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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

In accordance with federal regulations, financial aid recipients are required be enrolled at least half time (as defined by their program) and complete a minimum number of credits attempted per year (defined as the Quantitative Component of Satisfactory Academic Progress), as well as maintain a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) (known as the Qualitative Component of Satisfactory Academic Progress) that would lead to the attainment of a degree. Both the quantitative and qualitative components of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) will be assessed at the end of each financial aid payment period or semester.


In accordance with William James College policy, students are required to complete a degree program within the timeframe below:

Clinical PsyD 7 years (8 years including a LOA)
School PsyD 6 years
MA Counseling/Forensics 3 years
MA Community Mental Health 3.5 years

After each semester (summer, fall and spring), a student's academic progress will be measured by comparing the number of attempted credit hours with the actual number of credit hours earned.  Students must earn passing grades* in at least 70% of their courses during the academic year in order to maintain SAP. These periodic evaluations must reflect the progress necessary to complete the program within the maximum timeframe listed above. Students who do not complete the minimum requirements will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for the period of one semester to achieve compliance with SAP. Only after a successful appeal and with an academic plan in place will a student be placed on Financial Aid Probation. Students whose quantitative pace makes it mathematically impossible to complete the program within the maximum timeframe will no longer be allowed access to federal funds.

* For master program students, passing requires a grade of B- or better, or CR or CP. For PsyD students, in order to maintain SAP, a student may receive no more than 1"NC" or no more than 3 "CP" and/or "I".


For qualitative purposes, satisfactory academic progress requires a cumulative quality point average (QPA) of B- or better. At the end of each semester, the qualitative standard will be checked for all students. If, at the end of the term, a student does not have a 3.0 or better QPA, he/she will be put on a Financial Aid Warning status for one semester to be given the opportunity to achieve SAP.  During this financial aid warning period, the student may receive aid*, however, will forfeit receipt of all institutional financial assistance**. Following completion of the warning period, students whose QPA is less than 3.0 will no longer be eligible for federal assistance until such time when the minimum QPA has been achieved or upon successful appeal at which time a student will be on Financial Aid Probation and be subject to an academic plan designed to help the student to achieve SAP.

For the purposes of the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy:

* Federal assistance is defined as the Federal Direct Student Loan Program and the Federal Work Study Program.

** Institutional assistance is defined as our Institutional Grant and Endowed Scholarship program and student employment program.

Important Considerations

The following are considered when evaluating a student's satisfactory academic progress:

  • Withdrawals, incompletes, not enrolled and failures are considered attempted but not earned hours. Transfer credit hours that are accepted toward a student's educational program count as both attempted and completed hours.
  • A grade of IP (In Process) is considered to be a successful grade for students enrolled in the dissertation continuing project sequence PR800, PR801, PR900, PR901, PR950.
  • Repeated courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours. A student is allowed to repeat a course only once. Exceptions to this would be any XX500, or XX550 course.


Students who appeal ineligibility due to not making satisfactory academic progress have the right to have their situation reviewed by a committee including the financial aid officer and the program director. Approval of a student's financial aid appeal will be based on extenuating circumstances outside the normal school activities that have an impact on the students' ability to achieve the minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress. Cases to consider may fall into the following categories:   

  • Student becomes seriously ill
  • Student is severely injured
  • Illness or death of immediate family member (documentation may be required)

Other cases may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Appeals must be submitted to the financial aid department within two weeks of the notification of academic probation. Students will be required to submit, as part of the appeal, information as to why they failed to make SAP and what has changed in their situation that would allow them to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation. All appeals will be reviewed by the committee and all decisions will be final. Upon a successful appeal, a student will be put on Financial Aid Probation and will be permitted to receive federal aid providing an academic plan is in place for the student and the student is making progress under that plan.