Four New Options for Supporting Your Academic Success During COVID-19

This information is in effect as of 4/29/20 and will be updated as new information becomes available.

The following guidance relates specifically to grading and withdrawal options for the Spring 2020 academic term. The College will be determining at a later date whether these or other options will be used in the Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 Semesters.

If you are considering any of these options, please contact your advisor to help you decide what is best for you academically and financially.

Pass/No Credit Grading Option

What Is It?

Most classes at Minneapolis College are typically graded with a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F. For the Spring 2020 term, we are giving students the option of choosing to be graded instead using the grades of either P for “Pass” or NC for “No Credit.”

How Does It Work?

Faculty in A-F graded courses will continue to grade you on an A-F scale, but if you choose the P/NC option, your A-F grade will be converted to a corresponding “Pass” or “No Credit” grade after the end of the semester. For most classes, grades of A, B, C and D will be converted to P grades, and grades of F will be converted to NC grades. The exception is courses with the course designator DNTA and NPRO, which are taught by the Dental Assisting and Professional Nursing departments. For these courses, grades of both D and F will convert to NC. .

You can choose to change to a P/NC grading method on a course-by-course basis. You have until June 23 to make this decision for each of your courses. See the link above for the form you may use to make this change.

Students currently being graded on a Pass/Fail scale who are eligible for the P/NC grading method will be converted to a Pass/No Credit scale, allowing F’s to be converted to NC’s.

Potential Benefits

  1. With all of the time and effort you have invested in your courses already, this grading option will provide a low-risk way for you to finish the course and continue to make progress toward your ultimate goal of graduation or transfer.
  2. P and NC grades are not included in the calculation of your grade point average (GPA). Thus, if challenging personal circumstances or the unexpected learning environment of remote learning make it harder this semester to get as high a grade as you would otherwise, this will protect your cumulative GPA.
  3. Because P and NC grades don’t impact GPA, the P/NC grade method offers students some protection against being suspended as part of the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) process. 

Potential Drawbacks

  1. Although a P/NC grade can’t hurt your GPA, it also can’t help your GPA. If students determine their GPA will increase by sticking with the A-F grading method, they should do so. Because the deadline for making the choice of Pass/No Credit is well after the end of the semester, you will know the impact of your grades on your GPA and be able to make an informed choice.
  2. In addition, although a P/NC can’t hurt your GPA, it will impact your cumulative course completion rate that is calculated as part of the Satisfactory Academic Progress process. A Pass grade (like an A, B, C or D) will increase your completion rate; a grade of NC will decrease your completion rate in the same way an F would.
  3. Under normal circumstances, many transfer institutions and graduate schools do not accept courses that were graded on a P/NC scale. However, many institutions plan to make an exception for the Spring 2020 term and accept courses with a “P” grade in transfer.
    • The Minnesota State system has determined that all Minnesota State colleges and universities will accept Spring 2020 grades of “P” in undergraduate transfer. This includes counting those courses toward major requirements, as well as toward graduation requirements and any other purposes that impact a student’s academic standing or progression. 
    • The University of Minnesota also plans to accept Spring 2020 grades of “P” in undergraduate transfer in most cases (please see the Q&A on “Transfer” on this U of M webpage).
    • Some transfer partners have indicated they will accept our P grade as passing.  Other transfer partners (and certain degree programs) will require a letter grade for additional program/major eligibility, so the P/NC option may not be the best choice for you.  If you plan to transfer to a private college, please consult with the transfer admissions advisor at the college/university you are planning to attend, before electing the P/NC grading option.
  4. Some students may not be eligible for P/NC grading. These may include some students receiving Veterans Education Benefits, so these students should check with the College’s Veteran School Certifying Official, Renee Cannon, prior to requesting a grade method change. International students, typically not eligible for P/NC grading, are eligible for the Spring 2020 semester as a result in temporary changes in federal rules.

The good thing is – You don’t have to decide right now.

You will have until June 23, 2020, to decide and submit if you wish to opt for P/NC grading. By this time, you will know how well you did in the course, and by then we hope to know more about what the implications are for transferring P/NC grades to institutions outside of Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota. We will continue to update this page as we learn more.

INCOMPLETE (I) GRADE

What Is It?
An Incomplete (I) grade gives students a chance to complete coursework after the semester ends.

How Does It Work?
The instructor gives students an I grade at the end of the course, and then changes the grade to an A-F or P/NC grade when the work is later completed. There is a time limit for completing the work; if a student does not complete the work by the deadline (eight weeks into the next full semester, October 17, 2020), the I grade is automatically changed to an F on your transcript.

Normally, College policy only allows faculty to give students an Incomplete in limited circumstances. The College will be expanding options for faculty to use I grades in cases where a student or an entire class cannot finish the necessary coursework by the end of the semester as a result of COVID-19. We will be developing guidance for faculty on the use of this option and will update this document as soon as we have details.

Potential Benefits

  1. Personal circumstances related to COVID-19 could prevent an individual student from completing their work. In semesters impacted by COVID-19, the federal government has expanded options for students to take a leave of absence while maintaining their financial aid. The use of I grades could give an individual more time to complete the course.
  2. In some classes, there may be face-to-face activities necessary for students to achieve the course’s essential learning outcomes or contact hour requirements but COVID-19 is making such face-to-face activities impossible. The use of I grades could give an entire class more time to complete the course.
  3. Some courses – such as internships, field experiences, clinicals and practica – require students to learn at external sites that may no longer be open to or reliably safe for students. The College normally does not allow I grades for these types of courses, but we have lifted that restriction for terms impacted by COVID-19, to enable students to complete these courses at a later date, if necessary.

Potential Drawbacks

  1. Our research shows that historically, the vast majority of students who receive I’s end up never completing the late work, and they end up getting an F. Therefore, for most students, the best option will be to continue the course through the end of the semester with a P/NC grade method instead of opting for an Incomplete.

EXTENTION OF DEADLINE TO WITHDRAW

What Is It?
The Minnesota State system typically sets a deadline for students to withdraw that is set at the point when 80 percent of the term has been completed. The system had extended that point to 90 percent of the term, which means Minneapolis College students will have longer than usual to decide whether to withdraw from course.

How Does It Work?
Students will be able to withdraw as they normally do, but they will have more time to do so. The deadline to withdraw (which differs based on the length of the course) can be found on the Course Schedule. Find your course section and then scroll down to the bottom of the page (see example below). Note that as of March 30, the new dates were not updated yet to reflect the later deadline. We will notify students when the withdraw deadlines have all been updated.

Withdraw Deadline

Potential Benefits

  1. Compared with the earlier withdrawal deadline, this will give students time to determine whether their new learning environment and personal circumstances provide an environment in which they can academically succeed in the current term.

Potential Drawbacks

  1. As is the case with NC grades, a grade of W (Withdrawal) will not impact a student’s GPA. However, we have learned that W’s and NC’s will not have the same impact on the completion rate standard of the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) process.

    The federal government has enacted a law that allows us to exclude Spring 2020 grades of W from the completion rate, if the student withdrew between March 13 and the deadline to withdraw from that class. It is not allowing this same exclusion for a grade of NC -- grades of NC will reduce a student’s completion rate for purposes of SAP. (As in the past, students who are put on SAP warning or SAP suspension will have the right to appeal, including for reasons related to COVID-19).

    Students should consult with their instructor and advisor to determine whether they should withdraw from any classes as a result. Note that the deadline to withdraw from full-term courses this Spring is Monday, May 4. For shorter-term courses, the deadline to withdraw is shown along with the course description in eServices.

“COVID-19” NOTATION ON YOUR TRANSCRIPT

What Is It?
The Minnesota State system (like many other colleges and universities throughout the country) will be developing a mechanism for making it clear on your transcript which grades were in terms impacted by COVID-19.

How Does It Work?
We are still figuring out the details of how this will work at Minneapolis College. We will be working to make sure it is in step with and recognizable by other higher education institutions in Minnesota and across the country.

Potential Benefits

  1. It is expected that transfer institutions and others will make allowances for grades impacted by the unprecedented disruptions of COVID-19 on students and institutions.

Potential Drawbacks

  1. There are no known drawbacks to this approach at this time.