Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility

When a student is enrolled in the curriculum of the MD program, the following policy applies regarding standards for Satisfactory Academic Performance (SAP). 

NOTE (for Non-MD students):  Students enrolled in other School of Medicine degree programs should refer to the policies of their primary program (Applied Health Behavior Research, Audiology and Communication Sciences, Biostatistics, Clinical Investigation, Genetic Epidemiology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Population Health Sciences) or through the links in the Admission section.

Federal law and regulations require that all students receiving financial assistance from Federal Title IV funds maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). This policy presents the standards adopted by the Washington University School of Medicine and applies to all MD students.

Annually, at the end of each spring term, the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis evaluates SAP. If a student is not maintaining progress, they will be notified by the Committee on Academic and Professional Evaluation of Students (CAPES) and the Director of Financial Aid and will be ineligible, or ‘suspended’, for federal aid for future terms unless you appeal your status and it is approved by CAPES and the Director of Financial Aid.

In order to be compliant in maintaining SAP, and thus eligible for financial aid, students must be satisfactorily progressing toward their academic objectives. Federal regulations require the following measurements for determining SAP: time frame and quantitative/qualitative requirements.

Time frame requirement:

The Maximum Time Frame of full-time enrollment for completion of each program is as follows:

  • Four-year MD program: 6 years
  • Five-year MD program: 7.5 years
  • MA/MD program: 7.5 years (or nine years if a two-year MA is pursued)

Periods of non-enrollment are NOT counted in the measurement of satisfactory academic progress but all periods of attendance, regardless of whether or not the student received Title IV aid, are counted.

This policy is applied in the context of each individual student’s enrollment status in order to accommodate the student who does not enroll on a full-time basis. For example, if a student enrolls in a four-year program, the full-time student would meet the 150 percent maximum rule (as per Title IV guidelines) after six years of full-time enrollment, and the half-time student is expected to complete in twelve years. If a student vacillates between full-time and half-time enrollment, that student would have a maximum time frame between six and 12 years, and the maximum time frame for that student would be continuously adjusted.

If a student reaches a point where they cannot complete their program within the 150% maximum, the student becomes ineligible for aid.

Quantitative/qualitative requirement:

Academic requirements for the MD degree include the satisfactory completion of the curriculum designated by the faculty. The progress of each student working toward an MD degree is monitored carefully by the Committee on Academic and Professional Evaluation of Students (CAPES). Refer to the Assessing Academic Achievement section in the Bulletin under ‘Policies’ for more information.

A student failing to meet the standards of satisfactory progress as determined by CAPES shall be placed on financial aid suspension. The student will be eligible for aid when they achieve SAP or the student may appeal. Students who choose to appeal must state the reasons for failing to meet SAP (e.g. injury/illness of the student, death in the family or other special circumstance) and what has changed in the student’s situation so that he or she can now make SAP. If the student successfully appeals, the student will be placed on financial aid probation and may receive financial assistance for one semester. At the conclusion of this period, the student must have achieved compliance with each standard or be progressing per their individual academic plan to receive additional aid. A student who does not achieve compliance with each standard by the conclusion of the probationary period is suspended from financial aid eligibility.

The Office of Student Financial Aid must notify a student of implementation of probationary status and/or suspension.

The Director of Student Financial Aid shall have primary responsibility for enforcement of this policy. The Office of Student Financial Aid shall ascertain at the time of each disbursement of funds and prior to certification of a financial aid application that the student is in compliance with the policy.