academic progress will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid unless they submit an appeal and it receives approval

Appeals

Eligibility for continued financial aid will only be re-established if the student subsequently meets Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, or if the student successfully appeals the decision to the Tufts Financial Appeals Committee.

Students who are terminated from financial aid eligibility for not meeting satisfactory academic progress standards (SAP) and who have extenuating circumstances may appeal to reestablish their eligibility. Students may not use financial aid to make retroactive tuition and fee (s) payments.

The appeal must be based on extenuating circumstances that prevented a student from meeting the requirements of the satisfactory academic progress policy. Circumstances may include extreme medical issues, a death in the immediate family, employment related hardship, military mobilization, and/or extreme personal problems. Students must indicate specific information on why they failed to make satisfactory academic progress and what has changed that will allow them to meet these standards at the next evaluation. 

There are no limits to the number of appeals that students may submit.  However, subsequent appeals may not be based on the same circumstance as previous appeals.

Appeals should be submitted along with necessary documentation within 10 days of being notified that they are no longer eligible to receive financial aid and mailed to: Financial Appeals Committee, Attn: John Matias, 145 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02111.

The Financial Appeals Committee will review the request and respond to the student in writing with the decision.  This decision is final and may not be appealed.

Financial Aid Probation

Once an appeal has been approved, a student is placed on financial aid probation and is eligible for financial aid. The Associate Dean of Enrollment Services and Admissions, in conjunction with the student and the Assistant Dean for Student Enrollment/Registrar, will develop an academic plan for the student that will ensure, if followed, that the student is able to meet TUSM’s SAP standards by a specific point of time. Ordinarily, this time frame will be for an academic year. The student is eligible for financial aid during the time frame stated in the academic plan. At the end of the time frame stated in the academic plan, the student must have met the SAP standards. A student who does not comply with each SAP standard by the end of the financial aid probationary period is suspended from financial aid eligibility. A student shall be reinstated for financial aid eligibility when he/she has satisfactorily completed sufficient coursework to meet the standards of progress within the maximum time frames delineated above.

Note:  A student who has lost eligibility for financial aid due to deficiencies in satisfactory academic progress cannot automatically regain eligibility by paying tuition for a semester or by sitting out a term. Eligibility may be regained only by eliminating all SAP deficiencies at the student’s expense until all requirements of this policy are met.

Dismissal or Withdrawal

Students who dismissed or withdraw from TUSM are not making satisfactory academic progress and are not eligible to receive financial aid.

Enforcement

The Offices of the Registrar, Financial Aid, Student Affairs, and the TUSM Student Ethics and Promotion Committee collaboratively shall have the responsibility for monitoring and enforcing Satisfactory Academic Progress. The Assistant Dean for Student Enrollment/Registrar will notify the Student Ethics and Promotion Committee each term of any students who are not making satisfactory academic progress. The Student Ethics and Promotion Committee will determine whether academic sanctions are warranted and will inform the student thus. The Registrar’s Office will inform any student whose financial aid has been impacted.