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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress as a Measure of Good Academic Standing 

Conservatory students who have matriculated in curricular programs are required to make measured progress toward their degree or diploma every semester and maintain good academic standing, which is an institutional definition of accomplishment for a period of study. Students who receive federal financial aid are also required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), which is the institution’s legal obligation to declare and enforce standards codified in federal regulations.

At the Peabody Conservatory, good academic standing and satisfactory academic progress are combined into one set of standards that apply to all students of the Conservatory, regardless of their sources for tuition funding. As a result, the measure of student progress is consonant with federal regulations. In what follows, we use the expression satisfactory academic progress both in the restrictive sense required by law and in the more encompassing sense of the Conservatory’s institutional prerogative to remedy or remove students who cannot meet the benchmarks of good academic standing.

Oversight and Compliance of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Reflecting the nature of the Conservatory’s curricula, the Office of Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Conservatory Faculty Assembly, is tasked with upholding the standards of satisfactory academic progress. Students who receive Federal Student Financial Aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward obtaining their degree or certificate. Monitoring compliance is a joint venture of the Office of Academic Affairs, reflecting the decision making of the faculty, and the Financial Aid Office. Academic Affairs reports the progress of every student; Financial Aid disaggregates the students who receive Federal Student Financial Aid and reports that information to regulators as required by law.

Monitoring and Reporting Academic Progress

The Conservatory Registrar and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs review all transcripts every semester and identify students who are not meeting the benchmarks for satisfactory academic progress. The Associate Dean, in consultation with the standing committees of the Faculty Assembly, selects an appropriate corrective action for students to improve their academic standing. Students who do not meet the minimum benchmarks will be placed on warning for dismissal and will be informed accordingly before the start of the subsequent semester.

It is the preference of the Conservatory to inform students by letter mailed to their permanent address as designed by FAFSA in the SIS registration system. Because of the comparatively short break between the fall and spring semesters and given the high percentage of international students, many notifications between the fall and spring semester will be made by email with a hard copy sent to the student’s campus mailbox. In each case, every notification concerning a student’s academic progress is copied to the student’s major teacher, who is rightly identified as an academic advisor in SIS.

A student who has been warned for dismissal is still eligible for financial aid for one semester until the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs can re-evaluate the student’s academic progress at the conclusion of the subsequent regular semester (i.e., the “warning” semester). If a student fails to meet the benchmark at the end of the warning semester, the student will be dismissed.

The Measurements for Satisfactory Academic Progress

Peabody evaluates student success with the three measures required by law. Each class, lesson, ensemble, jury or recital results in a grade that figures into a GPA. The evaluation of a student’s GPA is a qualitative assessment of progress. Students must meet the minimum GPA threshold every semester as noted below. Given the curricular emphasis on the major area, students must earn higher grades in lessons and performances.

Satisfactory academic progress also requires students to complete their degree programs with expedience. Therefore, in addition to maintaining the full-time credit load, students must complete a cumulative threshold sum of credits each academic year. Students must earn at least two-thirds of all credits attempted toward their program. The benchmarks of these quantitative assessments are scaled to individual programs as noted below and ensure completion of a degree or diploma program within the stipulated maximum timeframe, which is 150 percent of the program length.

Treatment of W, I, IP, AU, F, S, and P Grades, No Grade Reported and Repeated Coursework

  1. Course withdrawals (W) are not included in the GPA calculation and are considered a non-completion of attempted coursework.
  2. Incomplete courses (I) and In Progress courses (IP) are not included in the GPA calculation and are considered a non-completion of attempted coursework until the coursework is completed and graded with a permanent grade. 
  3. Audited courses (AU) and other noncredit coursework are not considered attempted coursework or included within the GPA calculation, nor is the coursework considered for federal financial aid eligibility. 
  4. A satisfactory (S) grade or a passing (P) grade are treated as attempted credits that are earned but are not included in calculation of GPA. 
  5. Failing (F) grades are treated as attempted credits that were not earned and are included both in the calculation of GPA and minimum completion rate. 
  6. If no grade is reported, the coursework is not included in the GPA calculation and is considered a non-completion of attempted coursework until the coursework is completed and graded with a permanent grade. 
  7. Only undergraduates may repeat a course for a better grade and only a course that has been passed. The highest grade earned in a course that is repeated will count in the GPA computation, but every repeated attempt will be included in the completion rate determinations.

Transfer Credits and SAP

Credits accepted for transfer to the student’s program of study by the Conservatory are included in the quantitative measurement component of satisfactory academic progress as both attempted and earned credits. However, grades earned at other institutions are not counted when computing the student’s GPA.

Remedial Coursework and Advanced Placement

Remedial and ESL coursework is not included in the determination of the student’s completion rate. However, remedial coursework may count toward the determination of full-time status as required for maintenance of an F-1 visa.