Academic Policy and Progress Committee
The Academic Policy and Progress Committee (APPC) is comprised of faculty, administration, and staff members. The APPC makes academic decisions regarding students’ progress throughout their program. The decisions of the APPC are final with the exception of decisions regarding academic dismissal, which may be appealed to the Dean of the College of Naturopathic Medicine or the Dean of the College of Nutrition depending on the student’s program of study.
Students are expected to attend all classes, laboratories, and clinical clerkships. It is the faculty member’s prerogative to determine individual course attendance requirements. The attendance requirements are stated in the course syllabus. Attendance at laboratories and clinical clerkships is mandatory. Students must notify their faculty and the Dean of Students Office of a qualified incident utilizing the Absence Policy Criteria Review Request Form in order to obtain an excused absence for course attendance, test, or assignment rescheduling purposes unless there are extenuating circumstances (see Missed Assessments or Attendance).
Attendance for online distance education courses is determined by active participation within the course such as submitting an assignment or exam, attending an online chat, or posting to a discussion forum. Simply logging into the course is not considered participation. While some online courses may allow course access prior to the start of the quarter, including course information and course syllabi, courses do not officially begin until the term/quarter start date. Prior to the term start date, faculty are not in the course, do not perform assessments, or grade assignments. Submission of assessments and/or assignments prior to the start of the quarter, will not be counted towards attendance. Class participation by the end of the fourth day of the course is required to verify attendance and to release financial aid, if applicable. Students who do not maintain active participation in a distance course, as outlined in the syllabus, are encouraged to withdraw from the course to avoid failure of the course (see Adding and Dropping Courses).
Students receiving Title IV federal aid, including assistance from the Veterans Administration (VA), are responsible for meeting VA and/or applicable federal aid attendance requirements.
Absences must be reported (see the steps below) prior to the absence, scheduled exam, or assessment deadline except for in the case of a a sudden emergency or the student being incapacitated, in which case notifications are required upon resolution of the emergency or upon returning to class, whichever is sooner. Failure to submit documentation within this time frame will result in an unexcused absence. Qualified absences meeting policy criteria include a documented illness, accident, family emergency, unavoidable medical appointment, death of a loved one, court appearance, religious holiday (with a religious exemption on file with the Dean of Students Office), or other unique extenuating circumstances as reviewed by the Dean of Students in advance of the request. Unexcused and non-qualifying absences will not be covered under this category.
The Dean of Students determines whether the absence meets policy criteria and informs the course faculty of the outcome. Faculty, as per the course syllabus, make a determination as to the student’s eligibility to receive a makeup exam or an extension on other classroom exercises, assignments, and assessments.
To request an Absence Policy Criteria Review, students must complete the following steps:
- Complete the Absence Policy Criteria Review Request Form and, when applicable, provide medical, religious, or other supporting documentation to the Dean of Students Office. For a non-acute illness, medical documentation from a neutral qualified licensed healthcare professional (non-supervisory or university employee) must accompany their request form.
- Immediately notify the course faculty by email. Clinical clerkship faculty must be notified by phone as soon as an absence is known.
Absences for presenting at a conference on behalf of the University must be pre-approved by the program Dean prior to notifying faculty or completing the Absence Policy Criteria Review Request Form.
Once the Dean of Students issues a final decision via email, it is the student's responsibility to contact course faculty within 24 hours to determine eligibility to re-take and missed graded assessment activities, and to reschedule accordingly. Note that faculty make the final determination of when the rescheduled exam or comparable learning activity or assignment will occur or the new assignment deadline. Meeting policy criteria does not guarantee that a missed assessment item is possible. Parameters per the published course syllabus determine eligibility.
The format of any rescheduled exam will be determined by the faculty member, subject to any ADA testing accommodations required by law. Special Examination Fee(s) may apply for milestone and practical-type exams (see Tuition and Fees).
Requests to reschedule tests or receive an assignment deadline extension, or comparable learning activity or assignment for unexcused absences are solely at the discretion of the faculty member and will be refused if deemed not within the parameters of the assignment, activity, and/or course syllabus.
Students who are not permitted to make up a missed examination or assignment and/or believe they were not provided fair treatment may utilize the university's grievance procedure.
Leave of Absence
A leave of absence (LOA) may be granted to any student maintaining satisfactory academic progress for their prescribed program of study and who has met all financial obligations to Sonoran University. All LOA requests must be submitted to the Academic Advising Office for review and approval. While on LOA, students are not eligible to attend courses or clinical clerkships, nor receive financial aid. The Financial Aid Office will be notified of the student’s intended last date of attendance when students request an LOA.
LOA is a period of non-enrollment where students are not considered to be working toward the completion of their degree. The length of time allowed for LOA varies depending on the type of leave (see Types of Leave of Absence below). Students on LOA are not eligible for financial aid and are subject to federal regulations pertaining to current loans. Upon return from LOA, the student must continue to meet technical standards and graduation requirements for their prescribed program of study.
Requesting a Leave of Absence
- Students must initiate the LOA process through an Academic Advisor. The Advisor will assist the student in the evaluation of their individual circumstances and advise the appropriate course of action and type of leave.
- Requests for LOA will be considered using the following guidelines:
- An LOA will only be granted to students demonstrating satisfactory academic progress for their prescribed program of study.
- It is recommended that students request an LOA prior to the beginning of a term and be approved before the term for which it is requested.
- Leave time will be included when calculating the student's length of a degree program as it compares to the maximum completion time for the degree, see Satisfactory Academic Progress. If the proposed LOA would result in the student exceeding the maximum time to degree completion, the LOA must be reviewed by the Academic Policy and Progress Committee (APPC).
- Students who do not return to active enrollment at the end of the granted leave are administratively withdrawn from Sonoran University. Students who are absent in excess of one year and wish to re-enter their degree program must go through the admission process for re-entry. Students are responsible for any outstanding tuition, fees, medical center bills, and library fines.
Types of Leave of Absence
Administrative Leave of Absence
The Administrative Leave of Absence (ALOA) policy is designed to support students by streamlining the leave of absence process for those students unable to progress in their prescribed program of study due to the failure of a required course. Students will receive an official notification of the ALOA from the Registrar’s Office. The general policies for a student on LOA typically apply to a student on ALOA. Sonoran University reserves the right to place a student on an ALOA in the event the student is unable to return to courses or has submitted medical documentation indicating they are unable to participate in courses.
Personal Leave of Absence
Students who are temporarily unable to continue their program of study for personal reasons may request a Personal LOA for a specific period of time not to exceed two consecutive quarters in a 12-month period. Students on a Personal LOA that exceeds two quarters must request an extension from APPC or they may be officially withdrawn.
Medical Leave of Absence
Students who are temporarily unable to continue their program of study for medical reasons may request a Medical LOA for a specific period of time not to exceed a 12-month period. Students requesting an LOA for medical reasons must provide documentation by a clinician qualified to diagnose in the appropriate area of specialization. Documentation must be based on a current evaluation, provided on letterhead, typed, dated, and have an original signature. The same documentation is required when a student wishes to return from the medical LOA, indicating the student is able to resume their academic program. All documentation must be submitted with the LOA request. For information regarding medical accommodations, please refer to the Accessibility Office page on MySonoran. A Medical LOA can be requested in conjunction with a Grade of Incomplete request if it occurs during the term and requirements are met.
Military Leave of Absence
Any student who is a member of the National Guard or other reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States and is called to active duty will be granted a Military LOA for the period of active duty and one year thereafter. Students will submit the student’s notification of duty requirements from the military. Upon return from a Military LOA, the student will be reactivated with the same academic status and without loss of academic credits earned, scholarships or grants awarded, or tuition or other fees paid prior to the commencement of active duty.
Leave of Absence and Financial Aid
The U.S. Department of Education requires that a student maintain a minimum status of half-time enrollment to receive federal financial aid. Therefore, students who are on ALOA/LOA will be considered withdrawn according to financial aid regulation 34 CFR 668.22 (d). If students are unable to complete a quarter, tuition and fee refunds will be issued according to the Add/Drop Policy for their prescribed program of study; and final grades will be issued according to the Grading Scale Policy. Leave time will be considered a portion of the total time limit for degree completion, for more information see Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Students who are enrolled less than half-time, withdraw, or graduate from Sonoran University are required by the U.S. Department of Education to complete the online exit counseling. Exit counseling helps borrowers understand their responsibilities when repaying their federal student loans. Please visit the Federal Student Aid website for more information.
Leave of Absence and Library Resources
Enrolled students at Sonoran University have full borrower privileges and full access to electronic databases. Students approved for an LOA must return all library items and pay any outstanding fines prior to the start of their leave. Depending on the type of LOA, students may not have borrower privileges or remote access to electronic databases, see Library Privileges during a Leave of Absence for more information.
Reactivation of Enrollment after Leave of Absence
Students wishing to be re-activated within a year from the last date of attendance must submit the Reactivation Request form to the Academic Advising office. Academic Advising supports the student with applying for reactivation of enrollment, including assistance with requirements, submission of supporting documents related to the student’s LOA (if applicable), and answering any questions the returning student may have. Upon return from LOA, the student must continue to meet all technical standards and all graduation requirements for their prescribed program of study.
ND students who return from an LOA may be required to attend Clinical Skills Development Sessions (CSDS) and/or Basic Science immersion course(s) to ensure they are prepared for re-entry into the program. The time during which the student was on LOA and/or withdrawn will be considered toward the total time limit for degree completion.
Academic Standing and Withdrawals
Each student’s academic standing is finalized at the conclusion of each quarter after a review of the term’s final grade submissions. A student who meets the criteria for warning and/or dismissal will be notified at the end of the quarter, see Satisfactory Academic Progress for the prescribed program of study.
Sonoran University is required to verify the enrollment and participation of students who participate in Federal Title IV student aid programs and/or who receive educational benefits through alternate funding sources.
Students may be administratively withdrawn from the University under the following circumstances:
- Failure to meet admission requirements or falsification of information on Sonoran University's Application.
- Failure to pay tuition and fees for the prescribed program of study by the published deadline.
- Failure to return to active enrollment at the end of a granted leave.
- Failure to complete the Registration Term Agreement, Personal Information Update (when required), and/or necessary authorizations for registration to occur.
Sonoran University recognizes the complex lives of our adult learners, therefore there are conditions under which a student may withdraw from courses after the add/drop period, see the Adding and Dropping Courses tab on this page. Courses dropped after the add/drop period may result in a grade of Withdrawal (WD) on the student’s official transcript if the withdrawal meets the Final Date of Withdrawal criteria stated in the course syllabus. Students are ineligible for a course withdrawal if they have completed all course requirements.
There is no refund due to a student who withdraws from courses after the official add/drop period of the prescribed program of study.
Withdrawals are reflected on the student’s transcript as credit hours attempted (not credit hours earned), therefore a grade of WD on the student’s transcript does not impact the student’s GPA. Re-enrollment in a previously withdrawn course beyond the add/drop period will be noted as a repeated course on the student’s official transcript. If a course syllabus does not specify a Final Date of Withdrawal, withdrawals will be processed in accordance with the guidelines below.
- Courses with a final exam: The deadline to drop the course is prior to the date/time of the regularly scheduled final exam (not makeup exam dates) as published in the course syllabus.
- Courses with a final assignment (e.g., project, paper): The deadline to drop the course is prior to the scheduled submission deadline.
- Courses with both final written and final practical exams: The deadline to drop the course is prior to the date/time of the earliest scheduled final exam.
- Courses with both final written exam and final assignment: The deadline to drop the course is prior to the date/time/due date of the one that is scheduled earliest.
- Courses without a final exam or final assignment and/or with a final quiz only: The deadline to drop the course is prior to the final scheduled course session.
To withdraw from a course, the student is required to meet with an Academic Advisor, as withdrawing from a course may impact a student’s progress in their program of study. Please note the following considerations:
- A copy of the course syllabus with the Final Date of Withdrawal must be submitted with the request for withdrawal.
- A student who fails to sit for a scheduled make-up exam is unable to withdraw from the course.
- A WD in a prerequisite for other courses precludes the student from enrolling in those courses until a letter grade is earned in the withdrawn course.
- A student may not withdraw from a course if the impact of the withdrawal results in a failure to meet satisfactory academic progress standards or will inhibit the student’s ability to graduate within the maximum timeframe to completion, see Minimum Academic Requirements for the prescribed program of study.
- (ND Students only) Clinical Skills Development Sessions may be required for a student who withdraws from a clinical clerkship.
Complete Withdrawal and Refund Policy
Complete withdrawal is defined as completely withdrawing from all courses (including a leave of absence). In the case of a complete withdrawal, the following tuition refunds apply and are dependent upon the withdrawal date.
For calculation purposes, the date of complete withdrawal for 11- or 12-week courses is the date the student provides formal written notice to an Academic Advisor, the Registrar, or the Dean of Students Office. Written notice via email is sufficient if the email is sent from the student’s Sonoran University email account. In the case of a student who fails to notify the University of the intent to withdraw, the date that is the midpoint of the term or the student’s last documented date of an academically related activity will be considered the withdrawal date, whichever is the longest time.
Courses that are taught in sessions (courses that do not span an 11- or 12-week term) will be considered as stand-alone courses for the purpose of withdrawal and refunds. Refunds are determined based on the last date of attendance in relation to the course’s official start date. A withdrawal exception is considered for courses offered in 6-week sessions if the following applies:
1. A student successfully completes one module that includes 49 percent or more of the number of days in the payment period, excluding scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days and all days between modules.
2. A student successfully completes a combination of modules that cumulatively contain 49 percent or more of the number of days in the payment period, excluding scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days and all days between modules.
3. A student successfully completes coursework equal to or greater than the coursework required for the institution’s definition of a half-time student under 34 CFR 668.2(b) for the payment period
The percentage of time enrolled in each session will dictate the refund amount:
|Complete withdrawal before the start of the term
|100% tuition and fees except for non-refundable fees as noted in Tuition and Fees
|Complete withdrawal after the start of the session/term and before 49% for courses offered in 6-week sessions or before 60% completion for courses offered in the 11- or 12-week term
|% tuition and non-refundable fees will be based on the federal guidelines formula as shown below, except for non-refundable fees as noted in Tuition and Fees
|After the applicable 49% or 60% completion point of the session/term
|0% tuition and fees refunded
- Percent Earned: Calendar days completed in the payment period divided by total calendar days in the payment period (excludes breaks of five or more consecutive days).
- Payment Period: Sessions that are not scheduled for 11 or 12 weeks; the payment period only includes the calendar days in which the student is registered.
- Refund Amount: Tuition charges for the period of enrollment multiplied by the percentage of unearned Title IV aid.
This calculation determines the percentage of federal funds that have been earned by the school at the time of withdrawal and the amount of unearned funds that must be returned to the federal program. For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office at email@example.com.