March 31, 2020

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SIU Students,

Some of you have expressed concern about challenges you are facing maintaining your academic performance due to changes in instruction and your own personal circumstances. We understand that students are facing hardships related to access to technology, loss of employment, childcare, changes in family situations and more, all related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor’s stay-at-home directive.

For many faculty members, teaching in an online/alternate mode has also been a new experience with a sharp learning curve.

Given the unusual and unprecedented circumstances, we are doing our best to accommodate student and faculty concerns regarding academic performance and grades for Spring 2020.

Based on consultation with faculty and student leaders, as well as a review of approaches taken by other campuses, we have made the decision that all undergraduate and graduate students, with the exception of students enrolled in the Schools of Law and Medicine, will have the option of requesting a pass/fail grade for individual courses.

On a historical note, SIU Carbondale took a similar action in 1970, when campus was closed three weeks early due to unrest associated with the Vietnam War, and students were issued pass/fail grades.

This decision was not easy to make, and we acknowledge there are issues related to accreditation requirements, grades required for pre-requisite courses, GPAs required for scholarships and the honors program, and more. However, we believe that this is the best decision for students given the challenges you are facing and the unique situation we are experiencing. The overriding principle is to provide flexibility for our students.

Here is how we will move forward to implement the pass/fail grade option: 

  • Faculty will submit their final grades, as usual, by Wednesday, May 13.
  • You will be able to see your letter grades and then choose to opt for a pass/fail grade online. This opportunity will be made available starting Monday, May 4, through Wednesday, May 20, 11:59 p.m.
  • You will be able to select the pass/fail option on a course-by-course basis.
  • If you select the pass/fail grade option, a Pass grade will be substituted by the Registrar’s office for the A, B, C or D letter grade.
  • The Pass grade for a course will not be calculated into your GPA, although the credits completed in the course will be counted for progression towards your degree.
  • The Registrar’s office will provide students with additional details about the process for requesting the pass/fail option, online, via Salukinet.
  • If you opt for a Pass/Fail grade, your Spring 2020 transcript will include this information “Grades of Pass/Fail permitted in Spring 2020 in response to COVID-19 global pandemic”.
  • The deadline to drop Spring 2020 courses has been extended through Sunday, April 5.
  • Students who were on academic probation at the end of Fall 2019 will not face academic suspension due to Spring 2020 grades; academic probation will be extended into Fall 2020.
  • Undergraduate students who received an incomplete grade in Fall 2019 and those who may receive an incomplete grade for Spring 2020 will have one year (instead of one semester) to complete the work.
  • Since selecting a pass/fail grade could impact "satisfactory academic progress" for financial aid, as well as eligibility for scholarships you need to consult with the Financial Aid Office, as well as your academic advisor and your academic program director before making the decision to opt for a pass/fail grade.
  • If you are enrolled in an academic program that leads to certification or licensure, or you are completing a course that is a prerequisite and needs to be completed with a grade of “C” or better, you will need to get prior permission from your program director/department chair/school director and academic advisor before you opt in for the pass/fail grade. A Pass grade will satisfy prerequisites that need to be completed with a minimum grade of C.
  • If you make a mistake in changing your letter grade to a pass/fail option or change your mind, you will have to contact the Registrar's Office for a manual adjustment.
  • Please contact your academic advisors and academic programs with questions.

Thank you for your patience as we have worked through the details related to providing our students with a pass/fail option.

John M. Dunn

Meera Komarraju
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs