Oct 23, 2019  
2019-2020 Catalog/Handbook 
    
2019-2020 Catalog/Handbook

General Academic Policies



Academic Freedom Policy

Academic freedom is a cherished principle in higher education. At USAHS, 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 on itself, and this course content is coordinated to achieve the desired goal of meeting professional accreditation and national licensure subject matter, in many cases. 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. Faculty must never lose sight that students are seeking guidance, not confusion. While students wish to know what to do in every single circumstance, Faculty know students are better prepared if they are taught the skills and given 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 theater. 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 differing 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 the University and the professions it represents. 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 the organization.

It is important for faculty, staff, and students to know they can initiate changes and that they 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 everyone’s 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.

Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity means that all academic work represents the individual work of the stated author. Input and assistance from others must always be appropriate and fully acknowledged. Any deviation from this policy will be considered Academic Dishonesty.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty can occur in many forms and variations. The following is a list of some academic dishonesty offenses:

  • Cheating: A form of misrepresentation. Cheating can include but is not limited to
    • using another’s work as your own;
    • utilizing a paper or assignment bought or taken from a website;
    • allowing someone else to turn in your work as his or her own;
    • several people writing one paper and turning in separate copies, all represented (implicitly or explicitly) as individual work;
    • stealing an examination or a solution from the instructor;
    • looking at another student’s exam;
    • using notes or other aids during an exam when they are not permitted;
    • sharing exam questions with other students; or
    • sharing case scenarios from a practical with other students.
  • Fabrication: The forgery or invention of information or citation in an academic exercise. This might include
    • the use of false results in a research study; or
    • fabricating a resource for a reference list.
  • Facilitating dishonesty: Assisting another to perform an act of academic dishonesty. This includes
    • someone other than the appropriate student taking an exam; or
    • misuse or falsification of a required proctor.
  • Plagiarism: Using another’s work without crediting that individual or receiving authorization for use. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. USAHS defines plagiarism as “knowingly using the words, ideas or language of another author without giving credit to the work.” In its severest form, plagiarism is the theft of another’s intellectual work.

The University does recognize that there are many colors and shades of plagiarism and that, at times, it may even be an inadvertent mistake, such as leaving off a reference from a bibliography.

Intentional violations are a much more serious offense. An example of this might be the use of a paragraph from a journal article without citation in a report or bulletin board response. It is with this in mind that the University has defined the following “levels of misconduct.”

Level One Academic Dishonesty

Level One violations typically occur as a result of students not familiarizing themselves with writing and course requirements. They may include the following:

  • Lazy plagiarism-forgetting a citation or leaving a reference off of a reference list
  • Failure to cite or acknowledge a source in a small or limited part of the paper

The instructor deals with Level One misconduct offenses and notifies the Program Director. Actions may include

  • re-submission of the assignment,
  • an additional assignment, or
  • reduction of a grade per course syllabus and/or the Catalog/Handbook.

Level Two Academic Dishonesty

Level Two misconduct is more serious. These types of violations are more intentional in nature. The following are examples:

  • Quoting directly or plagiarizing, to a moderate extent, without acknowledging the source
  • Submitting the same work or major portions thereof to satisfy the requirements of more than one course, or the same course when repeated, without permission from the instructor
  • Receiving assistance and failing to acknowledge this in a paper or research study

The instructor, in consultation with the appropriate Program Director, deals with most Level Two misconduct offenses. Actions may include

  • a zero grade for an assignment,
  • writing a paper on academic ethics, or
  • reduction of grade, per course syllabus and/or the Catalog/Handbook.

Records of students who commit the above type of offense will be maintained in the student’s file until the student completes the program.

Level Three Academic Dishonesty

These violations are the most serious type of offense:

  • Copying another’s exam
  • Plagiarizing a substantial amount of text in an assignment or assessment
  • Enabling someone else to copy your material during an exam
  • Using books, notes, or other forbidden aids during an examination
  • Giving or receiving information about the content of an exam
  • Stealing or distributing a copy of an examination
  • Submitting the work of someone else as your own
  • Using purchased or copied manuscripts
  • Removing posted or reserved instructional material, or otherwise preventing access to it
  • Inventing material (this includes citing artificial sources)
  • Using illegal or unethical means of acquiring information
  • Utilizing an instant messenger or phone while taking an online exam
  • A repeat offender—one who has been caught more than once in an act of academic dishonesty

Students committing Level Three academic dishonesty offenses will be referred to the Professional Misconduct Committee. The Professional Misconduct Committee will make appropriate recommendations to the designated Program Director. Actions may include dismissal from the program.

Fingerprints and Criminal Record (DPT, MOT, OTD, MS-SLP, MSN, DNP, Post-Graduate Nursing Certificates)

Students acknowledge that their fingerprint results and criminal arrest/conviction record may limit internship placement availability and that internship placement is a requirement for graduation from USAHS. A student’s arrest/conviction record may also affect eligibility for licensure as requirements vary from state to state. It is the student’s responsibility to understand the licensure requirements for the state(s) in which he or she intends to seek licensure.  In addition, graduation from USAHS does not guarantee licensure or employment.

Enrollment at USAHS is at the student’s own risk and is not a guarantee of graduation, licensure, or employment.

Trimesters/Terms

University coursework is posted in student records according to the term (usually a trimester) in which all requirements for the course are completed. Academic-credit coursework (cohort-based) is generally scheduled on a trimester basis. Trimester periods consist of approximately 8–15 weeks (based on the course) and begin the first part of January, May, and September.

Credit Hour Policy

Definition of Credit Hour

It is the policy of USAHS to establish credit hour definitions and policies for calculation. Guidelines by the Department of Education and WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) suggest that a school measure credit hours in terms of the amount of time in which a student is engaged in academic activity. A credit hour should be defined as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency and reasonably approximates the following criteria:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction or student engagement and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work (preparation) each week for approximately 15 weeks for 1 semester or trimester of credit, or at least an equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. Note: For example, a 2-credit hour course over a 15-week term would require at least 30 hours of direct academic engagement (2 hours per week) and 60 hours of student preparation time (4 hours per week) for the average student. If this same course was offered over 8 weeks, the same number of hours would be required for the term, but the weekly hours would change to 4 hours per week of academic engagement and 8 hours per week of out of class (preparation) work
  2. Formal laboratory instruction is also direct faculty instruction and equates to 2-3 contact hours per week per credit over a 15-week term, with documentation maintained on lab experiences and supported by the course outline/syllabus.
  3. When determining online and/or face-to-face academic engagement time (excluding student preparation time), the courses should fall within certain allowable contact hours over the semester according to the number of credit hours. Courses with labs will have larger contact hours than nonlab courses.
  4. A credit hour may also be an equivalent amount of work (measured in contact hours) for other academic activities established by the institution, including internships, fieldwork, practice, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
  5. Fieldwork/Internships and Clinical Rotations are calculated at 45 hours equaling 1 credit hour.

Per the above, USAHS further defines “other academic activities” as practice of lab techniques (usually a range of 2-3 contact hours/credit), practicum, shadowing, studying, reading, preparing for assignments, group work, service learning, or other academic activities related to a specific course.

  • An institution should be able to demonstrate its measurements of time allocated for learning experiences and that the learning outcomes are accomplished.
  • Review of course credit content will be performed regularly by way of student course evaluations, time studies within a course and curriculum, annual reports and programmatic reviews.
  • All new courses should be reviewed for the above as part of the curriculum review process.
  • All courses should have a descriptive table in the course syllabus of how contact hours are spent in both instruction and academic activities.

Certain types of courses cannot and will not be measured in this manner, primarily due to the subjective nature of personal study/work time of each student. These types of courses include exit exams, practicums, clinical rotation, clinical integration, independent study, directed reading, capstone courses, products demonstrating excellence, scholarly projects,  the comprehensive project, and dissertation.

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 be approved in most cases for graduate coursework awarded by schools, colleges, or universities that have recognition from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) 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 below).
  • 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 course work 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 (e.g., 7000 level courses would transfer for a 7000-level course or a 5000- or 6000-level course). 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 on review and authorization by the Program Director and will be based on the 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 need to be completed within the desired USAHS program.

The Registrar is responsible for ensuring consistency of transfer credit practice and procedure between the different campus locations.

Post Graduate Nursing Certificate Transfer of Credits

The School of Nursing follows the provisions listed above in the Transfer Credit Policy with the following additions:

  • For course(s) that have been completed more 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, the Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI) examination may be administered to test out of NUR 7610  Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology, NUR 7560  Advanced Pharmacology, or NUR 7580  Advanced Health Assessment and Differential Diagnosis. 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 Form found on the MyUSA portal, Student Services tab, Forms link (or obtains from the advisor) and submits the form 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 Bursar, the Registrar will post the transfer credit to the permanent academic record at that time.

Transfer of Credits from One USAHS Program to Another USAHS Program

Credits may transfer 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 the transfer of credits from another program for up to 50% of the total credits in the program toward which the credits will be applied.
  • If electives are to be transferred, the Program Director will determine if those credits meet the program’s learning outcomes for the intended degree.
  • Courses taught in a master’s level program that includes 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 to another USAHS Program is as follows:

  • The student completes a Request for Acceptance of Transfer Credit Form found on the MyUSA portal, Student Services tab, Forms link and submits the form to the Program Director.
  • 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 or denied and will post any transferred credit to the permanent academic record at that time.

Advanced Course Standing by Examination (MOT, OTD, MS-SLP)

Based on previous academic coursework earned from another accredited degree-granting institution or another program within the University and/or work experiences, advanced standing may be granted to a student 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 advanced standing by examination is independent of the granting of transfer credit.

Approval for advanced course standing is subject to the following criteria:

  • Provide documentation supporting the reason for requesting advance 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.
  • Pass a challenge examination to verify competency in a 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, Student Services tab, Forms link 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 date and time will be set up for each challenge exam. If the Program Director with the 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.

Prior Learning Credit (PLA) Policy - tDPT, PPOTD, EdD

Definition

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 programs.  By having this work evaluated, the student has an opportunity to gain credit for learning through 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) or Dissertation.

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 requirements for PLA credit reviews by faculty include the following:

  1. 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.
  2. Professional Portfolio: Supporting experiential documentation with artifacts/evidence as follows:

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/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)

Note: 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:

  1. Competent: 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. 
  2. Needs Improvement: 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. 
  3. Unsatisfactory/Not Present: 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 Decisions

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 toward a course or courses but may not be applied partially to a course.

PLA Credit and Review Fees

The 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.

Process

  1. The student contacts Program Director with the request to complete the PLA work. The student and Program Director discuss which courses the PLA work will be assessed against for credit.
  2. The student submits all required documents to the Program Director.
  3. Program Director will assign faculty to review the materials submitted.
  4. The faculty will assess work and provide a full evaluation of the materials submitted. A successful submission will have received a “competent” score in all areas. The faculty will communicate their recommendation to the Program Director.  
  5. The Program Director completes the PLA form, including fee amount and emails the completed form and supporting documentation to Registrar. 
  6. Registrar will post the PLA to the student’s official transcript.
  7. Registrar will send an email notification to the student once the PLA credit has been posted. The Bursar’s Bffice and the student’s academic advisor will be included in the 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.
  8. Bursar will bill the student the appropriate fee amount.
  9. 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’s Office.

Audit of a Course

Auditing of a class is permitted, with approval of the Program Director. Auditing of a class requires payment of full tuition for that course. The student who is auditing may not take practical exams and may not sit for written exams or quizzes.

Repetition of a Course

On occasion, a student may be required to repeat a course. Under such circumstances, the highest grade achieved is counted toward the cumulative GPA.

A student who receives a D in any course (or an F and has been readmitted), must repeat that course in its entirety. The student will be permitted to take additional courses as long as there are no schedule conflicts and all prerequisite conditions are met, up to a maximum of 12 credit hours (full-time) and 8 credit hours (Flex program).

A student who takes a leave of absence, incurring grades of W will be registered in the same courses upon return from leave (providing those courses are offered).

A student who must repeat a course should not expect to graduate with their entering cohort.

Note: Course schedules that are considered less than half-time in the program may affect a student’s eligibility for federal student loans. Students should contact the Financial Aid Office with any questions.

Leave of Absence

USAHS expects its students to maintain continuous registration in an academic program. However, the University understands that 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 Leave of Absence (LOA) policy. To be considered for a leave of absence, students must submit a signed, dated request for LOA that includes the reason for the LOA and the expected date of return. Except in verified cases of emergency, if a student fails to submit the required documentation and be approved for an LOA, the student will be withdrawn 2 weeks after the University becomes aware the student has stopped participating.

There are five types of LOA:

  • Short-Term Emergency (up to two weeks)
  • Long-Term (full or remainder of the trimester)
  • Military
  • Planned Educational
  • Administrative

Short-Term Emergency LOA

Students may request a Short-Term Emergency LOA by contacting their advisor and/or program director. The LOA Form should be completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible to properly account for the student’s absence. If the request is not received within 2 weeks of the date the student stops attending, the student will be withdrawn from the University.

Two weeks of emergency leave allows a student to resume their coursework with the support of the Faculty and Program Director. If the leave is taken at the end of a trimester, arrangements acceptable to both parties must be made to complete final exams or remaining coursework prior to the beginning of the subsequent trimester. If a student is unable to complete the exams prior to the beginning of the next trimester, the student will be given grades of W and required to repeat those courses in the next term before being allowed to progress in the program.

A Short-Term Emergency LOA requested after the last day to withdraw from courses must be accompanied by appropriate documentation of the emergency. If the documentation is not submitted, the student will receive the grades earned in the courses based on the syllabus even if those are failing grades resulting in dismissal.

Appropriate documentation is defined as official documents supporting or describing the reason for the request and is subject to approval by the University.

Long-Term LOA

Students may request a Long-Term LOA (full trimester or the remainder of trimester not to exceed 180 days) by contacting their Advisor and/or Program Director. The LOA Form should be completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible to properly account for the student’s absence. If the request is not received within 2 weeks of the date the student stops attending, the student will be withdrawn from the University.

A Long-Term LOA requested after the last day to withdraw from courses must be accompanied by appropriate documentation of the emergency. If the documentation is not submitted, the student will receive the grades earned in the courses based on the syllabus even if those are failing grades resulting in dismissal.

Appropriate documentation is defined as official documents supporting or describing the reason for the request and is subject to approval by the university.

A student must return to classes the next trimester after the LOA and must submit a completed Return from LOA Form to [email protected] to allow the student account to be activated and the student registered. Should a student fail to return the following trimester, he or she will be marked as withdrawn from the university.

Long-Term LOA is not to be used in lieu of the failure of coursework.

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, Students tab, Forms link 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 1 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 1 full trimester (105 days).
  • The student submits 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 submit a completed Return from LOA form to [email protected] to allow the student account to be activated and the student registered 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 his or her return.

Military LOA

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 trimester will be refunded their tuition for that trimester. A Military LOA may be for the duration of military service and is not limited to the leave time frame set forth in the Short-Term, Long-Term, or Planned Education LOA guidelines.

Administrative LOA

The University reserves the right to place students on Administrative LOA for reasons such as missing Clinical Education requirements (to avoid dismissal) or the inability of the University to secure a clinical site. The student must return within 180 days and at the start of a subsequent trimester. Students who are unable to return within 180 days are subject to withdrawal from the program. A student may not request Administrative LOA. It is solely used at the University’s discretion.

Issues to Consider Prior to Requesting an LOA

An LOA for loan purposes, is a temporary interruption in a student’s program of study. LOA refers to the specific period during a program when a student is not in attendance. USAHS offers trimester-based programs. Mid-trimester Leave of Absences are considered a withdrawal from the program for Title IV purposes and reported as such by the Registrar to the NSLDS Clearinghouse.

Failure to Return from LOA

One possible consequence of not returning from an LOA is that a student’s grace period for a federal and private loan might be exhausted. When a student fails to return from an LOA or a student does not return to the school at the expiration of an approved LOA (or a student takes an unapproved LOA), the student’s enrollment status is considered withdrawal, and for loan deferment purposes, the withdrawal date is considered the date the student began the LOA.

Prior to requesting an LOA of any type, the University recommends requires that students receiving Title IV funding contact the Office of Financial Aid to fully understand the impact of an LOA on their funding and repayment terms.

Scholarship Students

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 a Short-Term Emergency LOA.

Students with Private Education Loans

Students with private education loans who request 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 repayment deferral as it relates to federal financial aid. The student must consult with the Office of Financial Aid prior to submitting the LOA request form. If a student receiving Title IV funds is considering taking a Planned Educational LOA or a Long-Term LOA lasting longer than 14 calendar days (two weeks), they must be aware of the following:

  • The LOA, together with any additional leaves of absence, must not exceed a total of 180 days in any 12-month period. The 12-month period begins on the first day of the initial LOA.
  • If a Title IV student is withdrawn from the University due to failure to return from an LOA it 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

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

  • All students requesting an LOA are subject to space availability upon return. If a cohort has reached or exceeded its enrollment cap as set forth by accreditors or regulators, the student may be required to wait to return until space is available in the program. The University will make every effort to accommodate a student’s return, but cannot guarantee it.
  • 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 and stopped attending classes.
  • Students who are withdrawn or dismissed for failure to return from an LOA may reapply to USAHS as a prospective student.
  • A student LOA cannot exceed 180 days in any 12-month period (excluding Military LOA). The 12-month period begins on the first day of the initial LOA.
  • The University reserves the right to decline or conditionally approve student’s 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.

Grading System

Academic degree programs use a 4.0 scale to calculate GPAs. The quality of work done by students is indicated on the transcript by the letter of the alphabet as follows:

Letter Grade Grading Scale Quality Points

A 90–100 4.0
  B+ 85–89 3.5
B 80–84 3.0
  C+ 75–79 2.5
C 70–74 2.0
  D+ 65–69 1.5
D 60–64 1.0
F < 60 0.0

Credit and quality points are not included in GPA calculations for the following grades:

  AU Audit NG No Grade Reported  
  F Fail P Pass  
  I Incomplete W Withdraw  

The grade of I (Incomplete) is used if, for reasons acceptable to the instructor(s), a student has not completed required work within a course by the end of a term. The length of time granted for the completion of the requirements of the course is one additional trimester (15 weeks) after which the I grade will be changed to an F if the coursework has not been completed. Upon successful completion of the requirements, the student will be assigned a letter grade by the instructor. If the student is assigned a grade of D or F from the I the appropriate action will be taken per present written policy on academic standing.

The grade of W (Withdraw) is used only to denote that a student withdrew (or was withdrawn) from a course. Refer to the Repetition of a Course Policy  for more information.

The grade of NG (No Grade) is used only in the case of internship/fieldwork/rotation not completed. If a student is removed from internship/fieldwork/rotation after the final withdrawal date, the grade of NG may be applied at the discretion of the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) / Academic Fieldwork Coordinator (AFWC), in place of a grade of F.

MOT, OTD, DPT

  • The laboratory portions of the courses are graded on the same scale from a minimum of 80% to a maximum of 100%.
  • A  student must earn at least 80% on the laboratory practical and 100% on all safety issues to pass the practical examination in professional courses. Refer to each course syllabus for additional information on grading criteria.

MS-SLP

  • Clinical I:  Clinical skills assessment is included in the Clinical I course grade (SimuCase simulation cases). A minimum grade of  90% on all virtual therapy cases is required. If clinical experiences are provided a minimum of 80% must be achieved on evaluation tools to pass.
  • Clinical II-V:  Students must earn 80% minimum on a combination of mid-term and final evaluations of clinical skills to pass each course.

The actual weighting of the percent of the final course grade based on the written and practical portions is at the discretion of the instructor in the programs. The weighting of the written and practical portions will be printed in the course syllabus.

Some courses (e.g., internships, practicum, and seminars) are given Pass/Fail designations as determined by the instructor.

Rounding of Grades

No grades are to be rounded until the final course grade.

If the final percentage is less than a whole number, the following rules are applied to determine the score by a whole number:

  • When a number is .50 or greater, the score is rounded to the next highest whole number (e.g., 79.50 = 80%).
  • When the number is .49 or less, the score is rounded to the next lowest whole number (e.g., 84.49 = 84%).

Extra Credit

As a graduate-level institution preparing health care professionals, the University is opposed to faculty offering extra credit or bonus points in courses. Student grades should accurately reflect his or her performance on the criteria determined by faculty as demonstrating student achievement of the course learning outcomes. Awarding extra credit/bonus points may imply that points/grades are more important than learning and can create inequities between students and courses across campuses and delivery methods.

Grade Changes

The course instructor or the Program Director may initiate grade changes. The grade change by the 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.

A student has the right to appeal a final grade received for a course within the first week of the subsequent term. The request must be made in writing to the course instructor. If the course instructor approves a grade correction, a Grade Change Form must be completed by the instructor and submitted to the respective Program Director. Upon the Program Director’s approval, the Registrar will record the corrected grade in the student’s academic record and a revised copy can be viewed by the student on the MyUSA portal, My Info tab.

If the instructor denies an appeal for a grade change, the student may make an appeal to the Program Director within 2 business days of the instructor’s decision. The Program Director will research and render a decision within 5 business days. 

If the student is not satisfied with the Program Director’s response, he or she may appeal to the President or designee within 2 business days of the Program Director’s decision. After investigating the issue, the President (or designee) has 10 business days to either render a verdict on the issue or redirect the issue to the Academic Appeals Committee (AAC). (See Appeals Process - Evaluation & Right of Appeal ).

If a grade change is initiated due to an administrative error in the posting of the grade, a Grade Change Form must be completed with documentation as to the nature of the error and submitted to the respective Program Director. Upon the Program Director’s approval, the Registrar will record the corrected grade in the student’s academic record and a revised copy can be viewed by the student on the MyUSA portal, My Info tab.

Grade Posting

Grades are not publicly posted. Students will have access to grades online as faculty members make them available.

All grades including course assignments, exams, and other assessments will appear in the online grade book located in the course platform. Many grades may be recorded automatically (such as completion of an online examination) and be visible before the instructor has an opportunity to review the assessment; therefore, such grades are subject to revision.  Students should consult with their instructor or review the course announcement page for information about any changes that may occur to a grade after posting.

At the time of course completion, the final course grade will be transferred to the University record system and become a permanent part of the student’s transcript. Grades cannot be given out via email or telephone. This posting of grades follows the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Students are responsible for monitoring their final grades through the MyUSA portal, My Info tab rather than through online grade book in the course platform.

Accessing Grades

Through the MyUSA portal, My Info tab, students may access grades, print unofficial transcripts of grades, access/change personal student information, and keep track of all current course information. Students are required to keep this information safe and secure and to keep personal information up to date.

Examination and Proctoring

Each course syllabus describes the types of exams given, exam dates, and how exams are used to calculate the final course grade. Each course will have a learning assessment (final examination, lab practical, project, paper, etc.) during the final week of the term unless approved by the Program Director.  

MOT, OTD, DPT, MS-SLP Programs 

Special early examinations given to individual students or groups of students as substitutes for final examinations are prohibited. Final examinations are to be given on the day and time scheduled during the final exam period (week 15) unless there is prior approval from the Program Director. When a final examination is given, each student is required to take the examination.

  • All Examinations that are a significant contribution to the final grade calculation will be proctored.  
  • If an exam is given solely for the purpose of helping the student determine their comprehension and is not weighted toward the course grade, it does not need to be proctored.
  • Examinations will begin and end promptly as scheduled.   

Campus Programs

  • For face-to-face exams, after the start of the examination, any student who wishes to leave the examination room will turn in his or her examination and will not be permitted to reenter unless there are extenuating circumstances.  In the online environment, if a student leaves the exam window the exam will be closed and will not be reopened unless the student can verify, in writing, that there was an interruption in online service.
  • If the faculty member permits a work paper to be used, it will be distributed during the examination period with face-to-face exams. All work papers will be returned with the examination.
  • Books, other study materials, book bags, and purses must be placed at the perimeter of the examination room or left outside of the examination room except in the case of an open-book exam designated by the faculty.  In the online environment, the room will be visually scanned, and no materials will be allowed in the testing room unless previously designated by the faculty and noted on the proctoring form.
  • No electronic devices are allowed. Students are not permitted to use cell phones, Apple watches, Google glasses, and the like and should turn off any ringers or alerts.

Flex and MS-SLP Programs

  • Dates for online proctored exams in the Flex or MS-SLP Program will be identified in the syllabus so students can schedule the proctoring service in time to avoid late scheduling fees. Faculty will also schedule all online proctored exams for Flex or MS-SLP students with ProctorU (the exclusive proctoring service as of Fall 2017).  Flex or MS-SLP students who are uncertain about how to schedule an exam should request assistance from the program administrative assistant.  All Flex or MS-SLP students should complete the tutorial provided by ProctorU before scheduling an online exam using ProctorU services. 
  • In the online environment for Flex or MS-SLP students, the exam window will be approximately twice as long as the length allowed for the examination - for example, if the exam is two hours long, the window to take the exam should be 4 hours.  This allows students a period of time to verify their identity with the proctoring service and log into the exam.  The exam window will be open only during the scheduled time period.
  • Faculty will be available for student issues during the time period that the exam window is open.
  • As a general practice, faculty will alter the day and time of the examinations in a course so that students who have conflicts are not unduly penalized for exams consistently falling on the same day and time.
  • Faculty will be conscious of lab weekends for Flex or MS-SLP students and avoid giving an exam on a weekend that students are on campus or on the days immediately before and after lab weekends.
  • In the online environment, the work paper will be scanned by the proctor before the test begins and will be destroyed at the conclusion and verified by the proctor. Faculty may provide laminated USAHS letterhead to use as scratch paper or require the use of a whiteboard that is erased at the end of the exam and verified by the proctor.
  • No electronic devices are allowed. Students are not permitted to use cell phones, Apple watches, Google glasses, and the like and should turn off any ringers or alerts.
  • ProctorU provides a post-exam report including any incidents that may have occurred.  The administrative assistant for the program receives post exam reports on all exams and notifies faculty if anything is flagged as suspicious.

Examination Reviews

  • As a general rule, students will not be allowed access to review an exam upon its completion. An exception to this rule would be in the case where the examination will not be used a second time on any campus or in any program.
  • Best practice suggests a follow-up exam review, in person, as a chat room, Skype, discussion board, or other methods of interaction with the students to review frequently missed topics or content with further instruction in areas of weak class performance.  Specific questions will not be discussed in these review sessions unless it is understood by all course faculty that those questions reviewed are omitted from future exams on all campuses, and in all programs.
  • If a student wishes to review an exam question, they should make an office appointment and review the exam with the faculty present.

Policy for Changing an Exam Date

  • Every attempt should be made to adhere to the exam dates as listed in the syllabus, course schedule, or stated as a class announcement. In the event that a faculty member needs to change an exam date, he or she should give an explanation to the students and provide at least two options for rescheduling the exam. The class votes on the best option and majority rules. If the students request an exam change and the course instructor approves the request, then the proposed change is voted on anonymously by the class and 100% of the class must agree before a change is allowed.

Review of Examinations During the Trimester

  • A review is to advance learning and is not a mechanism to obtain a higher grade. All written examinations will be reviewed at the earliest possible opportunity with the review mechanism at the discretion of the course instructor.

Final Examination Review

  • An opportunity to review a final examination is up to the course instructor. The course syllabus should state whether the final exam can be reviewed. The mechanism used to review final exams will be determined by the course instructor. The review of final exams must be completed prior to the second Friday of the following new trimester. A review of final exams is to advance learning. It is not a mechanism to obtain a higher grade.

Practical Examination Policy for University Courses

A minimum of 80% proficiency is required on all clinically related practical examinations. Safety requirements must be met at a 100% competency level. The practical examinations require the student to meet both safety and technical skill performance competencies. If a student does not perform in a safe manner, the student will receive an F grade for the practical examination; if the student earns less than 80% on the technical skill performance, the student will likewise receive an F grade for the practical examination. In either case, the student must retake the practical examination. The student must meet both safety (100%) and technical skill performance competencies (80%) to pass the practical retake.

First Retake Practical Examination Process

  1. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the faculty instructor within 1 to 2 business days of failing the exam to receive instructions on how to write a plan of remediation.
  2. The student is required to submit a written plan of remediation to the faculty instructor that will effectively prepare the student for their first retake practical examination.
  3. The faculty instructor will review and approve (via written signature or digital signature) the student’s remediation plan and administer the first retake practical examination.
  4. The highest grade awarded for passing the first retake practical examination will be 75%. The approving instructor will notify the lead faculty for the course of the student’s permission to retake the practical, and the lead faculty will document the student’s retake for reporting to the Academic Progression and Retention Committee for monitoring progression through the curriculum. 
  5. A student who receives an F on the first retake practical examination is required to follow the second retake practical examination process below.

Second Retake Practical Examination Process

  1. The student will contact the faculty instructor within 1 to 2 business days of failing the first retake practical exam to determine a revised remediation plan.
  2. The student is required to submit to the faculty instructor a written revised remediation plan that will effectively prepare the student for their second retake practical examination.
  3. If the student’s remediation plan is not approved by the faculty instructor and the student’s progress could affect the Clinical Education placement, the faculty instructor will notify the Clinical Education Office.
  4. The faculty instructor will review and approve (via written signature or digital signature) the student’s revised remediation plan.
  5. The student will then submit the approved remediation plans (both the original remediation plan and the newly revised remediation plan) to the APRC. (FL-campus students submit materials to Sue Nordlund, Administrative Assistant, [email protected]; CA- and TX -campus students should submit their material to the Chair of the APRC.)
  6. The APRC will gather appropriate past academic data that could help provide insight for the approval process.
  7. The APRC will review and approve that the student’s remediation process (following steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 above for both retakes) has been met.
  8. The APRC will review and approve that the faculty’s remediation process (following steps 1, 2, 3, and 4, above for both retakes) has been met.
  9. If the APRC approves the remediation process, the APRC Chairperson will send an approved email to the student, faculty instructor, and Faculty Advisor for progressing forward with the second practical exam retake.
  10. When the remediation plan and process have been approved, the practical retake exam is required to be taken before the next scheduled exam of the course or before the last day of final exams (unless otherwise permitted by the faculty instructor).
  11. If the APRC does not approve the remediation process, the APRC Chairperson will send a rejection email to the student, faculty instructor, Faculty Advisor, and Program Director. This rejection email will include the APRC criteria for disapproval and the APRC requirements for remediation process approval. The student should resubmit his or her remediation plan to the APRC recorder, respective Program Director, Faculty Advisor, and faculty instructor after the remediation process has been met.
  12. The second retake exam will not be allowed until the remediation plan is approved by the faculty and the remediation process is approved by the APRC.
  13. If the student takes the second retake practical examination and receives an F on this second retake, the student will receive a D or F for that course.
  14. If the student passes the second retake practical exam (100% safety, 80% technical skill performance), the highest grade awarded on the second retake practical examination is 70%. All practical exams must be completed by the date grades are due as published on the 2019-2020 Academic Calendar  .
  15. If the student has any concerns about the remediation process or plan, he or she can contact the Chairperson of the APRC for counsel.

Note: This policy does not apply to DPT Exit Exam Courses. Please see individual syllabi regarding retake policies for the Exit Exam.

Makeup Examination Policy

  • Absences from an examination as a result of a medical condition and supported by a physician’s letter will be adjudicated by the faculty member(s) responsible for the course. Faculty may either schedule a makeup examination or excuse the student from the examination without penalty.
  • Absences from an examination due to nonmedical circumstances will also be adjudicated by the faculty member(s) responsible for the course. Faculty may allow a make-up examination, excuse the student from the exam without penalty, or give the student a zero grade for the examination. This zero will be averaged with the grades obtained for all other examinations for the course.

Exit Examinations

All students in programs requiring exit exams are required to pass the exit examinations. These exams are designed to test the retention and integration of cognitive and clinical skills. They are given prior to a student’s scheduled graduation.

Licensure Exams 

DPT students will not be given permission to sit for a licensure exam that is scheduled prior to all degree requirements being met.

Attendance

Class Attendance

Students are expected to be (1) in the classroom or lab on time, (2) prepared to begin the 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 the 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.

Absences

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
    • 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
    • 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 the final course grade. This represents the University’s minimal standard; individual faculty may outline additional consequences in their course syllabi.
  • Tardiness
    • 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, the student will receive a warning letter with a copy of that letter placed in his or her record. 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.
  • Laboratory Attendance
    • 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), a student may be moving through his or her coursework with a cohort group. This means the student will have weekly attendance requirements 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 the deadline will or will not receive 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

  • Excused Absences
    • 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:
      • The first contact should be to the Program Director, coordinator, or manager. If the director, coordinator, or manager gives the 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 that could result in the final course grade being reduced by 5% to 10% and/or a referral to the Professional Misconduct Committee.
  • Unexcused Absences
    • 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.

Professional Conference Attendance

All DPT, MOT, OTD, and MS-SLP students are required to attend a minimum of 2 full days of one professional conference or 1 full day of two professional conferences during their program enrollment. The value of this required attendance is greater if full-time students wait until they are in the third trimester or later, and if Flex students wait until they are in the fifth trimester or later. Dual-degree-seeking students are required to attend one PT and OT professional conference during their curriculum: an OT conference while in the MOT or OTD program and a PT conference while in the DPT program. Full-time DPT students should complete the conference requirement before the seventh trimester due to the full-time attendance required while on internships. Flex students should attend conferences that do not conflict with weekend lab schedules. Program Directors may modify the conference attendance requirements as necessary.

Students will notify their Program Director or an assigned Faculty Advisor of their intent to attend a particular conference. The student will then be granted an excused absence for the date(s) missed. This will not exceed 2 days (usually a Friday or a Thursday and Friday excused absence). It is at the discretion of each faculty member on how to disseminate the information from the missed class session(s). The student is responsible for all missed class material and assignments. Students are also responsible for conference costs, including registration, hotel, and transportation expenses. Upon their return, students are required to provide proof of attendance at the conference to the Program Director or the assigned Faculty Advisor.

Students attending a conference located more than 400 miles one way from their campus may speak with their Program Director to request an excused absence for travel time. Program Directors will make the decision about additional excused time for conference attendance on a case-by-case basis and inform faculty of the decision. The student is responsible for all missed class material and assignments.

Professional conferences may include state or national meetings or other meetings as approved by the Program Director.

Expected and Maximum Completion Time Frames Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

There are three program options with expected completion time frames for the MOT, OTD, DPT and MS-SLP students.

  • Full-time DPT/MOT/OTD/MS-SLP
    • DPT expected completion is 8 trimesters.
    • MOT expected completion is 6 trimesters.
    • OTD expected completion is 8 trimesters.
    • MS-SLP expected completion is 5 trimesters.
  • Flex DPT/MOT
    • DPT expected completion is 12 trimesters.
    • MOT expected completion is 9 trimesters.
  • Dual full-time MOT/DPT
    • Expected completion is 10 trimesters.

When a student’s regular completion time frame changes due to academic or personal reasons, the following maximum time frames for completion apply:

  • Full-time DPT maximum completion is 12 trimesters.
  • Flex DPT maximum completion is 18 trimesters.
  • Full-time MOT maximum completion is 9 trimesters.
  • Flex MOT maximum completion is 14 trimesters.
  • Full-time OTD maximum completion is 13 trimesters.
  • Dual MOT/DPT maximum completion is 15 trimesters.
  • Full-time MS-SLP maximum completion is 8 trimesters.

Note: Only under extenuating circumstances approved by the Program Director will a student be allowed to transition to reduced credit load status in which the following maximum time frames to complete the graduation requirements apply:

  • Reduced credit load DPT maximum completion is 14 trimesters.
  • Reduced credit load MOT maximum completion is 12 trimesters.
  • Reduced credit load OTD maximum completion is 16 trimesters.
  • Reduced credit load MS-SLP maximum completion is 10 trimesters

 

  • Time Limits for Post-Professional Programs
    • MHA expected completion is 6 trimesters
    • MHS expected completion is 6 trimesters
    • MSN NEd, NEx, NI expected completion is 6 trimesters
    • MSN FNP expected completion is 8 trimesters
    • BSN-DNP expected completion is 10 trimesters
    • MSN-DNP expected completion is 7 trimesters
    • PPOTD expected completion is 12 trimesters
    • tDPT expected completion is 12 trimesters
    • EdD expected completion is 12 trimesters

When a Program Director approves an extension the following will apply:

  • MHA maximum completion is 9 trimesters
  • MHS maximum completion is 9 trimesters
  • MSN NEd, NEx, NI maximum completion is 9 trimesters
  • MSN FNP maximum completion is 11 trimesters
  • BSN-DNP maximum completion is 16 trimesters
  • MSN-DNP maximum completion is 13 trimesters
  • PPOTD maximum completion is 18 trimesters
  • tDPT maximum completion is 18 trimesters
  • EdD maximum completion is 18 trimesters

Reenrollment Timelines

A USAHS MOT, OTD, DPT or SLP program graduate who decides to seek admission to another USAHS First Professional 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 First Professional degree program, a USAHS graduate must submit a completed Application for Admission to the Admissions Office; 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 re-enroll 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 re-enroll, a returning dual-degree student must notify the University Registrar in writing (email is acceptable) of his or her intent to resume classes at least 6 weeks before the start of the trimester.

Reinstatement

Students that voluntarily withdraw from the program in good standing may be reinstated into the program. These students will be permitted to bypass the normal application process and submit a one-page re-admittance application if it has been no more than 1 year since withdrawal from the program. Any student seeking reacceptance after the 1-year period must follow the normal application process.

Good Academic Standing, Academic Progression Warning, Probation, Dismissal - MOT, OTD, DPT, MS-SLP

Good Academic Standing

Prior to completion of 36 credits for MS-SLP, 51 credits for OT, and 55 for DPT, it is expected that a student will meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Complete at least 75% of all credits attempted each trimester,
  • At the completion of the first trimester (or 12 credits for MS-SLP, 16 credit hours for OT and 18 credit hours for DPT) have a GPA of 2.0.
  • At the completion of the second trimester (or 24 credits for MS-SLP, 33 credit hours for OT and 37 credits for DPT) have a GPA of 2.3.

Failure to meet any of the above criteria will result in the following actions:

  • Students will be issued an Academic Warning and will be required to meet with their Faculty Advisors to develop a plan to improve their academic study. If a student fails to meet the satisfactory academic progress criteria for 2 consecutive trimesters, they will be placed on Academic Progress Probation and will be required to meet with the Academic Progression and Retention Committee (APRC).

The University requires that all students enrolled in the professional education programs have a 2.5 GPA after the completion of the third (full-time) trimester, or 36 credits for MS-SLP, 59 credits for OT. and 61 credits for DPT, in the academic curriculum to continue in the respective program. If a student does not achieve this cumulative GPA he or she is dismissed from the program.

Academic Progression Warning

  • An emailed letter of academic concern will be issued to any student who has a grade below a C level at midterm. The intent of the concern letter is to notify the student of less than satisfactory academic progress and the potential for course failure. A student receiving an academic concern email letter at midterm must first contact—by phone, email, or in-person—the instructor(s) for the course(s) within 1 week of receipt of the concern letter. The student and course instructor(s) will discuss the student’s performance, and the student will develop a plan, approved by the instructor, to improve future performance. The student must then inform his or her Faculty Advisor of the plan. If a student does not contact his or her course instructor and Advisor, a note will be placed in the student’s academic file noting the failure to comply with this policy.
  • An academic warning will be given to any student who is not in academic good standing at the conclusion of any trimester. The intent of the academic warning is to notify the student of less than satisfactory academic progress. A student receiving an academic warning at the end of the trimester must contact his or her Faculty Advisor during the first week of the subsequent trimester and develop a plan, approved by the student’s advisor, to improve future performance.

Academic Progression Probation

  • A student who makes a grade below a C in any course will be placed on Academic Progress Probation and must undergo remediation and repeat the course for credit. Such students will be made aware in writing that they are at risk for failure to complete the program.
    • A student who is no longer in good academic standing must meet with the instructor and his or her Faculty Advisor to develop a plan for remediation and monitoring. The plan may allow him or her to take additional coursework with the approval of the Program Director.
    • The student must receive a grade of C or better in the course retake to progress academically.
    • If the student receives a grade of C or better, the student will be taken off academic probation.
    • If the student receives a grade below C when retaking a course, the student will be dismissed.
  • Any student who is on probation may not participate in any work-study program unless approved by the Program Director. Students placed on probation are at risk of not graduating from the University and not passing national board exams.
  • Any student who does not successfully complete the coursework necessary to exit probation may be at risk of being denied federal financial aid due to not maintaining satisfactory academic progress.

Dismissal

  • A student will be dismissed from the program if
    • an F is received in any course;
    • two grades of D are received;
    • a student receiving a failing grade during fieldwork/internship is also subject to this policy (see the Clinical Education Handbook); or
    • after the completion of 36 credits for MS-SLP, 51 credits for OT, or 55 credits for DPT, the student has a grade point average below 2.5.
  • The Registrar notifies the APRC and the Program Director of any students who are being recommended for academic dismissal. The student will be notified of his or her dismissal by the Registrar.
  • A student may appeal the dismissal to the Academic Appeals Committee/Program Director (see Appeals Process - Evaluation & Right of Appeal ). If an appeal is successful, a readmission agreement between the student and the Program Director (or Dean) is made that documents the conditions for continuation at the University. Readmission agreements can be appealed only if there are mitigating circumstances and an appeal can be made only to the University President.
  • When a student is suspended for academic probation or for professional misconduct he or she will turn in his or her student ID badge to the Registrar and remain off campus. Students may visit a campus if they have made an appointment by phone with their Faculty Advisor or Registrar and restrict their activities to that appointment.

Good Academic Standing, Academic Progression, Retention, Warning, Probation - MHA, MHS, MSN, DNP, PPOTD, EdD

The role of the Academic Progress and Retention Committee (APRC), in conjunction with the Registrar’s Office, is to monitor each student’s academic progress throughout the curriculum. At the end of each trimester, grades are submitted to the Registrar. The Registrar will notify students who are placed on probation or are dismissed from the respective academic program of their status.

To remain enrolled in the MHA, MHS, PPOTD, tDPT, DHSc, EdD, MSN, or DNP programs, the student must maintain

  • active status or approved leave of absence (LOA) status, and
  • good academic standing.

Active Status

A student is in active status if the student meets the following criteria:

  • Re gisters and begin a course within 12 weeks after official acceptance into the program.
  • Completes a course within 6 months of acceptance into the program (unless approved for an LOA).
  • Maintain ti mely and effective communication with the program representatives.
  • MHS/MHA/MSN/DNP: Complete 18 credits per year.
  • tDPT/PPOTD/EdD: Complete 12 credits per year.

Inactive Status

A student will be placed on inactive status when failing to complete the minimum number of program credits within a 12-month period based on the date of admission to the program. The student will receive a letter from the Registrar notifying him or her of this status change.

When the student completes the minimum number of program credits within 1 calendar year, he or she will be placed back on active status. (Note: Seminars alone do not count toward academic credit and meeting this requirement.)

If the student does not complete at least the minimum number of program credits within 1 year of being placed on inactive status, he or she will be referred to the APRC for possible dismissal from the program. A student may be placed on inactive status only once during enrollment in any distance education program. The student will be dismissed from the program if he or she fails to meet the yearly requirements for coursework progression a second time.

Good Academic Standing

To remain in good academic standing a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Ma  intain a 3.0 GPA (see Probation information below).
  • Not earn a  grade below a C (see Dismissal section). 
  • Comply with the University Academic Integrity Policy, which stipulates that all academic work represents the individual work of the stated author. Input and assistance from others must always be appropriate and fully acknowledged.

Probation

A student who receives a D in any course (or an F and has been readmitted), must repeat that course in its entirety and will be placed on Academic Probation. A remediation plan must be developed by the student and evaluated and monitored by the Academic Program Advisor.

  • When retaking the course, the student must receive a grade of C or above in order to progress academically.
  • If the student receives a grade below a C on the retake, the student will be dismissed.
  • When the grade of C or above is achieved on the retake, the student will be taken off academic probation if his or her GPA is above his or her program level requirements.

If the GPA of a student falls below the acceptable program level, the student will be placed on academic probation by the Program Director.

Following being placed on probation, the student will be required to submit an academic study plan to the Academic Program Advisor to explain how he or she plans to elevate the GPA to the program’s acceptable level. The Post-Professional Progression Committee will review all study plans. The student will be expected to elevate his or her GPA to the acceptable program level or above within 1 calendar year. If a student fails to elevate his or her GPA to the acceptable program level, the student’s record will be referred to the Post-Professional Progression Committee for review and possible dismissal from the program.

A student will not be permitted to progress to the final stage of the program while on probation. Remedial coursework may be necessary to increase the GPA prior to starting the final project.

Withdrawal of Acceptance into the Program

If a student does not register for one course within 12 weeks after official acceptance into the program, the Program Director will notify the Registrar to send the student a notice of withdrawal of program acceptance.

Dismissal

Based on recommendations of the Post-Professional Progression Committee, the student may be dismissed from a Post-Professional Program when a student

  • fails to maintain active status;
  • does not return to active status after an approved LOA period;
  • receives a grade of F in any course;
  • receives a grade below a C when retaking any course;
  • while on probation, a student does not improve academic performance to program-level GPA within the prescribed calendar year;
  • does not complete the minimum program credit hours within 1 year after being placed on inactive status;
  • has more than one W in a course or three withdrawals total during the program;
  • fails to comply with the University Academic Integrity Policy; or
  • fails to complete the program requirements within the prescribed timeframe. Failure to complete the program within the prescribed enrollment period may result in dismissal by the Post-Professional Progression Committee. An extension of the program enrollment timeline for extenuating circumstances may be requested in writing to the Program Director who will present the request to the Post-Professional Progression Committee for review. If the Progression Committee approves the extension, the student will pay the prescribed trimester extension fee by the due date upon being billed by the accounting department. If the extension fee is delinquent by 2 weeks, the student may be dismissed.

Upon dismissal, the student will receive a letter from the University’s Registrar via the student’s USAHS email.

Academic Evaluation and Right of Appeal

Students sign an acknowledgment of the appeals procedure as part of the orientation process. 

The following sections describe the USAHS Academic Appeal Policy for both minor and major academic appeal issues. Students with a grade of F or 2 Ds leading to academic dismissal will follow only the major appeal process described below.

Minor Academic (Non-Dismissal) Appeal Issues

The responsibility for academic evaluation will rest with the lead faculty member. For minor appeal issues, which are decisions that would not result in dismissal, (e.g., a final exam grade) the student appeals to the lead faculty member before the seventh calendar day of the start of the subsequent term involved in the particular issue. If the student is not satisfied with the faculty member’s resolution of the issue, the student has the right to appeal the issue in writing to the Program Director within 5 business days after the faculty decision. After hearing the issue and consulting the faculty member, the Program Director has 3 business days to render a final decision. Once a final decision has been rendered by the Program Director, the student does not have access to the appeal process for the same issue again.  

Major Academic Dismissal Appeal Issues

The following sections describe the University’s appeal process for students who have been dismissed based on academic policy.

1. Notice of Dismissal

Students will receive a dismissal notice from the Registrar’s Office within 5 business days from the day final grades are due. The dismissal notice letter will be emailed to the student’s University-issued email address.

2. Student Appeal

Students choosing to appeal academic dismissal must do so in writing within 5 days from the date on the dismissal notice letter. All academic appeal letters must be addressed to the Academic Appeal Committee (AAC) and emailed to the University Registrar at [email protected]. Appeal letters should include the following:

  • The rationale behind the appeal and why the student believes the appeal is warranted.
  • If the basis of the appeal is a failing grade leading to dismissal, rationale for modification of the grade to a passing grade.
  • Barriers/circumstances that prevented academic success.
  • A plan to overcome or prevent future barriers from preventing academic success in the future.

3. Registrar Role

Upon receipt of the appeal letter from the student, the Registrar will create an appeal packet, pertaining to the student’s appeal, for the AAC’s review. In addition to the academic dismissal notice letter and the student’s appeal letter to the AAC, this packet includes the items below from the student’s academic file. The Registrar will also manage official communication with the student by sending and receiving all student requests and all decision letters. Examples include the following:

  • The student’s USAHS unofficial transcript

  • The student’s GRE score

  • The student’s undergraduate transcript(s)

  • Any additional items that may provide an idea of the student’s academic history during their time at the University (e.g., academic probation, unexcused absences, midterm warnings, etc.)

4. Scheduling a Meeting with the AAC

The Registrar will work with the AAC to schedule a day and time for the student to meet with the committee; however, in the event of extenuating circumstances, if a student is unable to meet at the designated time, the student may request an alternate meeting time. This request must be submitted in writing to the Registrar at [email protected]. It is preferred the student meets with the committee in person. However, students geographically distant from the University campus may be allowed to appear before the AAC via phone or teleconference, but this is solely at the discretion of the AAC. If a student fails to attend the hearing, a decision may be rendered in the student’s absence.

5. Academic Progression during the Academic Appeal Process

Students will have the option to sit in on class(es), as a non-registered participant, during the academic appeal process.

  • Students who opt to sit in on class(es), as a non-registered participant, will be required to sign the Academic Appeal Acknowledgment form, which includes a confidentiality agreement. By signing this agreement, the student agrees not to discuss his or her appeal with other students and acknowledges their status as a dismissed student. The form will be sent to the student by the Registrar’s Office upon receipt of the student’s appeal letter.
  • Clinical education experiences: In the best interest of the student and the clinical site, a student will not progress to a clinical education experience when appealing a University dismissal. If the appeal process reverses the dismissal from the University, the student will be placed on a readmission agreement contract and will be required to remediate to meet all course requirements before entering a clinical education experience.

6. AAC Meeting Procedure

  1. The committee chair will introduce each member of the committee to the student, providing the name and title of each member.
  2. The committee chair will review the general procedures for the meeting and answer any questions the student may have.
  3. The committee will ask questions to the student regarding the student’s academic history or any information the student included in the appeal letter.
  4. The student will be expected to provide truthful and full responses to the committee’s questions.
  5. The committee members may take written notes throughout the meeting.
  6. The student may present evidence that was not submitted with the student’s appeal letter to the committee chair. Determinations as to the relevance of the evidence are at the discretion of the committee chair.
  7. The AAC meeting is a closed, confidential process; however, a student may bring a single advisor with him or her to the appeal meeting after completing a FERPA release form and notifying the committee 3 business days prior to the hearing. The notification must include the name of the advisor and his or her relationship to the student.  The advisor is to be present for support purposes only and may not present on behalf of the student. The student will be the only person speaking to the appeal committee on behalf of the student. An advisor who causes disruption to the process will be asked to leave the proceedings. Further, the student is not to bring outside witnesses to the meeting. Statements from outside witnesses can be submitted for the committee’s consideration as part of the review process.
  8. The committee chair will end the meeting by explaining that a formal decision letter will come to the student via email from the Program Director to the student’s University-issued email address. Decisions are not final until this letter is sent to the student. The AAC will seek to issue its decision within 3 business days after the hearing but may require additional time to render the decision.
  9. Minor deviations from this procedure that are in the best interest of the academic appeal process and/or the University will not be considered procedural errors. This will be at the sole discretion of the Appeal Officer.

7. Committee Decision

The AAC has the authority to either uphold the student’s academic dismissal or grant readmission into the program. After the AAC consults with the Program Director, the AAC will direct the Registrar to notify the student of the AAC’s decision

  • If the committee upholds the student’s academic dismissal, the student has the right to appeal the decision to the Dean. Please see the criteria for Dean Appeal below.   
  • If the Academic Appeals Committee grants readmission into the program, the Registrar will provide the student with a readmission agreement developed by the student’s Program Director. The readmission agreement will outline the requirements of the student’s return to the program. This can include but is not limited to the course(s) the student must repeat as well as any additional courses the student can take based on the Repetition of a Course policy outlined in the Catalog/Handbook.  Upon returning the signed readmission agreement, the student will be readmitted to the program. Readmission agreements must be signed and returned to the Registrar at [email protected] before the last day of add/drop. Failure to submit the readmission form by the add/drop period will result in the student being dropped from the class. In such instances, students shall be eligible for readmission the following trimester but must submit the readmission form by the add/drop deadline, or he or she forfeits his or her readmission.   

8. Appealing to the Dean

Students appealing to the Dean must do so by completing the Academic Appeal to Dean Request Form and submit it by emailing the Registrar at [email protected] within 5 business days of the date of receipt of the AAC decision letter. The appeal should include a letter addressed to the Dean and should not be the same letter sent to the AAC for the initial academic dismissal appeal.

9. Student Appeal

Appeals to the Dean require one of the following:

  • The student can provide evidence that the AAC did not follow the meeting procedure as outlined in this policy,
  • The student has additional evidence that the student was unable to present to the AAC during the initial academic appeal meeting.

10. Registrar Role

The Registrar will compile the student’s appeal letter and any evidence and forward the documents on to the Dean. The Registrar will also manage official communication with the student by sending and receiving all student requests and all decision letters.

11. Role of the Dean

Upon receipt of the appeal letter, the Dean will review any evidence the student has provided. The Dean is not required to meet with the student but may do so if there are questions regarding the evidence the student provided. The Dean may meet with the AAC Chair if the student’s request for appeal is due to an assertion that the AAC did not follow meeting procedures as outlined in this policy.

12. Dean Decision

Upon receipt of the request for an appeal, the Dean will determine if an appeal is warranted.

  • If an appeal is NOT warranted, the Registrar will notify the student of the Dean’s determination and the decision of the AAC will stand.
  • If an appeal is warranted, the Dean has the authority to uphold the student’s dismissal or grant readmission into the program. The Dean will seek to notify the student, through the Registrar, of his or her decision within 5 business days from receipt of the student’s appeal letter. The student will receive the decision letter from the Registrar via the student’s University-issued email address. Once a final appeal decision on academic dismissal is rendered by the Dean, the student does not have access to the appeal process for this same issue again.
    • If the Dean upholds the student’s academic dismissal, the AAC decision of the student’s dismissal will stand.
    • If the Dean grants readmission into the program, the Registrar will provide the student with a readmission agreement developed by the student’s Program Director. The readmission agreement will outline the requirements of the student’s return to the program. This can include but is not limited to the course(s) the student must repeat as well as any additional courses the student can take based on the Repetition of a Course policy outlined in this catalog. Upon returning the signed readmission agreement to the Registrar, the student will be readmitted to the program. Readmission agreements must be signed and returned to the Registrar at [email protected] within 5 business days of receipt of the readmission agreement or the student will be dropped from classes. Failure to submit the readmission form within 5 business days will result in the student being dropped from the class. In such instances, students shall be eligible for readmission the following trimester but must submit the readmission form by the add/drop deadline or they forfeit his or her readmission.

13. Request for Reconsideration to the President

Students may, under limited circumstances described below, make a request for reconsideration of the Dean’s decision to the President. However, a request for reconsideration is not a part of the appeals process outlined above. Therefore, the decision of the Dean remains in place during the request for reconsideration. A student who is denied an appeal by the Dean is not eligible to sit in on classes. Requests for reconsideration of the decision of the Dean must be made by completing the Request for Reconsideration of Academic Dismissal Form and emailing it to the Registrar at [email protected] within 5 business days of the date of receipt of the Dean’s decision letter. The request for reconsideration should include a letter addressed to the President and should not be the same letter sent to the Dean or the AAC, for the appeal.

Student appeals denied by the Dean may appeal to the President. Additionally, a request for reconsideration to the President must also meet one of the following requirements: 

  • The student can provide evidence that the Dean did not follow the procedure as outlined in this policy.
  • The student has evidence of new developments that did not occur prior to the AAC hearing or the appeal to the Dean.

 

14. Role of the President

Upon receipt of the request for a reconsideration letter, the President will determine if reconsideration is warranted.

  • If reconsideration is NOT warranted, the Registrar will notify the student of the President’s decision and the decision of the Dean will stand.

  • If reconsideration is warranted, the President will review the record provided. The President is not required to meet with the student but may do so if he or she has questions regarding the record. The President may meet with the Dean and/or AAC Chair to verify the information. Once the President concludes his or her review, the Registrar will notify the student of the President’s decision to uphold or overturn the decision of the Dean.

    • If the President upholds the student’s dismissal, the Dean’s decision of the student’s dismissal will stand.

    • If the President grants readmission into the program, the Registrar will provide the student with a readmission agreement developed by the student’s Program Director. The readmission agreement will outline the requirements of the student’s return to the program. This can include but is not limited to the course(s) the student must repeat as well as any additional courses the student can take based on the Repetition of a Course Policy  outlined in this Handbook/Catalog. Upon returning the signed readmission agreement to the registrar, the student will be readmitted to the program at the beginning of the next trimester. Readmission agreements must be signed and returned to the Registrar at [email protected] before the last day of add/drop for the next trimester of the student will not be registered for classes and will forfeit his or her readmission.

15. Registrar Role

The Registrar will compile the student’s appeal letter and any evidence and forward the documents on to the President. The Registrar will also manage official communication with the student by sending and receiving all student requests and all decision letters.

Teach-Out for Degree Programs

If the University decides to halt enrollments in a program, the University is obligated to develop a plan to teach-out the remaining students in the program. If that occurs, the students will receive timely and complete information regarding individual course plans and a timeline for degree completion.

Dr. Divina Grossman, President/CAO
University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
700 Windy Point Drive
San Marcos, CA 92069