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Dear Blue Streaks,

This is not the way that any of us imagined our spring semester. For all of you, and most especially for the class of 2020 and those who are graduating this spring (yes, we will have a graduation celebration and, yes, we will reschedule a graduation ceremony), we are sorry.  

We are committed to reducing the academic sources of stress that this semester presents. The Academic Continuity Team has recommended, and our faculty overwhelmingly supports, the following changes to our policies for undergraduate students for the remainder of this Spring 2020 Semester. 

(A similar policy for graduate students is under consideration.)

1. Withdrawal: The last day to withdraw from a full-term course has been extended to Monday, April 27, at 4:00 p.m. (The last Monday of regular classes of the semester.)

2. Course Repeat: Students may elect to repeat any course taken during this semester and have the new grade replace the old if they receive a B- or lower. (The previous policy applied only for a C- or lower.)  Students will need to submit an academic petition to request a repeat override after the spring grades have been submitted and are finalized.

3. Pass/Fail: Students may elect to use a Pass/Fail grading option for any course taken this semester. The details are important so please read this carefully:

  1. The last day to elect this option is Monday, April 27, at 4:00 pm. (The last Monday of regular classes of the semester.)
  2. You may elect to use the Pass/Fail option for as many courses as you wish.
  3. Courses elected as Pass/Fail for this semester will not count toward the maximum number of Pass/Fail courses that a student may take at JCU. (This is a suspension of our usual policy.)
  4. Students must fill out a Pass/Fail request for each course desired through an electronic form available through your student profile. This will be available on Saturday, April 4, 2020. Please see the FAQ below for how to do this.
  5. If you have questions, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

PLEASE READ THIS – This is important:

If you elect to use the Pass/Fail option for any course:

  • The decision to elect the Pass/Fail option for any course is irrevocable.
  • If you earn a “Pass” grade that means that you have earned a grade of C or better.  
    • Your course grade will be listed as CR (Credit) on your transcript regardless of the grade (between A and C) you would have earned. The Registrar’s Office does not keep a record of the letter grade that would have been received had you not elected the Pass/Fail option.
    • The course grade will not be counted in your GPA calculation.  Pass/Fail courses are not considered graded coursework.  
    • The reason that C is the cutoff (as opposed to D) is that courses listed as CR (Credit) on your transcript will likely transfer to other institutions.  Alternatively, courses with grades of D likely will not. If our policy assigned a Pass grade to D or above, no Pass/Fail course would transfer.
  • If you earn a grade of C- or lower
    • Your actual grade will be listed on your transcript (not Fail).
    • Your grade will be counted in your GPA calculation.
  • If you are planning on entering graduate or professional school (e.g., Medical School, Law School) at any time after graduation, please be aware that required or pre-requisite courses listed as Pass/Fail very often are not accepted. This may mean that you must retake the course for a grade. Please be aware of this when choosing which course(s) to elect for Pass/Fail.
  • Your decisions on Pass/Fail courses may negatively affect your GPA – remember that Pass grades do not count as graded coursework and grades of C- or lower are factored in – and this may affect your academic probation status, eligibility in athletics, financial aid qualifications, or eligibility for the Dean’s list.
  • You are responsible for understanding the implications of this choice.  Please go to this FAQ below to fully understand how this Pass-Fail grading policy might affect you.
  • We strongly encourage you to discuss this election with your academic advisor, chair or program director, the Academic Advising Office, or the Office of the Registrar, if you have questions.
  • Any questions concerning financial aid or scholarship eligibility should be directed to Student Enrollment and Financial Services.
  • Any questions concerning athletic eligibility should be directed to the Athletic Director’s Office.

All of us have come to experience a new and disrupted reality. For students, this new reality comes with a host of new challenges and stresses. Though still full-time students (and even for part-time students), your new environments may not afford you the opportunities to focus on your education as you were able to a mere four weeks ago. You now have family obligations, new work expectations, new worries about your income and futures, concerns about resources and access to learning equipment, along with a myriad of other concerns added to the already full demands of being a student. Please know that your faculty get it. Responding to their own disruptions as well, they have worked tirelessly to maintain the quality education that you expect while keeping these additional challenges that you face top of mind. They are learning with you how best to navigate these challenges. Please be patient and work with them as they are working with you. We are in this together.

Though we cannot remove these challenges, we can work to minimize the situations that cause you stress. Our services continue to be available to you, the Blue Streak community. Our Academic Advising Office, Career Services, Counseling Services, Health and Wellness, Student Accessibility Services, Library Services, Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, Campus Ministry, the CSSA, and countless other student services are here for you. Please reach out to them. They stand ready to help you.

I know there is a lot here. The overarching message is that you have options and we are here for you. Please reach out to us if you have questions. Together, we will make it through this because that is who we are – we are Blue Streaks.

Peace,

Steve Herbert
Provost and Academic Vice President

FAQ: Spring 2020 General Pass/Fail 

For the Spring Semester of 2020, students are permitted the option to have any course graded as Pass/Fail instead of for a grade.  This decision may serve to alleviate levels of stress regarding academic performance in a particular class. However, it also comes with implications for your academic future which you must be aware of.  We strongly encourage you to talk with your academic advisor, financial aid officer, or Athletic Director should you have questions about making this decision.

Is the switch to Pass/Fail automatic?

  • No. Students must elect the pass/fail option by submitting the Pass/Fail Request Form for each course that they would like to take Pass/Fail.

Where can I find the Pass/Fail Request Form?

  • Beginning Saturday, April 4, students may access the Pass/Fail Request Form electronically by visiting banner.jcu.edu. Click on the Students drop-down and select Student Profile. Once on your Student Profile page, click on the waffle on the top left corner of the screen to access the Banner menu. Select Banner, then Registration & Academic Services, then Pass/Fail Request Form.

What is the deadline to select the Pass/Fail option?

  • The Pass/Fail Request form must be submitted by Monday, April 27, at 4:00 p.m.

Will the Pass/Fail course count for academic credit toward my graduation requirements?

  • As long as you receive a grade other than F, your course will count for academic credit.  That is, it will count towards your requirements for graduation.

What grade must I earn to receive a Pass?

  • According to the University’s Pass/Fail grading policy, students selecting the Pass/Fail option must earn a grade of C or higher to be eligible for the Pass grade (designated “CR” for Credit on your transcript).

What happens if I do not earn a C or better?

  • Students who select the Pass/Fail option for a course and earn a grade of C- or lower (D+, D, D-, or F) will receive that grade on their transcript. 

Are Pass/Fail courses included in my GPA?

  • Pass/Fail courses completed with the Pass (“CR”) grade will not be included in the computation of the overall average (GPA). Pass/Fail courses completed with a grade of C- or lower (D+, D, D-, or F) will receive that grade, and it will be included in the computation of the overall average (GPA). If you take all of your courses Pass/Fail and receive a Pass (“CR”) in all of them, your GPA for the term will be 0.0. Your cumulative GPA will be unaffected.

Can I choose to take any course as Pass/Fail?

  • Students may elect a Pass-Fail grading option for any course for this semester. 

How many courses can I take as Pass/Fail?

  • Students may elect as many courses as they wish on a Pass/Fail grading structure during this semester. Courses elected as Pass/Fail for Spring Semester 2020 will not count toward the maximum number of Pass/Fail courses that a student may take at JCU.

If I submit the form requesting to take a course Pass/Fail, can I change my mind later and get a grade?

  • The decision to switch to Pass/Fail is irrevocable. The final grade will be recorded as either CR (for grades of C and above), C-, D+, D, D-, or F. CR grades cannot be converted back to letter grades at a later date.

Will a record be kept of the actual grade I earned if I received a CR?

  • No, the CR is the grade you received. The Registrar’s Office does not keep a record of the letter grade that would have been received had the Pass/Fail option not been selected.

Will I be able to repeat a course I took Pass/Fail in a future semester?

  • If you earn a grade of CR, you are not eligible to repeat the course. If you earn a grade of C- or lower, the normal course attempt rules apply.

The course I want to take as Pass/Fail is a prerequisite for another course. Will the CR grade still count as meeting the prerequisite?

  • Yes. A CR grade will meet the prerequisite for courses with a prerequisite of C or better.

Will this affect my ability to be eligible for the Dean’s List?

  • Possibly. Students must have 12 credits worth of graded work to be eligible for the Dean’s List. If you are registered for 15 credits, and take two of your 3-credit courses Pass/Fail, you would not be eligible for the Dean’s List.

I am on Academic Probation or Academic Warning because of my GPA. Will taking a course Pass/Fail help me?

  • If you take all of your spring courses as Pass/Fail, your GPA will not change, so you would still be on Academic Probation or Academic Warning. Earning  C- or lower grades in your courses will negatively impact your GPA. Earning A or B grades will positively impact your GPA. Earning CR grades has no impact on your GPA.

Can I still graduate with Honors if I choose to take courses Pass/Fail?

  • As long as your cumulative GPA stays at 3.5 or above, you would be eligible for graduation honors.

Will taking courses Pass/Fail affect getting into a graduate or professional program?

  • If you are planning on entering graduate or professional school at any time after graduation, please be aware that courses listed as Pass/Fail very often are not accepted.  This may mean that you must retake the course for a grade at another institution before you start your graduate or professional program. As a reminder, if you earn a grade of CR, you are not eligible to repeat the course at JCU. Please be aware of this when choosing which course(s) to elect for Pass/Fail. 
  • For example, most Medical Schools will not accept Pass/Fail (or CR) grades for pre-requisite courses.  The same is often true for other professional schools such as law schools.
  • Many Graduate Schools may not accept CR grades for critical required courses.  You should talk with your academic advisor for specific information.

Will taking a course Pass/Fail change how my professor grades the course, or my course requirements?

  • The grading scale set by the course syllabus remains the basis for the course grade. Opting to take a course Pass/Fail will not change the course requirements. Faculty members will not know that you are taking the course pass/fail until they are submitting your final grades.

My major requires a minimum grade of C or better in certain courses. Will a CR grade count for those courses? 

  • We recommend that you reach out to the department directly if you have questions about whether or not a course graded Pass/Fail will count toward course requirements that have a minimum grade of C or better.

I’m an athlete. How will this affect my eligibility?

  • You must still maintain full-time status (12 undergraduate hours) and a 2.0 cumulative GPA to maintain your eligibility. If you currently have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above and you take all 12+ of your currently registered hours as Pass/Fail, as long as you receive a CR for all 12+ credits, you will maintain the minimum eligibility requirements.

I am an Education student and I am taking courses for state licensure. Will taking these licensure courses Pass/Fail affect me?

  • The Education and School Psychology department indicates that a C or better counts for licensure requirements in the State of Ohio. If you are not pursuing licensure in the State of Ohio, please contact the state Board of Education in the state you are pursuing licensure in and your academic advisor.

I’m concerned about the possible repercussions of taking a course Pass/Fail. Whom can I talk to?

  • We recommend reaching out to your advisor, department chair, program director, or the Academic Advising Office if you have questions about how taking a course Pass/Fail could impact you.

Financial Aid Pass/Fail FAQ

Will taking courses pass/fail affect any of my scholarships?

  • Your scholarship renewal is based on the calculated GPA. As long as your GPA meets the specific requirements of your scholarship, taking courses pass/fail will not affect your scholarship. Scholarship requirements can be found here.

I am on Financial Aid Probation. Will the pass/fail option negatively impact me?

  • All attempted credits, whether traditionally graded or Pass/Fail, will count toward your SAP progression rate and maximum timeframe. A Pass will not improve or lower your current Financial Aid GPA, but a Fail will lower it the same way as a standard 'F' grade. Students can review the full SAP policy here.

Will I be eligible for Financial Aid if I choose to repeat a course?

  • You are eligible to receive aid for any course or courses you repeat once, regardless of the initial grade you received. Additional repeats of the same courses are eligible for aid only if failed (F grade received) or if you withdrew from the course.

I have questions about my academic decisions on my financial aid. Whom can I contact?

  • You can contact Student Enrollment and Financial Services (SEFS) at 216 397-4248 or enrollment@jcu.edu to discuss your individual situation

Pre-health directions (via Kathy Lee):

Pass/Fail option for courses: As you know, JCU released a statement yesterday in regards to students' ability to choose a Pass/Fail option for their courses.  Please be aware of the consequences of the decision before making a final (and irrevocable) decision. You have until April 27 to make this decision.

Health professions programs that I have spoken with (Med school, PA programs, dental schools) have been making individual decisions on how to deal with the expected increase in Pass/Fail courses.  Most schools are stating that courses taken for a grade are always preferred over courses that are taken Pass/Fail, but they are willing to make a few exceptions (except Penn State's med school, which has stated it will not accept any P/F courses).  Many schools have stated that, for courses that are prerequisites for a program, if students have the option of Pass/Fail and they take that option, that course will not be considered as completed for the prerequisite.  Some schools are stating that they will accept those courses on a case-by-case basis, but that they will accept Pass/Fail credits ONLY for 2020 spring and summer courses. Some schools are imposing limits on the number of Pass/Fail credits (for example, Case has stated that it will accept prerequisite courses for Pass/Fail taken in the spring of 2020 only and limits this to 10 credits total, but they prefer to see grades).  If it is a course that is recommended but not required, and the student takes it for Pass/Fail, that course should be included in application materials but it will not be included in the GPA calculation for the program. I will continue to monitor this ever-changing situation and, as things change, I will release updated information. 

It is also important to keep the following JCU policy in mind:

If you earn a grade of C- or lower

  • Your actual grade will be listed on your transcript (not Fail).
  • Your grade will be counted in your GPA calculation.

This applies even if you select the Pass/Fail option.

Courses with labs: Along similar lines, all of the programs that I have spoken with that have previously not accepted online labs are now relaxing that policy for the current semester and summer courses only.  They recognize that many students simply do not have access to in-class laboratories that are normally part of a college science curriculum, and are making allowances for that. Should colleges and universities resume in-class labs for the fall, the previous policy would apply and most professional programs would go back to not accepting online labs to complete prerequisites.

For Ohio University COM and Lake Erie COM early admission program students:

Pass/fail option: JCU has recently given students the option to take courses for Pass/Fail credit instead of a grade.  I have spoken with the Early Acceptance Program coordinators for both OU-HCOM and LECOM, and they are consistent with their answers.  When given the option, all prerequisite courses must be taken for a grade. Both schools have stated that they will not accept a prerequisite course for Pass/Fail.  Nonrequired science courses and nonrequired nonscience courses may be taken for Pass/Fail, but they will have no impact on your science GPA or your overall GPA calculation.