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Satisfactory academic progress

UCT is required by US Federal Law (34CFR 668.16) to define and enforce standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) on students who wish to access US federal aid. The guidelines have been established to encourage students to maintain satisfactory academic progress towards their degree requirements for each study period for which they are enrolled.

SAP, as described below, is evaluated at the end of each semester (June and November). Failure to maintain satisfactory progress may result in cancellation of financial aid awards and you may have to pay back any funds already received. You are also required to settle any outstanding fees immediately or by 30 June.

This policy applies only to the US Federal Aid recipients.

Basic standards for Satisfactory Academic performance

Qualitative standard

Federal law requires that a student enrolled in a program of study of more than 2 academic years must, once the student has been enrolled for two academic years, have a "C" average or its equivalent i.e undergraduates doing coursework courses , or have an academic standing consistent with our university requirement to graduate from the program.

In order to keep your eligibility for US federal aid, a Masters and PhD degree seeking students (dissertation/research) must achieve the "satisfactory progress" and the "academically eligible to continue" status at the end of their academic year. Refer to UCT assessment policy and the faculty handbook for further information.

Quantitative standard

An undergraduate student must complete their educational program within a time-frame of not longer than 150 % of the published length of the program. For example, an UG student in a 3 year degree program has 4.5 years to successfully complete the degree.

Financial Aid Warning

Academic progress will be checked after each payment period i.e. at the end of exams / at the end of each semester. If a student does not make satisfactory progress, he/she will be placed on financial aid warning for the next semester of enrolment. Warning puts a student on notice that he/she will be suspended and that he/she may lose financial aid eligibility. During a warning term, a student may continue to receive financial aid provided all other eligibility requirements are met. Satisfactory academic progress or "C" average must be achieved by the end of the next progress review/payment period.

Probation and appeals

Students who fail to achieve the "C" average or a satisfactory academic progress at the end of the warning term will be put on probation ,which also means that the funding will be put on hold. The student is allowed to appeal this decision by indicating in writing the reason(s) for failure to meet the SAP requirements and why financial aid should not be suspended. The appeal must be based on mitigating circumstances, such as the death of a relative, injury or illness of student or family member, or other special circumstances that prohibited the student from making SAP. It must provide information regarding why the student failed to make SAP and what has changed in the student's situation that will allow the student to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation point. Furthermore, the student must demonstrate that such circumstances will not continue to adversely impact student performance. All documentation to support the appeal is required at the time of the appeal submission. The appeal will be considered on its merits and a response to the appeal will be provided within due cause.

How UCT students are graded

UCT does not use a US grade point average system. Grades are awarded at the end of the semester for individual courses and are usually based on the final examination as well as continuous assessment through the semester (assignments, tutorials and tests).

There is no table that is used for converting all courses at a certain level (eg 1000 - level) to a specific number of credit hours.

Recommended grade conversion table

UCT grades Approximate equivalents:
  In the US
75 - 100% First Class A
70 - 74% Second Class (Division One) B+
60 - 69% Second Class (Division Two) B
50 - 59% Third Class C
0 - 49% Fail F
DPR: Duly Performed certificate refused i.e. not permitted to write examination F
AB: Absent from examination F

Academic calendar

UCT's academic year is divided into two semesters: February to June and July to November.

Examinations are written in June and November. A detailed academic calendar is published on UCT's website under "calendar".

In most instances an academic period (loan period) start in February (day when classes start) to November (last day of exams). Some programmes may start classes earlier in which case your academic period will be different.

Leave of absence

UCT Senate may grant a student leave of absence for a specified period but our institution's LOA does not meet the criteria for an "Approved Leave of Absence" under the US regulations. Your enrolment status will therefore change to withdrawn. For more information, go to leave of absence policy.

Change of program

A student who transfer into a new academic program will also transfer with any SAP warning or sanction and will need to meet the specified criteria in the new program before re-establishing eligibility to receive aid.