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April 7 - Information for Students to Consider before Requesting a Pass/Fail Grade

FROM: Dr. Nancy Schreiber, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

The following information applies to all Salve Regina students with the exception of those already enrolled in the online RN-BSN program.

There are a number of factors we want our students to consider before requesting to take a course Pass/Fail. The information below seeks to address a number of these factors so you can make an informed decision. Before requesting a Pass/Fail, students are required to discuss the option with their academic advisor. Your advisor is an expert in your field and is best positioned to help you make an informed decision. Your advisor is also deeply invested in your success.  

Requests for a Pass/Fail Grade are due May 1. Please discuss your options with your advisor before that time, but we strongly encourage you to make a final decision near that date. We are confident many of you will continue to do well this semester despite our transition to remote learning, and we want you to receive the grade that demonstrates that. 

Grading Policy – Impact on Student GPA

A Pass (“P”) carries no quality points. It indicates that a student requested a Pass/Fail grade and received >65 for the course.  Students receive credit for such courses, but "P" has no numerical equivalent and is not computed in the semester or cumulative grade point average (GPA).  An “F” will affect the GPA.

Requesting a Pass/Fail Grade

Following a conversation with their academic advisor, students are required to submit a formal request by email to their instructor requesting a Pass/Fail grade by May 1.  The request must include the academic advisor in the CC line of the email.  

The instructor will confirm receiving the request by email and share the request with the department chair or graduate program director.  A numerical grade >65 receives a P and <65 receives an F. 

Your Major and the Pass/Fail Option

Some departments are unable to provide Pass/Fail grading due to accreditation standards.  These departments, including education and nursing, will communicate their policies to their majors.  If you have any questions about the policy in your major, please ask your advisor.  If you are a double-major, please talk to advisors in both majors.

Graduation Honors

Baccalaureate degree candidates are awarded graduation honors on the basis of the cumulative grade point average when all degree requirements are completed. Honors are determined by the cumulative grade point average for all semesters of study at Salve Regina University. Students who have completed at least 60 credits (two full years) at Salve Regina University with letter grades (Pass grades are excluded) are eligible for honors.

Graduate and Professional School Applications

In some graduate and professional programs, a passing grade in a fundamental undergraduate course may be deemed problematic.  Your advisors possess disciplinary expertise and belong to professional societies, please make sure you consult with them regarding the decision to take a course Pass/Fail. Students considering applications to medical school or similar programs, should contact Dr. Kim Curesky, our pre-health advisor.   

Federal Financial Aid

According to federal regulations, to remain eligible for financial aid, students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and have completed 67% of cumulative courses attempted. Because of COVID-19, the Department of Education is allowing financial aid offices leniency in how they evaluate Satisfactory Academic Progress after the Spring 2020 term. Students that fall below the minimum requirements will need to write a written appeal to be reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid.  Leniency will be extended for students who fell below the guidelines based on the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who do not have a GPA due to taking all courses P/F will continue to receive aid.

Merit Based Institutional Aid (Salve Regina scholarships)

According to institutional policy, students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA to continue to receive the McAuley, Presidential and Trustee scholarship. Students must maintain a 2.8 cumulative GPA to continue to receive the Dean scholarship.  

The Financial Aid Office will also be extending leniency on merit-based scholarships based on COVID-19. Students who are currently on probation or extended probation, will be allowed an additional semester of that status for the upcoming semester.  Students who have fallen below the merit based scholarship guidelines for the first time will be put on an unofficial warning period rather than an official probation period. It is the intention of the institution to work with students who have fallen below the guidelines during these unprecedented times. Students who do not have a GPA due to taking all courses P/F will continue to receive aid.

Study Abroad

Salve is offering the Pass/Fail grade option to students who studied abroad. Study Abroad students are also completing their programs online and the majority had to depart their programs abruptly. If students feel they would like to consider the Pass/Fail option, faculty advisors do not need to worry about whether the foreign institution offers Pass/Fail or not. The Pass/Fail option is being offered by Salve Regina, not the foreign institution, and Salve will confirm local equivalencies of grades and determine whether the grade received abroad is the equivalent of 65 or above and enter the Pass or Fail grade in the student’s Salve Regina records. Faculty should advise study abroad students the same way as all other advisees who are considering the Pass/Fail option. Students can reach out to the Office of International Programs if they have questions about what grade is needed abroad to receive a Pass/Fail grade from Salve. 

Pell Honors Program

Students may take full advantage of the pass/fail option offered by the University. Students currently on Pell Honors probation will be allowed an additional semester at that status.

As stated above, a Pass (“P”) carries no quality points. It indicates that a student requested a Pass/Fail grade and received >65 for the course. Students receive credit for such courses, but "P" has no numerical equivalent and is not computed in the semester or cumulative grade point average (GPA).  An “F” will affect the GPA, but a “P” will not, and will not help students clear their probation status.

Academic Probation

Students who are currently on probation or extended probation, will be allowed an additional semester of that status for the upcoming semester. Those students who want to exit probation by raising their cumulative GPA above a 2.0 need to consider that a Pass grade does not elevate a GPA. The more classes a student takes Pass/Fail, the more difficult it will be to elevate the GPA because a Pass is not computed in the semester or cumulative GPA.

Dean’s List

The Dean's List recognizes the academic achievement of matriculated undergraduate students who meet the following criteria:

1. A semester grade point average of 3.60 for full-time students completing at least 12 graded credits.

2. A semester grade point average of 3.80 for part-time students completing at least 6 graded credits.

If students are full-time with 15 credit hours, they can only take three credit hours as Pass/Fail to be eligible for the Dean’s List. If students are part-time with 9 credit hours, they can only take three credits as Pass/Fail to be eligible for the Dean’s List.

Athletics

From an NCAA eligibility standpoint, electing to go with a ‘Pass / Fail’ option on one or several courses would only affect those student-athletes who are attempting to regain their NCAA eligibility (below 2.0 cumulative GPA) as the lack of grade points for their coursework would not allow them to attempt to increase their cumulative GPA.  Student-athletes who already had cum GPAs above a 2.0 would not be affected if their coursework was graded on a ‘Pass / Fail’ model. 

All student-athletes would still need to maintain full-time academic status (minimum enrollment of 12-credits undergraduate / 6-credits graduate) and successfully earn a minimum of 24/12-credits (undergraduate/graduate) over the academic year (cumulative total of the fall and spring semesters). Summer coursework could be used to supplement their total number of credits earned. As an operating procedure, all student-athletes should check with their respective head coach and/or the Athletic Department’s Director of Compliance, Craig O’Rourke II to determine if taking any coursework as ‘Pass / Fail’ is an advisable option.

Students Enrolled in a 5-Year Joint Master’s Program

5-year students are encouraged to consider a P/F in only extreme circumstances. In the senior year, 5-year students need to earn a B or better in 2 graduate-level courses. These students need to make sure that this requirement has been satisfied before choosing P/F as an option. 

Tuition Reimbursement

Any student who is receiving tuition reimbursement through their employer should make sure they are adhering to their organization’s policy regarding reimbursement. Most tuition reimbursement policies state that, in order to receive tuition reimbursement, the employee must receive a B or better in the course. There are usually no provisions for P/F. 

Transfer Credit

Many colleges and universities do not accept transfer credit graded as a Pass. Students considering transferring a course to another school should not request to take a course P/F. 

Grade Replacement

If a student elects the Pass/Fail option, the student will be allowed to retake the course for grade replacement during a future semester. Students in the process of retaking a course for the purposes of grade replacement should not request a Pass/Fail because a pass grade will not replace the original grade or improve their GPA.