4. Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require all Law students who receive Title IV Federal student aid to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward completion of their degree in order to continue receiving federal student aid. This is monitored by the Law School Office of Financial Aid and the requirements are outlined in the below policy. The SAP policy applies to all Law students for all terms of enrollment in an academic year, including terms in which no federal financial aid is offered.

All updates from the Office of Financial Aid with regards to a student's SAP standing will be sent to the student's UChicago email account.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Components

Law students must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress by meeting three requirements:

1. Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA

The federal SAP regulations require that students maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) to maintain federal aid eligibility. This minimum cumulative GPA is 172.5 for JD students and 170 for LLM and MLS students.

2. Complete a minimum of at least 66% of all attempted credits

Students must complete at least 66% of all cumulative credits attempted since the start of their Law program, whether the credits will count towards the degree or not. Credits that fall under the following categories will count as credits attempted but not completed for the purposes of this SAP policy:

  • Grade of 159 or below
  • Credits dropped after the end of a quarter's add/drop period
  • Withdrawal grade of “W” (these grades do not confer credit or impact GPA but are considered in this SAP policy)
  • Incomplete courses

When a student repeats a course, both courses appear on the student's transcript and both course's grades are calculated into the student's GPA. Both courses will count as attempted courses in the SAP calculation. 

3. Successfully complete degree-required coursework within 150% of the normal time frame allotted by the Law School

The standard length of the JD program is 9 quarters. Therefore, JD students may not exceed 14 quarters of enrollment to complete their degree. Students in other Law School degree programs in receipt of federal financial aid should contact the Office of Financial Aid for further guidance on their individual maximum timeframe requirement.

All periods of enrollment, including Summer quarter, are counted toward the maximum number of quarters. Periods of academic leave or non-enrollment do not count against the maximum number of quarters.

Students who have completed all required coursework for their program but have not yet received their degree cannot receive further federal financial aid for that program.

Evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Evaluation of SAP is made by the Office of Financial Aid at the end of the academic year after the completion of Spring quarter, once grades are posted in the University system. Grades not posted in the University system within 30 days of the end of the Spring quarter are assumed to be Incomplete. The SAP evaluation is completed through a review of grades received, courses attempted, pace towards degree completion, and cumulative GPA.

SAP Suspension

A students' federal financial aid eligibility will be suspended beginning with the Summer quarter if they fail to meet the standards of this SAP policy as outlined above at the time of evaluation. Students will have their federal financial aid eligibility suspended until such time as they meet the above SAP criteria and they will be notified of this suspension via an email to their UChicago email account.

Once a student meets the SAP criteria and wishes to have their federal financial aid eligibility reinstated, they must contact the Office of Financial Aid via email to financialaid@law.uchicago.edu to request a SAP review for reinstatement of federal aid eligibility. Once the Office of Financial Aid determines that a student is in compliance with the above SAP standards, federal aid eligibility will be reinstated for the following quarter.

Failure To Earn At Least One Passing Grade In A Quarter

If a student fails to earn at least one passing grade for a quarter, the University must treat the student as an unofficial withdrawal and return 50% of the Title IV funds disbursed to them for the quarter. Grades must be submitted and posted to the University’s Registrar system within 30 days from the last day of the quarter.

SAP Appeals

A student may appeal their SAP financial aid suspension for extenuating circumstances, including but not limited to personal injury or illness, the death or illness of a relative, or other exceptional or mitigating circumstances. The appeal must be received by the Office of Financial Aid by the end of the third week of the quarter in which the student wishes to appeal and reinstate their federal aid eligibility.

An appeal can be emailed to the Office of Financial Aid at financialaid@law.uchicago.edu and must include a typed and signed letter attached to the email explaining the following: 1) the reasons or extenuating/mitigating circumstances addressing why the SAP requirements as outlined above were not met, 2) what has changed in the student's situation or circumstances that will allow them to be academically successful moving forward, and 3) what steps the student will take to ensure they will meet the SAP criteria moving forward. 

The appeal will be reviewed by a SAP Committee chaired by the Director of Financial Aid. Students should allow for two to three weeks for the review of their appeal. Supporting documentation, such as statements from professors, other Law School offices, professional health care workers, etc, may be requested by the SAP Committee but the student can choose to include supporting documentation with their initial appeal if they believe the documentation will strengthen their appeal. Any documentation requested of the student by the SAP Committee must be subsequently submitted by the student to complete their SAP appeal. All decisions made by the SAP Committee are final and students will be notified of the appeal decision via an email to their UChicago email account.

SAP Probation

If an appeal is approved and the Committee determines that the student should be able to meet the SAP standards by the end of the applicable quarter, the student will be placed on SAP probation and will have their federal financial aid eligibility reinstated for only the single quarter. At the end of the quarter, the student's SAP status will again be reviewed to determine if they met all SAP requirements. If the student fails to meet SAP during their probationary quarter, their federal aid eligibility will be suspended for future quarters unless the student can demonstrate via an additional appeal that new extenuating circumstances not related to the original appeal occurred during the probationary quarter.

SAP Academic Plan

If the SAP Committee determines while reviewing an appeal that the student will not be able to meet the above SAP requirements within one quarter, an academic plan can be implemented by the SAP Committee with the end goal being to resolve the SAP deficiencies. An academic plan can vary in length and will be defined to include checkpoints that must be achieved for the student to remain federal aid eligible. The Office of Financial Aid will review a student's academic progress while on a SAP academic plan at the end of each applicable quarter. If an academic plan has been developed by the Dean of Students Office with the student, that academic plan will take precedence over the SAP Committee's academic plan.

If the student is meeting the terms of their SAP academic plan at the end of each review quarter, the academic plan can be extended. If the student fails to meet SAP while on an academic plan, their federal aid eligibility will be suspended for future quarters unless the student can demonstrate via an additional appeal that new extenuating circumstances not related to the original appeal occurred while on the academic plan.