Oct 18, 2021  
2021-2022 University Catalog/Handbook 
    
2021-2022 University Catalog/Handbook

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 and/or certification 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. Although students might want 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. All employees, regardless of work location or campus, 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 is the commitment to and demonstration of honest and moral behavior in an academic setting.

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 submit 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 but are not limited to the following:

  • Resubmission of the assignment
  • An additional assignment
  • 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 but are not limited to the following:

  • A zero grade for an assignment
  • Writing a paper on academic ethics
  • 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

Examples of the most serious types of offense include but are not limited to the following:

  • Copying another’s exam
  • Copying another’s assignment, including online discussions
  • 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 a cell phone while taking an online exam
  • Repeated offenses of academic dishonesty

Students committing Level Three academic dishonesty offenses may be referred to the Professional Misconduct Committee  or receive a 10% grade reduction in the course. The Professional Misconduct Committee will make appropriate recommendations to the designated Program Director. Actions may include dismissal from the program.

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 one semester or trimester of credit, or at least an equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. Note: For example, a two-credit hour course over a 15-week term would require at least 30 hours of direct academic engagement (two hours per week) and 60 hours of student preparation time (four hours per week) for the average student. If this same course were offered over eight weeks, the same number of hours would be required for the term, but the weekly hours would change to four hours per week of academic engagement and eight hours per week of out of class (preparation) work.
  2. Formal laboratory instruction is also direct faculty instruction and equates to two–three 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 more contact hours than courses without labs.
  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 clinical experience, fieldwork, practice, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
  5. Fieldwork, clinical experiences, clinical rotations are calculated at 45 hours equaling one credit hour.

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 five 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 three years preceding admission (see Reenrollment Timelines ).
  • The course should have been completed with a grade of B or better. Courses having a B- or below will not be transferred.
  • The course must be listed on an official transcript sent directly to the Registrar by the issuing institution.
  • Graduate-level courses taken at accredited institutions can be used for credit transfer provided that the 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 five 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 under these guidelines:

  • 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 two 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)

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 two 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 Policy (tDPT, PPOTD, EdD)

Definition

Prior learning assessment (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 nine credits (six in the first 30 credits of the program and three 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 courses.

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., one year of FTE experience per credit hour minimum, contract, CV/resume, supervisory affidavit, etc.)

e. Professional organization/association leadership (e.g., one-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 five 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 Office 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.

Attendance Policy

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 three 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.
  • Laboratory Attendance
    • Because of the amount of material covered in each lab session, absences from even two 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 has unexcused absences totaling more than 20.00% of the total lab hours in a course, the student will be withdrawn from the course. In case of excused absences and 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.
  • Clinical Fieldwork/Experience
    • ​Students should refer to the Clinical Education Handbook.

Online Education Attendance

If enrolled in a course that is purely online (no face-to-face lab associated with it and offered in an asynchronous format), a student may be moving through his or her coursework with a cohort group. This means the student and fellow classmates will have weekly attendance requirements and assignments due. 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.

Online course attendance is monitored by the course instructor(s). Course faculty are expected to report student absences in an online course (i.e., lack of online course interaction) to the Registrar’s Office and Student Success Advisors. However, it is the prerogative of the faculty member to determine whether work submitted after the day of the deadline will or will not receive points or credit. Be advised that course instructors 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 Flex Program Director.
    • 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 two full days of one professional conference or one full day of two professional conferences during their program enrollment. The value of this required attendance is greater when campus-based students wait until the third trimester or later and Flex students wait until the fifth trimester or later to attend the conference. 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). DPT students should complete the conference requirement before the seventh trimester (Resident) or eleventh trimester (Flex) due to the full-time attendance required while on clinical experiences. 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 two 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.

Examination and Proctoring

Each course syllabus describes the types of exams given, exam dates, proctoring instructions if required, 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, MSN, and DNP Programs 

Special early exams given to individual students or groups of students as substitutes for final exams are prohibited. Final exams 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. Each student is required to take the final exam when one is given.

  • Exams that are a significant contribution to the final grade calculation will be proctored.
  • Exams given solely for the purpose of helping the student determine their comprehension and not weighted toward the course grade may not be proctored.
  • Exams will begin and end promptly as scheduled.

Campus Programs

  • For face-to-face exams, any student who wishes to leave the exam room after the start of the exam must turn in his or her exam and will not be permitted to reenter unless there are extenuating circumstances. 
  • For online exams that are proctored, an automated proctoring system is used, which requires a webcam and locked browser. Should a student leave the exam browser window or a breach is identified during the monitoring, the exam is closed and cannot 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 is distributed during the exam period (face-to-face exams). All work papers will be returned with the exam.
  • 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 via each student’s webcam 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 in any testing environment. Students are not permitted to use or have within reach any electronic device, including cell phones, Apple watches, Google glasses, and the like. Electronic devices stored in student belongings should be silenced or turned off. Audible device notifications may invalidate a student’s exam session.

Flex and MS-SLP Programs

  • Dates and exam time windows for online proctored exams in the Flex or MS-SLP program are identified in the syllabus so students can plan accordingly. Online proctoring is done through Respondus, which is an automated proctoring system that utilizes the student’s webcam and a special browser that disables all windows other than the exam window. 
  • In the online environment for Flex or MS-SLP students, the exam window is approximately twice as long as the length allowed for the examination—for example, for a two-hour exam, the window to take the exam is four hours. This allows students a period of time to verify their identity with the proctoring service and log into the exam. The exam window is open only during the scheduled time period.
  • Faculty are available for student issues during the time period that the exam window is open.
  • As a general practice, faculty alter the day and time of the exams in a course so that students who have conflicts are not unduly penalized for exams consistently falling on the same day and time.
  • Faculty are 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 is scanned using the student’s webcam before the test begins and is destroyed at the conclusion and verified via webcam. 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 via webcam.
  • 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.
  • Respondus provides a post-exam report including any incidents that may have occurred. Post-exam reports and full video of each session are available to faculty immediately after the exam so that any incident flags can be thoroughly investigated.

Examination Reviews

  • As a general rule, students are not allowed access to review an exam upon its completion. An exception to this rule could 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, which may be held in person or via online communication methods. This time is used to review frequently missed topics or content with further instruction in areas of weak performance. To protect exam integrity, specific questions are not discussed in these review sessions unless all course faculty agree that those questions reviewed will be omitted from future exams on all campuses and in all programs.
  • Students who wish to review an exam question should make an appointment to 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

  • The decision of whether there is an opportunity to review any major exam (such as a midterm or final examination) lies with the course instructor. The course syllabus should state whether the final exam can be reviewed.
  • The mechanism used to review final exams is 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

Practical examinations require students to meet both safety and technical skill performance competencies. A minimum of 80% proficiency is required on all clinically related practical examinations. Safety requirements must be met at a 100% competency level. Students who do not perform in a safe manner at 100% competency receive an F grade for the practical examination; students who earn less than 80% on the technical skill performance likewise receive an F grade for the practical examination.

Students enrolled in the first term of a Residential program or the first two terms of a Flex program are permitted to retake each failed practical two times provided the student completes the following steps each time the student must retake a practical:

  1. Meet with the course faculty lead to review areas requiring improvement. 
  2. Meet with the faculty advisor regarding remediation planning. 
  3. Discuss, plan, and document remediation steps with the course faculty lead and faculty advisor. 
  4. Complete remediation and schedule the retake with the course faculty lead. 

Residential students beyond first term and Flex students beyond second term are permitted to retake each practical exam only one time; a second retake of a practical is not permitted for these students. Prior to the retake, the student must complete the following steps:

  1. Meet with the course faculty lead to review areas requiring improvement. 
  2. Discuss, plan, and document remediation steps with the course faculty lead and faculty advisor. 
  3. Complete remediation and schedule the retake with the course faculty lead. 

Students who do not pass the retake will receive a grade no higher than a D in the course. Students should also refer to the Good Academic Standing policy for their program: 

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

Good Academic Standing, Progression, Retention, Warning, Probation (MHA, MHS, MSN, DNP, tDPT, PPOTD, EdD, PG Cert FNP)

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

USAHS does not control licensure requirements or exams in any state. It is the student’s responsibility to validate eligibility to sit for licensure exams in the state in which the student will practice.

DPT

DPT students are not given permission to sit for a licensure exam that is scheduled prior to all degree requirements being met. An exception to this policy is available to select students who meet established criteria. Designated criteria that students must satisfy to apply for exemption from the policy (if permitted by the state board from which the student wishes to obtain licensure) include the following:

  • Receive a score of 600 or higher on Practice Exam and Assessment Tool (PEAT) #1 taken during PHT 5780 Knowledge Translation.
  • Attain an overall GPA of 3.5 in the next-to-final term (7th term in Resident program or 11th term in Flex program’s new curriculum) following the University honors’ standards.
  • Demonstrate professional and academic strength throughout the entire DPT program as reflected by an avoidance of professional misconduct referrals and academic probation.
  • Complete the program on time (i.e., in the same cohort as begun; no fallbacks in plan of study).
  • Complete clinical education courses PHT 5470 Integrated Clinical Education and PHT 5770 Terminal Clinical Education I before the request for exemption occurs.
  • Enroll in the final term of the DPT Program (Term 8 in Residential/Term 12 in Flex).
  • Submit a written request to the DPT Program Director to take the NPTE before graduation with attached written approval from the TCE II clinical instructor for the student to be absent from clinic responsibilities on the date of the NPTE exam, including the specific makeup date scheduled. 
  • Agree to release NPTE scores to USAHS at the time of testing.
  • Confirm state regulation surrounding licensure requirements to validate eligibility.

OTD

OTD students are eligible to sit for the NBCOT exam after completion of didactic coursework in Term 7. Eligibility can be confirmed with the registrar following the completion of OCT6720 Leadership & Advocacy, OCT6745 Scholarship of Practice, and OCT6700 Capstone Project in week 10.

Students should note that the Registrar finalizes the completion of all degree requirements at graduation. Students will receive their test scores after graduation once NBCOT receives the official transcript from the Registrar’s Office indicating the degree has been conferred.

MS-SLP

MS-SLP students are encouraged to sit for the Praxis exam after completion of the graduate program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid Eligibility

Federal regulations require that, to be eligible for and maintain assistance from any Federal Title IV student aid program, a student must be making satisfactory academic progress toward a certificate or degree. USAHS students must maintain satisfactory progress according to the guidelines herein and complete all certificate and degree requirements in a timely manner. All students are evaluated for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at the end of each trimester. 

USAHS Federal Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

To maintain eligibility for funds, students must maintain both quantitative (pace), and qualitative (grade-based) standings and revised at each evaluation point. The SAP policy is consistently applied to all enrolled students (full-time, part-time, entry-level, and post-professional students), regardless of their use of Title IV funds. 

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress at USAHS is defined as:

  1. Maintaining a minimum GPA (defined by the student’s program) at the completion of each trimester and a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) or higher (defined by the student’s program).
  2. Completion of a program of study within 150% of the average published program length.

Maximum Timeframes

There is a maximum timeframe in which students must graduate. Maximum time frame is 150 percent of the published length of the program as evaluated by the maximum terms. 

Academic and Financial Aid Evaluations

The Registrar’s Office and Financial Aid department review a student’s CGPA (qualitative standing) and pace (quantitative standing), which is the ratio of the total credits earned vs. attempted credits after the end of each trimester. 

Program Level Program Program Credit Hours Cumulative GPA Expected Time Frame Maximum Time Frame
Entry-Level Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology (MS-SLP) 55–58 2.7 5 terms 8 terms
Entry-Level Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) 93 2.7 6 terms 9 terms
Entry-Level Flex Master of Occupational Therapy (Flex MOT) 93 2.7 9 terms 14 terms
Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) 117 2.7 8 terms 12 terms
Entry-Level Flex Doctor of Occupational Therapy Flex (Flex OTD) 117 2.7 12 terms 18 terms
Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) 131 2.7 8 terms 12 terms
Entry-Level Flex Doctor of Physical Therapy Flex (Flex DPT) 131 2.7 12 terms 18 terms
Post-Professional Doctor of Education (EdD)  60 3.0 14 terms 20 terms
Post-Professional Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) 60 3.0 15 terms 23 terms
Post-Professional Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN-DNP) 64 3.0 10 terms 15 terms
Post-Professional Doctor of Nursing Practice (MSN-DNP) 42–52 3.0 7 terms 11 terms
Post-Professional Doctor of Nursing Practice, FNP role specialty (BSN-DNP-FNP) 71 3.0 12 terms 18 terms
Post-Professional Master of Health Administration (MHA) 37 3.0 6 terms 9 terms
Post-Professional Master of Health Science (MHS) 36 3.0 6 terms 9 terms
Post-Professional Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner Role Specialty (MSN-FNP) 50 3.0 8 terms 12 terms
Post-Professional Master of Science in Nursing, NEd, NEx, & NI Role Specialties 36 3.0 6 terms 9 terms
Post-Professional Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (bachelor’s-entry) (PPOTD) 60 3.0 14 terms 21 terms
Post-Professional Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (master’s-entry) (PPOTD) 29–35 3.0 8 terms 12 terms
Post-Professional Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (bachelor’s-entry) (tDPT) 60 3.0 12 terms 18 terms
Post-Professional Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (master’s-entry) (tDPT) 24 3.0 7 terms 11 terms
Post-Professional PG Certificate-Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) 31 3.0 5 terms 8 terms

Entry-Level Programs (MS-SLP, MOT, OTD, DPT)

Good Academic Standing, Academic Progression Warning, Probation, Dismissal

Good Academic Standing 

To remain in good academic standing, a student in an entry-level program must meet the following criteria:

  1. Maintain at least a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher each trimester;
  2. Complete program of study within 150% of the published program length; and
  3. Complete the program with a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher.
Qualitative Evaluation

All students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.7 on a 4.00 scale at the completion of each trimester.

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

  1. After the first trimester in which a student fails to meet academic standards, the student is placed on Academic/Financial Aid Warning. Students who are placed on Academic/Financial Aid Warning are required to meet with their Faculty Advisor to develop an Academic Improvement Plan on how to improve their academic study.
  2. If the student fails to meet academic standards at the completion of any subsequent trimester, the student is dismissed and loses Title IV eligibility. If the student successfully appeals, the student is placed on Academic/Financial Aid Probation and Title IV eligibility is reinstated. 
  3. If the student does not meet academic standards in any trimester following the trimester in which they are on Academic/Financial Aid Probation, the student is dismissed from the program and loses Title IV eligibility. 

Students who fail to meet the 2.7 GPA for graduation are required to complete remediation independent study courses in which a letter grade is earned to obtain the required 2.7 GPA for completion of degree requirements. Completion of these additional requirements may delay graduation. Remediation independent study courses are not Title IV eligible and incur tuition charges at the student’s expense.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Academic/Financial Aid Warning

A student placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress Academic/Financial Aid Warning by the Registrar’s Office is advised by a Faculty Advisor of the terms of the Academic Improvement Plan and the risk of dismissal. A Title IV student on Academic/Financial Aid Warning remains eligible for Title IV for the trimester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Academic/Financial Aid Probation

A student that has not met the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements after being placed on Academic/Financial Warning for the trimester is dismissed and loses Title IV eligibility. If the student is dismissed and successfully appeals, Title IV eligibility is reinstated while on Academic/Financial Aid Probation. If a student on Academic/Financial Aid Probation fails to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress the following trimester, the student is dismissed from the program and loses Title IV eligibility.

Reinstatement of Title IV Eligibility

If the Financial Aid department approves the appeal, the student is placed on Academic/Financial Aid Probation for one trimester, and Title IV eligibility is reinstated.

Financial Aid Notices

The Financial Aid department sends a notice to a Title IV recipient if the recipient fails to meet any of the Academic/Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. (Please remember that all evaluation periods are measured, including ones where the student may not have received financial aid.)

USAHS assigns an Academic/Financial Aid Warning to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress. The school reinstates eligibility for aid for one trimester and may do so without a student appeal.

USAHS assigns an Academic/Financial Aid Probation to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress and has successfully appealed. Eligibility for aid may be reinstated for one trimester.

Academic Evaluation and Right of Appeal

A student may appeal a dismissal to the Academic Appeals Committee/Program Director (see Academic Appeals Process). 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. Title IV eligibility is reinstated.

Readmission agreements can be appealed only if there are mitigating circumstances and an appeal can be made only to the Chief Academic Officer. 

When a student is dismissed or suspended, he or she loses access to campus facilities and resources. Students may visit a campus if they have made an appointment by phone with their Faculty Advisor or Registrar and restrict their activities to only that appointment.

Post-Professional Programs (MHA, MHS, MSN, DNP, PPOTD, tDPT, EdD, PG Cert FNP)

The academic programs, in conjunction with the Registrar’s Office, monitor each student’s academic progress throughout the curriculum. At the end of each trimester, grades are submitted to the Registrar. The Registrar notifies 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, DNP or PG Cert (FNP) programs, the student must maintain

  • Active status or approved leave of absence (LOA) status,
  • Good academic standing.

Good Academic Standing, Academic Progression Warning, Probation, Dismissal

Good Academic Standing

To remain in good academic standing, a student in a post-professional program must meet the following criteria:

  1. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher each trimester;
  2. Complete program of study within 150% of the published program length; and
  3. Complete the program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Qualitative Evaluation

All students are required to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.00 scale at the completion of each trimester.

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

  • After the first trimester in which a student fails to meet academic standards, the student is placed on Academic/Financial Aid Warning. Students who are placed on Academic/Financial Aid Warning are required to meet with their Faculty Advisor to develop an Academic Improvement Plan on how to improve their academic study.
  • If the student fails to meet academic standards at the completion of any subsequent trimester, the student is dismissed and loses Title IV eligibility. If the student successfully appeals, the student is placed on Academic/Financial Aid Probation and Title IV eligibility is reinstated. 
  • If the student does not meet academic standards in any trimester following the trimester in which they are on Academic/Financial Aid Probation, the student is dismissed from the program and loses Title IV eligibility.

Students who fail to meet the 3.0 GPA for graduation are required to complete remediation independent study courses in which a letter grade is earned to obtain the required 3.0 GPA for completion of degree requirements. Completion of these additional requirements may delay graduation. Remediation independent study courses are not Title IV eligible and incur tuition charges at the student’s expense.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Academic/Financial Aid Warning

A student placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress Academic/Financial Aid Warning by the Registrar’s Office is advised by a Faculty Advisor of the terms of the Academic Improvement Plan and the risk of dismissal. A Title IV student on Academic/Financial Aid Warning remains eligible for Title IV for the trimester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Academic/Financial Aid Probation

A student that has not met the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements after being placed on Academic/Financial Warning for the trimester is dismissed and loses Title IV eligibility. If the student is dismissed and successfully appeals, Title IV eligibility is reinstated while on Academic/Financial Aid Probation. If a student on Academic/Financial Aid Probation fails to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress the following trimester, the student is dismissed from the program and loses Title IV eligibility.

Reinstatement of Title IV Eligibility

If the Financial Aid department approves the appeal, the student is placed on Academic/Financial Aid Probation for one trimester, and Title IV eligibility is reinstated.

Financial Aid Notices

The Financial Aid department sends a notice to a Title IV recipient if the recipient fails to meet any of the Academic/Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. (Please remember that all evaluation periods are measured, including ones where the student may not have received financial aid.

USAHS assigns an Academic/Financial Aid Warning to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress. The school reinstates eligibility for aid for one trimester and may do so without a student appeal.

USAHS assigns an Academic/Financial Aid Probation to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress and has successfully appealed. Eligibility for aid may be reinstated for one trimester.

Academic Evaluation and Right of Appeal

A student may appeal the dismissal to the Academic Appeals Committee/Program Director (see Academic Appeals Process). 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. Title IV eligibility is reinstated.

Readmission agreements can be appealed only if there are mitigating circumstances and an appeal can be made only to the Chief Academic Officer.

When a student is dismissed or suspended, he or she loses access to campus facilities and resources. Students may visit a campus if they have made an appointment by phone with their Faculty Advisor or Registrar and restrict their activities to only that appointment.

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 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 clinical experience/fieldwork/rotation that are not completed. If a student is removed from clinical experience/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.

The grade of I (Incomplete) is given when, for reasons acceptable to the instructor(s), a student does not complete the required work within a course by the end of the trimester. For a student to be eligible for a grade of Incomplete, that student must make the request in writing to the instructor prior to the end of the trimester and have completed 80% of the course requirements. Students who fail to make the request in writing or who have not completed 80% of the course, receive the grade earned in the course for completed coursework (any remaining gradable items not submitted are given a grade of zero and calculated into the final grade).

Students with a grade of Incomplete must complete all required coursework before the first day of the following trimester. The instructor must grade the missing required work and submit the grade change form before the end of the add/drop period. Students who do not complete the required work and have a grade change form submitted by the instructor within the required timeframe receive the grade earned in the course for completed coursework (any remaining gradable items not submitted are given a grade of zero and calculated into the final grade). If the student is assigned a grade of D or F from the I, appropriate action is then taken under the applicable academic standing policy (Entry-Level programs; Post-Professional programs).

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 Courses I–V and Residencies Trimesters 1, 2, 3, and 5: Clinical skills assessment is included in the clinical course grades for all clinical courses. For Clinical Course I and II, virtual therapy cases are completed. Note: Virtual therapy cases may appear in academic courses as well. A minimum grade of 90% on all virtual therapy cases and attendance of an online synchronous debrief is required. Pre-residency, residency, and clinical experiences require a minimum of 80% competencies on all activities and experiences to pass a clinical 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 are printed in the course syllabus.

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

EdD 

  • Dissertation Courses (EDF 7871 Dissertation I, EDF 7872 Dissertation II, or EDF 7873 Dissertation III courses):
    • Students must meet the deliverables to achieve academic success for the course sequence (DIS I, DIS II, and DIS III) that they are currently enrolled in in order to matriculate to the next DIS sequencing course.
    • The student’s dissertation chair is responsible for making a holistic assessment of the student’s progress and determine the final grade for the term. The grade determination may be in consultation with the committee member(s), Program Director, and Contributing Faculty (Doctoral Advisor for the course).
    • If the student is showing progress and is meeting the deliverables listed in the Dissertation Handbook for the dissertation course they are enrolled in, then the student receives the highest academic achievement grade and moves onto the next dissertation course in the sequence.
    • If the student is not making progress or is not meeting the deliverables listed in the Dissertation Handbook for the course they are enrolled in, then the student receives an NG (No Grade) and must re-enroll in the same course. If the student is making progress, then the highest academic achievement grade is given.
    • If the deliverables are not met but the student is progressing, the student receives a no grade (NG) and re-enrolls in the course. The student has three attempts at the course. On the third attempt, the grade is assessed.
    • For each NG grade assigned that requires re-enrollment in the dissertation course, the student incurs tuition and fees for that attempted course. 
    • An Incomplete grade (I) can be assigned when progress is delayed for issues outside the student’s control or due to extenuating circumstances and must be approved by the Program Director. If the student is granted an Incomplete, then the student must work with their committee on developing a plan on how to meet the missing deliverables. If the student does not meet the deliverables during the 15-week term, the student is assigned a letter grade, as per the University policy.

Extra Credit

As a graduate-level institution preparing healthcare 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.

Rounding of Grades

No grades are rounded other than the final course grade.

If the final grade percentage is not a whole number, the percentage will be rounded to the nearest 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%).

Academic Evaluation

MS-SLP, MOT, OTD, DPT

To ensure students complete the program within the prescribed time, all courses in which a student fails to earn a grade of C or above must be repeated and in compliance with course requirements and the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy in order to graduate. If a student repeats a course, only one course applies toward the completed credit count.

If a higher grade is earned in the repeated course, it is used to compute the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). Repeated courses are included in the calculation for credits earned/attempted for satisfactory academic progress. All repeated final grades reflected on the official transcript are designated with an asterisk (*). All students are required to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale at the completion of each trimester.

MHA, MHS, MSN, DNP, PPOTD, tDPT, EdD, PG Cert FNP

To ensure students complete the program within the prescribed time, all courses in which a student fails to earn a grade of C or above must be repeated and in compliance with course requirements and the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy to graduate. If a student repeats a course, only one course applies toward the completed credit count.

If a higher grade is earned in the repeated course, it is used to compute the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). Repeated courses are included in the calculation for credits earned/attempted for satisfactory academic progress. All repeated final grades reflected on the official transcript are designated with an asterisk (*). All students are required to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale at the completion of each trimester.

Academic Probation

MS-SLP, MOT, OTD, DPT

A student who makes a grade below a C in any course is placed on Academic Probation and must undergo remediation and repeat the course for credit. Such students are made aware in writing that they are at risk for failure to complete the program and should refer to the Repetition of a Course policy and student advisor as not all courses are offered every term. 

  • 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 is taken off academic probation.
  • If the student receives a grade below C when retaking a course, the student is 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.

MHA, MHS, MSN, DNP, PPOTD, tDPT, EdD, PG Cert FNP

A student who receives a D or an F in any course (or two Fs and has been readmitted), must repeat that course in its entirety and 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 to progress academically.
  • If the student receives a grade below a C on the retake, the student is dismissed.
  • When the grade of C or above is achieved on the retake, the student is taken off academic/financial aid 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 is placed on academic/financial aid probation.

Following placement on probation, the student is 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 Program Director reviews all study plans. If a student fails to elevate his or her GPA to the acceptable program level, the student is dismissed from the program and lose Title IV eligibility.

A student is 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.

Academic Dismissal

MS-SLP, MOT, OTD, DPT

A student is dismissed from the program when:

  • an F is received in any course
  • two grades of D are received

MHA, MHS, MSN, DNP, PPOTD, tDPT, EdD, PG Cert FNP

A student in post-professional program is dismissed from the program when a student:

  • fails to maintain active status
  • does not return to active status after an approved LOA period
  • receives a grade below a C when retaking any course
  • receives two grades of F throughout the duration of the program
  • while on probation, a student does not improve academic performance to program-level GPA within the prescribed calendar year
  • has more than one withdrawal in a course or three withdrawals total during the program
  • fails to comply with the University Academic Integrity Policy
  • 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 presents the request to the Post-Professional Progression Committee for review. If the Progression Committee approves the extension, the student pays 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.

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.

Students who receive a D in any course (or an F and has been readmitted), must repeat that course in its entirety. Students are 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 (Residential) and 8 credit hours (Flex program).

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

Students who must repeat a course should not expect to graduate with their entering cohort. Further, students required to repeat a course in the Dallas DPT program must wait at least two (2) trimesters to be eligible to retake the course, as the DPT program operates on a one cohort intake yearly. Students repeating a course are subject to space availability at the projected return trimester.

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.

Academic Appeals Process

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 five business days after the faculty decision. After hearing the issue and consulting the faculty member, the Program Director has three 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 five 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 five 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 three 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 Registrar on behalf of 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 three 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 as described 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 Dismissal by the AAC 

Students appealing to the Associate Dean for OT, PT, and post-professional programs and to the Program Director for SLP must do so by completing the Academic Appeal Request Form and submitting it by emailing the Registrar at [email protected] within five business days of the date of receipt of the AAC decision letter. The appeal should include a letter addressed to the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director and should not be the same letter sent to the AAC for the initial academic dismissal appeal. 

9. Student Appeal

Appeals to the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director 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 Associate Dean/SLP Program Director. 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 Associate Dean/SLP Program Director 

Upon receipt of the appeal letter, the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director will review any evidence the student has provided. The Associate Dean/SLP Program Director is not required to meet with the student but may do so if there are questions regarding the evidence the student provided. The Associate Dean/SLP Program Director 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. Associate Dean/SLP Program Director Decision

Upon receipt of the request for an appeal, the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director will determine whether an appeal is warranted.

  • If an appeal is NOT warranted, the Registrar will notify the student of the Associate Dean’s/SLP Program Director’s determination and the decision of the AAC will stand.
  • If an appeal is warranted, the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director has the authority to uphold the student’s dismissal or grant readmission into the program. The Associate Dean/SLP Program Director 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 Associate Dean/SLP Program Director, the student does not have access to the appeal process for this same issue again.
    • If the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director upholds the student’s academic dismissal, the AAC decision of the student’s dismissal will stand.
    • If the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director 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 five business days of receipt of the readmission agreement or the student will be dropped from classes. Failure to submit the readmission form within five 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 CAO

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

Students whose appeal is denied by the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director may appeal to the CAO. Additionally, a request for reconsideration to the CAO must also meet the following requirement: 

  • The student can provide evidence that the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director did not follow the procedure as outlined in this policy.

14. Role of the CAO

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

  • If reconsideration is NOT warranted, the Registrar will notify the student of the CAO’s decision and the decision of the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director will stand.
  • If reconsideration is warranted, the CAO will review the record provided. The CAO is not required to meet with the student but may do so if he or she has questions regarding the record. The CAO may meet with the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director and/or AAC Chair to verify the information. Once the CAO concludes his or her review, the Registrar will notify the student of the CAO’s decision to uphold or overturn the decision of the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director.
    • If the CAO upholds the student’s dismissal, the Associate Dean/SLP Program Director’s decision of the student’s dismissal will stand.
    • If the CAO 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 CAO. The Registrar will also manage official communication with the student by sending and receiving all student requests and all decision letters.

Continuous Enrollment Policy

All degree seeking students are required to maintain continuous enrollment from the time they first enroll in their program until degree completion. Each term, students must either be registered for courses or on an approved, official Leave of Absence (LOA).

Note: Credits that are gained from transfer credits and Prior Learning Assessment do not count toward academic credit and do not meet this requirement. Completion of a Continuing Professional Education Seminar without completion of the online didactic course content does not count toward academic credit.

Students with Incompletes

Students finishing an Incomplete from the previous term are considered in compliance with the Continuous Enrollment Policy. However, once the Incomplete is cleared, students must register for a course(s) when registration opens for the subsequent term. Registration generally opens at the beginning of the month prior to the term start month (e.g., December for the Spring term beginning in January).

Administrative Program Withdrawal

Failure to register for courses or take an official LOA results in an administrative program withdrawal. Official notification of the administrative program withdrawal is sent from the Registrar’s office to the student via the student’s University-issued email address.

Program Reinstatement

Students who receive an administrative program withdrawal for failing to maintain continuous enrollment must complete the Request for Reinstatement from Administrative Program Withdrawal form (MyUSA portal, Forms page) if it has been no more than one year since the administrative withdrawal. Students seeking reinstatement after the one-year period must follow the standard program application process through the Enrollment department. Students may request reinstatement from administrative program withdrawal one time within their program. Reinstatement after administrative program withdrawal does not extend the time to completion limit of any degree program.

Holds 

Students must clear any holds prior to the end of the add/drop period of the term in order to register for classes. Students failing to clear holds by the end of the add/drop period will not be able to register for classes and will receive an administrative program withdrawal. 

Completion of Program Requirements

Requirements for degree completion are based on individual program time limits outlined in the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. An official LOA or reinstatement after administrative program withdrawal does not extend the time to completion limit of any degree program. All students are expected to complete program requirements within the outlined timeframes listed in the SAP policy for the number of terms attempted.

Leave of Absence Policy

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 as well as any required documentation. Except in verified cases of emergency, students who fail to submit the required documentation and be approved for an LOA are withdrawn two weeks after the University becomes aware that the student has stopped participating. Students on an LOA must return within 180 days and at the start of a subsequent trimester.

There are four types of LOA:

  1. Short-Term Emergency (up to two weeks)
  2. Long-Term (full or remainder of the trimester)
  3. Military
  4. Administrative

Common reasons for a Short-Term Emergency or Long-Term LOAs include the following:

  • medical emergency (student or immediate family member)
  • bereavement (death of an immediate family member)
  • financial hardship (job relocation, job termination, loss of housing)
  • military short-term LOA (not to exceed two weeks)

Types of appropriate supporting documentation include the following:

  • doctor’s note
  • hospital release form
  • proof of job relocation
  • proof of job termination
  • eviction notice
  • military orders
  • obituary or death certificate

Immediate family member is defined as a spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild; a spouse’s parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild; and a child’s spouse. Appropriate documentation is defined as official documents supporting or describing the reason for the request and is subject to approval by the University.

Students returning from a medical emergency LOA due to injury or illness must also submit documentation from a medical professional indicating the student is able to return to school.

Short-Term Emergency LOA

Students may request a Short-Term Emergency LOA by contacting their advisor and/or program director. The LOA Form (MyUSA, Forms) 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 two weeks of the date the student stops attending, the student is 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. Students who are unable to complete the exams prior to the beginning of the next trimester are given grades of W and are required to repeat those courses in the next term before progressing in the program.

A Short-Term Emergency LOA request must be accompanied by appropriate documentation of the emergency. Students who do not submit the required documentation will be withdrawn from the program under the Withdrawal Policy 

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 two weeks of the date the student stops attending, the student is withdrawn from the program under the Withdrawal Policy .

A Long-Term LOA request must be accompanied by appropriate documentation of the need for the LOA and results in a grade of W for all currently enrolled courses. Grades of W that result from an approved LOA will not be calculated in the maximum number of course withdrawals. Students who do not submit the required documentation receive are whithdrawn from the program under the Withdrawal Policy 

Students must return to classes at the beginning of a subsequent trimester and must submit a completed Return from LOA Form (MyUSA, Forms) to [email protected] to activate the student account and register the student for classes. Students who fail to return the following trimester are withdrawn from the University.

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

Military LOA

Current students called to active military service are 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 are 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 Educational LOA guidelines.

Administrative LOA

The University reserves the right to place students on Administrative LOA for reasons such as the inability of the University to secure a clinical site. Students may not request Administrative LOA; it is used solely at the University’s discretion. Students who have any hold that prevents registration (e.g., clinical education hold) and who have not cleared the hold prior to the end of the add/drop period cannot be placed on Administrative LOA and are withdrawn from the program under the Withdrawal Policy .

Students placed on Administrative LOA 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. 

Issues to Consider Prior to Requesting an LOA

For loan purposes, an LOA 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. A Long-Term LOA taken mid-trimester is considered a withdrawal from the program for Title IV purposes and reported as such by the Registrar to the NSLDS Clearinghouse.

Return from LOA

Students must submit the Return from LOA form, which is available on the MyUSA portal, Student Services tab, under Forms. Students returning from a health-related LOA must also submit documentation from a medical professional indicating the student is able to return to school.

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 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 an LOA may have to forfeit their scholarship funds upon their return. Scholarships are not 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 the LOA impacts the grace period for repayment of the loan. Prior to requesting an LOA of any type, the University recommends that 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. Students receiving Title IV funds and considering a Planned Educational LOA or a Long-Term LOA lasting longer than 14 calendar days (two weeks) 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.
  • Title IV students who are withdrawn from the University due to failure to return from an LOA may have affected their student 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 makes every effort to accommodate a student’s return but cannot guarantee it.
  • Students who fail to return from an LOA are withdrawn from the University. The student’s withdrawal date is 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 long-term 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. Students requiring an additional break from coursework (within a 180 day period) may want to consider the program withdrawal  and reinstatement process. 
  • 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 previously received reasonable accommodations must reapply to the Director of Disability Services to have accommodations reinstated.

Reinstatement

Students who voluntarily withdraw from the program or who are administratively withdrawn under the Continuous Enrollment Policy and are in good standing may be reinstated into the program. These students will be permitted to bypass the normal application process if it has been no more than one year since withdrawal from the program. Requests must be submitted by midterm to allow time for processing for the subsequent term. Any student seeking reacceptance after the one-year period must follow the normal application process.

Students who voluntarily withdraw from the program must complete a Program Reinstatement Request (MyUSA portal, Forms page). Students can seek reinstatement for voluntary withdrawal one time within their program.

Students who are administratively withdrawn for failing to meet the Continuous Enrollment Policy will be permitted to bypass the normal application process and submit a Request for Reinstatement from Administrative Withdrawal form (MyUSA portal, Forms page). Students may apply for reinstatement from administrative program withdrawal one time within their program.

Students who are reinstated are required to sign a new Enrollment Agreement and are subject to current tuition and fees. Additionally, students may not be granted reinstatement if no seats are available in the applicable cohort.

Readmission

Students who are involuntarily dismissed from the program due to violations of academic policies or PMC violations may be readmitted to the program.

Students who are removed under academic policies may utilize the appeal rights outlined within that policy. If the AAC (or appropriate appeal officer or body) grants a student’s appeal, the student is issued a readmission agreement. Upon signing and agreeing to the terms of the readmission agreement, the student is granted readmission to the program. Please see the Academic Appeals Process  for more information.

Students suspended for PMC conduct reasons may apply for readmission once the term of the suspension and all sanctions are satisfied. These students are permitted to bypass the normal application process and submit a one-page readmission application if it has been no more than one-year since the withdrawal from the program. Requests must be submitted by midterm prior to the desired start term to allow time for processing for the subsequent term. Any student seeking readmission after the one-year period must follow the normal application process.

Students who are readmitted after at least one term away are required to sign a new Enrollment Agreement and are subject to current tuition and fees. Additionally, students may not be granted readmission if no seats are available in the applicable cohort.