Academic Progression at the University of Southern California

It's no easy task getting into the University of Southern California. Lots of people don't. You should be proud of your accomplishments to this point. Enrolling at USC isn't the same as graduating, though. Just as lots of applicants don't get accepted, lots of students don't wind up getting their degrees.

Moving from semester to semester, year to year, at USC is a process, and at every step of the way, there's danger. Don't keep your GPA high enough, and you could wind up on probation or worse. Drop too many classes, and you could lose your financial aid.

Joseph D. Lento knows how hard you work, and he wants to do everything he can to make sure your hard work pays off. Part of college success means knowing the expectations and learning how to meet them. When problems come up, though, or mistakes happen, Joseph D. Lento, National Student Defense attorney-advisor, is here to help. Joseph D. Lento can't take your classes for you, but he can help you negotiate for higher grades, fight academic probation, or challenge dismissal decisions. If you're facing administrative pressure from your school, find out what Joseph D. Lento can do for you.

USC Academic Progression Requirements

To continue as a student semester-to-semester at USC, you must remain in good academic standing. The requirements for standing, as outlined in the school's Academic Standards, are fairly straightforward. Basically, you are required to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA. You aren't evaluated until after your first full year of study, but should you fall below a 2.0 at any point after this first year, you are placed on academic probation.

During academic probation, you are required to seek academic advisement before registering for courses. In addition, as a condition of your probation, you must meet with an advisor at least three times during the course of a semester.

Probation can last for up to two semesters. Should you fail to raise your GPA to 2.0 after these two semesters, you will be disqualified from academic work at USC. To re-qualify for admission, you must complete a minimum of 12 pre-approved, transferrable semester units at another institution and achieve at least a 3.0 GPA in these courses.

Withdrawals do not count against your GPA. However, you should know that if you withdraw from more than eight units in a single semester or 16 units overall, you are required to undergo a one-time mandatory advisement before you can register for the following semester.

Decision Processes

There is no decision process, as such, at USC for determining class standing, probation, or academic disqualification. Rather, these classifications are a matter of simple numbers and are determined by a computer. For example, should your GPA fall below 2.0, the computer will automatically lock you out of registration and require an advisor's override. Likewise, if you should fail to pull your GPA up during your probationary period, the computer will simply lock you out of registration altogether.

This does not mean there aren't solutions to probation and disqualification decisions. For example, in some cases, you may be able to convince an instructor to revise a grade or to issue you an Incomplete (I) while you finish outstanding makeup work. If you feel an instructor has treated you unfairly, you have the option to present your case to their department head or to the college dean.

Joseph D. Lento negotiate with faculty and help you in gathering evidence to support your arguments.

In addition, should you find yourself academically disqualified, Joseph D. Lento can help you complete your petition for readmission to USC. He's helped hundreds of students resume their academic careers after a dismissal. He knows what advisors look for in these petitions, and he knows what evidence will best convince them that you're ready to return to school.

SAP Standards

If you receive financial aid at USC, you are subject to another set of academic standards as well.

The federal government requires all colleges and universities to maintain what's known as Satisfactory Academic Progress, or SAP, standards. The purpose of these is to ensure that students can't take advantage of financial aid by continuing to enroll in courses they don't actually need.

All schools set their own specific SAP criteria. At USC, there are three.

  • GPA: Like the academic standing requirement, SAP requires you to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA in order to continue receiving aid.
  • Completion percentage: You are additionally required to complete successfully at least 67 percent of all the courses you attempt. In this case, WDs do count against you, as do any course failures.
  • Degree completion time frame: Finally, you must complete your degree within a specified time frame. Once that time frame has elapsed, you become ineligible for aid. Single-degree, 128-unit programs at USC allow for a total of 144 attempted units or a maximum of nine semesters, whichever comes first.

Of course, failing to meet one of these requirements won't get you dismissed from USC in and of itself. Many students, though, find it hard to complete their degree without financial aid.

Like academic standing, SAP provides all students with a Warning (probationary) Period should they fall below standards. This Warning Period lasts one semester. Failure to meet standards by the end of the semester means you become ineligible for aid, and you are only allowed one Warning Period over the course of your degree.

Unlike academic standing, you can appeal the loss of financial aid by filing an official letter explaining the reason why your work fell below acceptable standards, how those problems have been resolved, and how you plan to meet standards going forward.

Premier Education Attorney-Advisor

Issues of academic progress can be among the most difficult to deal with as a college student, in part because they aren't generally subject to explanation or excuse. When computers make decisions, it can be hard to reverse them. That doesn't mean you don't have options.

If you should find yourself facing dismissal or even probation, take action. Making a mistake doesn't have to be the end of the line. A real human voice can often outweigh the numbers. Joseph D. Lento has represented hundreds of students just like you in academic progress cases. He knows the procedures, and he can offer suggestions for how to use them to your advantage. If you or your child is facing dismissal, or even if you have already been dismissed, you owe it to yourself to learn about what options might be available to you. To find out more, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686, or use our automated online form.