Communication to the Campus Community on Spring 2020 Grading and GPA Policies

published March 20, 2020

The Spring Semester 2020 disruption in instruction and in campus functions due to the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in the need to review policies related to grading and GPA requirements so that reasonable adjustments may be made to assist students and faculty in completing work for the term.

Following is information on how these rules and regulations related to grades and GPA requirements will be handled during this period to reduce stress on students and limit the additional workload for faculty and staff. This is a “hold harmless” approach that does not require us to suspend our policies. It is a temporary action and should not be viewed in any way as permanent action. Any change in policy would be handled in the normal manner through the Curriculum Committees and the Student Regulations Committee. This applies to online students as well as residential students and students at all GT locations around the world.

Further, the University System of Georgia has stated that there will be no change in policy including changes to deadlines related to pass/fail grading. This means that the deadline to change the grade mode for a course(s), which was March 11, 2020, has not been extended.


  1. Deadline to Withdraw with a W grade from Individual Courses or Withdraw from all Courses
    • The deadline that was March 11, 2020 is being extended to May 2, 2020, the end of the Spring 2020 term as listed on the academic calendar.
    • It is important to note that there has been no change to the refund calendar. This is an academic decision and does not impact fees. Refunds for individual courses exist during the first week of the term only and that has not changed.
  2. Deadline to Apply for Grade Substitution
    • The deadline was March 11, 2020. The deadline has been extended to May 2, 2020 the end of the term as listed on the academic calendar.
  3. Deadline to Remove Incomplete Grades from the Fall 2019 Semester
    • The deadline is May 2, 2020, the end of the term, for Incompletes in Fall 2019 courses, assuming the student is enrolled Spring 2020. The Incomplete revision to F process will be run on May 7. This process will operate in the normal manner.
    • Faculty who wish to extend the incomplete deadline for making up an Incomplete grade from Fall 2019 should email Paul Senft at paul.senft@registrar.gatech.edu with the student’s name and GT ID, the course (course, subject, section or CRN), and a date (such as August 1, 2020) when the Incomplete is expected to be completed. We have to enter a date in Banner to prevent the Incomplete from reverting to F.
  4. Incomplete Grades for Spring 2020 Courses
    • Incomplete grades are intended to be used when a student, for reasons that are not academic, is unable to complete work for the course. The related policy and guidance on the proper use of the Incomplete grade are on the Registrar’s website below.
    • It is recommended that instructional faculty not use Incomplete grades as a way to address the interruption in instruction that has occurred beginning March 16, 2020 except in cases of serious illness or other circumstances already outlined in the policy and guidance. Rather, it is recommended that faculty follow the guidelines in the Academic Continuity Plan and adapt as needed so that grades can be reported at the end of the term in the usual manner.
    • Assigning Incompletes may help address a problem in the short term, but our experience shows that students who enter the next term (in this case Summer or Fall) with Incomplete grades on the record and a new slate of courses to complete often struggle to handle the additional load. For students on Financial Aid, an Incomplete grade may interfere with eligibility for the next term. For students who are on scholarships or who have to complete a certain number of credits each term, such as student-athletes, Incomplete grades may create further problems. Incompletes should therefore be used sparingly and only if the student qualifies to have an Incomplete assigned in a course.
    • School Chairs can provide additional guidance on this as needed. Individual situations can be addressed on a one-on-one basis with the Registrar’s Office.
  5. GPA of 2.0- Undergraduate, 2.7 – Master’s programs, 3.0-Doctoral programs Required to Graduate
    • Note that at the graduate level the minimum GPAs listed are Institute requirements. School or College GPAs required to graduate may be higher.
    • If students on the May 2020 degree list do not meet the cumulative grade point average to graduate, academic advisor, in consultation with the School Chair as needed, work with the Registrar’s Office to explore options. They would look at the individual courses and grades and determine if a petition to the faculty or other action could address the deficiency. It should be noted that at the undergraduate level the requirement of a 2.0 cumulative GPA is not waived. At the graduate level, it is recommended that the same process be followed.
    • It may be important to note that this is standard routine. When a student does not meet requirements to graduate, the academic advisor and the Registrar’s Office often work together to determine if a solution can be found. It is also the case that in this process, they confer with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to ensure that any solution is sought does not create other problems. A policy cannot anticipate all possible cases that may arise, because each case has distinct qualities. A team of individuals with the required knowledge will review questions and concerns.
  6. Minimum Grade of C Required in Courses Required for the Major
    • Some majors at both the undergraduate and graduate levels require minimum grades in courses.
    • If a student graduating in Spring 2020 has not met the minimum required grade in a course/courses that the student is taking during Spring 2020, the School/College may determine whether an alternative may be found. Final degree audits will be conducted on May 5 and 6. Any updates to DegreeWorks would need to be reported to the Registrar’s Office by the close of Business on May 6 so that degrees can be awarded on May 7.
    • This might include a petition to the faculty. The decision lies within the School or College. See the examples in the Catalog.
  7. Graduation with Academic Distinction
    • Tentative honors at graduation are determined based on grade point average as students enter their final semester. This information is listed in the commencement program and determines which honor cords are issued prior to commencement. At the end of the semester, when grades are reported and GPAs are calculated, the students receive Academic Distinction based on that information. It may be that a student who is awarded tentative “graduation with honor” does not achieve the required GPA, which means that the transcript and diploma does not indicate this distinction. Conversely, the GPA of a student who is not awarded tentative graduation with honor may improve and a higher level of distinction is then eventually awarded.
    • Tentative honors be recognized as final for Spring 2020. If the student, once grades are reported, improved their GPA, the higher level of honors would be awarded. The Registrar’s Office will apply the honors to the transcript and diploma as the final grades would require. It will then review those that were on the tentative list for “graduation with honor” and award that distinction regardless of whether the final GPA meets the minimum requirement.
  8. Academic Standing – Warning, Probation, Dismissal
    • Academic standing is evaluated at the end of each term. Neither at the undergraduate nor graduate level will the policies be suspended. Rather, the academic advisors will work with the Registrar’s Office under the authority of the Student Regulations Committee to evaluate dismissals.
    • Standings of warning and probation will operate in the normal manner according to the policy.
    • Dismissals will be given extra scrutiny with the academic unit and the Registrar making prudent and appropriate decisions based on a thorough review of the records.
  9. Dean’s List
    • Dean’s List awards will operate in the normal manner.
  10. Faculty Honors
    • Faculty Honors will operate in the normal manner.

 

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