May 23, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog/Handbook (Fall) 
    
2023-2024 University Catalog/Handbook (Fall) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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 those opinions 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 Complaints Policy  and refer the issue to the appropriate Program Director, supervisor, and/or Dean. 

Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity is the commitment to and demonstration of honest and moral behavior in an academic setting. USAHS expects academic honesty from all members of the community in alignment with the USAHS Core Values, particularly Integrity and Professionalism. Consequently, all work submitted for grading in a course must be created as a result of each student’s own thoughts and effort. Representing work as one’s own that is not a result of such thought and effort is a violation of policy. 

Types of Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty can occur in many forms and variations. 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 “levels of misconduct” to represent minor and major violations. 

The following definitions of academic dishonesty are meant as a guide but are not exhaustive of all potential violations of this policy.  

  • Cheating: A form of misrepresentation of ones work.
  • Facilitating dishonesty: Assisting another to perform an act of academic dishonesty. 

  • Fabrication: The forgery or invention of information or citation in an academic exercise.

  • 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.”

There are two types of violations, Level I (minor) and Level II (major), which are detailed below.

Level I (Minor) Academic Integrity Violations

Level I academic violations typically occur as a result of students not familiarizing themselves with assignment or course requirements. As such, Level I violations are handled at the program level and can be treated as a formative process. The goal is to clarify expectations and remediate the student’s behavior. Examples include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Cheating
    • Not following the academic integrity protocols of online proctoring systems or lockdown browsers. 
    • Inadvertently collaborating on an assignment when not authorized.
  • Plagiarizing 
    • Forgetting a citation or leaving a reference off a reference list.
    • Failure to cite or acknowledge a source in a small or limited part of a paper. 
    • Quoting directly 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.   
Level I Sanctions

Grading sanctions to address Level I academic integrity violations are at the discretion of the course instructor and program director and could include one or more of the following sanctions:  

  • Resubmission of the assignment.
  • A zero grade for an assignment (assignment’s total weight should not exceed 10% of course grade).
  • An additional remediation assignment.
  • Reduction of a grade per course syllabus.  

Students may appeal minor violation sanctions in accordance with the following process:

The student may submit an appeal in writing to the lead faculty member within seven calendar days of the student receiving notification of the sanction. 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 member’s decision. After hearing the issue and consulting with the faculty member, the Program Director renders a final decision within three business days. Once a final decision has been rendered by the Program Director, there is no further opportunity for appeal.

Level II (Major) Academic Integrity Violations 

Level II academic integrity violations are serious in nature and typically occur because of intentional academic dishonesty, misrepresentation, or egregious cheating behaviors. Examples include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Cheating 
    • Submitting another’s work as one’s own, including material purchased from a website or individual.
    • Copying another’s exam or assignment.
    • Using books, notes, or other unauthorized aids during an exam.
    • Giving or receiving information about the content of an exam.
    • Stealing, distributing, or using a copy of an exam or answer key. 
    • Subverting the academic integrity protocols of online proctoring systems or lockdown browsers.
    • Using unauthorized technology during an exam.
    • Removing posted or reserved instructional material, or otherwise preventing access to it.
    • Using illegal or unethical means of acquiring information.
  • Facilitating dishonesty
    • Allowing someone else to submit your work as their own.
    • Enabling someone to copy any portion of an exam or assignment.
    • Allowing someone other than the appropriate student taking an exam.
    • Misuse or falsification of a required proctor or proctoring system.
  • Fabrication 
    • Using false results in a research study.
    • Fabricating a resource for a reference list. 
    • Using technology to alter the data presented (e.g., downloading a test result and altering the grade).
  • Plagiarizing 
    • Plagiarizing a substantial amount of text in an assignment or assessment.
    • Submitting the work of someone else as one’s own.
    • Submitting work created by artificial intelligence (i.e., AI-related tools such as ChatGPT) as your own.
    • Inventing material (including citing artificial sources).
    • Taking material from outside sources (web-based, online journals, text, AI tools, etc.) and not citing them appropriately.
  • Repeated Violations of Academic Dishonesty 
    • More than one academic integrity violation at any level (Level I or II).
Level II Sanctions

Grading sanctions to address Level II academic integrity violations are at the discretion of the course instructor and program director and could include one or more of the following sanctions: 

  • Resubmission of the assignment.
  • A zero grade for an assignment with no chance of a resubmission.
  • An additional remediation assignment.
  • Reduction of a grade per course syllabus.

Note: The student should also be referred to the Professional Misconduct Committee (PMC) for potential sanctions as outlined in the Professional Misconduct Policy . Additional sanctions from the PMC could include suspension or dismissal from the University.

Trimester 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 in 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 or 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.

Academic Course Load

A full-time academic course load during Fall, Spring and Summer trimesters ranges from a minimum of 6 credits up to 19 credits depending on the program and delivery format.

Program Level

Program

Full Time

Half Time

College of Rehabilitative Sciences

Entry-Level

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (MS-SLP)

7 or more credits

4–6 credits

Entry-Level

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

12 or more credits

6–11 credits

Entry-Level

Flex Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

7 or more credits

4–6 credits

Entry-Level

Hybrid Immersion Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

12 or more credits

6–11 credits

Entry-Level

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

12 or more credits

6–11 credits

Entry-Level

Flex Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

7 or more credits

4–6 credits

Post-Professional

Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (PPOTD)

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Entry-Level

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

12 or more credits

6–11 credits

Entry-Level

Flex Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

7 or more credits

4–6 credits

Post-Professional

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT)*

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

College of Health Sciences

Entry-Level

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS)

12 or more credits

6–11 credits

Post-Professional

Master of Health Administration (MHA)

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Post-Professional

Master of Health Science (MHS)*

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Post-Professional

Doctor of Education (EdD)

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Post-Professional

Graduate Certificate-Executive Leadership

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Post-Professional

Graduate Certificate-Business Intelligence

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Post-Professional

Graduate Certificate-Interprofessional Education

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

School of Nursing

Post-Professional RN-Master of Science in Nursing (RN-MSN) 6 or more credits 3–5 credits

Post-Professional

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Post-Professional

Doctor of Nursing Practice

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Post-Professional

PG Nursing Certificate-Family Nurse Practitioner

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Post-Professional

PG Nursing Certificate-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Post-Professional

PG Nursing Certificate-Nurse Educator*

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

Post-Professional

PG Nursing Certificate-Nurse Executive

6 or more credits

3–5 credits

* These programs are not currently enrolling new students. 

 

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.

The Transfer Credit Policy applies to all programs with the exception of the Physician Assistant Studies program, which does not accept transfer credits, prior learning assessment, or advanced standing for any course or component of the curriculum.

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 may require courses completed within 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 are not transferred.
  • P/Pass grades are accepted only if it can be confirmed via the official transcript key that the minimum required grade to earn a P/Pass grade is a B or better.
  • The course must be listed on an official transcript sent directly to the Registrar by the issuing institution.
  • Undergraduate work is not accepted for transfer.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A course syllabus is required for each course being evaluated for potential transfer credit.
  • The awarding of transfer credit is based on the assessment of curricular alignment and whether the use of transfer credit will allow the student to meet all USAHS program and course learning outcomes. The Program Director authorizes final approval of transfer credit.
  • Approved external and alternative transfer credit is not included in the calculation of the University GPA. Internal transfer credit can be included in program GPA calculations if the courses are in the same college or are otherwise allowed based on institutional policy.

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

Process for Transferring Credits

The process for requesting transfer credits from another accredited institution 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 Registrar at registrar@usa.edu for initial review. The student also must submit a course syllabus and official transcript. The student must be able to provide sufficient documentation to show equivalency to USAHS coursework.
  • Accepted students seeking potential transfer credit are encouraged to submit a request for transfer credit review at least two months prior to the start of the first term of enrollment at USAHS. The deadline for transfer credit consideration is two months after the student’s start of the first term of enrollment.
  • The Program Director, in consultation with the appropriate course instructor(s) as needed, reviews the transfer course syllabus to verify that its contents match or closely align with the content in the USAHS course, considering the nature, content, quality, appropriateness, and applicability of the credit earned. 
  • If necessary, the student and Program Director discuss the feasibility of the transfer, and the Program Director may request additional documentation at this time.
  • A $75.00 fee is assessed for each course accepted in transfer and applied to the students USAHS transcript. The only exception to the transfer credit fee is in instances of USAHS internal transfers.
  • The Program Director sends all documents to the Registrar for final review and request for payment (if approved).
  • The Registrar (1) notifies the student whether the request for transfer credits is approved or denied, (2) posts any approved transfer credit to the permanent academic record, and (3) alerts the Bursar’s Office to arrange billing of the transfer credit fee as applicable.
  • A maximum of 50% of a USAHS degree program requirements may be earned through the combination of alternative credit (external transfer, internal transfer, Prior Learning Assessment, or Advanced Standing). The remaining 50% of the total credits must be completed within the USAHS degree-granting program.

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

Internal Transfers: Transfer of Credits from One USAHS Program to Another USAHS Program

Credits may transfer from one USAHS program to another under the following 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 determines whether 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, gives final approval to the transfer plan.
  • Generally, internal transfer credit is included in the calculation of the GPA only in instances when the courses belong to the same college.

Process for Internal Transfer of Credits

The process for requesting internal transfer credits from one USAHS program to another is as follows:

  • The student completes a Transfer Credit Request Form, which can be found on the MyUSA portal, Student Services tab, Forms link or obtained from an advisor. Students submit the form to the Registrar at registrar@usa.edu along with the course syllabus and official transcripts. Students requesting more than one course for internal transfer should submit one form for each course.
  • Requests for approval of transfer credits may be submitted within the first four months acceptance into the program or at least two months before the start of classes for the trimester, whichever is sooner.
  • The Registrar notifies the student whether the request for transfer credit is approved or denied and posts any approved transferred credit to the permanent academic record at that time.
  • Students receiving transfer credit from one USAHS program to another are not charged the transfer credit review fee.

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

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 reviews the request. If approved, the Program Director notifies the Registrar and a test date and time is set for each challenge exam. If the Program Director, in consultation with 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 notifies the student of the results of the challenge exam and, if passed, posts 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 gives 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.

University faculty evaluate PLA portfolios based on a published rubric. Faculty PLA decisions are final.

Requirements

PLA credit reviews require a qualifying essay and a professional portfolio:

  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:
    1. Higher education teaching experience (e.g., syllabus, contract, supervisory affidavit, CV/resume, etc.)
    2. Higher education course development/revision experience (e.g., syllabus, contract, supervisory affidavit, CV/resume, etc.)
    3. Professional continuing education (e.g., 24 contact hours minimum/certificate, content development/professional speaking or delivery, brochures, supervisory affidavit, CV/resume, etc.)
    4. Clinical practice (e.g., one year of FTE experience per credit hour minimum, contract, CV/resume, supervisory affidavit, etc.)
    5. Professional organization/association leadership (e.g., one-year experience/credit hour minimum, membership number, contract, CV/resume, supervisory affidavit, etc.)
    6. Professional publication (e.g., book, book chapter, peer-reviewed journal article, conference presentation/publication, CV/resume, supervisory affidavit, etc.)
    7. 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 as “Needs Improvement,” the student may resubmit with additional support/detail for reevaluation of PLA credit. If either of the requirements (Qualifying Essay or Professional Portfolio) are evaluated “Unsatisfactory/Not Present,” the student is denied the PLA credit.

Note: Credit is applied in full 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 is 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. The student and Program Director discuss which courses the prior learning will be assessed against for credit.
  2. The student submits all required documents to the Program Director.
  3. Program Director assigns faculty to review the PLA materials.
  4. Faculty assess work and provide a full evaluation of the materials submitted. A successful submission must receive a “competent” score in all areas. Faculty communicate their recommendation to the Program Director.
  5. The Program Director completes the PLA form, including the fee amount, and emails the completed form and supporting documentation to the Registrar. 
  6. The Registrar posts the PLA to the student’s official transcript.
  7. The Registrar sends an email notification to the student once the PLA credit has been posted. The Bursar’s Office and the student’s academic advisor are included in the email. In the email notification, the student is directed to contact the Bursar’s Office at bursar@usa.edu to make the PLA fee payment.
  8. The Bursar bills 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.

Course Schedule and Syllabus 

It is the student’s responsibility to review all information provided in each course syllabus. Students are advised to check the syllabus and confer with faculty for complete information on course schedules, assignment due dates, exam dates, withdrawal deadlines, and other information pertaining to the course. In an online accelerated course, students are expected to complete assignments at an accelerated pace and must complete the course within the time frame provided by the course instructor.

Attendance and Academic Engagement

To attend and participate in either in-person or online classes, the student must be officially registered for or officially auditing the course.

The University (USAHS) recognizes the correlation between student academic engagement and student retention, achievement, and success. Any class session or academic activity missed, regardless of cause, reduces the opportunity for learning and may adversely affect a student’s achievement. Accordingly, students’ are expected to regularly participate in all academic activities in all enrolled courses. 

In-Person Attendance

Faculty take attendance in each scheduled in-person session and report the attendance information using the Blackboard Attendance Tool. 

Additionally, 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 to attend an evening lecture by a distinguished person in the field as part of a course. Such an event is considered mandatory as if it were a regularly scheduled class.

Online Attendance

Faculty report students who do not academically engage in an online course at the start of the trimester and students who have not academically engaged in an online course for 14 consecutive days during the trimester to the Registrar’s Office. Academic engagement activities or academically related activities include:

  • Attending a synchronous class, lecture, recitation, residency or immersion experience, clinical, field or laboratory activity, physically or online, where there is an opportunity for interaction between the instructor and students;
  • Submitting an academic assignment;
  • Taking an assessment or an exam;
  • Participating in an interactive tutorial, webinar, or other interactive computer-assisted instruction;
  • Participating in a study group, group project, or an online discussion that is assigned by the institution; or
  • Interacting with an instructor about academic matters.

If enrolled in a course that is purely online (i.e., no face-to-face lab associated with it and offered in an asynchronous format), a student may be moving through the coursework with a cohort group. This means the student and fellow classmates have weekly attendance requirements and assignments due. Students should 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 (i.e., lack of online course interaction) in an online course 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 receives points or credit. Students are 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).

Clinical/Fieldwork Attendance

Students participating in clinical experiences are expected to comply with the schedule of the clinical site and communicate absences and make up work to their clinical coordinator. Please refer to the relevant clinical education handbook, found on the MyUSA portal, Clinical Services tab for details.

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 practitioner’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 results 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 results 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 apologizes to the instructor immediately after that class. If a student is tardy twice, the student receives a warning letter with a copy of that letter placed in his or her record. After the second time, each subsequent event results 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 is 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.

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 is granted an excused absence. Failure to follow this sequence results 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

The University is committed to the professional development of its students. All DPT, MOT, OTD, MS-SLP, and MSPAS 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. Professional conferences may include state or national meetings or other meetings as approved by the Program Director. Students should contact their Program Director for complete information regarding the program’s requirements and forms for professional conference attendance.

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 has a learning assessment (final examination, lab practical, project, paper, etc.) during the final week of the term unless approved by the Program Director. The timing of exams within the course content are identified in the course syllabus.

In-Person Exams

  • The course syllabus provides specific information on exam timing and proctoring.
  • Any student who wishes to leave the exam room after the start of the exam must turn in their exam and is not permitted to reenter unless there are extenuating circumstances. 
  • No electronic devices are allowed in any testing environment unless authorized by the lead instructor. Students are not permitted to use or have within reach any electronic device, including cell phones, smartwatches, and the like. Electronic devices stored in student belongings should be silenced or turned off.

Online Exams

  • Online exams are proctored. This may include the use of the student’s webcam and/or a lockdown browser that disables all windows other than the exam window. 
  • Should a student leave the exam 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.
  • The testing room is visually scanned via each student’s webcam. No materials, paper, additional computers, electronic devices, cell phones, smartwatches, and the like are allowed in the testing room unless previously designated by the faculty and noted on the proctoring form.
  • All proctoring services/programs provide a post-exam report, which includes 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.
  • The exam window is open only during the scheduled time period.
  • The course syllabus provides specific information on exam timing and proctoring.

Practical Exams

  • Practical examinations require students to meet both safety and performance outcomes/competencies.
  • The course syllabus provides information regarding practical examination requirements, timing, and grading practices.  

Makeup Exams

  • The course syllabus provides specific information regarding makeup examinations.
  • Students must notify the faculty member prior to missing an exam.
  • Absences from an exam because of a medical condition or nonmedical circumstance may be adjudicated by the faculty member(s) responsible for the course. Faculty may require documentation for the absence.  

Exam Reviews

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with faculty members to review their performance on graded work (including, but not limited to, exams, assignments, tests, quizzes, practicals).

Comprehensive Exams

All students in programs requiring comprehensive exams must pass the exam(s). These exams are designed to test the retention and integration of the respective program curriculum.

Licensure and Certification Exams

USAHS does not control licensure and/or certification requirements or exams for any profession or in any state. It is the student’s responsibility to validate eligibility to sit for licensure and/or certification exams in the state in which the student intends to practice. Each program handbook provides information on program licensure and/or certification requirements.

Grading

Academic degree programs use a 4.0 scale to calculate GPAs. A student’s quality of work in a course is indicated on the transcript by the letter of the alphabet, and these letter grades are included in GPA calculations 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

Additional traditional grades for which credit and quality points are not included in GPA calculations are as follows:

P Pass AU Audit
F Fail WA Withdrawn Administratively
W Withdraw CP Pass (CEU courses only)
NG No Grade Assigned CW Withdraw (CEU courses only)

The grade of W (Withdraw) is used to denote that a student withdrew from a course after the University’s add/drop period. To withdraw from a course, see the Course Withdrawal  policy.

The grade of WA (Withdrawn Administratively) denotes that the University administratively withdrew a student from a course when a previously assigned In-Progress (IP) grade couldn’t be successfully resolved and the student does not deserve a failing grade. See IP grading policies for additional details. 

The grade of NG (No Grade Assigned) is a special grade type limited to specific instances when a student is unable to complete a clinical experience/fieldwork/practicum/rotation and the withdrawal date has already passed, but the Program Director determines that the student receives an NG due to extenuating circumstances. It is also used in instances when a student does not meet the deliverables for a dissertation course as outlined in the Dissertation Handbook. Generally, students are limited to four NG grades per course and a maximum of eight total. See additional details regarding NG assignment and limits for dissertation courses.

Refer to the Repetition of a Course Policy for more information about university practices to repeat a course.

Temporary Grades

Temporary grades that are not used when calculating GPAs include the following:

I Incomplete
IP In Progress
NR Grade Not Reported

Incomplete (I) and In-Progress (IP) Grades

Faculty may award the temporary grade of Incomplete (I) or In-Progress (IP) in instances when a student is experiencing extenuating circumstances beyond their control that prevents the student from completing course requirements before the end of the registered term. In no instance may an Incomplete (I) or In-Progress (IP) grade be assigned because a student has simply failed to complete the course or as a means of raising the student’s grade by doing additional work after the grade report time.

Students are cautioned about the potential consequences of an Incomplete (I) and/or In-Progress (IP) grade assignment on future registrations and financial aid eligibility. Students who receive an Incomplete (I) or In-progress (IP) grade in courses that serve as a prerequisite for other courses in subsequent terms are subject to having those courses dropped from their registration unless the student successfully completes the course and a final grade is submitted prior to the conclusion of the add/drop period for the applicable term or an exception to policy is granted in consultation with the Program Director. Incomplete (I) and In-Progress (IP) grade types are not considered as credits completed and can affect a student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status for financial aid eligibility. Incomplete (I) and In-Progress (IP) grades are not included in the GPA calculation and are considered a noncompletion of attempted coursework until the grade is replaced with a permanent grade and SAP can be reevaluated. The awarding of an Incomplete (I) or In-Progress (IP) grade type does not preclude a student from potential academic warning or dismissal should their completed coursework GPA result in such action.

Qualifiers and expectations regarding the assignment of Incomplete (I) and/or In-Progress (IP) temporary grades are outlined below.

Incomplete (I) Grade

The standard Incomplete (I) grade may be used for extenuating student-related circumstances, as deemed acceptable by the instructor, that prevent the student from completing required course work before the end of the term. Students must have successfully completed the majority (typically ≥70%) of required course assignments with a grade of C or higher to be eligible for an Incomplete grade. Faculty assign Incomplete grades during final grade submission.

Students must make a request for an Incomplete grade in writing to the instructor prior to the last day of class. Students who fail to make the request in writing or who have not completed the majority 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).

Instructors who agree to award an Incomplete (I) grade must affirm that the student has successfully completed the majority (typically ≥70%) of the required coursework and document which outstanding assignments still need to be completed on an Incomplete Grade Agreement form. The student, instructor, and Program Director must complete and sign the form, and it must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for processing by the end of the add/drop period in the term immediately following the Incomplete grade assignment. If the Incomplete Grade Agreement form is not received by the deadline, the Incomplete (I) grade is changed to an F (failing) grade.

Incomplete (I) grades must be resolved no later than the term immediately following the term in which the original Incomplete grade is awarded; however, faculty may assign a more aggressive deadline for the completion of the incomplete coursework as appropriate. If the instructor identifies an earlier deadline date for completion, that date is documented on the Incomplete Grade Agreement form and the instructor commits to providing a grade change form to the Registrar’s Office within two weeks of course completion. If the instructor elects to allow the student the full term to resolve the Incomplete (I) grade, the student must complete and submit all required coursework to the instructor by Monday of the final week of class in the following term, and the instructor must submit the grade change form to the Registrar’s Office by the last day of the term.

Students who do not complete the required work and have the instructor submit the grade change form within the required timeframe receive an F (failing) grade. If, upon completion of the required work, 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).

In the rare instance when a student elects to completely withdraw from a program and the student has unresolved Incomplete grades on their transcript, the University assigns the appropriate permanent grade dependent on the date the original
Incomplete (I) grade is awarded. If the original I grade is awarded prior to the withdrawal date for that term, the I grade is changed to W. If the original I grade is awarded after the withdrawal date for that term, the student receives the grade earned with all outstanding assignments calculated as zeros.

Exceptions to the one-term resolution period for Incompletes may be given in instances when the program does not offer the course in the next immediate term. Exceptions to the one-term deadline must be approved and documented through the standard exception to academic policy process. Extension periods may not exceed one calendar year from the time the original Incomplete grade is assigned.

In-Progress (IP) Grade

Faculty may use the temporary grade of In-Progress (IP) in instances when a final grade cannot be submitted due to extenuating university-related circumstances that necessitate an extension of time for course completion and/or final grade submission. Examples of such circumstances include but are not limited to: (1) A clinical education partner who contributes to student final grade assessment does not provide needed information in time for the instructor to submit a grade by the advertised deadline; (2) the course instructor is seriously ill or passes away before the course ends and grades are due; (3) USAHS experiences a systems failure that prevents students from submitting required assignments and/or faculty from submitting grades by the deadline.

In-Progress (IP) grades are expected to be resolved as quickly as possible and no later than the term immediately following the term in which the original IP grade is awarded. The IP grade is not a grade type available for instructors to award during the final grade submission process but instead requires a request (with appropriate rational) from the program director to the Registrar’s Office for recording on the student’s record. An Incomplete Grade Agreement form for each student in receipt of an IP grade is not necessary unless deemed appropriate by the instructor and/or program director. When final grades are ready to be recorded, the program director and/or delegate is given access to assign the final grade directly into the student record system (e.g., Jenzabar) as a grade change.

If the student is assigned a grade of D or F from the IP, appropriate action is then taken under the applicable academic standing policy (Entry-Level programs; Post-Professional programs).

A degree cannot be awarded to a student with an Incomplete (I) or In-Progress (IP) course grade on record. All Incomplete (I) and In-Progress (IP) grades for students pending graduation must be resolved before the student’s published degree conferral date.

Grade Not Reported (NR)

In the occasional instance when a faculty member does not submit the final grade in time for the Registrar’s Office to process the final grade, an NR grade is automatically assigned. The NR grade is a temporary grade that is not included in GPA calculations and requires the instructor to submit a grade change form to update the student record.

Programs’ Additional Grading Criteria 

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 Practicums I–V contain assessments for coursework (including course and residency assignments) and clinical experiences (Simucase Student Performance Rating Scale [SPRS], Virtual Clinic SPRS, Practicums SPRS, Residency SPRS). Both areas require a minimum of 80% competency to pass a clinical course.

Coursework Grades

A cumulative grade of at least 80% competency is required for the coursework.

Clinical Experiences Grades

Each SPRS rating in the clinical experience components must be at 80% competency or higher, and the grades are weighted for the total grade if there is more than one clinical experience.

Clinical Experiences Remediation

At midterm, if a student has below 80% in the clinical experiences grade, a meeting with the Clinical Educator, student, and Director of Clinical Education occurs to determine whether a Clinical Action Plan (CAP) is warranted. If a CAP is implemented, the student must have a passing grade on all areas of the CAP and a passing grade on the final SPRS to pass the clinical experience portion. Students with a grade below 80% on a Residency SPRS must complete a remediation.

Competencies Met

When both components (coursework and clinical experiences) are at 80% or higher, the student has met the course competencies, and the two grades are averaged for the final grade.

Competencies Not Met

Students who earn an F in one or both components have not met the competencies, and an F is recorded as the final grade.

Students who earn 60–79% on one or both components (coursework and/or clinical experiences) have not met the competencies, and the lowest grade is recorded as the final grade. The component that did not meet 80% must be repeated. When repeating the course, students who earn below 80% on any component of the repeated portion, including any component of the CAP, fail the course and an F is recorded as the final grade. 

See the complete Academic Evaluation policy and Repetition of a Course policy.

MSPAS

Students in the PA program must meet the program’s Professionalism Competency Review and Competency Minimum Standard. See the PA Student Handbook for details.

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 reenroll in the same course. If the student is making progress, then the highest academic achievement grade is given.
    • The University allows a maximum of eight NG grades total and a maximum of four NGss in any single dissertation course. If the deliverables are not met but the student is progressing, the student receives a no grade (NG) and reenrolls in the course. The student has up to five attempts at the course. On the fifth attempt, the grade is assessed. 
    • For each NG grade assigned that requires reenrollment 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.
    • Students must complete all EdD program requirements within the program’s established expected completion time or maximum completion time if granted an extension. 

Extra Credit

As a graduate-level institution preparing healthcare professionals, the University is opposed to faculty offering extra credit or bonus points in courses. A student’s grades should accurately reflect their 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%).

Midcourse and Final Grade Submission

USAHS is committed to student retention and success and to providing the information necessary to enable students to manage their academic progress. The submission of midcourse grades is directed at assisting students in effectively assessing their progress and meeting their academic goals.

Faculty are responsible for assigning early and varied assessments of academic performance sufficient to determine a midcourse grade. The University requires faculty to enter midcourse grades for all students in all scheduled courses lasting four weeks or longer and in which more than one student is enrolled. Midcourse grades are advisory and are not recorded on the student’s official transcript. Students who have earned grades of C or below at the midpoint of the course receive notice that a plan is needed to improve their academic performance. Midcourse grades provide a snapshot for the student and faculty to understand the student’s progress and identify where additional emphasis may be needed—the grade is not indicative of whether a student will pass or fail the course.

Lead instructors are responsible for submitting midcourse and final grades electronically prior to the deadlines advertised in the 2023-2024 Academic Calendar . Generally, the University expects faculty to submit midcourse grades no later than 48 hours after the midpoint of the course (e.g., Week 4 for 8-week courses; week 5 for 10-week courses; week 6 for 12-week courses; week 7 for 15-week courses). 

Repeating a Course

Students who receive a D in any course required for graduation (or an F in instances of readmission), must repeat that course in its entirety. If no schedule conflicts exist and all prerequisite conditions are met, students can take additional courses in the same term up to a maximum of 12 credit hours (Residential programs) and 8 credit hours (Flex programs). Students enrolled in programs with a single-term intake that require mandatory deceleration (fall back to the next cohort/repeat the year) as a result of D or F grades are enrolled in the number of credits required by the program, which could exceed the 12-credit hour standard limitation. 

Students may elect to repeat didactic (i.e., nonclinical) courses previously passed with a grade of C+, C, C- for the purpose of improving their content knowledge and cumulative grade point average (GPA). In this instance, students can optionally repeat a maximum of three different courses and can repeat any single course only once (excluding dissertation courses). Special Topic courses are not eligible to be optionally repeated. Additionally, a student who engages in required repeated courses in the same term in which they wish to engage in optional repeated courses may take a maximum course load of 12 credit hours (Residential programs) and 8 credit hours (Flex programs). 

For registration purposes, if a required/optional repeat course is posted to the student’s alternative schedule, the registrar staff automatically registers the student for the applicable courses. If not, then the student must submit a Course Add form with the desired repeated course identified. Once approved by the student’s advisor, the course is then added to the student’s schedule. That form must include the signature of the student, student’s advisor, and Program Director. 

Credit hours for repeated courses are counted only once in the number of credit hours earned toward a degree or certificate. The University uses the highest (best) grade earned in the course to calculate the student’s cumulative GPA; however, the grade from each course attempt appears on the student’s transcript. Withdrawal grades (W) count as an attempt, but a previously earned grade may not be replaced with a W or AU. Use of the repeat policy for grades earned in a prior semester does not affect the academic standing for that semester. 

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

Students who choose to repeat courses in which they earned a C or better are subject to the time parameters of satisfactory academic progress for their program as well as course availability and capacity limits at the discretion of the Program Director. 

A student is not entitled to repeat a course that is no longer offered by the University. Once a student has a conferred degree, the repeat policy may not be used to repeat a course taken prior to degree conferral to improve the cumulative GPA recorded at the time of degree conferral. 

Based on federal regulations, which went into effect July 1, 2011, some repeat coursework may be excluded when evaluating a student’s credit load as it relates to federal and/or state financial aid eligibility. If not designated as a repeatable course, students may have aid reduced. In general, for financial aid purposes, students can repeat a course for which a passing grade was received one additional time (to improve GPA), with financial aid eligibility. Students may repeat the course after that, but those attempts are not eligible for funding by federal or state financial aid programs. 

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 regarding eligibility.

MSPAS Students 

The MSPAS program has additional requirements for students who are repeating a course. Students should see the PA Student Handbook for details.

MSPAS students have additional grade restrictions when repeating a course and should refer to the SAP Policy for details.

Auditing a Course

Auditing a class is permitted with approval from the Program Director. Auditing 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.

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. Students on an administrative program withdrawal retain access to their USAHS email account.

Program Reinstatement

Students who receive an administrative program withdrawal for failing to maintain continuous enrollment are eligible to reenroll if reinstated under the Reinstatement policy. 

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.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

To maintain good academic standing, graduate and certificate-seeking students in entry-level and post-professional programs must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) based on federal, state, and institutional requirements, which are consistently applied to all enrolled students regardless of their use of Title IV financial aid. The SAP requirements are reflected below and are evaluated at the end of each trimester once grades are posted.

Good Academic Standing

  1. Maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) requirement for the program.
    1. 2.70 for DPT, MOT, OTD, and MS-SLP.
    2. 3.00 for DNP, EdD, MHA, MHS, MSN, MSPAS, PPOTD, tDPT, and all certificates.
  2. Earn a grade of C or better in all courses, to include course repeats.
  3. Ensure maximum course withdrawal limits are not exceeded.
    1. Limit of one withdrawal in any single course, regardless of program.
    2. Limit of one course withdrawal total for all certificates requiring 23 or fewer credits for completion.
    3. Limit of two course withdrawals total for DPT, MOT, OTD, MS-SLP, MSPAS, and certificates requiring 24 or more credit hours for completion. Course withdrawals resulting from an officially approved leave of absence are excluded from the maximum withdrawal limit.
    4. Limit of three course withdrawals total for DNP, EdD, MHA, MHS, MSN, PPOTD, and tDPT (see items b and c above for limits in certificate programs). Course withdrawals resulting from an officially approved leave of absence are excluded from the maximum withdrawal limit.
  4. Meet the pace requirement by completing a minimum of 67% of cumulative attempted credits.
  5. Complete the program of study within the maximum timeframe, which is 150% of the published program length and measured by the number of terms attempted. See the Maximum Timeframes table below for maximum time allowed for each program of study.
  6. If a student on Academic/Financial Aid Probation fails to meet SAP requirements in any subsequent trimester, the student is permanently dismissed from the program, has no right of appeal, and loses Title IV eligibility for TitleIV-eligible programs. 

Maximum Timeframes (All Degree and Certificate Programs)

The maximum time allowed to complete a degree is 150% of the published length of the program as evaluated by the number of terms attempted. For example: In a program that requires 8 terms to complete, the maximum time allowed would be 12 terms. If at any point it becomes mathematically impossible for the student to complete the program of study within the maximum time allowed, the student becomes ineligible for further Title IV financial aid funds (for Title IV-eligible programs) and may be dismissed from the program. In instances when a student is granted an exception to the policy and allowed to continue in the program beyond the 150%-time limit, the approval is for enrollment purposes only and does not extend to Title IV financial aid funding for Title IV-eligible programs.

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 Hybrid Immersion Master of Occupational Therapy (Hybrid Immersion MOT) 93 2.7 6 terms 9 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, 11 term) 117 2.7 11 terms 17 terms
Entry-Level Flex Doctor of Occupational Therapy Flex (Flex OTD, 12 term) 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
Entry-Level Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies 115 3.0 7 terms 11 terms
Post-Professional Doctor of Education (EdD)  60 3.0 12 terms 18 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, AGNP Role Specialty 55 3.0 8 terms 12 terms
Post-Professional Master of Science in Nursing, PMHNP-PC Role Specialty 55 3.0 9 terms 14 terms
Post-Professional Master of Science in Nursing, NEd and NEx Role Specialties 36 3.0 6 terms 9 terms
Post-Professional Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (bachelor’s-entry) (PPOTD) 60 3.0 12 terms 18 terms
Post-Professional Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (master’s-entry) (PPOTD) 35 3.0 7 terms 11 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
Post-Professional PG Certificate-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care (MSN/DNP-entry) (PMHNP-PC) 37 3.0 6 terms 9 terms
Post-Professional PG Certificate-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care (APRN-entry) (PMHNP-PC) 28 3.0 5 terms 8 terms
Post-Professional RN to Master of Science in Nursing, FNP Role Specialty (RN-MSN-FNP) 59 3.0 10 terms 15 terms
Post-Professional RN to Master of Science in Nursing, AGNP Role Specialty (RN-MSN-AGNP) 64 3.0 10 terms 15 terms
Post-Professional RN to Master of Science in Nursing, PMHNP-PC Role Specialty (RN-MSN-PMHNP-PC) 64 3.0 11 terms 17 terms

Students should speak with their faculty advisor, student success advisor, or the Registrar’s Office if they have any questions about the SAP policy, their academic standing, eligibility to continue in the program and/or reinstatement options. Questions regarding financial aid eligibility should be directed to the Financial Aid Office. 

Students who do not meet SAP requirements are ineligible to participate in work-study or student-worker programs. 

Evaluation

SAP is evaluated at the end of each trimester by the Registrar’s Office and Financial Aid Office.

  1. Notifications regarding changes to academic standing and eligibility to continue in the program are emailed to students by the Registrar’s Office. Notifications regarding changes to financial aid eligibility are emailed to students by the Financial Aid Office.
  2. SAP pace requirements include all periods of enrollment, including periods in which the student did not receive financial aid.
  3. The SAP calculations are reset for students who complete one program or degree at USAHS and begin a subsequent program or degree in a different division as long as no courses transfer to the new program. The SAP calculation is not reset for students that have earned degrees or certificates “along the way” at USAHS and is calculated on the longest program in which the student is enrolled.

Financial Aid Notice

The Financial Aid Office sends a notice to a federal financial aid recipient when the recipient fails to meet any of the Academic/Financial Aid SAP standards. Note that all evaluation periods are measured, including ones where the student may not have received financial aid.

Impact of a Student Not Maintaining Good Academic Standing

  1. Automatic Dismissal: A student is automatically dismissed from the program/University and loses Title IV eligibility if enrolled in a Title IV-eligible program when any one of the requirements in a or b (below) are not met. Academically dismissed students have the right to appeal in most instances. Additional details about the academic appeal process are outlined in the Academic Evaluation and Appeal Policy.
    1. For all entry-level programs (DPT, MOT, OTD, MS-SLP, and MSPAS):
      1. Earns a grade of F at any point in the program.
      2. Earns two or more D+ or D grades in any combination at any point in the program.
      3. Earns a grade below a C in a repeated course.
      4. Has more than one withdrawal in the same course.
      5. Has accumulated three or more course withdrawals at any point during the duration of the program, excluding those recorded as part of an official leave of absence or program withdrawal.
      6. Has previously been placed on academic/financial aid warning or academic probation status for the program they are currently pursuing, and the student fails to meet SAP standards at any subsequent evaluation point.
      7. MSPAS students placed on academic warning for failure to meet SAP conditions in the didactic portion of their curriculum (Trimesters 1-4) are required to restart the program at the next available intake. A program restart requires students to repeat all courses, regardless of whether the student previously earned a passing grade.
    2. For post-professional programs (DNP, EdD, MHA, MHS, MSN, PPOTD, tDPT, and all certificates):
      1. Earns two grades of F, two grades of D, or a combination of one F or one D throughout the duration of the program.
      2. Has more than one withdrawal in the same course.
      3. Earns a grade below a C when repeating a course.
      4. Has accumulated four or more individual course withdrawals at any point during the duration of any degree program, more than two course withdrawals total for certificates requiring 24 or more credit hours for completion, or more than one course withdrawal total for certificates requiring 23 or fewer credits for completion, excluding those recording as part of an official leave of absence.
      5. Has previously been placed on academic/financial aid warning or academic probation status for the program they are currently pursuing, and the student fails to meet SAP standards at any subsequent evaluation point.
  2. Academic/Financial Aid Warning: A student is placed on warning for the subsequent trimester when any one of the Good Academic Standing criteria is not met and when the dismissal criteria are also not met at the end of an evaluation period. In addition:
    1. MSPAS students placed on Academic/Financial Aid Warning while in the clinical portion of their curriculum (Trimester 5 and later) who receive a D or D+ grade in a clinical experience are not required to restart the program but instead are required to remediate or repeat the clinical course in a timely way as determined by the Program Director.
    2. 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 and mitigate the risk of future dismissal.
    3. Students retain eligibility for Title IV funding only for the subsequent trimester in which they were placed on Academic/Financial Aid Warning, if otherwise approved for that student and program of study.
  3. Academic/Financial Aid Probation: A student is placed on probation upon successful appeal of an automatic dismissal. The student is reinstated in the program and federal financial aid eligibility is restored for the subsequent trimester of enrollment.
    1. A student can retain federal aid for only one trimester while on Academic/Financial Aid Probation. If a student does not meet SAP after the probation period, the student loses federal aid and is permanently dismissed from the program with no right of appeal.
    2. Academic/Financial Aid Probation status remains with the student through the remainder of their enrollment in the program for which the probation initially occurred for internal tracking purposes only and is not reflected on a student’s academic transcript.
    3. Students should refer to the appeal section titled Academic Evaluation and Appeals to review the process for appealing an Automatic Dismissal and returning to the program on Academic/Financial Aid Probation status.

Treatment of Certain Grades and Courses in the SAP Calculation

  1. Course Repetitions: Repeated courses for which a grade of D or better has already been earned do not count as earned or as attempted credits toward the student’s pace or maximum timeframe. Only the highest grade earned is included in the GPA calculation.
  2. Drops: Courses dropped before the end of the add/drop period (first seven days of the trimester) are not included in the satisfactory progress calculations.
  3. Incompletes: Incomplete grades count as credits attempted and not completed credits, but they do not impact the GPA.
  4. No Credit: No credit grades (NG) count as credits attempted and not completed credits, but they do not impact the GPA.
  5. Transfer Credits: All transfer credits are considered as both attempted and completed when calculating the pace rate and maximum timeframe. Transfer credits earned at external institutions and PLA credits are not calculated in the student’s USAHS GPA.
  6. Withdrawals: Courses dropped by the student after the add/drop period are recorded as W grades, and courses dropped by the institution due to student non-attendance for 14 or more days are recorded as WA grades, and while both are calculated as attempted but not completed credits, withdrawals do not impact the GPA.

Academic/Financial Aid Appeal Process

The following sections describe the Academic Evaluation and Appeal Policy for appealing/challenging a final grade in a course that did not result in academic dismissal (i.e., minor academic appeal), appealing the 150% program completion pace requirements prior to dismissal, and the process for appealing an academic dismissal (i.e., major academic appeal).

Academic Evaluation and Appeal Policy

Appeal of Individual Course Grade (Non-Dismissal)

The responsibility for academic evaluation of individual courses rests with the lead faculty member. In instances when a student wishes to challenge/appeal the final grade of a course that did not contribute to an academic dismissal, the student must submit an appeal in writing to the lead faculty member before the seventh calendar day of the start of the immediate subsequent term. 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, there is no further opportunity for appeal.

Appeal for Extension to 150%-Time Limit for Program Completion Prior to Dismissal

Students who are at risk of not completing their program requirements within the 150%-time limit due to extenuating circumstances may seek an exception to academic policy prior to a notification of dismissal. Students should submit a request for exception in writing to the Program Director. If the Program Director is supportive of the request for exception, it is sent to the Registrar’s Office for further action. The Registrar compiles the student’s appeal letter, supporting documentation, and relevant information from the student file and provides that information to the Chief Academic Officer (CAO) for review and decision. The Registrar communicates the decision to the student and maintains a copy of all documentation in the student’s file. If the CAO approved the request for an 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 two weeks, the student may be dismissed under the standard regulations of the SAP policy. Approved extensions beyond the 150%-time limit for program completion apply to academic status only. Students using federal Title IV funding are not eligible for aid beyond the 150%-time limit.

Appeal of Academic Dismissal

A student has the right to appeal an academic dismissal. An overview of the academic dismissal notification and appeal process is outlined below.

1. Notice of Dismissal

Students receive a dismissal notice via email from the Registrar’s Office within five business days from the day final grades are due. The dismissal notice is 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 email. All academic appeal letters must be addressed to the Academic Appeal Committee (AAC) and emailed to the University Registrar at registrar@usa.edu. Appeal letters should include the following:

  • The rationale supporting 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 beyond the students’ control 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 creates 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 also manages 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.
  • Any additional items that may provide an idea of the student’s academic history and related behaviors during their time at the University (e.g., academic probation, attendance and unexcused absence info, midcourse warnings, advising notes, etc.).

4. Scheduling a Meeting with the AAC

The Registrar works 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 registrar@usa.edu. It is preferred that 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 the 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 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, are 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 cannot progress to a clinical education experience when appealing a University dismissal. If the appeal process is successful, the student is placed on a reinstatement agreement contract and is required to remediate deficient and any unmet course requirements before entering a clinical education experience.

6. AAC Meeting Procedure

  • The committee chair introduces each member of the committee to the student, providing the name and title of each member.
  • The committee chair reviews the general procedures for the meeting and answers any questions the student may have.
  • The committee asks questions to the student regarding the student’s academic history or any information the student included in the appeal letter.
  • The student is expected to provide truthful and full responses to the committee’s questions.
  • The committee members may take written notes throughout the meeting.
  • 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.
  • 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 present for support purposes only and may not present on behalf of the student. The student is 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.
  • The committee chair ends 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 seeks to issue its decision within three business days after the hearing but may require additional time to render the decision.
  • Minor deviations from this procedure that are in the best interest of the academic appeal process and/or the University are not considered procedural errors. These are 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 reinstatement into the program. After the AAC consults with the Program Director, the AAC directs 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 beginning with Step 8. 
  • If the AAC grants reinstatement into the program, the Registrar provides the student with a reinstatement agreement developed by the student’s Program Director. The reinstatement agreement outlines 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 reinstatement agreement, the student is reinstated to the program. Reinstatement agreements must be signed and returned to the Registrar at registrar@usa.edu before the last day of add/drop. Failure to submit the reinstatement agreement by the add/drop period results in the student being administratively 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 forfeit their opportunity for reentry into the program. 

8. Appealing Dismissal by the AAC–Appeal Level 2

Students appealing to the Associate Dean for OT, PT, and post-professional programs and to the Program Director for SLP and PA must do so by completing the Academic Appeal Request Form and submitting it by email to the Registrar at registrar@usa.edu 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 (or Program Director for SLP or PA) 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 (or Program Director for SLP or PA) 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 compiles the student’s appeal letter and any evidence and forwards the documents on to the appropriate Associate Dean/ Program Director. The Registrar also manages official communication with the student by sending and receiving all student requests and all decision letters.

11. Role of the Associate Dean (or Program Director for SLP or PA) 

Upon receipt of the appeal letter, the Associate Dean (or Program Director for SLP or PA) reviews any evidence the student has provided. The Associate Dean/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/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/Program Director Decision

Upon receipt of the request for an appeal, the Associate Dean (or Program Director for SLP or PA) determines whether an appeal is warranted.

  • If an appeal is not warranted, the Registrar notifies the student of the Associate Dean/Program Director’s determination and the decision of the AAC will stand.
  • If an appeal is warranted, the Associate Dean/Program Director has the authority to uphold the student’s dismissal or grant reinstatement into the program. The Associate Dean/Program Director seeks to notify the student, through the Registrar, of his or her decision within five business days from receipt of the student’s appeal letter. The student receives 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 (or Program Director for SLP or PA), there is no additional opportunity to appeal.
    • If the Associate Dean (or Program Director for SLP or PA) upholds the student’s academic dismissal, the AAC decision of the student’s dismissal will stand.
    • If the Associate Dean (or Program Director for SLP or PA) grants reinstatement into the program, the Registrar provides the student with a reinstatement agreement contract developed by the student’s Program Director. The reinstatement agreement outlines 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/Handbook. Upon returning the signed reinstatement agreement to the Registrar, the student is reinstated to the program. Reinstatement agreements must be signed and returned to the Registrar at registrar@usa.edu ideally within five business days of receipt of the reinstatement agreement but no later than the last day of the add/drop period for the term of reentry, or the student is administratively dropped from any preregistered classes. Students may petition for an exception to the deadline and if approved, it would allow reentry into the next available term only. If the extension request is denied, the student forfeits their opportunity for reinstatement.

13. Request for Reconsideration to the Chief Academic Officer (CAO)–Appeal Level 3

Students may, under limited circumstances described below, make a request for reconsideration of the Associate Dean (or Program Director for SLP or PA) decision to the CAO. However, during the request for reconsideration, a student who is denied an appeal by the Associate Dean (or Program Director for SLP or PA) is not eligible to sit in on classes. Requests for reconsideration of the decision of the Associate Dean (or Program Director for SLP or PA) must be made by completing the Request for Reconsideration of Academic Dismissal Form and emailing it to the Registrar at registrar@usa.edu within five business days of the date of receipt of the Associate Dean/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 as part of any earlier appeal step.

Additionally, a request for reconsideration to the CAO must also meet the following requirement: 

  • The student can provide evidence that the Associate Dean (or Program Director for SLP or PA) 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 determines whether reconsideration is warranted.

  • If reconsideration is not warranted, the Registrar notifies the student of the CAO’s decision and the decision of the Associate Dean (or Program Director for SLP or PA) will stand.
  • If reconsideration is warranted, the CAO reviews 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/Program Director and/or AAC Chair to verify the information. Once the CAO concludes his or her review, the Registrar notifies the student of the CAO’s decision to uphold or overturn the decision of the Associate Dean/Program Director.
    • If the CAO upholds the student’s dismissal, the Associate Dean/Program Director’s decision of the student’s dismissal will stand.
    • If the CAO grants the appeal and allows reinstatement into the program, the Registrar provides a reinstatement agreement developed by the student’s Program Director to the student. The reinstatement agreement outlines 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/Handbook. Upon returning the signed reinstatement agreement contract to the Registrar, the student is reinstated to the program at the beginning of the next trimester. Reinstatement agreements must be signed and returned to the Registrar at registrar@usa.edu before the last day of add/drop for the next trimester, or the student will not be registered for classes and forfeits their opportunity for reentry into the program.

15. Registrar Role

The Registrar compiles the student’s appeal letter and any evidence and forwards the documents on to the CAO. The Registrar also manages official communication with the student by sending and receiving all student requests and all decision letters.

If an appeal of dismissal is successful, a reinstatement agreement between the student and the Program Director (or Dean) is made that documents the conditions for continuation in that program. Title IV eligibility is reinstated in every instance except the 150% rule.

Reinstatement agreement conditions can be appealed only in the instance of extenuating circumstances well beyond the student’s control 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 after the appeal timeframe has passed. 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.

Reinstatement

Students who are dismissed (involuntarily separated) from the program due to violations of academic policies or professional misconduct (PMC) violations may be resinstated to the same program upon successful appeal. All students who are reinstated 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 reinstated if no seats are available in the applicable cohort.

Reinstatement on Academic Appeal

Students who are dismissed 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 Registrar’s Office issues a reinstatement agreement to the student. Upon signing and agreeing to the terms of the reinstatement agreement, the student is reinstated to the program. Students who successfully appeal a dismissal remain on academic probation for the entirety of their tenure and are ineligible for appeal should they be dismissed in a subsequent term. The Academic Evaluation and Appeal Policy  details the process and timeline for appealing academic dismissal.

Reinstatement on PMC Appeal

Students who are dismissed for non-academic reasons may utilize the appeal rights outlined within the Professional Misconduct Policy. If the Professional Misconduct Committee (PMC) grants a student’s appeal and the student maintained enrollment during the appeal process, the University updates the student’s record, and the student continues their enrollment in the program. If a student’s appeal is successful but the student did not maintain enrollment during the appeal process, the student is permitted to bypass the normal application process and submit a one-page reinstatement application if it has been no more than one year since the original dismissal decision from the program. Requests for reinstatement following a successful appeal should be submitted at least six weeks prior to the desired term start date to allow time for processing for the subsequent term. The Professional Misconduct Policy  details the process and timeline for PMC appeals.

Readmission

Students who voluntarily withdraw from the program or who are administratively withdrawn under the Continuous Enrollment Policy and are in good standing may be readmitted to the same program of study. These students can bypass the normal application process if the start date of the term in which they wish to return is less than one year since their last enrollment. Students may seek readmission following a voluntary withdrawal or administrative withdrawal only one time within their program.

Previously enrolled students who are suspended or placed on Administrative LOA due to student conduct violations also may apply for readmission once all sanctions have been met and provided it has been less than a one year since last enrolled.

Students seeking readmission should submit a Program Readmission Request (MyUSA portal, Forms page) no later than six weeks before the start date of the term in which they wish to enroll to allow adequate time for processing. Students who are readmitted are required to sign a new Enrollment Agreement and are subject to current tuition and fees. Additionally, students may not be readmitted if no seats are available in the applicable cohort. Readmission is not guaranteed.

Any student seeking readmission after a one-year period of nonenrollment is not eligible for readmission under the abbreviated application process; instead, the student must follow the full application process as a subsequent applicant as outlined in the Admissions Policy , and the University considers the application along with all other traditional applicants.

Previously enrolled students who are dismissed due to student conduct violations are permanently separated from the University and ineligible for readmission.