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Eligibility
Home > Fees & funding > US Federal Aid > General information > Eligibility > Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory academic progress

UCT is required by US Federal Law (34CFR 668.16) to 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.

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 are as follows:

Qualitative standard

Federal law requires that a student enrolled in a programme 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.

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

Quantitative standard

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

Financial Aid warning

Academic progress will be checked after each payment period – at the end of exams or at the end of each semester. If you do not make satisfactory progress, you will be placed on financial aid warning for the next semester of enrolment. Warning puts you on notice that you 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 a "C" average must be achieved by the end of the next progress review/payment period.

Probation and appeals

If you fail to achieve the "C" average or satisfactory academic progress at the end of the warning term you will be put on probation, which also means that funding will be put on hold. You are 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. It must provide information regarding why you failed to make SAP and what has changed in your situation that will allow you to meet SAP at the next evaluation point. You must demonstrate that such circumstances will not continue to adversely impact your 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 course.

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 1) B+
60–69% Second Class (Division 2) B
50–59% Third Class C
0–49% Fail F
DPR: Duly Performed certificate refused ie, not permitted to write examinations F
AB: Absent from examination F

Academic calendar

UCT's academic year is divided into 2 semesters: February to June and July to November.

Examinations are written in June and November. See the detailed academic calendar.

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

Leave of absence

The Senate may grant a student leave of absence (LOA) for a specified period but UCT'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 programme

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

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