What is the latest information about spring 2021 pass/fail grading and course withdrawal?

Earlier this semester, we sent notice that UMaine would revert to the pre-pandemic Pass/Fail grading option and extended the deadline to provide time to connect with advisors to assure an informed choice. 

Subsequently, UMaine’s Student Government (UMSG), noting increasing student concerns and issues as a result of the pandemic, approached the UMaine Faculty Senate and UMaine Administration requesting the extension of COVID-19 pandemic Pass/Fail grading policies and procedures into the 2021 spring semester. The UMSG offered compelling data to support the request, and their argument that students’ learning environment conditions have not substantially changed since fall semester was persuasive.

As a result, the Faculty Senate voted on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 to support the UMSG request, and the UMaine Administration concurs. Thus, the temporary changes to the Pass/Fail policy noted below are implemented for the 2021 spring semester. Students are highly encouraged to connect with advisors to fully understand the implications of selecting the Pass/Fail grading option.

The Faculty Senate also supported and voted on alterations to the Withdrawal Policy at their March 10, 2021 meeting. In keeping with the temporary Pass/Fail grading policy changes, the UMaine Administration, working with the Faculty Senate, is instituting temporary changes, outlined below, to the Withdrawal Policy for the 2021 spring semester.

Here are the spring 2021 policies and procedures:

Pass/Fail Policies and Procedures, Spring 2021

This document clarifies and modifies sections from the fall 2020 Pass/Fail Policies and Procedures and have been incorporated into the numbered items below.

Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in University of Maine classes have the option to convert their spring 2021 class(es), excluding Winter Session courses, from letter-graded to Pass/Fail after receiving their letter grades. This document delineates the policies and procedures associated with Pass/Fail grading in Spring 2021.

These policies match those adopted for Fall 2020 with a few additional points of clarification and modifications based upon what was learned from the previous two semesters. The Pass/Fail Policies and Procedures for Spring 2021 are intended to be a temporary modification of standard University pass/fail policies and is being implemented in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and will conclude at the end of the spring 2021 semester reverting back to normal University of Maine Policies.

The Office of Student Records will send detailed Pass/Fail selection instructions to each student’s @maine.edu address on Friday, May 7, 2021. These instructions will also be posted at [https://studentrecords.umaine.edu/]. Students are urged to discuss their grading choices with their academic advisor.

The Pass/Fail policies and procedures for spring 2021 are:

Pass/Fail Grading Option, Spring 2021

  1. Students will have one week after all grades are due to select the P/F option. The deadline for faculty to post grades in MaineStreet is May 14, so the deadline for selecting the P/F option is May 21, 2021. Students may select P/F for one or more spring courses by completing an online form that will be made available through the Office of Student Records on Friday, May 7, 2021. Students should not submit the form until the final grades have been posted. (See academic calendar: https://studentrecords.umaine.edu/resource/2020-2021-academic-calendar/ ).
  2. Pass/Fail grades will follow the definitions in the University of Maine undergraduate catalog (http://catalog.umaine.edu/), which are:
    1. LP, Low Pass, for a course passed on the pass/fail grading option with a D+, D, or D-. Credit is earned, but the grade point average (GPA) is not affected.
    2. P, Pass, for a course passed on the pass/fail grading option with a C- or above. Credit is earned, but the grade point average (GPA) is not affected.
    3. F*, for a course failed on the pass/fail grading option. No credit is earned and the GPA is not affected.
  3. Students’ transcripts will show a P, LP, or F* grade once their Pass/Fail selections have been entered by the Office of Student Records.
  4. P/F courses will not count in the GPA. Unlike a normal F grade, F* grades are not calculated into the grade point average (GPA).
  5. If a student selects the P/F option for a course where a grade of L (“failure for lack of participation”) has been assigned, the L will remain on the transcript. However, the GPA impact will be removed.
    1. Unlike the conversion of F to F*, there is no change of designation on the transcript when the P/F option is selected for an L grade. An L always appears as an L.
    2. For financial aid purposes, students who receive all L grades are considered unofficially withdrawn. Their charges and financial aid will be recalculated based on the last date of attendance. As a result, financial aid funds may be adjusted and students may owe money to the University, whether or not the P/F option is selected for a course with an L grade.
  6. Students may take multiple courses P/F. A P/F course will be treated as a graded course for the purpose of degree completion and will be coded by the Office of Student Records so that the course will meet requirements, within allowable limits as described in #7 below.
  7. Specific P/F grades will meet requirements as follows:
    1. LP and P grades will automatically meet prerequisites and graduation requirements where there is no specific grade required.  
    2. P grades will automatically meet prerequisites and graduation requirements where the grade required is a C- or higher, or a C or higher. LP grades, which are equivalent to grades in the D range, will not meet requirements that specify grades of C or C- or higher.
    3. A grade of LP or P will not meet a “C+ or higher” prerequisite requirement.
    4. The P/F option is not available to students enrolled in HON 498. Honors students with questions may contact the Honors College at 207.581.3263.
    5. Undergraduate students who are in a 4+1 program or otherwise intend to use a course for graduate credit are subject to Graduate School grading policies below. While a C- or better is sufficient for a P grade used toward an undergraduate degree, a minimum of B- is required for a P grade used toward a graduate degree.
  8. Once P/F grading has been selected for a course, there is no-opt out. From that point on, the course will remain P/F.
  9. Students awarded one or more incompletes, with a grade of I entered, may select P/F grading in the affected spring 2021 course(s) until September 15, 2021. This option is limited to courses in which a letter grade has been recorded by that date. To select P/F grading for a previously incomplete course, students must complete a Course Add/Drop Request form, including the “credit or grade option change” section. The form is available at https://studentrecords.umaine.edu/forms/. Students must return it to the dean’s office in their college. Signatures from the faculty member and academic advisor are not necessary.
  10. In some majors, a P will not satisfy licensure or accreditation requirements. Also, the transfer of a P or LP grade to another academic institution will depend on that institution’s transfer policies. Students with questions about this should contact an advisor, department chair, associate dean, or dean.

Undergraduate Academic Recognition and Academic Action, Spring 2021

Policies for academic recognition (Presidential Scholar and Dean’s List) and for academic action (probation and suspension) are in the undergraduate catalog at http://catalog.umaine.edu/ under Academic Standing. Spring 2021 academic recognition and academic action will be treated as follows:

  1. Presidential Scholar recognition will require a minimum of 9 letter-graded credits in addition to the criteria in the catalog. Courses with P/F grades selected by the student will not count toward the total of 9.
  2. Dean’s List eligibility will require a minimum of 9 letter-graded (A-F on the transcript) credits for full-time students in addition to the criteria in the catalog. For part-time students to be eligible, they must have earned at least 6 letter-graded credits across the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, in addition to the criteria in the catalog for Part-time Dean’s List. Courses with P/F grades selected by the student will not count toward the total of 9 (for full-time) or 6 (for part-time).
  3. Academic probation and academic probation contract decisions will be based on spring 2021 letter grades as originally recorded by instructors, and on previous semesters’ grades as transcripted after any P/F selections by students. In all other respects, the catalog policy on probation will apply.
  4. P/F selection for spring 2021 courses will not necessarily prevent a student from being placed on probation or given an academic probation contract. When a student on probation is given a contract by their college dean, the contract defines certain academic conditions that the student must meet in order to return to good standing and avoid suspension.
  5. Academic suspension policies in the catalog will apply, with one modification. Students with a 0.0 GPA will be suspended onlyif they earned no credit during the spring semester (i.e., all F, F*, L, or W grades, with no passed classes) or if they meet at least one additional criterion for suspension.
  6. Grades in May-term and summer courses, including UMaine’s Summer University, are not included in spring semester academic recognition or academic action decisions.

Graduate School Pass/Fail Policy, Spring 2021

  1. For graduate students, a minimum grade of B- is required to receive a P grade. Graduate students may select a Pass/Fail grading option in any spring 2021 graduate (500/600) course in which they earned a B- or higher.
  2. Undergraduate students may select a P/F grading option in any spring 2021 graduate (500/600) course. A minimum grade of C- is required for a pass at the undergraduate level, and a minimum grade of B- is required for a pass if the student intends to use the credit toward a graduate degree (e.g., in 4+1 programs).
  3. Graduate and undergraduate students may use the credits from a spring 2021 graduate course with a P grade in partial fulfillment of the requirements of a graduate degree.
  4. Graduate students may use the credits from a 400-level course with P grade (original letter grade of B- or higher) in partial fulfillment of the requirements of a graduate degree as long as the course is approved by the student’s graduate program and the Graduate School to count for the degree.

Students with questions may contact the graduate program coordinator in their academic department or the Graduate School at 207-581-3291 or graduate@maine.edu.

Course Withdrawal Policies and Procedures, Spring 2021

The deadline for students to withdraw from one or more classes with a grade of W is extended from April 7, 2021 until the last day of spring 2021 classes, April 30, at 4:00 p.m. (See Academic Calendar https://studentrecords.umaine.edu/resource/2020-2021-academic-calendar/). Students and their advisors should note the following:

  1. Courses dropped will appear on the student’s transcript with a grade of W. W grades are not calculated into a student’s grade point average (GPA). No credit is earned for courses with W grades.
  1. To drop a course, students should complete a Course Add/Drop Request form, available at https://studentrecords.umaine.edu/forms/, and return the form to the dean’s office in their college. Signatures from the faculty member and academic advisor are not necessary, but students are encouraged to confer with their instructor and advisor before making a decision to withdraw.
  2. The deadline for spring semester course refunds was February 8, 2021.
  3. Students need to maintain at least 6 credit hours to keep their student loans deferred. Because each student’s situation varies, students who receive financial aid should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid in person (Wingate Hall) by phone (207-581-1324), or at the Student Financial Aid website. Students with scholarships should check with the scholarship provider about any special stipulations. Special conditions may apply to international students and student athletes. They are encouraged to contact staff in the Office of International Programs (Stodder Hall, 207-581-3437) and Academic Support Services for Student Athletes (207-581-1833), respectively, with any questions.
  4. Withdrawing from a course may affect a student’s academic standing or eligibility to live on campus. Students are encouraged to talk with an academic advisor and a representative of Residence Life or the Director of Housing at 207-581-4580 about how withdrawing from a course could affect their status.