Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations (General Provision CFR 668.34) require that students at Case Western Reserve University maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress to retain eligibility for federal and institutional aid consideration. The academic requirements for the MD degree include the satisfactory completion of the MD curriculum at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (this includes the 4-year University Program and 5-year College Program). The progress of each student working toward the MD degree is monitored carefully, and the determination of satisfactory academic progress is reviewed every semester. At the end of each academic year, students must have an academic standing consistent with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine's curricular and graduation requirements.
Federal law and regulations require that all students receiving financial assistance maintain satisfactory academic progress. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the successful completion of degree requirements according to established increments that lead to awarding the degree within published time limits. The following policy delineates the standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, which applies to all matriculated students, whether or not they are recipients of financial aid.

Qualitative Measures of SAP

Each student at Case Western Reserve University School Of Medicine is required to successfully complete all of the medicine schools required courses, clerkships, examinations and a scholarly project in order to graduate with the MD degree. Case Western Reserve University School Of Medicine does not measure academic progress by means of a cumulative grade point average but rather with grades Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory for the University Program and AE (Achieved or Exceeds Competencies) for the College Program in Years 1 and 2, and in all non-clinical electives, and with grades of Honors, Commendable, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory or AE (Achieved or Exceeds Competencies) in clinical courses in Years 3, 4 and 5 for the College Program. Specifically, all courses in Year 1 must be completed with a grade of Satisfactory or Achieved/Exceeds Competencies for progression to Year 2. All courses in Year 2 must be completed with a grade of Satisfactory or Achieved/Exceeds Competencies for progression to the third-year basic core clinical clerkship curriculum. All students are required to complete the basic core clerkship with a minimum overall core grade of Satisfactory or Achieved/Exceeds Competencies and grades of Satisfactory or higher in all core clerkships and if applicable, elective experiences or approved activities, to progress to the final graduating year of the MD program. In the final year, students must complete all courses, clerkships and approved activities with a minimum grade of Satisfactory to meet graduation requirements (although the completion of all courses, clerkships or approved activities within a minimum grade of Satisfactory is not sufficient in and of itself to meet graduation requirements).

Maximum Time Frame

The normal time frame for completion of required coursework for the MD degree is four academic years for the University Program and five years for the College Program. Due to academic or personal difficulties or scholarly enrichment activities, a student may require additional time. In such situations, an academic plan may be established for the student that departs from the norm and that may require the repetition of all or a part of a year of study (i.e., subsequent to incomplete or unsatisfactory course work or an approved leave). To be making satisfactory academic progress, students ordinarily must complete the first two years of the curriculum by the end of the third year after initial enrollment in the University Program and College Program; the remaining requirements of the curriculum ordinarily must be completed by the end of the fifth year after initial enrollment for the University Program and sixth year for the College Program. Requests for exceptions are subject to review by the Committee on Students (COS; see below) and Medical Student Promotion and Review Committee for the College Program (MSPRC). The maximum time permitted for completion of the MD degree is six years. A student is eligible for institutional financial aid for a maximum of five years of enrollment for the University Program and six years for the College Program, excluding time spent on approved leave of absence.

SAP and Leaves of Absence

A student may be granted a personal or medical leave of absence for a variety of reasons. The period of leave for which the student has been approved may be excluded from the maximum time frame in which an individual student will be expected to complete the program. However, under no circumstances will a student be allowed to take more than 10 years from the time of matriculation to complete the requirements for the MD degree, including leaves of absence. More information concerning leaves of absence can be found in the Student Handbook.

Review and Notification of Lack of Satisfactory Academic Progress

During the annual review of a student's SAP by the Case Western Reserve University School Of Medicine Registrar and Society Dean/CAML Director/Assessment Manager (Medical Student Promotions and Review Committee for the College Program), the progression to the next academic year is based upon a review of all grades, including withdrawals, incompletes and unsatisfactory grades. Any student who has not achieved a minimum of a satisfactory grade in all core courses/clerkships cannot progress to the next year.
The Case Western Reserve University School Of Medicine COS/Society Dean/School Of Medicine Registrar/School Of Medicine Financial Aid Officer in consultation with the Vice Dean for Medical Education for the University Program and the MSPRC/Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs/Physician Advisor/School Of Medicine Registrar/Financial Aid Officer for the College Program, will notify annually, in writing, all students who have not met the standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress outlined above (Qualitative Measures and/or Maximum Time Frame). The notification will indicate the nature of the deficiency, any methods that may be available for correcting the deficiency, and any consequences that have resulted or may result, such as: A student who fails to meet one or more of the standards for SAP (qualitative and/or time frame) is ineligible for financial aid beginning with the term immediately following the term in which the SAP requirements were not met, pending the results of the appeal process outlined below.


Eligibility for continued financial aid will only be re-established if the student subsequently meets Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, or if the student successfully appeals the decision to the COS and MSPRC for the College Program. The appeal must state the reasons for failing to meet SAP requirements, including, if applicable, special circumstances that contributed to the student's failure to make satisfactory academic progress (e.g., the death of a relative, injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances), and the changes in circumstances that will allow the student to demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress at the next evaluation.
The assistance of the student's Academic Society Dean may be sought in the preparation of appeal; for the College Program, assistance of the student's Physician Advisor and Dean of Admission and Student Affairs may be sought in the preparation of appeal. A student may also be required to submit a course plan and/or letter from the Academic Society Dean (University Program) or Admissions and Student Affairs Dean (College Program). All relevant materials will be presented to the COS (University Program) and MSPRC (College Program). If the COS or MSPRC determines that the student's appeal should be approved, the student's aid will be reinstated.

Financial Aid Probation

Once an appeal has been approved, a student is placed on financial aid probation and is eligible for financial aid. The Academic Society Dean in conjunction with the student and the Registrar (University Program) as well as the Physician Advisor and Admissions and the Student Affairs Dean with the student (College Program) will develop an academic plan for the student that will ensure, if followed, that the student is able to meet Case Western Reserve University’s School Of Medicine's SAP standards by a specific point of time. Ordinarily, this time frame will be for an academic year. The student is eligible for financial aid during the time frame stated in the academic plan. At the end of the time frame stated in the academic plan, the student must have met the SAP standards. A student who does not comply with each SAP standard by the end of the financial aid probationary period is suspended from financial aid eligibility. A student shall be reinstated for financial aid eligibility when he/she has satisfactorily completed sufficient coursework to meet the standards of progress within the maximum time frames delineated above.
Note: A student who has lost eligibility for financial aid due to deficiencies in satisfactory academic progress cannot automatically regain eligibility by paying tuition for a semester or by sitting out a term. Eligibility may be regained only by eliminating all SAP deficiencies at the student's expense until all requirements of this policy are met.


Students who are withdrawn from Case Western Reserve University’s School Of Medicine are not making satisfactory academic progress and are not eligible to receive financial aid.


The Offices of the Registrar and Financial Aid, the Academic Societies (Physician Advisor and Admissions and Student Affairs Dean) and the Committee on Students (University Program); MSPRC (College Program) collaboratively shall have the responsibility for monitoring and enforcing Satisfactory Academic Progress. The Case Western Reserve University School Of Medicine Registrar will notify the Committee on Students of any students who are not making satisfactory academic progress. The Academic Society Dean (University Program) and Physician Advisor (College Program) will determine whether academic sanctions are warranted and will inform the student thus. The Admissions and Student Affairs Dean for the College Program may refer the student to the MSPRC or Student Behavioral Committee. The Financial Aid Office will inform any student whose financial aid has been impacted.