Academic Progression at Vanderbilt University

Earning your degree at Vanderbilt is about making steady progress and meeting the requirements for “good academic standing" one course, one semester, one year at a time. Sounds easy enough, right?

Of course, none of us is perfect. Sooner or later, we all struggle with a course or two. Maybe life intervenes, and you just can't concentrate for a semester. Maybe you run into a subject you just can't seem to wrap your head around. A lapse here and there shouldn't put all your hard work into jeopardy.

It doesn't have to. National Student Defense attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento is on your side. He has the knowledge and experience to help protect your rights and ensure you don't get sidetracked by fussy professors or bureaucratic requirements. You may find it odd that an attorney could help you make it through college, but If you're struggling to meet academic progress standards at the university, you owe it to yourself to find out what Joseph D. Lento can do for you.

Academic Progression Requirements at Vanderbilt University

Each individual college at Vanderbilt sets its own academic standards. Often these can be relatively complicated. The standards at the College of Arts and Sciences, Vanderbilt's largest school, offer a good illustration.

  • First, you must earn at least a 1.5-grade point average each semester.
  • In addition, you must pass at least 12 credits each semester.
  • Finally, before you move on to the next academic year, you must meet further class standing requirements.
    • To be classified as a sophomore, you must complete at least 24 credit hours and earn a 1.8 cumulative GPA.
    • To be classified as a junior, you must complete at least 54 credit hours and earn a 1.9 cumulative GPA.
    • To be classified as a senior, you must complete at least 84 credit hours and earn a 2.0 cumulative GPA.

Should you fall short of any of these standards, you are usually placed on Academic Probation. Probation lasts for one semester and offers you an opportunity to improve your coursework. Should you fail to meet standards while on probation, you may then be asked to take a leave of absence from the university for a minimum of one year. During this leave of absence, you are not allowed to complete coursework at other institutions. After a year, you may apply for readmission, but the process can be difficult to navigate, and when you return, you remain on probation.

A second probation usually results in permanent dismissal for Vanderbilt. In addition, you can be dismissed for particularly poor academic performance, even if you have never received probation.

Fighting Dismissal

There is no formal process for challenging academic dismissal decisions. That's because these decisions are generally a matter of objective fact. That is, either you have earned enough credits and a higher enough GPA, or you haven't.

You do have options, though.

  • Extenuating Circumstances: If you've been dealing with a family emergency or other sort of crisis, you may be able to appeal an academic sanction to your college dean. You'll likely have to put together an appeals package, though, that offers proof of those extenuating circumstances.
  • Grade Appeals: You have the right to challenge an instructor's grade through a formal grade appeal. At the Peabody College of Education, for instance, you submit such appeals to the Chair of the Undergraduate Administrative Committee.
  • Occasionally, you will come across an instructor who just doesn't treat you fairly. This can also be grounds for appealing your grade.
  • You might also try negotiating with faculty directly. Professors can and do make mistakes. Sometimes getting your GPA is just about asking one to recalculate your semester scores. Or, you might ask for extra credit or makeup work.

Joseph D. Lento can explain these and other options to you and help you to pursue them. Whether you need help negotiating with faculty for a higher grade or you need to collect evidence to help demonstrate why you deserve an extra semester of probation, Joseph D. Lento knows what you're going through and is on your side.

SAP Standards

If you receive federal financial aid at Vanderbilt, you're subject to an additional set of academic requirements. Under federal law, all schools must maintain a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. Such policies are designed to do just what they sound like: ensure students are making “satisfactory academic progress” towards their degrees. Those who don't become ineligible for aid.

Here's what Vanderbilt's SAP policy requires.

  • First, you must complete at least 67 percent of all the courses you attempt.
  • You must also finish your degree within 150 percent of the published requirements for that degree. Arts and sciences degrees, for instance, require 120 hours. You lose aid, then, once you take more than 180 hours.
  • Finally, you must maintain a certain GPA depending on your class standing.
    • Freshmen and sophomores: 1.8
    • Juniors: 1.9
    • Seniors: 2.0

Normally, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships conducts SAP reviews at the end of the Spring semester. However, if you aren't meeting standards, you are issued a warning, and your work is reviewed after that semester. Should you fail to meet standards while in warning status, your financial aid is suspended until such time as you are able to meet standards again.

You can appeal the loss of aid. This involves submitting an explanation of your extenuating circumstances, documentation of those circumstances, and an explanation of what has changed that will allow you to be academically successful moving forward. Successful appeals earn one additional semester of aid under probationary status.

SAP decisions don't affect your standing at Vanderbilt. You can take classes as long as you want. Many students find it difficult to earn a degree once they've lost financial aid, though. If you're facing the loss of your support, or even if you've lost it, Joseph D. Lento may be able to help.

Premier Education Attorney-Advisor

Many students mistakenly believe that they have to handle all their own problems once they enroll in college and that if they find themselves in trouble—especially academic trouble—it's up to them to find a way out of it. That's just not true. There are many ways to deal with academic issues, and Joseph D. Lento can guide you through all of them. Joseph D. Lento knows how the Vanderbilt system operates, and he can offer suggestions for how to use it to your advantage. Whether you are facing probation, dismissal, or loss of financial aid, Joseph D. Lento may be able to help. To find out more, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686, or use our automated online form.