Spring 2020 Undergraduate Pass/Fail Grading FAQ

In response to concerns presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,  USC Upstate has expanded the pass/fail scale for undergraduate students and make it applicable to Spring 2020 classes. The following FAQ addresses questions students may have regarding how this grading mode may impact degree and LIFE Scholarship applicability, academic standing, and other requirements that may affect a student's academic record.

Submit Your Spring 2020 Pass Fail Grade Request Beginning May 1, 2020

Students may request grades of S+/S/U for Spring 2020 coursework once the final standard letter grade has posted. To request a grade or grades of S+/S/U for eligible courses, submit a Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grade Request Form. 

Please note that the last day to request a grade of S+/S/U for Spring 2020 coursework is July 1, 2020.

Watch this brief video for an overview of the spring 2020 Pass/Fail grade option. 


Expanded Pass/Fail Grading Scale

The following are some questions undergraduate students may have regarding the expanded pass/fail scale. All undergraduate students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisor PRIOR TO submitting the pass-fail grade request form to discuss individual academic implications. 

For financial aid implications, please speak with a Financial Aid Counselor in the  Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. 

Download a copy of the Academic Pass/Fail FAQs 


Eligibility

How do I know if I am eligible to request a grade of S+/S/U at the end of the Spring 2020 semester?

If you are an undergraduate student enrolled in full term Spring 2020 courses or Spring 2 2020 courses that issue standard letter grades (A through F), you will be eligible to opt in to the Spring 2020 Pass/Fail system of S+/S/U. 

Earned grades of A, B+, B, C+, and C will be replaced with S+. 

Earned grades of D+ and D will be replaced with S. 

An earned grade of F will be replaced with U.

How do I request a grade of S+/S/U?

All undergraduate students are eligible to request a grade of S+/S/U through the Spring 2020 Pass Fail Grade Request Form 

If I registered for a Pass/Fail course at the beginning of the semester or switched to the Pass-Fail grade mode during the semester, am I eligible to request the Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grade mode at the end of the semester?

No, students who chose to take a course on a traditional Pass/Fail basis will continue on a Pass/Fail basis using the University’s established S/U system (e.g., S is earned if the grade is D or above and U is earned for grades below D).

If I elected to take a course on a Pass/Fail basis prior to campus closure in Spring 2020 am I eligible for a grade of S+?

No. Students who elected to take a course on a Pass/Fail basis prior to campus closure in Spring 2020 will continue on a Pass/Fail basis using the University’s established S/U system.

 

May I request to have a grade of WF replaced by a grade of U for the Spring 2020 semester?

No. A student assigns themselves a WF by withdrawing from a class after the WF deadline; it is not an earned grade assigned by an instructor. If a mental health, medical, or personal crisis prevented academic success or required you to withdraw after the WF deadline of Spring 2020, you may wish to petition for a hardship waiver by contacting the Records Office.  

 

I have a grade of incomplete (I) from Fall 2019 and I have been working to complete that course during the Spring 2020 semester. May I request to receive a grade of S+/S/U for that course?

No. This Pass/Fail Grade policy applies only to courses taken in the Spring 2020 semester.  If you feel that the COVID19 pandemic created challenges that prevented you from resolving an incomplete (I) grade, please contact your instructor about possible accommodations or extensions.     

 

Selecting the Pass/Fail Option

 

Am I required to submit a Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grade Request?

No, this is optional not mandatory.

Do faculty members approve my request for a S+/S/U grade?

No, your request goes directly to the Office of the University Registrar for processing.

Will faculty members be notified if I request a S+/S/U grade?

No, faculty members will not be notified if you choose to request a S+/S/U grade.

How long do I have to select a Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grade for a Spring 2020 course?

You will have until July 1, 2020 to submit a Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grade request.

 

Credit Hours & GPA

How do S+/S/U grades affect my Upstate GPA?

Grades of S+/S/U do not impact the GPA.

Will I earn credit hours if I request a S+/S/U grade?

Courses with S+ and S will count towards earned semester hours and a course with a grade of U will not. 

Life Scholarship Applicability

How might requesting a grade of S+/S/U affect Life Scholarship eligibility?

For courses with grades of S+/S, the hours earned will count toward Life Scholarship credit hour requirements. Grades of S+/S/U will not affect the Life Scholarship GPA. 

Degree Applicability 

If I request a grade of S+/S/U for a course, can the course and grade count toward degree requirements?

Courses graded with the S+/S may count towards all applicable curricular, major, minor, progression, and graduation requirements.

Courses graded with a U will not count toward any curricular, major, minor, progression, or graduation requirements.

Please consult with your academic advisor prior to submitting a pass-fail grade request.

How will grades of S+/S/U meet “minimum grade” degree requirements?

If a degree has a course requirement with a grade of C or better, a student must have earned an S+ in the course to meet that requirement.

A course requirement of D or better can be fulfilled with either an S+ or an S.

A grade of U will not fulfill any course requirements.

How will grades of S+/S/U equate to “minimum grade” course pre-requisites?

If a course is a prerequisite for another course and a grade of C or better is required in the prerequisite, a student must have earned an S+ in the prerequisite course.

Course Grade Forgiveness

If I request a grade of S+/S for a spring 2020 course, can I use this grade to forgive a first attempt?

Yes, but because the S+/S grades do not carry GPA points or GPA hours the impact on your institutional GPA will be different than if you used a standard letter grade to forgive the first attempt. If you replace a first attempt grade of D+, D, F, or WF with an S+/S grade, the first attempt’s GPA hours and GPA point impact will be removed from your institutional GPA—but you will not earn GPA points or GPA hours from the S+/S grade you are using for grade forgiveness.

If I request a grade of S+/S/U for a Spring 2020 course, will that course count as my “first attempt” in the course for the purposes of grade forgiveness?

No. If a student retakes the course in question, it will count as the first attempt.

 

Academic Standing 

Will students on university probation, who request grades of S+/S/U, still be required to meet the 2.0 GPA requirement to return to good standing?

Yes. To return to good academic standing a student’s cumulative UofSC GPA must be 2.0 or above. However, students who were placed on university academic probation at the end of fall 2019 and do not meet the 2.0 GPA requirement at the conclusion of spring 2020 will not be placed on suspension, but will remain on probation.

Will students on university probation, who request grades of S+/S/U, still be placed on suspension if they do not meet the cumulative or semester GPA thresholds outlined in the undergraduate academic standing policy?

No. Students who were placed on university academic probation at the end of fall 2019 will not be placed on suspension after the spring 2020 semester; their academic standing will remain the same as at the conclusion of fall 2019.

 

Semester and Graduation Honors

 

If I request a grade of S+/S/U for a Spring 2020 course, will the course count toward semester honors? (Dean’s List/President’s List)?

No. Course taken on a Pass/Fail basis will not be counted toward semester honors. In addition to meeting the semester honors GPA threshold, a student must complete at least 12 hours with standard letter grades to qualify for semester honors.

If I request a grade of S+/S/U for a Spring 2020 course, will the course count toward the hours requirement for graduation honors (Cum, Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude)?

Yes. Courses with grades of S+/S will count toward the 60 credit hours required for graduation honors for a bachelor’s degree.

Transcripts and Attestations

If I request a grade of S+/S/U for a Spring 2020 course, will any other notations appear next to the course or grade?

No. Comments will not be placed by the course or course grade. The University of South Carolina transcript key will include comments regarding the Spring 2020 Pass/Fail grade mode.

I plan to apply to medical school after graduating from Upstate. I heard that medical schools may request that I provide my original grade for a course for which I requested a Pass/Fail Grade in the Spring of 2020.

Because some graduate and professional programs require letter grades to be reflected on transcripts, when necessary, students will be able to request an official letter attesting to the letter grade earned in any classes that were converted to S+/S/U. This letter would attest only to grades, not to GPA and students can be assured that those who need evidence of your academic achievements this spring will be able to receive it.   Such letter can be obtained from the Office of the University Registrar once a Pass/Fail Grade request is processed.

Study Abroad Transfer Credit 

If I request a grade of S+/S/U for a Spring 2020 course, will any other notations appear next to the course or grade?

No. Comments will not be placed by the course or course grade. The University of South Carolina transcript key will include comments regarding the Spring 2020 Pass/Fail grade mode.

I plan to apply to medical school after graduating from Upstate. I heard that medical schools may request that I provide my original grade for a course for which I requested a Pass/Fail Grade in the Spring of 2020.

Because some graduate and professional programs require letter grades to be reflected on transcripts, when necessary, students will be able to request an official letter attesting to the letter grade earned in any classes that were converted to S+/S/U. This letter would attest only to grades, not to GPA and students can be assured that those who need evidence of your academic achievements this spring will be able to receive it.   Such letter can be obtained from the Office of the University Registrar once a Pass/Fail Grade request is processed.