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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students in receipt of Federal Title IV funding only

Please note: As per regulation #34 CFR 600.51(d), students taking online courses are not eligible to receive US Direct Loans through the University of Bradford.  If a student is borrowing a Direct Subsidised Loan or a Direct Unsubsidised  Loan, they must complete entrance counselling before they receive their first loan disbursement.  Similarly, if graduate or professional student are taking out a Direct PLUS Loan for the first time, they must complete either entrance counselling before receiving their first disbursement.

Course Requirement
Students must be enrolled at the University on a full- time programme to maintain loan eligibility.  A student may change mode of attendance to part time (half-time status) and still maintain eligibility, however for immigration purposes, international students are expected to maintain their full-time status.  Students considering changing their mode of study to part-time, should contact to seek further advice.


The US government regulations (Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility, Federal Regulation – 34 CFR 668.34), stipulates that all students who receive US Title IV funding whilst studying at the University of Bradford are required to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in order to be eligible to receive funding. Although the University has an institutional policy for standard academic achievement, this policy relates specifically to US students in receipt of Title IV funding. It should be noted that the University standards for all enrolled students on the same course are the same regardless of the student’s source of funding.

The University’s general Assessment Regulations for the University of Bradford undergraduate Awards can be found below:  The Assessment Regulations governing our Postgraduate Awards can be found below here:

 These regulations can also be found in individual course specifications, which students are encouraged to read/utilise.

Students receiving US Federal Loans must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress throughout the loan period in order to receive all of the instalments of their loans for that period and in order to continue receiving loans in subsequent loan periods, where applicable.

This definition of SAP may be different from other University policies and is not a replacement for University academic regulations. Furthermore, satisfactory academic progression to retain Title IV Direct Loans is entirely separate from the academic requirements to remain on a programme of study and does not guarantee the outcome of a programme.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) means that a student is proceeding in a positive manner toward fulfilling programme requirements and involves two standards; qualitative and quantitative. Students must meet both standards to continue receiving US Federal Loans and this policy applies to all Title IV students regardless of level or mode of study.


  • In order to maintain eligibility to receive US Federal Loans with the qualitative standard, a student must maintain the academic standing necessary to remain enrolled.
  • Academic Registry conducts reviews at the end of each academic year to determine a student’s successful progress toward obtaining their award/degree by ensuring the student has been assessed as having ‘successfully completed’ the year. This successful completion is determined and officiated by each course Exam Board. In order to successfully complete the year, students must achieve a minimum of 40% in each module over the academic year (equivalent to US GPA 2.0 or Grade C).
  • Students achieve credit by passing a module. For undergraduate modules, a module is normally passed if the student achieves an overall score of 40% and for postgraduate modules a student must normally achieve an overall score of 50%.
  • This same minimum standard must be met prior to the next disbursement payment period. In general, no extensions beyond the notified submission deadline are allowed and students who submit work late will be deemed to have failed that particular assessment unless they complete an extenuating circumstances form (handed in at the assessment deadline or as soon as possible thereafter) and follow the procedures outlined in accordance with the University’s Personal Extenuating Circumstances policy.
  • At the end of the academic year, students may be withdrawn from their programmes if they have not passed each of their terms due to failed assignments throughout the year. Depending on certain circumstances, students may be offered the chance to re-submit work on a referral or deferral basis or they may be allowed to repeat the year.


Quantitative requirements (Volume and length of study)

  • Students must progress through their programme at a pace which ensures that they will graduate within the maximum allowable timeframe which is 150% of the standard published timeframe for a course. Students must also be studying at least half-time in order to be eligible for federal loans. Please note that the normal time frame for the completion of a BA is 3-4 years in the UK. MA courses are 1-2 years in duration and PhDs are generally four years in duration.
  • When applying the 150% rule, a three-year undergraduate degree must be completed in no more than 4.5 years and a one-year postgraduate degree in 1.5 years.
  • This time scale includes any previous periods of study at other institutions at the same grade level.
  • Periods of interruption will not count towards this calculation for federal loan purposes but will count towards the Universities maximum period of registration as outlined in the Academic Regulatory Framework.
  • Students must normally pass each unit of assessment to gain the academic credits for that year of study, before being able to progress onto the following year, as appropriate. For research students, the programme length also cannot exceed 150% of the normal length of the programme. This includes time for writing a thesis and viva examination (for example, a three year PhD should be completed in 4.5 years). This time scale also includes any previous period of study at other institutions for the same programme. The student must have met all University progress deadlines plus any written deadlines agreed with their supervisor. The supervisor must agree that progress with research is satisfactory and meeting required timeframes set by them.
  • Students must be registered for at least 50% of a full-time load to qualify for Federal Aid (i.e. at least 30 credits per semester)
  • In terms of completion rates, students must maintain a cumulative completion rate of 67%. This completion rate comprises of the standard credit hours (360 credit hours) divided by the maximum Federal Loan timeframe (540 credit hours).
  • An example of the SAP standards for a 3 year undergraduate programme – a student must maintain a minimum cumulative completion rate of two thirds of credit attempted 67% in order to meet SAP. This would equate to students passing a minimum of 80 of the 120 credits in that year to meet SAP standards – and carry forward no more than the maximum credits as defined in the Academic Regulations that govern the programme of study into the next academic year as trailing credits.
  • For postgraduate taught degrees where there is a requirement that students take 180 credits over the course of the year, a student must complete a minimum of 120 out of the 180 credits per year to meet SAP standards.


SAP Evaluation

  • The University Administrator conducts checks prior to each loan disbursement ensuring that students are still listed as being fully enrolled and in a state of progression prior to each loan disbursement.
  • SAP is calculated at the end of each academic year based on total progress during the semesters of that year. SAP will be assessed on academic marks.
  • Students will be informed of the outcome of the evaluation of academic progress at the end of each academic year if they are not demonstrating satisfactory academic progress
  • Students who fail to make SAP will be placed on Financial Aid Denied status unless they successfully appeal as described in Financial Aid Probation and/or Suspension section below


  • Incompletes are not included in the overall marking scheme. Incomplete marks are considered a non-completion of attempted course work until the incomplete mark is replaced with a permanent mark and academic progress can be re-evaluated. In all cases where no mark is assigned, a “0%” mark will be used in the determination of satisfactory academic progress. Students who fail a required assignment or module must repeat it and obtain a passing grade before they are deemed to have successfully completed their programme.
  • If students withdraw from a module any marks gained will no longer be considered in the Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluation unless the marks are transferred to an alternative module. Withdrawal from a module may also affect a student’s pace of study depending upon the point in the year that the withdrawal is completed and whether an alternative module is registered. If the student has registered on a new module in place of the withdrawn module, the replacement module will be used in all future Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluations and the withdrawn module will be disregarded.



Students permitted to undertake a repeat period of study may do so in accordance with the University’s academic regulations.  Undergraduate students may undertake repeat periods of study and receive Federal Aid, subject to being able to complete the course within the timeframes as set out above under ‘Pace’.

US loans are disbursed at the start of each term in accordance with the schedule set by the University. Students who withdraw or take an authorized leave of absence will have their eligibility to retain part of their US loan funds calculated on the percentage of the time attended. Students who attend more than 60% of the payment period may retain all of their aid. See the University’s Return to Title IV (R2T4) policy for more details.

Transfer Students and Completion Awards

  • A student may enter an existing undergraduate or postgraduate programme with advance standing, or be admitted on to a free-standing undergraduate or postgraduate completion award. For more information, please refer to page 5 of the guide below:
  • Transfer students’ transcripts will be evaluated prior to enrolment. Any modules which can be used in advance standing on a new course will be accepted and will be used to measure the quantitative SAP requirement (150% timeframe). Module credit accepted in advanced standing in accordance with the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy will not contribute towards the degree classification.


Financial Aid Warning

Students who fail to make Satisfactory Academic Progression will no longer be eligible to receive assistance under the Title IV HEA program. Such students will be advised in writing by Student Fees and Finance Team and issued with a ‘Financial Aid Warning’. This warning will last for one payment period (that is until the next disbursement) during which time student can still receive Financial Aid.

The University does not have the right to waive the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement for any student. Students that fail to regain Satisfactory Academic Progress by the next disbursement will no longer be eligible for Financial Aid unless they are successful in an appeal. The appeal may be submitted to the Student Fees and Finance manager where they will have the opportunity to demonstrate exceptional circumstances.


Students who have received a ‘Financial Aid Warning’ may appeal within 14 calendar days of notification, where exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated.

Exceptional circumstances may include:

  • The death of a relative (parent, spouse, sibling, child).
  • The extended illness of an immediate family member (parent, spouse, sibling, child).
  • The extended illness of or injury to the student.
  • Other special circumstances as determined by the Student Fees and Finance manager.

Students will be required to indicate why they believe financial aid should not be terminated and state what has changed in their situation that will allow them to meet satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation date. Students will also be required to supply documentary evidence in support of their appeal. This may include:

  • A copy of death certificate
  • A medical certificate from a registered doctor or psychiatrist
  • A 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:

Student Fees and Finance Manager

Richmond Building

University of Bradford



Appeal Decision.

The decision of the appeal will be communicated to the student in writing within 21 days of submission, if all necessary supporting evidence (as determined by the SAP Appeals Panel) is complete. The decision of the appeals panel is final.

Financial Aid Probation and/or Suspension

  1. Students who successfully appeal a failure to make SAP are placed on Financial Aid Probation for the subsequent payment period at the end of which SAP will be evaluated
  2. Students who fail to achieve the required standard as per the University’s code of practice and the requirements of the loan programme may be placed on US Loan Probation for the payment period.
  3. Students who have been placed on Probation and subsequently meet the requirements will be placed back into good SAP standing
  4. Students who have been placed on Probation and do not meet the requirements to go back into good standing may have their US Loans suspended and will be ineligible to receive additional loans until such time as they achieve the required standards
  5. Students may appeal their suspension of US Loans, via written appeal to Academic Registry who may take advice from the relevant course team on the student’s progress and academic standing. Students who appeal will be informed in writing of the decision, which is final – see below:



  • Students who have their eligibility for US Loans suspended may appeal the suspension if one or more acceptable grounds for Extenuating Circumstances exist. The list of acceptable grounds for Extenuating Circumstances includes the following: death of a relative, an injury or illness to the student or other special circumstances. This information most be contained within the letter of appeal, together with why this impacted on the student not achieving SAP.  The letter should go on to include information regarding the student’s current situation, and why, should their appeal be successful, they will now be able to achieve SAP at the next evaluation.
  • If the appeal is upheld, and it is felt that the student is capable of meeting SAP by the end of the subsequent payment period, the student is place on Financial Aid Probation for one payment period only, The student’s progress will be reviewed again at the end of the payment period.
  • If the appeal is upheld but it is determined that the student will require more than one payment period to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and an academic plan (learning agreement) will be developed. The student's progress will be reviewed at the end of the payment period to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan (learning agreement). If the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan (learning agreement), or the universally applicable Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, the student is eligible to receive Title IV aid as long as the student continues to meet those requirements


  • If a student’s appeal is not upheld, is unsuccessful or the student does not appeal, the student loses eligibility and had financial aid suspended.
  • Students will receive notification of financial aid suspension in writing.

Reinstatement of Aid

  • To establish reinstatement of Title IV loans, students can submit a letter of appeal in accordance with the appeal process. If the appeal is granted, students are place on Financial Aid Probation for the following academic year.
  • Any student that has had their financial aid suspended but continues on their programme by self-funding, and who subsequently meets SAP, will be entitled to apply for financial aid. If the application is successful, students will regain financial aid eligibility but will be given a warning status.

All appeals must be received within 10 days of receipt of the Notice of Suspension. Students should submit an appeal in the first instance to:

Student Fees and Finance Manager

Richmond Building

University of Bradford