Sullivan Hall

LLM and MLS Degrees 2016-17

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Master of Laws (LLM) and Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Degrees (students entering in 2016-17)

This Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy is effective beginning with the entering graduate law programs class of 2016-17. 

Financial aid recipients must meet quantitative (pace) and qualitative (GPA) requirements to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward their degree. SAP will be reviewed at the end of each semester. Financial aid for each and any following term must be held until grades are in to determine the minimum number of credits completed and minimum GPA is met for satisfactory academic progress.

All credit definitions included herein are based on the Law School Student Handbook and the Academic Policies for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) and the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Degree programs (AP).

Students are awarded financial aid up to a maximum of 24 credits for the LL.M. degree and a maximum of 30 credits for the MLS degree. The minimum allowable credits were used to determine the credit ranges and year in school.

1. Purpose

This policy is set forth by Student Financial Services (SFS) for the purpose of establishing quantitative and qualitative requirements for financial aid recipients to maintain satisfactory academic progress towards their degree. This policy conforms to federal regulations and requirements.

2. Maximum Duration of Study

Students are enrolled in a full-time (FT), part-time (PT), or half-time (HT) program as monitored by the Registrar and the Director of Graduate Programs for a maximum of 24 successfully completed credit hours for the LL.M. degree and a maximum of 30 successfully completed credit hours for the MLS degree. Students may not take more than four years (48 months), including periods of non-enrollment such as leaves of absence, to complete their LL.M. or MLS studies. 

3. Effect of Withdrawals, Leaves of Absence, and Transfers 

If a student is granted a leave of absence or withdraws and then later resumes study, all credits successfully completed prior to the leave or withdrawal may be counted toward the credit maximum, provided that the student returns before the leave of absence expires and before the time limit set out above is exceeded. Transfer credits are accepted as completed credits toward the degree.

Quantitative Requirements at End of First Semester

At the end of the first semester of study, LL.M. students must have completed a minimum of 6 total credit hours. (Summer is an optional term. However, if enrolled, students must complete a minimum of 3 credits.). Financial aid for each and any following term must be held until grades are in to determine the minimum number of credits completed and minimum GPA is met for satisfactory academic progress.

At the end of the first semester of study, MLS students must have completed a minimum of 7 total credit hours. (Summer is an optional term. However, if enrolled, students must complete a minimum of 3 credits.). Financial aid for each and any following term must be held until grades are in to determine the minimum number of credits completed and minimum GPA is met for satisfactory academic progress.

Students must meet these minimum requirements for SAP. If not, they will lose financial aid eligibility. Students may appeal to be placed on financial aid probation (see #6).

Qualitative Requirements at End of First Semester

Students must be determined by the Director of Graduate Programs to have a minimum GPA of 2.0 at the end of their first semester of study in order to receive financial aid for the second semester of their studies. Students who do not have a minimum GPA of 2.0 at the end of their first semester are not eligible for financial aid. Students may appeal to be placed on financial aid probation (see #6).  Financial aid for each and any following term must be held until grades are in to determine the minimum number of credits completed and minimum GPA is met for satisfactory academic progress.

4. First Semester Probation

Students who do not meet the completed credit requirements or GPA to meet SAP may be allowed to continue their studies by approval of the Dean. However, if a student does not meet financial aid SAP, they are ineligible for financial aid for the following term. Students may appeal and submit a petition for financial aid. If the petition is approved, they are considered to be on Financial Aid probation. Probation consists of a review of the student's progress after the next term/payment period (or to ensure progress if on an academic plan) to verify that the student has met SAP in order to continue to receive financial aid (see #6 below).

Academic probation is reviewed after the end of the next semester. If a student has not met academic SAP after the second semester of study, s/he will be dismissed and therefore will be ineligible for financial aid.

5. Second Semester and Beyond Review 

In order to receive financial aid for study after the second semester and beyond, the student must have a GPA consistent with the requirements for graduation (2.0 minimum) and must have completed the minimum credits as set forth in the Academic Policies for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) and the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Degree programs. Financial aid for each and any following term must be held until grades are in to determine the minimum number of credits completed and minimum GPA is met for satisfactory academic progress.

A student whose GPA is below 2.00 after any academic evaluation date and who has been on academic probation at any previous time will be dismissed, and thus would lose financial aid eligibility.

Appeals to the Second Semester and Beyond Review policies will be reviewed by the Dean. 

6. Petition/Appeal

SAP for financial aid is evaluated at the end of each semester. If a student does meet SAP standards, either the qualitative or quantitative measure, a student will lose financial aid eligibility for the following term. A student may appeal and petition for reinstatement of aid. If approved, SAP will be evaluated after one payment period/term while on probation.

The appeal must include the reasons why SAP was not met. For instance, the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances (documentation may be requested by the institution); and must include an explanation of what has changed in the student's situation that will allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation.

If an appeal is approved, a student on financial aid probation may receive financial aid funds for one payment period. At times, it may be necessary to develop an academic plan that will ensure a student will meet SAP by a specific point in time. If so, the student may need to fulfill specific terms and conditions such as taking a reduced course load or working a reduced number of hours. 

If the student is on financial aid probation, SAP evaluation occurs after the next payment period rather than annually. The student must meet SAP or meet the requirements of the academic plan to qualify for continued financial aid.

If a student does not meet SAP after the end of the probation payment period/term (or making progress according to the stipulations of the academic plan), s/he is ineligible for financial aid the following term. In order to reinstate financial aid eligibility, students must use their own resources to pay for coursework and living expenses until such time as they are able to successfully meet satisfactory academic progress standards for financial aid.

Note: Students who do not receive financial aid one semester and then request it the next are held to these same quantitative (credits) and qualitative (GPA) standards and will be reviewed for SAP prior to awarding aid.