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Academic Probation and Dismissal Policy

  • Introduction
    The standards below address the minimum academic grade point average (G.P.A.) that students must maintain at the Sturm College of Law to avoid dismissal and/or probation. The standards also set forth the consequences to students who fail to meet these minimum criteria.

    The Sturm College of Law intends to provide every student a reasonable opportunity to successfully complete the J.D. degree. The SCOL also , however, must comply with accreditation Standard 304© of the American Bar Association. Standard 304© requires all law schools to identify and dismiss, at the earliest possible time, those students whose academic records demonstrate an inability to maintain a minimum GPA. Law schools dismiss such students to avoid the inculcation of false hopes, to avert economic exploitation of the students and to prevent a deleterious effect on the education of other students. Dismissed students receive a full tuition refund for the semester in which they are enrolled when dismissed.
  • Standards That Govern Academic Achievement, Academic Probation and Dismissal and Readmission
    See Student Handbook »

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Readmission Policy Applicable to All Students

On rare and exceptional occasions, the SCOL may grant a dismissed student permission to resume his or her legal studies at the SCOL. Because readmission occurs rarely, the SCOL advises dismissed students to make alternative educational and career plans rather than count on readmission. Students who withdraw from law school before the completion of two semesters of law school work, students dismissed for failure to make satisfactory progress toward good standing, and students dismissed for a grade point average below 2.0, must petition the Academic Examination and Standing Committee for readmission as as set forth below.

  • Procedures
    A former student who seeks readmission must file a written petition with the Registrar addressed to the current chairperson of the SCOL Examination and Standing Committee. The Examination and Standing Committee reviews the petition and makes a decision to grant or deny the relief requested. Students cannot appeal the decision of the Committee except to the Dean of the College of Law. The Dean may reverse the Committee’s decision if the facts clearly indicate that the record did not reasonably support the Committee’s decision. A student who desires to bring such an appeal must file a letter with the Dean of the SCOL that states the relief desired and the facts and analysis that support the appeal. The Examination and Standing Committee usually considers Readmission Petitions only during the summer term (mid-August).
  • Definitions
    The terms “readmission” and “reinstatement” have the same meaning with respect to academic dismissals and readmissions.
  • Standards
    The faculty of the College of Law has established minimum academic standards. A student who fails to achieve those standards, prima facie, has no entitlement or right to continue her or his legal studies. A dismissed student bears the burden to persuade the Examination and Standing Committee that he or she merits readmission. Such a student must present clear and convincing evidence of “good cause” for readmission by establishing that:
    1. The student’s prior academic deficiency does not indicate the student’s ability or aptitude to successfully study law; and
    2. The reasons for the prior academic deficiency no longer exist, and the student, if readmitted, likely will successfully complete the educational program and graduate from the law school.

Students should note that, initially, the best evidence of 1 and 2 above ordinarily will consist of the student’s prior academic record in law school. To successfully complete the College of Law’s education program, a student, if readmitted, must illustrate the ability to achieve grades that meet or exceed the 2.3 cumulative GPA required for good standing..

The SCOL will dismiss third or fourth year students who have satisfied the credit hours and course requirements for graduation, but have failed to achieve the minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.3. Only under extremely extenuating circumstance will the Committee readmit such students to law school.

Students dismissed after their first or second year of law school and readmitted with permission by the Committee to repeat their entire law school curriculum ordinarily must take a two year leave of absence before readmission to law school.

  • Petitions
    A dismissed student may file a Petition for readmission at any time. However, the Examination and Standing Committee normally considers such petitions only during the summer term. Students whose petitions the Committee denies may submit, annually, new petitions for review the next summer. Students who seek readmission should consult the Registrar, at the beginning of a summer school term, and obtain all information needed to file a petition with the Examination and Standing Committee.

    The student shall submit the petition in the form specified by the Committee and set forth all of the reasons for readmission. With the petition, the student must submit supporting exhibits, if any, such as transcripts of other academic work, legal writing samples, letters of recommendation from persons who know the student’s academic potential, and other documents. If a student fails to submit exhibits with the petition, the Committee will not consider the exhibits.
  • Personal Appearance
    Ordinarily, the Committee does not require or encourage a student to make a personal appearance before the Committee. The student must set forth all reasons and information in support of readmission in the petition and the attached Exhibits. Very rarely, however, a student may request the Committee to grant her/him a personal appearance for good cause shown. During the time a petition remains pending before the Committee, only the Chairperson of the Committee can discuss the matter with the student. Students should not make any attempt to discuss any aspect of the case with other Committee Members, nor should a student ask other persons to discuss the merits of the petition with Committee members. As noted above, students may attach a letter of support to the petition as an Exhibits.
  • Conditions Imposed on Readmission
    The Examination and Standing Committee may impose appropriate limitations or special conditions on a readmitted student. All readmitted students remain on probation and must comply with all of the conditions imposed on all probationary students.
  • Decision
    The Committee will notify the student of the readmission decision by letter.
  • Course Priority
    A readmitted student must give priority to repeating any required course in which the student received an “F.”
  • Grades
    The SCOL includes all law school grades, including “F’s” in the calculation of a student’s cumulative grade point average. Readmitted students who repeat the entire first year provide the only exception to this policy. For these students all grades will appear on the students’ transcripts, but only the grades the students earn after readmission will determine their cumulative grade point average.
  • Questions
    Students should direct any questions about readmission to the Chairperson of the Examination and Standing Committee.
  • Sample Petition Form for Readmission
    Students should type the single-spaced Petition for Readmission on 8 1/2 × 11 inch paper. The Petition must contain the information set forth in the sample.

    View Sample Petition Form »

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