A. Academic Standing, Probation, and Dismissal
1. Good Academic Standing
All J.D. and LL.M. students having at least a 2.2 cumulative grade point average are in good academic standing. For all students, cumulative G.P.A. is determined for the first time at the end of a student’s first academic semester, and at the end of each fall and spring semester thereafter. A student must be in good academic standing to be eligible to be certified by the Minnesota Supreme Court for student practice.
Unless otherwise authorized by the Vice Dean, Academics, a student must be in good academic standing to participate in “non-classroom credits” courses, for which credit is based substantially on time spent outside a regularly-scheduled law school class. “Non-classroom credits” courses include:
- Field placements, such as externships and residencies
- Moot court and other competitions
- Independent studies, including the Independent Long Paper and Internships with Faculty
- Dual degree (graduate school) courses
- Teaching Assistant courses, including Learning Community Leader credits
- Any courses for credit based substantially on time spent outside a regularly-scheduled class at MHSL or another ABA-accredited law school
“Non-classroom credits” courses do NOT include:
- Seminars or clinics that require a substantial classroom component
- Foreign study programs approved by MHSL or another ABA-accredited law school. Students must be in good standing to register for a study-abroad program.
- Courses conducted by MHSL or another ABA-accredited law school in accordance with ABA standards for distance education
2. Requirement for Additional Curricula and/or Academic Support Programming
Students matriculating in 2016-2021 with a cumulative grade point average under 2.8 and/or students in the bottom quartile of the class at the end of a student’s second academic semester will be required to complete curricula and/or academic support programming. Students matriculating in fall 2022 or later with a cumulative grade point average under 3.0 and/or students in the bottom quartile of the class at the end of a student’s second academic semester will be required to complete curricula and/or academic support programming.
Academic Support curricula includes the following courses:
- 2418-Bar Preparation Strategies: MPT (offered only fall semester)
- 1204-Constitutional Criminal Procedure: Investigation and Interrogation
- 4001-Bar Preparation Strategies: MBE and MEE (offered only spring semester; must be taken in the final spring semester of law school)
3. Probation: J.D. Students
A student whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.2 is on academic probation. A probationary student has one semester to raise their cumulative grade point average to at least 2.2. An academic semester does not include a summer or January term.
4. De Novo Program
First-year students whose fall GPA is under the GPA standard for academic good standing, are eligible to enroll in the De Novo program in lieu of continuing to the spring semester of their 1L year. By agreeing to participate in the De Novo program, the student agrees they will be withdrawn from the JD program, not in good standing, and conditionally readmitted as a new, incoming student, pending successful completion of the De Novo program and update of their character and fitness application questions as necessary. Tuition will be credited for the first repeat fall semester following the De Novo program, and any tuition scholarship in place at the time of original admission will be honored in all subsequent semesters at the law school.
5. Academic Dismissal
A J.D. student will be subject to dismissal in any of the following circumstances:
- A J.D. student is dismissed with no right of appeal to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee if the student has a cumulative G.P.A. below 2.0 after completing the probationary semester.
- A J.D. student is dismissed with a right of appeal if that student achieves a cumulative G.P.A. of at least 2.0 but fails to achieve a cumulative 2.2 G.P.A after completing the probationary semester.
A J.D. student is dismissed with a right of appeal if that student has earned at least 83 credits (at least 86 credits for students matriculating in fall 2020 or later) and has a cumulative G.P.A. of at least 2.0 but below 2.2.
A J.D. student is dismissed with a right of appeal if the student fails to complete the requirements of the J.D. law program within 84 months. Academic Rule 1.06 D rather than Academic Rule 1.01 A.6 applies in these circumstances.
6. Right of appeal
Students with a right of appeal must submit appeals in writing to the Dean of Students. The Academic and Student Affairs Committee will consider the appeal. The student must explain the conditions that contributed to the student’s probation and dismissal.
The American Bar Association requires students to make an affirmative showing to the law school that the student’s dismissal “does not indicate a lack of capacity to complete its program of legal education and be admitted to the bar.” The Committee strongly presumes that a student’s academic record is the best evidence of the student’s capacity to complete the J.D. and pass the bar examination. Upon a proper showing, the student may rebut this presumption if the student produces clear and convincing evidence that the conditions contributing to the probation and dismissal have been or will be ameliorated, and that the student will be able to achieve and maintain a cumulative GPA that will keep the student in good academic standing for the remainder of law school, and that the student can pass the bar examination.
Interpretive note: Among the factors that the Committee considers in making that assessment are the assessments of the faculty and staff members who have worked with the student, which are given significant weight; whether the student was able to achieve the required GPA for good standing in any previous semesters; and the reasons for the failure to achieve good standing, including whether the student chose to assume personal and professional responsibilities inconsistent with the ability to be successful in law school.
The decision of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee granting or denying the appeal from dismissal is final. A dismissed student may apply for re-admission under Section A.7. of these rules.
A student previously dismissed from MHSL may seek readmission after two or more academic semesters have elapsed since the dismissal. The student must demonstrate that the nature of the interim work, studies, activities, or other experiences indicates a stronger potential for the study of law. Any student readmitted to MHSL after previous academic dismissal must start anew as a first-semester, first-year law student, with no credit given for any course previously taken at MHSL or at any other law school, no matter what grade the readmitted student received in such a previous course. The student’s 84-month period within which to complete the requirements of the J.D. law program begins again in the month in which the readmitted student rematriculates at MHSL. The same rules apply to any student admitted to MHSL after previous academic dismissal from any other law school: A student admitted to MHSL after previous academic dismissal from another law school must start anew as a first-semester, first-year law student, with no credit given for any course previously taken at any law school, no matter what grade the student received in such a previous course.
B. Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Federal financial aid regulations require all students who receive Title IV federal financial aid and/or Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) funds to maintain good academic standing and a satisfactory pace in the progress toward their degree. These regulations apply to all attempted coursework including coursework for which the student did not receive financial aid. A student who does not meet Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards (FA SAP) may lose federal and or state financial aid eligibility, but may regain eligibility when the standards are again met, or with an approved appeal.
For the full text of this important policy, see the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy on the Financial Aid Office website.