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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Purpose Scope

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy monitors and measures whether the students are maintaining satisfactory academic progress in their educational programs. The standards and requirements of satisfactory academic progress apply to all enrolled students.

1. Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

The satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards are measured after the final grades are recorded at the end of Fall, Spring, Summer I and Summer II, which are called “evaluation points”. SAP is measured by the following three criteria.

  • Maximum Time Frame for Program Completion (MTF)
  • Qualitative Standard: a required minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA)
  • Quantitative Standard: a required minimum completion rate (CR)

Students who fail to meet any of the above mentioned criteria will be considered not meeting the SAP requirements and will be put on Academic Warning or Academic Dismissal.

1.1. Maximum Time Frame (MTF)

Students at VIU must complete their program of study within 1.5 times the Normal Program Length (NPL) as measured in semester credit hours attempted. This is called the Maximum Time Frame (MTF) and is formulized as MTF = 1.5 x NPL. For example, the MTF for an undergraduate degree program is 180 credits MTF = 1.5 x NPL = 1.5 x 120 credits = 180 credits.
Credit hours attempted is defined as any clock or credit hour for which a student has incurred a financial obligation. All registered hours at the end of the add/drop period will be counted in the MTF determination. In addition, all transfer credit hours accepted from other institutions will be counted in the MTF.

Program of Study NPL in credits MTF credits
Undergraduate Certificate Programs 24 36
Graduate Certificate Programs 18 27
Undergraduate Degree Programs 120 180
Master of Education
All Other Graduate Degree Programs
 39*
36*
 57*
54*

* Beyond the program prerequisites.

If a student is unable to complete the program within one of the aforementioned MTF allowed in credits, the individual will be dismissed from the program, no academic warning or probation is allowed at this point, and the student will not be eligible to receive the original credential (e.g., bachelor’s degree).

1.2. Qualitative Standards - CGPA

Students must meet the qualitative standard of a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) requirement at each SAP evaluation point, as shown in the “SAP Requirement Charts” by program level below.

Undergraduate degree program students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 2.00 and graduate degree program students must have a minimum CGPA of 3.00 at the end of the second academic year and at the end of each semester thereafter.

Undergraduate certificate program students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 2.00 and graduate certificate program students must have a minimum CGPA of 3.00 at the end of academic year and at the end of each semester thereafter.

A student who fails to meet SAP standards for the first time will be placed on “Academic Warning” status. A student who fails to meet SAP standards at the end of the “Academic Warning” period will be dismissed (Academic Dismissal) from the program and the university, with the option to appeal if mitigating circumstance(s) resulted in the dismissal. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on “Academic Probation” with an approved Academic Plan and expected to improve academic standing within the given timeframe in the Academic Plan.

There are only certain mitigating circumstance(s) that can be considered for an appeal. Please refer to the Procedure to Appeal Academic Dismissal for the exhaustive list.

1.3. Quantitative Standards – CR

Students must meet the quantitative standard of a minimum completion rate (CR) requirement at each SAP evaluation point, as shown in the “SAP Requirement Charts” below, by program level.

A student who fails to meet SAP standards for the first time will be placed on “Academic Warning.” A student who fails to meet SAP standards at the end of the “Academic Warning” period will be dismissed from the program and the university, with the option to appeal if mitigating circumstance(s) resulted in the dismissal. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on “Academic Probation” with an approved Academic Plan and expected to improve academic standing within the given timeframe in the Academic Plan.

There are only certain mitigating circumstance(s) that can be considered for an appeal. Please refer to the Procedure to Appeal Academic Dismissal for the exhaustive list.

1.4. SAP Requirement Charts

1. Undergraduate Degree Programs

Credits Attempted Required Minimum CGPA Required Minimum CR Result if SAP Not Met
1 – 24 credits 1.60 50.00%
  • Academic Warning if 1st time
  • Academic Dismissal if on Academic Warning in the previous semester.

  NOTE: If MTF is reached, Academic Warning is not allowed.

25 - 47 credits 1.80 60.00%
48 - MTF credits 2.00 66.67%

2. Undergraduate Certificate Programs

Credits Attempted Required Minimum CGPA Required Minimum CR Result if SAP Not Met
1 - 15 credits 1.60 60.00%
  • Academic Warning if 1st time
  • Academic Dismissal if on Academic Warning in the previous semester

NOTE: If MTF is reached, Academic Warning is not allowed.

16 - MTF credits 2.00 66.67%

3. Graduate Degree Programs

Credits Attempted Required Minimum CGPA Required Minimum CR Result if SAP Not Met
1 - 9 credits 2.50 50.00%
  • Academic Warning if 1st time
  • Academic Dismissal if on Academic Warning in the previous semester

 NOTE: If MTF is reached, Academic Warning is not allowed.

10 - 18 credits 2.60 55.50%
19 - 27 credits 2.80 60.00%
28 - MTF credits 3.00 66.67%

4. Graduate Certificate Programs

Credits Attempted Required Minimum CGPA Required Minimum CR Result if SAP Not Met
1 - 9 credits 2.60 60.00%
  • Academic Warning if 1st time
  • Academic Dismissal if on Academic Warning in the previous semester

NOTE: If MTF is reached, Academic Warning is not allowed.

10 - MTF credits 3.00 66.67%

2. Academic Warning and Notification

Failure to achieve the required minimum CGPA and/or the required minimum completion rate at the required evaluation point will result on Academic Warning (See the “SAP Requirement Charts”). The academic warning period is one semester. A notification to students on Academic Warning will be sent no later than the end of the course add/drop period of next semester/session. The notification is sent to the students VIU campus email. However, students are responsible for monitoring their own academic progress. Failure to receive the notification does not negate the student’s SAP result and its implications.

Students on Academic Warning are required to meet with their academic advisor to register for the next semesters, and must work towards improving his or her CGPA and/or completion rate to meet the minimum SAP requirements by the end of next semester to be in good academic standing.

If a student fails to meet the SAP requirements at the end of the Academic Warning period, the student will be dismissed from the program and the university, with the option to appeal if mitigating circumstance(s) resulted in the dismissal. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on Academic Probation. Refer to the Procedure for Appealing Academic Dismissal and Academic Probation section for further detail on this process.

3. Academic Dismissal and Notification

There are four (4) reasons that a student can be on Academic Dismissal due to the SAP requirements:

  1. Failure to meet the required SAP standards at the end of an Academic Warning period
  2. Failure to meet the required SAP standards at the end of an Academic Probation period
  3. Failure to comply with Academic Plan during or at the end of an Academic Probation period
  4. If the review of a student’s SAP evaluated at any time indicates that it is mathematically impossible for the student to meet the minimum requirements of the Standards of SAP policy at the next mandatory evaluation point the result will be an Academic Dismissal from the program and the university.

The Academic Dismissal will be notified to the students by Registrar’s Office via VIU campus email within 5 business days after the final grades are posted. However, all students are responsible for monitoring their own academic progress. Failure to receive the notification does not negate the student’s SAP result and its implications.

The student who is dismissed may appeal to the Office of Academic Affairs within 10 business days of the notification by writing if a mitigating circumstance resulted in the dismissal. Refer to the “Procedure for Appealing Academic Dismissal” section below for more detail on this process. 
F-1 students dismissed from the program and the university and/or lost their appeal will have their F1 visa status terminated.

4. Procedure for Appealing Academic Dismissal

A student being dismissed for not meeting SAP requirements can appeal the Academic Dismissal if they have mitigating circumstance(s) that contributed to the dismissal.
The following is a list of conditions that can be considered as mitigating circumstances which have negatively impacted academic progress.

  • Student illness or injury that lead to hospitalization or documented serious illness or injury of the student (including mental health issues)
  • Death of an immediate family member (a parent, spouse, sibling or child)
  • Illness of an immediate family member where the student is the primary caretaker or the family member is the primary financial support
  • Work-related major changes during the period (including Military deployment)
  • Natural disaster

Any consideration of the conditions outside of the list provided should be discussed with the Office of Academic Affairs.
The appeal must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs within 10 business days from the notification, in writing, and must include following documents:

  1. Letter of appeal, explaining the mitigating circumstances that resulted in the academic dismissal, explanation on how the circumstance have been remedied or changed to ensure that he or she will be able to meet SAP requirements
  2. Supporting documentation of the mitigating circumstances, and its remediation or change.
  3. Academic Plan approved by academic advisor. Refer to the “Academic Probation” section for further information on Academic Plan.

If a student is dismissed for the second time during or after an academic probation, due to not meeting the SAP requirement and/or the Academic Plan goals, the student will not be able to appeal the second dismissal immediately unless the mitigating circumstance claim that affected low academic progress is different than the one indicated in the first approved appeal.

After the second dismissal, if the student wishes to enroll back at VIU, for the same program or the different program, the student must sit out one year, after which the student will be eligible to re-appeal and if approved resume study at VIU under Academic Probation.

Same appeal process and if approved, Academic Probation requirements apply. In other words, the student must meet the standards of SAP by complying with the Academic Plan, and successfully meet the SAP requirement by the end of the probation period. (See the “Academic Probation” section for further detail.)

If the second re-entry appeal is denied, no additional appeals may be allowed and the student is permanently dismissed from the university.

5. Academic Probation

A student whose academic dismissal appeal is approved by the SAP Appeals Committee will be placed on “Academic Probation” and can continue his or her study under the condition of an approved Academic Plan. The statement “Academic Probation” will be entered into the student’s permanent record.

The academic probation is one semester with the exception of an additional semester if it is approved in the Academic Plan. Academic Plan is a written agreement between a student and an academic advisor in order for the student to improve his/her academic progress. The academic plan includes a course schedule plan during the Academic Plan period to ensure that the student has a realistic achievable academic plan. It may include the courses that need to be repeated during the probationary period. The plan also includes the required minimum CGPA and minimum completion rate that the student must achieve at the end of Academic Plan period.

If the student on academic probation attains the minimum SAP requirement at the end of or during the probationary period, the Academic Probation status will be lifted and the student will be considered in a good academic standing.

If a student fails to meet the SAP requirement at the end of the probationary period, or fail to follow and meet the Academic Plan goals, the student will be dismissed from the program and the university. “Academic Dismissal” will be entered into the student’s permanent record.

6. Re-entry

Withdrawal: Students who have voluntarily withdrawn from the university in good standing may apply to be re-admitted into the university through the regular VIU admission process. If accepted, they may re-enroll and become a VIU student once again. Students who were on Academic Warning, or Academic Probation at the time of their voluntarily withdrawal, the student will be placed back on those status and same requirements will apply, upon successful re-admission. The students who were on Academic Probation will be conditionally accepted with the understanding that the student will submit a revised Academic Plan, approved by their academic advisor, to the Registrar’s Office to complete enrollment.

Termination Due to Academic Dismissal:   The students must successfully complete the regular admission process first to receive conditional acceptance. After which the student must successfully appeal the Academic Dismissal to be enrolled back in class. Refer to Procedure for Appealing Academic Dismissal section.

Termination Due to Non-Academic Reasons: Students who have had their status as a student involuntarily terminated due to non-academic reasons must apply to be re-admitted through the VIU admission process. A written petition may be requested during the re-admission process. All students who have had their student status terminated for any reason must clear all outstanding financial balances with the Accounting Office prior to applying for re-admission into the university.

F-1 Visa Reinstatement: Students who have failed to maintain their F-1 visa status for any reason must apply for reinstatement of their F-1 status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before they can enroll at the university. VIU will evaluate the circumstances in which the student lost the visa status and only those who were terminated for reasons beyond the student’s control will be considered for reinstatement. Students who have been out-of-status for more than five months are not eligible to apply for reinstatement with the university. Students who have their visa status terminated will need to clear all financial obligations with the VIU Accounting Office before formally beginning the reinstatement process. Students who have their visa status terminated while studying at VIU will not be able to continue their studies during the semester in which their status was terminated. Students will instead may apply for reinstatement and continue their studies during the semester following the termination. Applying for reinstatement does not guarantee the termination status will be reversed. This decision is made solely by USCIS.

7. Special Letter Grades and SAP evaluation

Incomplete Grade (“I”)
For the purpose of SAP evaluation, a grade of “I” is included in the calculation of the CGPA as a failing grade and counts as credit hours attempted for calculating the completion rate. Courses that remain as an “I” at the end of 14 calendar days after the final grade submission date will automatically become an “F” grade.

If the student’s SAP is not met while receiving an “I” grade, Registrar will be re-evaluated after the “I” grade changes to an actual letter grade.

Repeat Course (“R”)
The original grade, credit hours, and subsequent repetitions must be calculated as credits attempted in the completion rate and MTF for the purpose of SAP evaluation. When a course is repeated, the lower grade will be excluded in the cumulative GPA calculation and the higher grade will be included in the cumulative GPA calculation.

Non-Punitive Grades
“AU”, “TC”, “W”, “NR” grades are considered as Non-Punitive Grades.

Audited Course (“AU”)
Audited courses do not count as credits attempted for the purpose of determining satisfactory academic progress and have no effect on the student’s CGPA and Semester GPA computation.

Transfer Credits (“TC”)
When a student brings credits from other institutions, these credits will be noted with a grade of “TC” (Transfer Credits). Transfer credits (“TC”) are included in the calculation of the maximum allowable credits and completion rate requirements as credits attempted and credits earned for SAP calculation. Since these courses will not carry grades, they will have no effect on GPA calculations. The student’s new normal program length will be shortened to reflect the transfer courses and the Maximum Time Frame will be recalculated.

Withdrawal (“W”) – Withdraw without penalty
A student who wishes to change his/her schedule by dropping a course may do so only during the add/drop period by submitting a Course Add/Drop/Withdrawal Form. Students may withdraw only after obtaining the school dean’s or academic advisor’s signature on the Course Add/Drop/Withdrawal Form. Forms must be received within the following timeframes to be considered withdrawal without penalty. Any withdrawal after that will result in failing grade.

Course Length Eligible Timeframe for “W”
15 Weeks Week 2 to end of Week 10
8 Weeks Week 2 to end of Week 5
7 Weeks Week 2 to end of Week 4

A grade of “W” (indicating official withdrawal) will be recorded on the student’s transcript. “W” grades are not calculated in the CGPA; however, they will be considered credit hours attempted if the student has incurred a financial obligation for the course. “W” grades affect the required minimum completion rate. Please refer to the Withdrawals (“W”) section in the academic catalog for further information.

Not Reported (“NR”)
An “NR” grade means that a grade has not yet been reported by an instructor at the time of grade processing. “NR” grades are not calculated in the CGPA; however, they will be considered credit hours attempted for academic satisfaction progress calculation. At the time “NR” changes to the letter grade, the student’s SAP will be re-evaluated.

Non-Credit Courses (ESL Courses)
The grade of “S” (Satisfactory) is a passing grade and the grade of “U” (Unsatisfactory) is a failing grade for ESL courses. ESL courses do not affect CGPA or Completion Rate calculations.

8. Remedial Courses and SAP evaluation

Remedial and/or Program Prerequisite Courses
Remedial and/or program prerequisite courses needed to meet certain conditions of admission to the program do not apply towards any degree requirements. Therefore, those courses do not affect CGPA, Completion Rate and Maximum Time Frame calculation.

Extended-Enrollment
The university does not offer extended enrollment.

9. Changing or Adding Program, Concentration or Specialization and SAP Evaluation

Change of Program, Concentration, or Specialization

When a student changes his or her program, the grades earned in the first program will be recorded as earned if the courses are applicable to the new program and will affect the student’s new program CGPA, Completion Rate and MTF calculation.
Changing from online program to on ground program, or vice versa, of the same degree program will not be considered a change of program.
To change a program, concentration, or specialization, a student must:

  1. Submit a Change of Program or Concentration/Declaration Form
  2. Meet with the current program school dean for acknowledgement
  3. Meet with the new program school dean for advising
  4. Meet with a representative of VIU’s Admissions Office to determine if extra documentation is required and to request for a transfer credit evaluation if applicable

If a student being on academic warning or academic probation changes a program, the SAP will be re-evaluated for the new program.
If a student is dismissed from the previous program, he or she must appeal with a mitigating circumstances and the appeal must be approved in order to start the new program. Such student will start on Academic Probation in the new program.

Additional Program, Concentration or Specialization

When a student graduates from a program at VIU and enrolls in another program, concentration, or specialization the grades used in the CGPA of the previous curriculum, if applicable to the new curriculum, will be recorded as grades earned, and will be applied to the student’s new curriculum CGPA, Completion Rate and MTF calculation.

10. Satisfactory Progress Requirement for ESL Program

Evaluation Points
Students enrolled in the ESL program are assessed at each level to determine satisfactory progress. Full-time ESL students are expected to pass a level in each term. Part-time ESL students are expected to pass a course(s) in each term they registered for.

ESL Academic Warning
A full-time ESL student who fails to pass a level in the ESL program will receive an academic warning.  A part-time ESL student who fails to pass a course(s) will receive an academic warning.

ESL Academic Probation
A full-time ESL student with an Academic Warning status will be placed on ESL Academic Probation if s/he fails to pass a level in the next consecutive term. A part-time ESL student with an Academic Warning status will be placed on ESL Academic Probation if s/he fails to pass a course(s) in the next consecutive term.

ESL Academic Dismissal
A full-time ESL student who is on Academic Probation must pass the current level or s/he will be dismissed and the statement “Academic Dismissal” will be entered into the student’s permanent record. A part-time ESL student on Academic Probation must pass all courses in order to avoid being dismissed from the program and the university.

F-1 students dismissed from the program and the university will lose their F-1 visa status if they do not appeal or the result of the appeal is denied by the SAP Appeals Committee.

Procedure for appealing ESL Probation or Dismissal
A student being dismissed for violating Satisfactory Academic Progress can appeal if they have mitigating circumstance(s) that contributed to the dismissal. The mitigating circumstance(s) must be supported with sufficient documentations.
The following is a list of conditions that can be considered as mitigating circumstances which have negatively impacted academic progress.

  • Student illness or injury that led to hospitalization or documented serious illness or injury of the student (including mental health issues)
  • Death of an immediate family member (a parent, spouse, sibling or child)
  • Illness of an immediate family member where the student is the primary caretaker or the family member is the primary financial support
  • Work-related major changes during the period (including military deployment)
  • Natural disaster

Any consideration of the conditions outside of the list provided should be discussed with the Office of Academic Affairs.
The student must appeal to the Office of Academic Affairs within 10 business days from the notification. The appeal must be in writing and must include following documents:

  1. Letter of appeal, explaining the mitigating circumstances that resulted in the academic dismissal, explanation on how the circumstance have been remedied or changed to ensure that he or she will be able to meet SAP requirements.
  2. Supporting documentation of the mitigating circumstances, and its remediation or change.