October 15, 2020

“Pass/no pass” option available for fall 2020 semester

Due to the ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19, the university will once again offer undergraduate students the option of requesting a “pass/no-pass” grade for courses taken in fall 2020. Graduate students will have the option of selecting a “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” grade.

Meera Komarraju, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the decision to continue the “pass/no pass” approach implemented in spring 2020 was made following consultation with the Faculty Senate, Graduate Council, Faculty Association, Graduate Assistants United, the Graduate and Professional Student Council and Undergraduate Student Government. SIU also assessed approaches taken by other universities.

“We received a lot of thoughtful input, most in support of the change,” Komarraju said. “We also heard that we need to make sure that students have a full understanding of the implications of the change. For this reason, students will be required to consult with their academic advisors or program coordinators or directors before making the decision. They will also be encouraged to discuss possible implications with the Financial Aid Office.”

Potential implications include:

  • GPA: “Pass” and “satisfactory” grades do not contribute to grade point averages. The “pass/satisfactory” grade option would not be helpful for students who are trying to raise their GPAs so that they can graduate, or for any other reason.
  • Scholarships: Some scholarships require a minimum GPA; GPAs are examined annually.
  • Financial aid: There could be financial aid ramifications with respect to maintaining adequate academic progress.
  • Professional/graduate school: Some students who are applying to graduate or professional schools may need letter grades.
  • Accreditation: Students in accredited programs may need letter grades. 
  • Employment: Some employers may be concerned about a student having a significant number of nongraded academic credits on the transcript. 

“As we offer our students the flexibility they need, we want them to make informed decisions,” Komarraju said. 

Faculty and staff with questions can contact Tamara Workman, director of the Office of the Registrar, at 618-453-2973 or email at tworkman@siu.edu or registrar@siu.edu.  

Spring 2021 

Advisement has begun for undergraduate students for the spring 2021 semester. All students, graduate and undergraduate, are encouraged to register for courses before the winter break. The bursar bill can be paid closer to the start of the semester, which begins on January 19; however, students can register in advance of that date and not pay the bill immediately. 

Registration for the spring 2021 semester begins Tuesday, October 27. Visit the registrar’s website for more information.