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March 26, 2020: Withdrawing From Courses + Pass / No Credit Policy

Message from David Cordle, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 26, 2020

Dear ESU Students and Faculty,

We all find ourselves in uncharted territory with COVID-19, dealing with many new and unexpected challenges. But our priority as a university right now is clear. We aim to ensure that students can stay on track to graduate, and to support faculty members as they make that possible.

As a result, we are changing two academic policies temporarily for Spring 2020 semester:

  • We are extending the deadline for withdrawal.
  • We are making the Pass/No Credit option widely available to undergraduate students.

The intent of these changes is to allow students more time and options as they adjust to a different set of circumstances this semester. Please be aware that a decision to withdraw from course(s) or to take a course Pass/No Credit could have serious academic and financial consequences in some cases. Students should proceed with caution before taking one of the following actions.

For All ESU Students – Last Day to Withdraw

The last day to withdraw from regular full-semester courses has been extended to Friday, April 3.

The choice to withdraw could have academic and/or financial implications:

  • Before withdrawing from a course or from the university, students should contact Financial Aid to determine if the action could result in having to repay federal student aid.
  • If a course withdrawal drops a student below full-time status, it is possible that athletic eligibility, scholarship eligibility, international status, and health insurance coverage could be affected.
  • A withdrawal could impact sequencing of courses. For example, a student withdrawing from Composition I would have to retake Composition I before taking Composition II.
  • A student receiving Veterans Benefits should consult Financial Aid before withdrawing.
  • Students should be aware that withdrawal from a course results in a W on the transcript in the place of a grade, with the W excluded from the GPA calculation.

For Undergraduate Students Only – Pass / No Credit

Here is a quick summary of how Pass/No Credit works:

The Pass/No Credit policy allows undergraduate students — but not graduate students — to designate courses as Pass/No Credit. If the student then successfully completes the Pass/No Credit course with a grade of D or above, the course will count toward graduation and the grade of P (pass) will appear on the transcript. If the student fails to successfully complete the course, no credit is earned and the grade designation of N (no credit) will appear on the transcript. Courses transcripted as P and N are not computed into the student’s GPA. Instructors are not informed which students are enrolled under this option; instead, the instructor files a grade report as usual and the Registration Office converts the grade to P or N.

The Pass/No Credit option will work differently this semester, in two ways

  1. The option to declare a course Pass/No Credit this semester will be available from Monday, April 6 until Friday, April 10. (The policy normally makes the option available only until the 10th day of classes.)
  2. Pass/No Credit will be available this semester for courses that satisfy requirements in the student’s particular curriculum (The policy normally restricts the option to courses not required for the major, minor, or teaching field.)

Please be aware that declaring a course Pass/No Credit could have unintended consequences—particularly for major courses:

  • Students may need certain grades in certain courses in order to take professional exams.
  • Pass/No Credit grading could potentially affect acceptance into graduate or professional schools.
  • Licensure could be affected in some cases.
  • Pass/No Credit could jeopardize scholarship or federal financial aid eligibility.
  • Students are encouraged to discuss questions or concerns with their advisors and/or with Financial Aid before making a decision. Also, academic departments are asked to inform their majors of any special circumstances that might apply.

If after careful consideration and consultation a student wishes to declare the Pass/No Credit option for a course (or courses), they should complete this form located at > student form central.

An FAQ will be forthcoming on the website. Faculty members, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your extraordinary efforts to serve our students in this unprecedented situation. And students, I encourage you to stay the course and remain focused on your goals. We are here to help you get there.

Best regards,
David Cordle
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs