Academic Freedom Policy
Academic freedom is a cherished principle in higher education. At the University of St. Augustine, academic freedom is the right of faculty members to express their professional opinions regarding the content of the courses they are teaching, as long as they are measured against the intellectual standards of relevant professional disciplines. It should be remembered that the content of courses often builds upon itself, and this course content is coordinated to achieve the desired goal of meeting professional accreditation and national licensure subject matter. Faculty have the freedom in the classroom to discuss academic subjects, select instructional materials, and determine grades. Likewise, students should have the opportunity to study a wide spectrum of ideas so they may acquire critical thinking skills. We must never lose sight that our students are seeking guidance, not confusion. While they wish to know what to do in every single circumstance, we know they are better prepared if we teach them the skills and give them the content that will enable them to personally find answers. In the development of knowledge and creative activities, the faculty and student body are free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism and to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence.
However, there are limits to academic freedom. The courts have decided that free speech does not extend to shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. Likewise, academic freedom, the right to express one’s personal views, has its limits and carries with it a measure of responsibility. By all means, faculty may express a different viewpoint about a professional topic, but it should be clearly expressed as a personal viewpoint. Faculty may not subject students to personal views and opinions concerning matters not related to the course of instruction itself. It is necessary that faculty conduct themselves accordingly, with due respect to the welfare of this University and the professions we represent. It is also necessary to ensure consistency within an integrated curriculum and when teaching various sections of the same course/seminar. The philosophy, programs, faculty, and administration of the University are not perfect, and helpful suggestions and constructive criticism can assist all; but publicly expressing displeasure with University philosophies or practices has no place in our organization.
It is important for faculty, staff, and students to know they can initiate changes and have a number of avenues within which they can work for change. Both on-campus and distant employees and students may speak (or write) to their Program Director or supervisor. The University supports your ideas, and suggestions will be treated with the respect and consideration they deserve.
If a faculty member, staff member, or student perceives an infringement on his or her academic freedom, the individual should follow the complaint policy and refer the issue to the appropriate Program Director, supervisor, and/or Dean. If the issue is not resolved in a satisfactory manner, the individual may submit a written grievance to the University’s Grievance Committee at 1 University Blvd., St. Augustine, FL 32086, where the issue will be handled according to established timelines and processes.
Diversity at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is defined in three ways:
- Representation of the student, faculty, and staff across all campuses
- Allowing for diverse thought, leadership styles, and work environments
- Encouraging diverse ways to teach, to promote student cultural awareness, and to engage in scholarly pursuits
Representation of the student, faculty, and staff across all campuses: The University aims to support diversity by recruiting and retaining students and employees at all levels by
- recognizing that continued success in meeting the needs of our students requires the full and active participation of talented and committed employees who represent a variety of religions, disabilities, ages, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, and genders. Diversity of employees also includes personal and work history, education, functional ability, personality, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, geographic origin, longevity with the organization, degree-program matriculation, and level of employment within the organization;
- supporting admission to students regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation; and
- offering educational support to all students as needed.
Diverse thought, leadership styles, and work environment: The University believes that diversity encompasses the way we work, the work environment, and respect for people and ideas. It also encompasses varying management styles and ways of thinking, leadership abilities, skill levels, experiences, viewpoints, expression of thoughts, and differing ways of delivering services, provided there is consistency in the values we share. By fostering an atmosphere of acceptance and support, we value and appreciate the strengths afforded by the differences, styles, ideas, and organizational contributions of each person. For it is through diversity that our institutional core values and mission can best be met.
Encouraging diverse ways to teach, to promote student cultural awareness, and to engage in scholarly pursuits: The University supports faculty who offer diverse clinical expertise and approaches to patient management as a way to promote health science professional curricula that allows graduates to work with a diverse client population. Efforts are made to support cultural competence throughout the curricula and meet expected student learning outcomes in this area. The University fosters diverse faculty and student scholarly endeavors that involve various clinical, patient management, health promotion, and education research topics, with careful attention to the safety, confidentiality, and privacy of all research subjects.
Diversity is inclusion. It stresses equal opportunity, recognizes and respects the multitude of differences that employees and students bring to our workplace and classrooms, and acknowledges the changing face of the community we serve. The affirmation of diversity and full cooperation by all managers, supervisors, employees, and students is expected.
Transfer Credit Policy—All Programs
Transfer of graduate credits previously earned from another accredited degree-granting institution is limited to 25% of the total number of academic credits for the degree. Transfer of credits within the University is determined on a case by case basis. Transfer credit will in most cases be approved for graduate coursework awarded by schools, colleges, or universities whose accrediting bodies have recognition from CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation) and the U.S. Department of Education.
Transfer of Credits From Another Accredited Institution
Acceptance or rejection of transfer credits is subject to the following provisions:
- The course(s) should have been completed within 5 years* preceding admission to the program, but the applicant may petition to the Program Director for an exception to this time limit.
*Some programs may be more restrictive than others and will expect a maximum of 3 years preceding admission (see First Professional Division reenrollment timelines)
- The course should have been completed with a grade of B or better. Courses having a B- or below will not be transferred.
- The course must be listed on an official transcript sent directly to the Registrar by the issuing institution.
- Graduate-level courses taken at accredited institutions can be used for credit transfer provided that the coursework meets the corresponding requirements of the program and the course being substituted by transfer.
- The course number and name of the course requested for transfer should reflect the content of the course it is replacing. Additionally, if the course requested for transfer will replace an elective, the content should be closely aligned with that of the curriculum and its potential electives.
- Undergraduate work is not accepted for transfer.
- In general, credit can be transferred if the requested substitute course is at the same course level or lower than the course being substituted (i.e., 7000-level courses would transfer for a 7000-level course or 5000 or 6000 level). In cases where a course from a master’s program is being requested for transfer into a doctoral program, consideration will be given to rigor and content and further documentation may be requested.
- Final approval for a transfer request is based upon review and authorization by the Program Director and will be based on assessment of whether a transfer of credit will allow the student to meet all program and course learning outcomes.
- If students are utilizing a variety of methods in transferring credits (from outside institutions, from another USAHS program, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) or from advanced standing), a maximum of 50% of the degree program total credits can be awarded. The remaining 50% of the total credits needs to be completed within the desired USAHS program.
- The Registrar is responsible for assuring consistency of transfer credit practice and procedure among the different campus locations.
Post Graduate Nursing Certificate Transfer of Credits
- The School of Nursing follows the provisions listed above with the following additions:
- For course(s) that have been completed greater than 5 years preceding admission to the program or courses with a population specific focus different from the population of the focus of the certificate, Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI) examination may be administered to ‘test out’ of Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, or Advanced Physical Assessment. A minimum score of 750 on the HESI examination is required. Testing and proctoring will be at the expense of the applicant or student requesting the transfer credit.
The process for requesting transfer credits is as follows:
- The student completes a Transfer Credit Request Form, found on the MyUSA Student Services tab under Forms (or obtains from advisor), and submits it to the Program Director for initial review. A course syllabus is required. It is the responsibility of the student to provide sufficient documentation to show equivalency to USAHS coursework.
- The Program Director, in consultation with the appropriate course instructor(s) as needed, will review the transfer course syllabus to verify that its contents match those of the program’s course, considering the nature, content, quality, appropriateness, and applicability of the credit earned. The Program Director will then notify the Registrar of the decision.
- If necessary, the student and Program Director will meet and discuss the feasibility of the transfer and additional requests for documentation may take place at this time.
- All documents will then be sent to the Registrar for final review and request for payment (if approved).
- Once payment is confirmed by the Bursar, the Registrar will poss the transfer credit to the permanent academic record.
Transfer of Credits From One USAHS Program to Another USAHS Program
Transfer of credits may take place from one USAHS program to another. Should a student wish to transfer credits from one program to another, the following guidelines will apply:
- Students may request transfer of credits from another program for up to 50% of the total credits in the program the credits will be applied toward.
- If electives are to be transferred, the Program Director will determine if those credits meet the program learning outcomes for the intended degree.
- Courses taught in a master’s level program that include outcomes and assessment measures designed for the doctoral level may be considered for transfer into doctoral-level programs if they have been approved for such and according to Program Director approval.
- The Program Director, in conjunction with the Registrar, will give final approval to the transfer plan.
The process for requesting transfer credits is as follows:
- The student completes a Transfer Credit Request Form, found on the MyUSA Students tab, and submits it to the Registrar.
- Requests for approval of transfer credits should be submitted 2 months before the start of classes for the trimester.
- The Registrar will notify the student if the request for transfer credit is approved and will post any transferred credit to the permanent academic record at that time.
Academic degree programs use a 4.0 scale to calculate GPAs. More information on the University’s grading system is located in the Student Handbook.
Credit and quality points are not included in GPA calculations for the following grades:
||No Grade Reported
Please see the Student Handbook for the full Grading System policy and additional information.
The course instructor or the Program Director may initiate grade changes. The grade change by instructor must first be submitted to the Program Director for initial approval. The Registrar’s Office will post any approved grade change to the official academic record. More information on grade changes is located in the Student Handbook.
Repetition of Course
On occasion, a student may be required to repeat a course. Under such circumstances, the highest grade achieved is counted towards the cumulative GPA. More information on repetition of a course is located in the Student Handbook.
Students are expected to be (1) in the classroom or lab on time, (2) prepared to begin class/lab, and (3) wearing the appropriate attire by the designated starting time for that instructional period.
Students who are going to be late or absent from class/lab due to an unexpected situation should contact their course instructor; see course syllabus for contact information.
Occasionally, students may be required as part of a course to attend an evening lecture by a distinguished person in the field. Such an event will be considered mandatory as if it were a regularly scheduled class.
In the event of a planned absence, the student must speak to each faculty member whose course will be missed and request that the absence be excused.
Excused absences include (but may not be limited to) the following:
Illness (after 3 days must be supported by physician’s note)
Attendance at a professional conference approved by the Program Director
Attendance at special services for a member of the immediate family (spouse, parent, child, sibling; spouse’s parent, child, or sibling; child’s spouse, grandparents, or grandchildren).
Unexcused absences are considered to be unprofessional behavior. With any unexcused absence, students forfeit the right to review with the instructor all or any part of the material, including test reviews, covered during that class or lab session. A first offense will result in a warning letter issued to the student with a copy of that letter placed in the student’s file. A second offense and each subsequent offense will result in a 5% reduction per offense from a final course grade. This represents the University’s minimal standard; individual faculty may outline additional consequences in their course syllabi.
Tardiness is considered to be unprofessional behavior. It is expected that if a student is tardy for any class, the student will apologize to the instructor immediately after that class. If a student is tardy twice (two times), the student will receive a warning letter with a copy of that letter placed in his or her file. After the second time, each subsequent event will result in a 5% reduction per tardiness from a final course grade. This represents the University’s minimal standard; individual faculty may outline additional consequences in their course syllabi.
Clinical fieldwork/internship students should refer to the Clinical Education Handbook.
Because of the amount of material covered in each lab session, absences from even 2 hours of any lab session can be very
detrimental to the understanding and application of the course material and the course grade. Students are strongly encouraged
not to miss any portion of any lab. If a student misses more than 20% of the total lab hours in a course, the student will be
withdrawn from the course. In case of extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control, as approved by the course faculty
and the program director, the student may be allowed to make up some missed lab hours.
Online Education Attendance
If enrolled in a course that is purely online (no face-to-face lab associated with it) then a student may be moving through his or her coursework with a cohort group. This means the student will have weekly attendance and assignments due along with fellow classmates. Check the syllabus for a schedule of due dates or refer to the course map within the course platform for specific information on each assignment.
In the online environment, attendance equates to signing into the course and interacting in some meaningful way, either via an assignment, bulletin board discussion, or test. No other student/course facilitator contact (e.g., telephone calls, faxes, email) satisfies the attendance requirement.
Course faculty are required to report student absences (lack of online course interaction) in an online course. However, it is the prerogative of the faculty member to determine if work submitted after the day of deadline will or will not receive any points or credit. Be advised that course facilitators are discouraged from awarding points for late student work that is designed to contribute to the overall class community (e.g., bulletin board threads, group work).
Flex Program Additional Information
Planned absences must be approved in advance by the Program Administrator.
In the event of an occurrence or emergency that necessitates missing any part of a Flex weekend lab, the procedure is as follows:
First contact should be the Program Director, coordinator, or manager. If the director, coordinator, or manager gives approval to proceed, the student next contacts the course online instructor to seek permission for an excused absence. If the course online instructor approves, the student must then contact the lab instructor to request approval for the absence. If all three (program coordinator/manager, online instructor, and lab instructor) agree, the student will be granted an excused absence. Failure to follow this sequence will result in an unexcused absence, which results in forfeiture of the right to review with the instructor all or any part of the material. This also includes taking written or practical exams. Unexcused absences are considered to be unprofessional behavior which could result in the final course grade being reduced by 5% to 10% and/or a referral to the Professional Misconduct Committee.
Students are expected to make travel arrangements that permit them to attend the full lab sessions on each scheduled lab weekend. Arriving late or leaving early for travel is considered an unexcused absence except in cases of unavoidable conflicts or when approved in advance by the program coordinator.
The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences seeks resolution of all issues through the process of reason and expects all members of the University community to be governed by this principle. However, should a student, faculty member, staff member, visitor, invited guest, or other licensee, acting individually or collectively, while on University property engage in violence, destruction of property, or any act that disrupts or interferes with the functioning of the University or disturbs the academic processes of the classroom, and ignore or refuse to comply with official directives to desist, the University shall eject said violator from the campus or other University property. In addition, the University may seek to impose such penalties as provided by law. Where circumstances require, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences may employ injunctive procedures or call upon civil authority to maintain order. University students, faculty, or staff engaged in such acts are subject to immediate suspension and a subsequent hearing, which may lead to expulsion or dismissal.
The University of St. Augustine is committed to providing a learning and working environment in which complaints are addressed fairly and resolved promptly. All complaints are taken seriously. The procedure for handling complaints encourages informal conciliation, facilitates early resolution, and maintains individual privacy and confidentiality.
This policy covers three general types of complaints:
- Student complaints
- Complaints from individuals outside the University
- Complaints from agencies outside the University
This policy does not cover complaints about incidents related to harassment. Complaints of this nature should be directed to the Director of Human Resources. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) discrimination complaints are also not covered under this policy and should be referred to Disability Services (see Student Handbook). Complaints regarding the sexual misconduct policy should be referred to the Title IX officer (see Student Handbook).
- Types of Student Complaints
Students should utilize the following procedure for complaints about service, support, or assistance provided by academic, administrative, or support departments of the University. Student complaints include academic issues, such as instruction methodology, grading, testing, or assignments, or nonacademic matters, such as IT support, University services, facilities, policies, financial matters, etc. The following procedure is not for complaints regarding academic or professional misconduct appeals policies and procedures. Please refer to the Student Handbook for appeals processes.
All information submitted as part of a student complaint will be treated as confidential and will only be available to the appropriate/involved parties. The student should also respect the need for confidentiality throughout the complaint process. A student who submits a complaint should be aware that complete confidentiality cannot always be guaranteed if effective action is to be taken. Where a complaint is in reference to a specific individual, the complaint cannot be investigated if the student does not wish the allegation to be made known to that individual. Anonymous complaints will not be considered.
- USAHS will provide for the Student Services Director or a designee, not directly involved in the area of the complaint, who will serve as an impartial representative of the institution in the complaint process.
- No adverse action will be taken against a complainant as the result of the submission of a complaint through the USAHS complaint procedure.
- Student Complaints Procedures
A student should discuss his or her concerns with the person(s) who is directly responsible (course instructor, staff member, etc.) in order to resolve the issue. The initial party has 10 business days to address the issue. Depending on the severity of the issue, a written record may or may not be drafted and placed in the University’s complaint record.
- If the complaint cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student should discuss the issue with his or her Program Director. The Program Director will consider the complaint and attempt to bring the issue to a satisfactory resolution within 10 business days
- In certain situations, the Program Director may refer the complaint to an appropriate University committee. The respective committee will consider the complaint and provide a written recommendation to the Program Director.
- The Program Director will consider the committee recommendation and notify the student in writing of the decision.
- Written documentation regarding the resolution will be placed in the University’s complaint file and maintained for 6 years.
- After following the steps above, the student may submit a formal written complaint to the Grievance Committee.
- The complaint will be investigated by the Grievance Committee and a written response will be provided to the student within 60 business days.
- The original written complaint, a copy of the response, and a description of any actions taken as a result of the complaint will be maintained on file for 6 years past the student’s last date of attendance.
Complaints From Individuals or Agencies Outside the University
Individuals or agencies from outside the University should address complaints about the University or a University program to the applicable Program Director, Dean, or the University President.
- Complaints Procedure
Complaints about a USAHS employee or student should be resolved by communicating directly with the individual or department head.
- If a resolution is not possible at this level, a written complaint may be filed. Written complaints should be addressed to the Grievance Committee:
University of St. Augustine
Grievance Committee Chair
St. Augustine Florida Campus
1 University Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL 32086
All complaints will be fully investigated by the Grievance Committee and a written response will be provided to the complainant.
The original written complaint, a copy of the response, and a description of any actions taken as a result of the complaint will be maintained on file for 6 years following the date of the resolution.
If a complaint cannot be resolved after following the procedures above, the following agencies can be contacted directly. This information will be posted and kept current on the University website.
- WASC Senior College and University Commission
- Complaints may be filed with the University’s institutional accrediting body by contacting the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) at http://www.wascsenior.org/comments and reviewing the Policy on Complaints and Third-Party Comments to ascertain the appropriate means to communicate comments and complaints.
- American Physical Therapy Association
- Complaints about the Physical Therapy program can be submitted to CAPTE by requesting the Procedures for Handling Complaints About an Accredited or Developing Physical Therapy Program.
- American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA): In addition to opportunities for providing public comment regarding a programs accreditation status, the CAA has separate procedures for filing a formal complaint about a CAA-accredited program or one seeking a CAA accreditation status. Individuals who wish to file a formal complaint should contact the Accreditation Office to obtain a copy of the complaint procedures, or refer to the Procedures for Complaints Against Graduate Education Programs on the CAA website found at Comments and Complaints.
- U.S. Department of Education
- Complaints about discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability are handled by the Office for Civil Rights.
- For more information on this process please visit Complaints.
- In California
- In Florida
- For information on the Commission for Independent Education’s complaint process go to http://www.fldoe.org/cie/complaint.asp or contact the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of Education at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 32399, (toll free number) 888-224-6684.
- In Texas
- Additional States
- In District of Columbia, contact the District of Columbia Higher Education Licensure Commission, 1050 First St. NE, Fifth Floor, Washington, DC 20002, (202) 727-6436, https://osse.dc.gov/service/higher-education-licensure-commission-helc-public-complaints .
- In Georgia contact the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission’s complaint process go to https://gnpec.org/gnpec-authorized-school-complainant-form/.
- In Iowa contact the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, 430 East Grand Avenue, FL 3, Des Moines, IA 50309-1920, (877) 272-4456 option 4.
- In Maryland contact the Maryland Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, 200 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21202, 410-528-8662/888-743-0823 (toll free).
- In New Mexico contact the New Mexico Higher Education Department, 2044 Galisteo Street, Suite 4, Santa Fe, NM 87505-2100, http://www.hed.state.nm.us/institutions/complaints.aspx.
- In Utah contact the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, 160 East 300 South, 2nd Floor, PO Box 146704, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6704, http://www.dcp.utah.gov/complaints/index.html Students can file a complaint at any time with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection. - updated 03/21/19
- The Tennessee Higher Education Commission requires that all students know of their rights in a grievance situation, including contacting the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Nashville, TN 37243-0830, 1-615-741-5293, if grievances are not resolved at the institutional level. -updated 04/17/2019
- The University of St. Augustine has taken the necessary steps to apply and/or receive authorization to deliver education, to market, and to affiliate with clinical education sites in all 50 states. For information on a specific state, or to file a complaint go to http://www.usa.edu/p54-226-Complaints.aspx.
Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, which upholds the integrity of their profession and the University. Further information is available in the Student Handbook.
Suspension or Dismissal
The University, through its faculty or appropriate committees, reserves the discretionary right to suspend or dismiss any student from the University for failure to maintain
- a satisfactory academic record, or
- acceptable personal and professional behavior.
The student has the right to appeal to the appropriate University committee and, if applicable, to the President of the University, in the event of a decision to dismiss and/or suspend from the University.
Leave of Absence
USAHS expects its students to maintain continuous registration in an academic program. However, the University understands situations may arise during a student’s time at USAHS that may warrant a break in registration. To accommodate these situations, the University has developed the following LOA policy.
To request an Emergency LOA, a student must complete the LOA Request Form, located on the myUSA portal Students Services tab under Forms, and forward the completed form to an Advisor for approval. A student should apply in advance for an Emergency LOA. If a student fails to provide documentation, or does not receive approval for an Emergency LOA, the student may receive failing grades for all courses for that term which may result in dismissal from the program.
If a student is unable to apply in advance for an Emergency LOA due to unforeseen circumstances, the University may grant the request if the LOA Request Form and sufficient documentation is submitted upon the student’s return.
- An Emergency Leave of Absence will be considered for review only if the request meets the following criteria:
- The request is for a medical emergency (student or immediate family member) or bereavement (death of an immediate family member.) Immediate family member is defined as spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild; a spouse’s parent, child, sibling, grand parent, grandchild; and a child’s spouse.
- The request is for a financial hardship (job relocation, job termination, loss of housing).
- The LOA Request Form includes the student’s signature, date of request, and any supporting documentation for the request (i.e. medical documentation, obituary, eviction notice, etc.)
An Emergency LOA is limited to 180 days in one calendar year. Students requesting an Emergency LOA should keep in mind the following:
- 2 weeks or less
- If the Emergency LOA is shorter than or equal to two weeks (14 calendar days) the student has the option to come back within the current trimester. However, it is the student’s responsibility to stay in communication with the instructor(s) and to make-up any work during the Emergency LOA.
- More than 2 weeks
- Students taking more than two weeks will be withdrawn from all courses and will be required to repeat the courses in a subsequent term. Students cannot return from an LOA longer than 2 weeks in the middle of a term.
- The student must return at the start of a subsequent term within 180 days. Students who are unable to return within 180 days are subject to withdrawal from the program.
Planned Educational LOA:
The Planned Educational LOA is intended to provide students with an opportunity to pursue other activities outside the University related to their educational or professional goals. Students requesting a Planned Educational LOA must have a definitive objective that contributes to their educational goals. To request a Planned Educational LOA, a student must complete the LOA Request Form, located on the myUSA portal Student Services tab, and forward the completed form to an Advisor for Approval. Approval of a Planned Educational LOA is contingent on the following:
- The student must be in good academic standing.
- The student must submit the request at least one week prior to the start of the trimester. A Planned Educational LOA will not be granted if the request is submitted once the trimester has begun.
- The student has support from the Program Director to take a Planned Educational LOA.
- The Planned Educational LOA request is no longer than one full trimester (105 days).
- The student includes a statement describing how the Planned Educational LOA will contribute to their educational goals.
- Students who have been approved for a Planned Educational LOA must notify the Registrar in writing of their intention to return to the program as soon as possible and no later than 1 week prior to their scheduled return date for scheduling purposes. Please note: Financial aid may be delayed depending on the time frame in which the student notifies the Registrar’s office of their return.
Current students called to active military service will be required to follow the same procedures for requesting any other LOA. Acceptable supporting documentation for this type of request is military orders. Students who begin Military LOA during a term will be refunded their tuition for that term. A Military LOA may be for the duration of military service and is not limited to the leave time frame set forth in the Emergency LOA and Planned Educational LOA guidelines.
The University reserves the right to place students on Administrative LOA. The student must return at the start of a subsequent term within 180 days. Students who are unable to return within 180 days are subject to withdrawal from the program.
Issues to Consider Prior to Requesting a LOA
Depending on the specific scholarship guidelines, students on a Planned Educational LOA may have to forfeit their scholarship funds upon their return. Scholarships will not be affected for students who are on an Emergency LOA.
Students with private education loans:
Students with private education loans requesting an LOA of any type, must consider how it will impact their loan status. Specifically, students should consider how this will impact the grace period for repayment of the loan. Prior to requesting an LOA of any type, the University recommends students receiving private education loans contact their lender.
Students receiving Title IV Funds:
Students receiving Title IV Funds (Federal Student Loans) should be aware that an LOA from the University may impact their financial aid. A university-approved LOA may not qualify a student for a loan payment deferral as it relates to federal financial aid. The student must consult with the Financial Aid Office prior to submitting the LOA request form. If a student receiving Title IV funds is considering taking a Planned Educational LOA or an Emergency LOA lasting longer than 14 calendar days (two weeks), they must be aware of the following:
In accordance with Federal Financial Aid regulations, the total amount of leave taken by the student must not exceed 180 days in any 12-month period. The 12-month period begins on the first day of the initial Leave of Absence.
If a Title IV student is withdrawn from the University due to failure to return from an LOA this may affect the student’s loan repayment terms, including the expiration of the student’s grace period.
Students approved for an LOA are required to complete exit counseling prior to the beginning of the leave.
International students must meet with an Advisor before submitting an LOA Request Form to ensure compliance with their visa status.
General Notice to Students Considering an LOA:
- If a student fails to return from an LOA, the student will be withdrawn from the University. The student’s withdrawal date will be the date the student began the leave.
- Students who are withdrawn or dismissed for failure to return from an LOA, may reapply as a prospective student to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.
- A student cannot exceed 180 days in any 12-month period. (This excludes Military LOA). The 12-month period begins on the first day of the initial LOA.
- The University reserves the right to reassess the “Essential Functions for Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy” of any student returning from any LOA and to decline or conditionally approve his or her resumption of classes if he or she is unable to meet the essential functions with reasonable accommodations.
- Upon returning from an LOA, a student who has been receiving reasonable accommodations must reapply to the Director of Disability Services to have accommodations reinstated.
First Professional Division Only Policies
Advanced Course Standing by Examination
Based on previous academic coursework earned from another accredited degree granting institution or another program within the University and/or work experiences, a student may be granted advanced standing for a particular course after passing an examination on the contents of the course. The examination may be written or practical or both, and there is a cost associated with each exam. A maximum of 25% of the total number of credits for the degree may be granted for advanced standing. The granting of advance standing by examination is independent of the granting of transfer credit.
Approval for advanced course standing is subject to the following provisions:
- Documentation supporting the reason for requesting advanced course standing by examination.
- Supporting documentation may include transcripts showing applicable courses for credit, course descriptions, syllabi, continuing education courses/seminar descriptions and proof of completion, and work experience.
- Passing a challenge examination to verify competency in the particular subject matter. A student has only one attempt per course to pass the challenge exam. If the student fails the exam, the student must take the course in its entirety. The passing grade will be the same as the passing grade stated in the syllabus for the course in which advance standing is being requested.
The process for requesting Advanced Course Standing by Examination is as follows:
- The student obtains a request form for Approval of Advanced Course Standing by Examination, found on the MyUSA portal Students tab, and submits it to the respective Program Director with appropriate documentation.
- Requests for approval of Advanced Course Standing by Examination must be submitted at least 2 months before the start of classes for the trimester.
- In consultation with course instructors, the Program Director will review the request. If approved, the Program Director will notify the Registrar and a test time and date will be set up for each challenge exam. If the Program Director with consultation of the course instructor(s) concludes that the student’s previous coursework and experience are inadequate for passing the challenge exam, they may encourage the student not to seek advanced course standing or to take some type of remediation before taking the challenge exam.
- The Registrar will notify the student if the challenge exam has been passed and will post the course and its credits to the permanent academic record at that time.
Program Change Policy
All program change requests will be considered on an individual basis and are contingent upon space availability.
Incoming (new) students who want to request change of their admission to another degree program must make a request in writing (e-mail is acceptable) to the Director of Admissions at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the trimester. To be considered, the student must have successfully completed all of the required prerequisites for the program to which he or she is requesting change. The Director of Admissions will notify the student via e-mail of the outcome of the request. Please note: The start and completion dates of students who transfer between degree programs may be extended.
First Term Students
Program Change Request forms must be submitted to the student’s current Program Director by midterm of the first trimester. Change requests not received by the midterm deadline will be considered during the subsequent trimester. To be considered, the student must have successfully completed all of the required prerequisites for the program to which he or she is requesting change.
Second Term (and beyond) Students
Program Change Request forms must be submitted to the student’s current Program Director by midterm of the current trimester.
Program Change Request Process for Current Students
In order to be considered for a program change, a student must:
- Be in good academic standing at the time of the request. Program change requests will not be considered from students who are currently remediating or retaking coursework, who are under review for appeal or professional misconduct, or who are on academic probation. Program change requests from students who are on approved leave of absence will be considered.
- Complete the Program Change Request Form located in the MyUSA portal Students tab.
- Submit the completed form to:
- His or her current Program Director
- The Program Director of the degree program to which the student is seeking change
- The Director of Admissions. The Director of Admissions will approve only if the student has successfully completed all of the required prerequisites for the program to which he or she is requesting change.
- Clinical Education
- Once the Program Change Request Form has been considered by all applicable administrators, the student will be notified of the outcome via e-mail by the University Registrar.
- Please note: USAHS scholarships are not transferable from one program to another.
- Changing programs may extend the degree completion date.
Dual Degree Option Students
Dual degree option students who elect not to return to the University to pursue the DPT portion of the program immediately after earning the MOT degree must submit a Program Withdrawal Form to the Registrar’s Office by midterm of the last trimester of the MOT program.
Dual degree option students who want to complete the DPT portion of the program through the Flex DPT program must submit a Program Change Request Form to the Registrar’s Office by midterm of the last trimester of the MOT program. This form is located on the myUSA portal, Students tab.
A USAHS entry-level program graduate who decides to seek admission to another USAHS entry-level degree program must enroll within 3 years of his or her graduation date or he or she may be required to retake foundational (HSC) coursework and complete additional internship/fieldwork experiences. To be considered for admission to another entry-level degree program, a USAHS graduate must submit to the Student Services Office a completed application for admission; however, transcripts and GRE score reports do not need to be resubmitted with the new application.
Dual degree students who delay beginning the DPT portion of the program after receiving the MOT degree must reenroll in the DPT program within 3 calendar years or they may be required to complete additional foundational coursework and/or internships in order to complete the second degree. To reenroll a returning dual degree student must notify the Registrar in writing (e-mail is acceptable) of his or her intent to resume classes at least 6 weeks before the start of the trimester.
Transfer From Campus to Campus
Students who want to transfer to another campus location must submit a Campus Location Change Request Form available on the MyUSA portal, Students Services tab, under Forms, to their current Program Director by midterm of the trimester prior to the requested change. Such requests will be considered in an individual basis and are contingent on space availability. The student will be notified of the outcome of the transfer request via e-mail by the Registrar’s Office. Please note: Program completion dates of students who transfer between campus locations may be extended.
Post Professional Division Only Policies
Prior Learning Credit (PLA) Policy - tDPT, PPOTD, EdD
PLA is the process of evaluating a student’s prior workplace learning and other experiential learning for academic credit. Assessment is an important part of this process, ensuring that credit is awarded for learning and not simply for work or life experience. (Council for Adult Education and Learning-CAEL, 2017)
USAHS supports prior learning by its students and will give credit for experiences that meet the learning outcomes of a programs. By having this work evaluated, the student has an opportunity to gain credit for work and life experiences.
PLA credit requests from current students are evaluated by Program Directors and limited to 9 credits (6 in the first 30 credits of the program and 3 additional credits in the second portion of the program). PLA credit requests can be made for any course within a post-professional program except the Capstone(s).
PLA credit does not count toward the annual 12 credit requirement to maintain active status.
A PLA portfolio will be evaluated by University faculty and decisions made based on a published rubric. All decisions by the faculty are final.
Requirements: Two (2) Requirements for PLA credit reviews by faculty will include:
- Qualifying Essay – Specific course learning outcomes (CLOs) are enumerated and supporting essay responses for each clearly articulate how the candidate meets those outcomes with supporting artifacts culminating in a Professional Portfolio.
- Professional Portfolio – Supporting experiential documentation with artifacts/evidence:
a. Higher education teaching experience (e.g., syllabus, contract, supervisory affidavit, CV/resume, etc.).
b. Higher education course development/revision experience (e.g., syllabus, contract, supervisory affidavit, CV/resume, etc.).
c. Professional continuing education (e.g., 24 contact hours minimum/certificate, content development/professional speaking or delivery, brochures, supervisory affidavit, CV/resume, etc.).
d. Clinical practice (e.g., 1 year FTE experience per credit hour minimum, contract, CV/resume, supervisory affidavit, etc.).
e. Professional organization/association leadership (e.g., 1 year experience per credit hour minimum, membership number, contract, CV/resume, supervisory affidavit, etc.).
f. Professional publication (e.g., book, book chapter, peer-reviewed journal article, conference presentation/publication, CV/resume, supervisory affidavit, etc.).
g. Other (specific to the CLOs such as certifications, military experience, post-doctoral fellowships, grants, research, and many others that are professionally related).
*Professional Portfolio artifacts/evidence must be relevant/completed within the past 5 years preceding admission to the program, but the applicant may petition the Program Director for an exception to this time limit.
Evaluation: Three (3) competency related criteria used by faculty to evaluate PLA for credit include:
The candidate provides sufficient artifacts with relevant and specific detail, in the professional portfolio; AND an appropriate qualification essay as evidence of learning to support PLA credit competency/equivalency based on the course learning outcomes and credit hour workload.
The candidate provides insufficient artifacts with relevant and specific detail, in the professional portfolio; OR an inadequate qualification essay as evidence of learning to support PLA credit competency/equivalency based on the course learning outcomes and credit hour workload.
The candidate provides unsatisfactory artifacts with relevant and sufficient detail, in the professional portfolio, AND/OR qualification essay as evidence of learning to support PLA credit competency/equivalency based on the course learning outcomes and credit hour workload.
PLA Credit Awarded/Denied: Only faculty evaluation scores of “Competent” for both requirements (Qualifying Essay and Professional Portfolio) are eligible for PLA credit. If either of the requirements (Qualifying Essay or Professional Portfolio) are evaluated “Needs Improvement”, the student will have an opportunity to re-submit with additional support/detail for re-evaluation for PLA credit. If either of the requirements (Qualifying Essay or Professional Portfolio) are evaluated “Unsatisfactory/Not Present”, the student will be denied the PLA credit.
Note: Credit will be applied fully towards a course or courses, but may not be applied partially to a course.
PLA Credit and Review Fees: Cost of each credit awarded will be the cost of a credit at 50% of the current price of tuition, including any tuition discounts or scholarships the student is receiving. -updated 03/25/2019
- Student contacts Program Director with request to complete PLA work. Student and Program Director discuss which courses the PLA work will be assessed against for credit.
- Student submits all required documents to Program Director.
- Program Director will assign faculty to review the materials submitted.
- Faculty will assess work and provide full evaluation of materials submitted. A successful submission will have received a “competent” score in all areas. Faculty will communicate their recommendation to the Program Director.
- The Program Director completes the PLA form, including fee amount and emails the completed form and supporting documentation to Registrar.
- Registrar will post the PLA to the student’s official transcript.
- Registrar will send an email notification to the student once the PLA credit has bee osted. The Bursar’s office and the student’s Academic Advisor will be included on this email.
- In the email notification, the student will be directed to contact the Bursar’s office at [email protected] to make the PLA fee payment.
- Bursar will bill the student the appropriate amount.
- Failure to make the PLA fee payment in a timely manner, may result in a hold being placed on the student’s account by the Bursar office.