Policy Portal

Academic Policy

Financial Aid Academic Calendar, Academic Year, and Payment Period Policy

Policy Number: 3349-AC-265
Effective Date: 2/281/2022
Responsible Department: Office of Financial Aid


This Policy outlines the standards for, and determinants of academic calendar, academic year, and payment period for financial aid set forth by rules and regulations outlined in the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).  This policy is separate from the academic guidelines set forth by the University/VPAA – Academic Semester Calendar Policy .


This policy applies to all academic programs at NEOMED that are approved to participate in programs under the HEA.

Financial aid policies are written and revised with the intent of being compliant with regulations set forth from the United States Department of Education and other agencies from which NEOMED receives funding. In the event new regulations are created or existing regulations are revised or removed, the most up to date regulations will be enforced regardless of whether the process of updating this policy has been completed.


  1. “Academic Calendar” refers to a calendar indicating key dates and deadlines for important academic requirements and/or activities including, but not limited to, the start and end dates of classes, holidays, exam days, and registration dates.
  2. “Academic Year” refers to the timeframe a student is engaged in a particular year of an academic program, usually beginning with the Fall Term and ending after the Spring Term.
  3. “Instructional Time” refers to time during which a student is required or expected to be actively engaged in a learning activity that is required for completion of coursework that leads to degree conferral.
  4. “Module” refers a course or courses in the program that do not span the entire length of the Payment Period.
  5. “Payment Period” refers to the period of time for which a student is enrolled, defined as semesters or term.  For Federal Student Aid (FSA) purposes, a year-long clinical term is divided into two to three Payment Periods based upon the part of term schedule.
  6. “Term” refers to a period in which all classes are scheduled to begin and end within a set time frame, and academic progress is measured in credit-hours.


  1. Standards for Academic Calendar for FSA purposes
    1. For purposes of the Department of Education FSA programs, there are  three basic types of Academic Calendars: standard Term, nonstandard  Term, and non-Term. For FSA purposes for all NEOMED programs that are  eligible for FSA, the Academic Calendar is standard Term. The Office of  Financial Aid (OFA) does not offer nonstandard Term or non-Term  Academic Calendars for FSA purposes.
    1. Administration of Standard Term
      1. Semesters contain between 14 and 21 weeks of  Instructional  Time. A summer Term may contain fewer  than 14 weeks. An Academic Calendar that uses semesters  or trimesters traditionally has three Terms, one each  in the fall, spring, and summer, two of which comprise an  Academic Year.
      2. Standard Terms need not be of equal length. For example,  a college could offer a program using semesters with the  Academic Year consisting of a 14-week fall semester and a  20-week spring semester.
      3. The number of weeks in a standard Term may vary from  year to year during a program. For example, a college  could offer a two-year program with the first Academic  Year consisting of two 15-week semesters, and the second Academic Year consisting of two 20-week semesters.
      4. A standard Term may contain an occasional class or classes  that are longer than the normal Term or that begin or end beyond the normal start or end date of the Term if the class or classes do not overlap another term.
        1. If classes routinely extend a week or more beyond the normal Term start or end dates, the official length of the Term must be revised. If the combined length of the Term and the extended class or classes is greater than the maximum number of weeks allowed for a standard Term, the program is no longer standard Term for FSA program purposes. For example, if a 17-week semester contains a class that does not end until five weeks after the normal semester end date, the program’s Academic Calendar is no longer standard Term for FSA program purposes, because the combined length of the Term and the extended class is 22 weeks, which exceeds the maximum 21 weeks permitted for a semester.
      5. Standard Term may not overlap within a program. If an  extended class overlaps another Term, the program’s Academic Calendar is  no longer standard Term for FSA  purposes.
      6. Standard Term may be a combination of two or more Modules treated as a single standard Term.
      7. A short nonstandard Term may be combined with a preceding or following standard Term and considered to be a single standard Term. These short nonstandard Terms are often called “intersessions;” NEOMED has an intersession called the Maymester.
        1. To consider the program as being offered in  standard Terms, the intersession must be  combined with either the fall or the spring  semester and treat the combined intersession and  semester as a single Term. With this approach, the  same treatment must be applied for all FSA  purposes to all students  enrolled in the  program. In addition, hours taken in the  intersession must count toward a student’s  enrollment status for the combined Term, and  costs for the intersession must be included in the cost of attendance.
          1. In some cases, an intersession may partially overlap  one or more standard Terms. If the intersession  overlaps just one standard Term, the program is  still considered to be offered in standard Terms the  overlapping intersession is combined with the  standard Term and treat that combination as a single Term, as described above.
      8. Periods of clinical work such as medical and  pharmacy  program work which is conducted outside the classroom  may not be included in a standard Term, unless all the  following apply:
        1. All students in the program must participate in a practicum or clinical experience and its completion is required for graduates to apply for licensure or authorization to practice the  occupation those students intend to pursue;
        2. The school has little or no control over the length or start/end dates of the practicum or clinical experience. This may be due to constraints imposed by outside licensing bodies, or the need to accommodate schedules of entities with which students are being placed (e.g., hospitals); and
        3. Credit hours associated with the practicum or clinical experience must be associated with the Term in which most of the training occurs, even if the starting and ending dates do not exactly align with the Term dates and/or overlap with another Term.
      9. If the clinical work meets all the above criteria, Terms which include such clinical work are not required to be considered nonstandard, nor are such programs required to be considered non-Term, even if the clinical work overlaps another Term. This flexibility is limited to required clinical periods associated with standard Term programs in medicine (allopathic, osteopathic, nursing and veterinary), pharmacy, physical therapy, and student teaching required to obtain a state teaching certificate. NEOMED medicine (MD) and pharmacy (PharmD) clinical training are eligible for this flexibility if the clinical work meets all the aforementioned criteria.
  2. Standards for Academic Year for FSA purposes
    1. The Academic Year must include at least 30 weeks of Instructional Time.
    2. The number of weeks of Instructional Time is based on the period that generally begins on the first day of classes in the Academic Year and ends on the last day of classes or the last day of examinations, whichever is later.
    3. For all FSA programs, a week of Instructional Time is any period of seven consecutive days in which at least one day of regularly scheduled instruction, examination, or (after the last day of classes) at least one scheduled day of study for examinations occurs.
      1. Instructional Time does not include periods of orientation, counseling, homework, vacation, or other activity not related to class preparation or examination. Instructional Time does not include course(s) not required for completion of a student’s academic program. For example, elective experiences not required for degree conferral. Therefore, the weeks of Instructional Time may be less than the number of calendar weeks that elapse  between the first day of classes and the last day of classes or examinations.
    4. Weeks of Instructional Time:
      1. Cannot overlap, and a program cannot use a single day of  scheduled instruction, exams, or study time to create  more than one week of instruction (for example, a  program may not end a week of Instructional Time  on one  day and begin the next week  of Instructional Time  on the  same day);
      2. May begin and end on a day other than Monday, provided  that each week of Instructional Time comprises a seven  consecutive day period (for example, a Wednesday  through the following Tuesday) which includes at least one  day of scheduled instruction, exams, or study time, as  required by the regulations; and
      3. May begin up to six days prior to the first day of scheduled  instruction or exams in a Payment Period.
  3. Academic Year defined by program
    1. The standard structure for Academic Calendars at NEOMED is an optional 12-week summer header, followed by 16-week fall and 16-week spring semesters, with an optional 3-week Maymester.
    2. Defined Academic Year by program: Please see Appendix A, Financial Aid  Academic Calendar, Academic Year, and Payment Period by Program for  information related to Academic Year and Instructional Time usage by   program.
  4. Standards for payment period
    Annually the OFA determines the Payment Periods per program.

    1. The payment period is the Term.
      1. Actual dates of Instructional Time are used to define the Payment Period.  For example, if Instructional Time for the Term ends on a Wednesday for a program the Payment Period will end on Wednesday, even if the Master Academic Calendar reflects a Term end date of Saturday.  This includes actual dates for Module courses throughout the Payment Period.
      2. In cases of clinical training years when student is registered in a single, year long term:
        1. OFA determines the Payment Periods based upon the  Modules scheduled for the Academic Year. OFA will consider the standard structure for Academic Calendars at NEOMED and attempt to mirror this structure when  possible.
    2. Federal regulations and related guidance governing Title IV student aid programs require schools to report the enrollment of students who receive federal student aid. Payment Periods by program established by OFA are used by University Registrar to complete National Student Loan Data System Enrollment Reporting.
      1. Enrollment status must only include registration in course(s) that are required for degree conferral.  Credit hours of non-degree required course(s) will be subtracted from total credit hours for the Payment Period.  Enrollment status may affect the student’s eligibility for certain types of financial aid.  Refer to the Financial Aid Eligibility, Application, and File Verification Policy.


Lisa Noland
Administrative Specialist
Phone: 330.325.6354
Email: lnoland@neomed.edu

Office of General Counsel

Northeast Ohio Medical University