Academic Standing

Massachusetts School of Law at Andover utilizes a typical four point system of grading. Therefore, an A counts four points, a B three points, a C two points, a D one point, and an F (or a failing grade) no points.

A student’s grade is increased 3 tenths of a point for a plus (e.g., a B+ represents 3.30 points) and will be diminished 3 tenths of a point for a minus (e.g., a B- represents 2.70 points).

Students may make appointments with professors to review their exams. No grades are changed unless a mathematical error has been made. To ensure academic rigor, MSLAW, when necessary, requires professors to comply with a grading curve designed to make certain that high grades at MSLAW represent significant academic accomplishment.

Academic Probation
A student whose overall grade-point average falls below a two-point average is placed on academic probation for the next semester. Once determined to be on academic probation, a student is not eligible to take summer session classes. If the student was enrolled in such classes prior to the determination that he or she is on probation, the grades received in the class cannot be used to determine whether the student shall be removed from the probationary list.

Academic Suspension
If the student does not attain a two-point or better overall average at the end of that probationary semester, the student is not able to return to school thereafter.

Two F Rule
In addition, any student who receives a total of two or more F grades during his or her career at MSLAW is automatically dismissed from the program. Any student seeking readmission to MSLAW must submit a written petition to the school’s Registrar. Such petitions are rarely granted. Satisfactory academic progress must be maintained.

Financial Aid & GPA
Students are required to have an overall grade point average of a 2.0 to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students whose overall grade point average falls below 2.0 are placed on academic probation for the next semester and these students are ineligible to receive Federal Stafford Loans for that semester or any semester until the student becomes eligible again. A student may petition in writing to the Director of Financial Aid, Lynn Bowab, for an exception to this policy. Exceptions to this policy are granted by a case by case basis and only in extraordinary situations. You can use this GPA calculator for current-term grade approximations.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
In order for MSL students to receive Federal Student Financial Aid, they must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in accordance with federal rules.  Federal SAP rules are required to be the same as, or stricter than, the institution’s academic progress rules.

Satisfactory academic progress must be maintained. Students are required to have a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of a 2.0 or better every semester to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Students whose CGPA falls below an overall average of 2.0 are placed on Academic Probation (AP) for the next full semester (Fall/Spring). Students on AP are ineligible to receive Federal Stafford Loans.

When the official final grades are released from the semester the student was on AP and if the student brings his/hers CGPA to above 2.0 he/she will regain eligibility for that semester and can be retroactively funded.   If a student becomes eligible again for Federal Direct Stafford Loans, in order to have his/her Federal Direct Stafford Loans disbursed, the student must have had a prior completed and approved Financial Aid Packet on record and meet all of MSL’s other policies.

The Financial Aid Department reviews students’ final grades immediately after they have been released. Our goal is to fund the student as soon as possible. The Registrar regularly and timely supplies the Financial Aid Department with official AP lists, as soon as grades are finalized.  The Financial Aid Department reviews the Registrars’ list to determine which students are eligible.  At the end and beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters, the Financial Aid Department reviews the Registrar’s new official AP list to determine if students previously on AP have regained eligibility for federal direct loans and checks to see if students are making academic progress, that is, achieving a GPA of 2.0 or better. If so, then funds will be released.

Students on Academic probation are expected to check in with Professor Kaldis, Assistant Dean of Students, as she is the academic advisor for Academic Probation students, and will help these students develop a plan to succeed and make academic progress. Students on Academic Probation are asked to review their final exams with their professors from the previous semester, to check for mathematical errors and to learn from the mistakes they may have made on the final exams.  If a student takes a semester off or leaves MSL, the AP status stays on their record and the student will be considered on AP until the student achieves a cumulative GPA of a 2.0 or better.

Appeal Process:  If a student needs his/her financial aid reinstated for the semester they are on AP, he or she may submit appeal paperwork, within 10 days of the official grades being released. Eligibility for Reinstatement occurs when there are mitigating circumstances which have resulted in deficiencies that could not be made up while on SAP probation.
The following criteria will be used as the basis for an appeal:
•    Medical or mental health issues – A doctor’s statement on official letterhead is required as documentation.
•    A death in the immediate family –father mother sibling husband or child – Documentation required would be a death certificate or obituary notice stating your name.
•    Military call for active duty – Copy of official military orders is required for documentation.
•    Family/ relationship issues (i.e. Abusive relationship) legal documentation required.
•    Natural Disaster: Flood, Fire, or Tornado – insurance verification required for documentation.
•    Loss of Job, if previously held a job – Unemployment verification, W-2 Termination letter from employer for documentation.
•    Review of student’s overall GPA to determine whether it is feasible for the student to make SAP during the semester the appeal is being sought
Other – Extenuating or unusual circumstances that prevented the student from succeeding academically. (Documentation required)

Note: The following criteria are NOT considered extenuating:
o    Lack of funds.
o    Employment scheduling issues.
o    Change in marital status.
o    Child care issues.
o    Transportation issues.
o    Lack of knowledge of school policy.
o    Dissatisfaction with instructor and/or course.
Appeal forms can be requested from the Office of Financial Aid VIA email Bowab@mslaw.edu .Appeals for reinstatement of eligibility are the responsibility of the student. The Appeal Forms must be submitted within 10 business days of the release of the official grades for the prior semester grades.   Appeals must specifically reflect the unique circumstances that were beyond the control of the student. The appeal should provide specific resolution to circumstances and supporting documentation as indicated on the appeal form. Appeals made without documentation will be denied.

Students petitioning / appealing for reinstatement of eligibility remain ineligible to receive aid, but may pursue participating in the Massachusetts school of Law Installment Payment Plan.  Students should be prepared with other resources to pay all educational expenses not covered by the payment plan. Students whose appeals are approved may have their eligibility for aid reinstated.
For students currently on AP, if a student is unable to find an alternative means of paying their semester’s tuition, Lynn Bowab, Director of Financial Aid, will work with each student, individually, to develop a monthly payment agreement for these charges. As a student on Academic Probation is not eligible for Federal Direct Stafford loans, payment in full for the semester is not expected.  Payment of any past tuition, however, is expected before the student graduates.

Termination of Aid: Students who are dismissed from the Massachusetts School of Law for any reason are terminated from financial aid.
Maximum Timeframe:  As a general rule the maximum timeframe to complete the MSL program and receive a JD is 48 months. In some cases, a student may have extenuating circumstances, which may prolong their graduation date up to 84 months.


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