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Special Policies for Spring 2020

In response to the exceptional learning circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the withdrawal deadline has been extended to April 30 and a temporary alternate grade designation policy has been adopted for this semester. It is available for students enrolled in Spring 2020 residential classes and Spring Term 2 online classes. We hope these adjustments provide helpful options for students whose academic record may be negatively affected by circumstances beyond their control. Please read the information below carefully for complete details.

 

Temporary Withdrawal Extension

 

The withdrawal deadline for all courses has been extended to Thursday, April 30. If you want to request a withdrawal, follow the procedure described below. We encourage you to communicate with your instructor and your advisor before making a decision. If withdrawing from one or more courses will leave you enrolled in fewer than 12 hours, you should also contact Student Financial Services to determine the impact on your financial aid package.

In order to withdraw from a course, you must submit an official request, which will be reviewed and approved by your advisor and dean before being finalized. An approved withdrawal results in a “W” on your official transcript but does not affect your GPA. Withdrawing from a course does not qualify for a refund of tuition and fees.

  1. Email the Registrar (atkinsons@obu.edu) and request a withdrawal form. The Registrar will send you an email message requesting the following information for your official withdrawal request.
    1. ID #
    2. Name
    3. Date
    4. Advisor
    5. Course you are requesting to withdraw from:
      1. Sequence #
      2. Department
      3. Course #
      4. Course Title
      5. Instructor
    6. Total hours scheduled before change
    7. Total hours withdrawing
    8. Total hours scheduled after change
  2. After answering each question in the email template, send the email message to your advisor’s email address and copy it to your dean’s email address.
  3. Your advisor may contact you to discuss why you intend to withdraw, how it could affect progress on your degree plan, and whether you should consider other options.
  4. If your advisor approves the withdrawal request, it goes next to your dean. Once the dean approves, the withdrawal will be processed. You will receive an automated email confirming the withdrawal once the process is complete.

Withdrawing from the University: The process described above is for students withdrawing from some courses but not all. Those who need to withdraw from ALL courses must contact the Dean of Students (rogersr@obu.edu). Withdrawing from the university requires clearance from Student Financial Services and other selected offices on campus. If you have any questions, please contact your dean’s office, the Office of Academic Affairs (lewism@obu.edu) or the Registrar’s Office (atkinsons@obu.edu).

 

Temporary Grade Designation Policy

 

Faculty will assign and report letter grades as usual. After final grades are posted, students may officially request the Registrar’s Office to change the grades designated on their transcript as indicated in the table below. Note that final grades entered as Failure (F) and Unsatisfactory (U) will automatically be designated No Credit (NC) and require no official request by the student. Graduating seniors will be required to submit these change requests between May 13-15, while all other students will have until May 22, 2020, to submit requests. If a student does not request a change within these dates, the assigned grade will stand and will calculate as usual in the grade point average. We will provide additional information, including specific instructions for submitting the grade change request, before final exams begin. 

Final course grade submitted by instructor Optional designation on the transcript* Effect on student’s academic record
A, B, C P Student may elect Pass (P). Credit is awarded for the course. The grade is not factored into the GPA calculation. With this designation, the course satisfies any requirement for which a C or better is acceptable.
D LP Student may elect Low Pass (LP). Credit is awarded for the course. The grade is not factored into the GPA calculation. With this designation, the course satisfies general requirements but does not satisfy any requirement for which a C or better is necessary, including meeting a pre-requisite for other courses.
F NC The grade will be designated No Credit (NC). The student is not required to submit a formal request. No credit is awarded for the course. The grade is not factored into the GPA calculation. Any required course with this designation must be repeated in order to satisfy graduation requirements.
S - No alternate designation.
U NC The grade will be designated No Credit (NC). The student is not required to submit a formal request. No credit is awarded for the course. The grade is not factored into the GPA calculation. Any required course with this designation must be repeated in order to meet graduation requirements.
* These alternate transcript designations may not be acceptable for students enrolled in degree programs leading to licensure or certification. It is the student’s responsibility to check with their advisor or with the program director of such programs before submitting a formal request for the alternate designation.

 

You are encouraged to continue working to earn the best possible grade in your classes through the end of the semester since the outcome will influence your decisions. Keep in mind that it may not always be in your best interest to choose the alternate grade designation. Some graduate and professional schools, for example, do not accept such designations. Students on academic probation can attain regular academic status only by earning letter grades that can improve their grade point average. Furthermore, there could be financial aid implications for choosing alternate designations. Since each student’s situation is different, you are strongly encouraged to consult your advisor or dean as well as Student Financial Services before submitting any request for a change of grade designation. Please be watching for additional guidance and instructions, which we will provide before final exams begin.

 

Frequently Asked Questions regarding alternate grade designations

 

How do alternate grade designations affect my academic record?

Final grade designations of P (Pass) and LP (Low Pass) award credit for the course but do not change your semester GPA. If you are required to make a C or better in the course, a final grade of P satisfies the requirement; a final grade of LP does not satisfy the requirement. 

A final grade of NC (No Credit) does not award credit for the course and does not impact your GPA. This grade change will be made administratively and does not require you to submit a request. The course must be repeated if required for graduation or if needed to raise your GPA.

 

How do alternate grade designations affect my ability to earn academic honors and awards?


President’s List and Dean’s List for Spring 2020 

To qualify for either of these distinctions, your final spring semester transcript must include at least twelve hours of regular letter grades and must not include any grade of NC (No Credit). Consistent with university policy, your final semester GPA after any grade changes are recorded must be 4.000 for the President’s List and 3.500 for the Dean’s List.


Graduation with Honors

The basis for determining whether a student graduates with academic honors will be the final cumulative GPA after grade changes are posted. Honor graduates will be recognized at Commencement based on their final cumulative GPA according to the following levels of achievement: cum laude (3.500), magna cum laude (3.750), or summa cum laude (3.950).


Carl Goodson Honors Program

Requirements for completion of the Honors Program have not changed. Eligibility for continuation in the program is based on the final semester GPA after any grade changes have been posted.

 

What considerations are important when deciding whether to request changes?


Academic Probation

For Spring 2020 only, students will retain the status they had at the beginning of the semester unless their GPA improves to a level that allows them to attain regular academic status. The temporary grade policy is designed to help students avoid a negative impact on their academic record due to circumstances beyond their control. In some situations, changing your grade could make it more difficult for you to attain regular academic status. If you are on Conditional Admission or Academic Probation, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Academic Success Center to help you consider the impact of changing letter grades. (Phone: 870-245-5381; Email: academicsuccesscenter@obu.edu).


Athletic Eligibility 

If you have questions about the impact of changing grades on athletic eligibility, please contact David Sharp, Athletic Director, at sharpd@obu.edu or 870-230-2272.


Application for graduate/professional school or transfer to another institution

If you plan to apply for graduate or professional school or transfer to another university to complete your degree, choosing the P or LP could put you at a disadvantage, depending on the policy of the other institution. Ouachita has no control over how other institutions or organizations evaluate alternate grade designations. Under normal circumstances, many graduate and professional schools do not accept a P for an undergraduate prerequisite course. Though some have announced they will waive this requirement due to the exceptional circumstances for Spring 2020, others have not done so. Be sure to visit with your advisor and/or check with the institutions to which you plan to apply for admission before requesting a grade change. The same thing is true for students who plan to transfer to another institution to compete their undergraduate degree.


Cumulative GPA 

Changing a grade may increase your Spring 2020 semester GPA, while at the same time decreasing your cumulative GPA. For example, if your overall GPA is 2.5 and your grades at the end of the semester are a combination of A’s, B’s, and C’s, you could achieve a semester GPA of 4.0 by changing all the B’s and C’s to P (Pass). In changing the B to P, however, you forfeit some quality points that would otherwise improve your 2.5 cumulative GPA. As a rule of thumb, in order to raise your cumulative GPA, it’s better to keep letter grades that are equal to or higher than your previous cumulative GPA and to request a change of grade for those that are lower than your previous cumulative GPA.   


Degree programs that lead to licensure or certification

If you are enrolled in the teacher education program or in other programs that lead to licensure or certification, be sure to check with your advisor to find out what impact changing a grade to P or LP may have on licensure or certification requirements. 


Financial aid 

Designating your letter grades as P or LP could potentially have implications for your financial aid. State and federal authorities have indicated that they will waive certain requirements for maintaining financial aid this semester. The same will be true for Ouachita-funded scholarships. If these are the sources of your financial aid, changing your grades will not have a negative impact. However, certain private scholarships or other forms of aid may not accept grades of P or LP for renewal. If you are uncertain, check with Student Financial Services (obustudentfinancialservices@obu.edu or 870-245-5570) to determine whether changing your grades will have a negative impact on your financial aid.

 

How do I calculate my grade point average?  

Quality credits are assigned to grades based on the following formula: the number of semester hours credit times 4 for an A, 3 for a B, 2 for a C, and 1 for a D, and none for an F or U. The GPA is calculated by dividing the sum of quality credits by the sum of attempted hours for grades A through F and U and carried to 3 decimal places. For an example, see the toggle below.

GPA=  Total Quality Points Earned
           Total Hours Attempted

 

(G1 x C1)+(G2 x C2)+(G3 x C3)+(G4 x C4)+………….(Gn x Cn)
Total # of Credits Attempted

 

In this formula, G= the grade in a course and C= number of credits for a course. For example, suppose you had the following grades:

 

“A” in CORE 2314.0               (4 Credits)                   G1 (“A”) = 4.0

“B” in CORE 1123.0              (3 Credit)                     G2 (“B”) =  3.0

“C” in CORE 2213.0              (3 Credit)                     G3 (“C”) =  2.0

“D” in CORE 1022.0               (2 Credits)                   G4 (“D”) = 1.0

“F”  in  ASKL 2001.0              (1 Credit)                     G5 (“F”) =  0.0

 

Here’s how to figure the GPA from the grades above:

(4.0 x 4)+(3.0 x 3)+(2.0 x 3)+(1.0 x 2)+(0.0 x 1) = 16+9+6+2+0 = 2.54
                              4+3+3+2+1                                      13

 

How do alternate grade designations work with the repeat policy?

Ouachita’s policy allows students to repeat courses in which they have earned a D or F. The grade you earn the second time you take the course replaces the grade from your first attempt. Please read the following information carefully and contact your advisor or dean if you need further assistance.

  • I’ve just finished taking a class for the second time. Will alternate grades be treated as a repeat according to the policy?
    • If the grade you earn is D or higher, it WILL be treated as a repeat, whether you keep the D or change it to P or LP. Depending on your cumulative GPA, in some cases keeping the grade will improve your GPA more than changing to a P or LP. 
    • If the grade you earn is F, it will be administratively changed to NC and WILL NOT be treated as a repeat. If you take the class a third time, it will be treated as your first repeat of the course.
  • The class I’m currently taking is not a repeat. If I make an F and it becomes a NC, or if I make a D and change it to LP, how will the repeat policy apply when I re-take the course?
    • If you fail the class, the grade will be administratively changed to NC. The next time you take the course, it WILL NOTbe treated as a repeat; you are starting over. This is because the NC does not award credit, nor does it count as attempted hours for the purpose of calculating the GPA.
    • If you make a D this semester and then request to change it to LP, when you repeat the course, it WILL be treated as a repeat because you completed the course and earned credit for it. You will not earn additional credit for the same course, but the grade you make the second time will replace the LP and will be calculated in your GPA.
 

How do I request a change of grade?

After faculty have submitted grades, a change of grade request form will be posted on your INFO web portal. You can use this electronic form to request all grade changes within the time frame listed below. If you discover that you’ve made a mistake, you can submit a revised request until the change of grade has been posted. Once it has posted, the change is considered final.

 

What is the time frame for requesting grade changes?

All students may request grade changes beginning at noon on Wednesday, May 13.

Graduating seniors must submit change requests by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 15.

All other students must submit change requests by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22.

 

When will the grade changes be posted to the transcript?

For graduating seniors, grade changes will be posted by the end of the week of May 18-22.

For all other students, grade changes will be posted by the end of the week of May 25-29.

NOTE: If you need an official transcript before grade changes have been processed, the transcript will reflect the grades submitted by your instructor.

 

When can I get an official transcript reflecting the requested changes?

There will be a gap of a several days and as much as a couple of weeks between the time you submit your request and the time when the grade change is recorded on your transcript. If you request an official transcript before grade changes have been processed, it will reflect the grades submitted by our instructors. If you have questions or need assistance, contact quallsj@obu.edu or 870-245-5772.

 

Is there a limit to how many courses I can change to P or LP? 

No. Although there is no limit, you should consider the impact on your academic record of changing grades in multiple courses.

 

Am I required to get approval from my advisor or dean to request a grade change?

You’re not required to get prior approval; however, you are encouraged to consult with your advisor and/or your dean if there is any part of the policy that you don’t fully understand. By submitting a change of grade request, you are accepting responsibility for the impact on your academic record.

 

What if I’m enrolled in a Henderson State University class through Ouachita?

Ouachita has asked HSU instructors to submit letter grades for Ouachita students. For those who do, you will have the same opportunity to request grade changes as you do for your Ouachita courses. However, HSU has adopted a different grading policy, one that allows instructors at their discretion to grade on a Credit/No Credit basis. If your HSU instructor does not assign a letter grade, you will receive a P if the grade submitted is Credit and a NC if the grade submitted is No Credit.

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