Revised Academic Grading and Eligibility Policies

March 20, 2020

Dear University of Arizona Faculty and Staff,

Given the extreme disruptions that have occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the following policies will be implemented on an emergency basis during the Spring 2020 term only. These policies will not apply to Summer 2020 or future terms, as we hope to have full knowledge of class modalities and timelines prior to the start of those terms. In any event, we will have the opportunity to review our policies once the immediate crisis has subsided.

I am extremely gratified by the manner in which University of Arizona faculty, staff and students are working to reorient their approaches to teaching and learning as we move to deliver all of our instruction online. We will get through this crisis together, and we will emerge from it as a stronger University community.

The overarching principle that guided the creation of these temporary policies is the desire to keep students on track toward graduation. Thus, we are striving to maximize credits awarded to students during the Spring 2020 term while at the same time working to ensure the quality of instruction and student learning, subject to the constraints imposed by the pandemic.

First and foremost, we hope that instructors and their students will work to complete their courses using the online modality as "normally" as possible; that is, using the typical assignments and assessments (albeit in an online format) and on the spring semester timeline. As a compassionate community, we understand that instructors will work with their students in order to accommodate the particular difficulties they may be experiencing as a result of this pandemic. In order to provide guidance and assistance in this regard, instructors and students will be given, on a one-time basis, additional options related to grading during the Spring 2020 term, as outlined below.

The logistics associated with this guidance are being worked out in real time. We appreciate your patience as we work to implement these policy changes. An FAQ is now available at the Office of the Registrar, and the most up-to-date details will be provided there.

I.   Pass/Fail Grading
During the Spring 2020 term only, and at the discretion of the individual student, any course may be graded on a pass/fail basis, and these courses will count toward program requirements and satisfy future prerequisite requirements if a passing grade is earned. A student wishing to move to the pass/fail grading option must notify the registrar by the last day of class for the Spring 2020 term.

II.   Course Withdrawal
The last date for a student-initiated withdrawal from a full-term class in the current term will be moved to April 14, 2020, and the units associated with withdrawn courses will NOT count toward the 18-unit lifetime maximum allowed for undergraduate students.

For non-full-term sessions, the registrar will provide similar dates. The deadline for complete withdrawal will remain the last day of class.

Note: The new deadline for individual class withdrawal occurs after students have been allowed to experience the new online modality for three weeks.

III.   Grade Replacement Opportunity and Repeating a Course
In a future term, students may repeat any course taken during the Spring 2020 term without having this subsequent attempt count towards grade replacement opportunity (GRO) or repeat option limits.

Current University of Arizona policies stipulate that students may attempt a course no more than twice. For the purpose of GRO, a student may only attempt to repeat a total of three courses, not to exceed 10 units, and only those students who have earned fewer than 60 units may utilize GRO.

Note: This policy change will not undo any previously utilized course repeat or GRO attempts, nor will it allow any student who is no longer eligible for grade replacement to become eligible.

IV.   Undergraduate Academic Eligibility
Academic eligibility is the ability to enroll in courses at the University of Arizona; it is automatically calculated at the end of each fall and spring semester. The five undergraduate academic statuses are: eligible, academic review, academic warning, academic probation, ineligible.

The academic eligibility status of an undergraduate student at the end of the Spring 2020 term will be determined by the student’s most recent status, unless a student earns a cumulative 2.0 GPA or greater, in which case their status will become "eligible." This will allow students to move out of the bottom four statuses if they had a "good" Spring 2020 semester, or remain in their current status if the Spring 2020 semester is not helpful to their academic standing. That is, with this revised policy, a student could not move from warning to probation, nor from probation to ineligible statuses.

V.  Incomplete Grades
University of Arizona policy states that "the grade of I may be awarded only at the end of the term, when all but a minor portion of the course work has been satisfactorily completed. The grade of I is not to be awarded in place of a failing grade or when the student is expected to repeat the course."

This policy and process is not being revised and we hope this grading option will be used very sparingly. However, if you feel this is the appropriate grading option, we encourage you to consult with individual students prior to assigning an I grade (in order to clearly specify the work to be completed, as well as the timeline for completion). The I grade should NOT be given to an entire class.

Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones as we all work to serve the common good of "flattening the curve" in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.


Liesl Folks, PhD, MBA

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
She / Her / Hers