Fall 2020 Pass-Fail Grading Policy Modifications

  • IUP has made temporary modifications to the pass-fail grading policy during the fall 2020 semester, following a recommendation passed by University Senate on November 18.

    Pass-Fail Grading Deadline Extension

    All undergraduate and graduate students now have the option of converting a maximum of two fall 2020 courses to pass-fail grading.

    Students have until Monday, December 7, 2020 (the last day of classes) to select this option for up to two of their courses. This extends the pass-fail selection deadline from its original date of October 5, 2020.

    It is critical that both undergraduate and graduate students talk about the option of pass-fail grading with their academic advisor before choosing this option.

    Students should know several important details about this temporary modification:

    • The pass-fail option is not required and will not be automatic.
    • Student requests must be approved by the department chair (or the chair's designee) of the student's major.
    • Some courses may be excluded from the option of pass-fail, because of program and/or accreditation requirements.
    • The pass-fail option must be requested before final grades are posted.
    • All courses for which passing (P) grades have been assigned will count toward degree requirements.
    • Once the request has been submitted, this pass-fail option may not be reversed.
    • This policy modification does not apply for incomplete grades being converted in the fall 2020 semester. Incomplete designations for fall 2020 courses may not be converted to a pass-fail grade.

    Students will be able to begin the request process on Wednesday, December 2, through the course registration platform. Instructions are provided in the Pass/Fail Instructions section.

    Potential Impact of Pass-Fail Grading

    Pass-fail grading may affect grants, loans, scholarships, transfer credits, progression to next-level courses, application to graduate school or other advanced programs, accreditation standards, and/or academic standing.

    Financial Aid Eligibility

    Federal Aid

    Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Direct Student Loans, Parent PLUS Loans
    • “Pass” grades will have no positive or negative impact on your federal financial aid, because they do not impact your grade point average. “Fail” grades are treated as Fs and will negatively impact your cumulative GPA.
    • The federal government requires schools to monitor students’ federal satisfactory academic progress at least once a year. IUP performs this review at the end of the spring semester. At IUP, undergraduates are required to earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, and graduate students must earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. All students are required to pass/earn at least 67 percent of all previously attempted credits. Those who have earned in excess of 150 percent of the number of credits required for graduation within their degree program are subject to a loss of federal aid.
    • Students will receive a letter and email in early June if they do not make satisfactory academic progress. This notification will explain the SAP appeal process, an option that allows students to continue to receive federal grants/loans for the next term of enrollment, if approved.
    • Students who are currently receiving federal grants and/or loans because of a successful spring 2020 SAP appeal are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid to request a personalized review of their situation to ensure that “pass” grades will not affect future aid eligibility.

    State Aid (Pennsylvania State Grants)

    The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) will count ‘Pass’ grades as long as academic credits are attached to these courses in their state satisfactory academic progress calculation. Therefore, PA state grant and/or Ready to Succeed scholarship recipients will not be negatively affected by choosing to use a Pass grade in lieu of a letter grade.

    IUP/Foundation Scholarships

    • Most of the time, initial and renewal criteria for scholarships are based on a student’s cumulative GPA. “Pass” grades will have no impact—positive or negative—on cumulative GPA. “Fail” grades will have the same impact as F and N grades on cumulative GPA.
    • Please note: A few scholarship programs may require students to earn a particular term-based GPA each semester. “Pass” grades will not produce this GPA. If you believe your scholarship award requires a term-based GPA, please seek guidance from the scholarship organization that makes these awards.

    Availability by Major

    Some students may be advised against selecting the pass-fail option because of accreditation or other requirements of their college and/or major. Because the situation is still developing, please discuss with your advisor and department whether selecting pass-fail is a viable option for you.


    Before selecting the pass-fail option, please be aware of its impact on grades. A “pass” grade will not raise or lower your cumulative GPA. A “fail” grade would have a negative effect on GPA, just as an F would have before the temporary policy was initiated.

    Academic Probation

    Because a “pass” grade does not help or hurt GPA, students currently on academic probation should consult their dean’s office about their progress and options before making a decision.

    Graduate School, Law School, Medical School, and Other Programs

    Selecting the pass-fail option may have an impact on future attendance at these schools and programs. While many graduate programs look at a student’s overall record, we do not yet know how graduate schools and other post-baccalaureate programs will treat pass-fail grades from this semester. Students who are considering graduate education should carefully consider how pass-fail grades in their major and minor courses might reflect on their graduate school applications.

    Student-Athlete Eligibility

    For any questions about how the pass-fail policy may impact your athletic eligibility, please contact your respective Head Coach and the Associate Director of Athletics/NCAA Compliance Coordinator.

    Transfer Credits

    In general, many colleges and universities do not accept credits from “pass” grades. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, institutions may loosen this rule. However, that is not guaranteed, even at other institutions that have modified their grading for the fall 2020 semester.

    Pass/Fail Instructions 

    1. Talk to your academic advisor before choosing the pass/fail option.
      Access to submit a course for pass/fail will be available December 2 through December 7.
    2. Login to MyIUP.
    3. Navigate to the Academics page.
    4. In the Course Registration and Textbooks section, select Registration toolbox.
    5. In the Registration window, choose Register for Classes.
    6. Use the dropdown menu to select a term, enter your Alternate PIN and select Continue.
      register for fall pass fail selection
    7. Navigate to the Schedule and Options tab at the top.
    8. Select a course to change inside of the Summary section
    9. Expand the Grade Mode column or select Undergraduate Standard Letter to activate the dropdown menu and select Pass/Fail.
      pass fail selection
    10. To completely change this course to Pass/Fail on your schedule, select Submit in the lower-right corner.
    11. After making all changes, exit the Registration Toolbox and sign back in to make sure the changes were submitted correctly.