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California State University, Fullerton
Titans Return: COVID-19 Recovery

Credit/No-Credit Grading Basis for CSUF Students

IMPORTANT NOTE TO OUR TITAN STUDENTS: Due to the COVID-19 crisis, you will have a choice of the type of grade (grading basis) to select for your spring 2020 courses. You can either choose the letter grade you earn for the course (A – through F type grades) – OR – the Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) equivalent to the letter grade (If you were in enrolled in courses that only offer CR/NC, that will be the only grading basis for those courses.) The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) are designed to help you learn more about the spring 2020 grading basis process and to provide guidance to help you make the best choices! 

PLEASE THOROUGHLY READ THROUGH ALL OF THE FOLLOWING FAQs — before you choose, you need to be aware of a number of letter grade vs. CR/NC consequences; some may or may not be beneficial to you.

Opting for CR/NC grades can have numerous effects, based on your student status (such as veterans, financial aid benefits, academic probation, repeating a course to improve a prior grade, re-entry students in Extended Education, student-athletes, pre-licensure or credential programs, post-baccalaureate programs to prepare for a professional school, etc.), so the best choice requires careful consideration and advisement.

You will have from May 22nd to June 1st at 11:59 p.m. to decide if you want to change letter grades to the CR/NC grade equivalent. The CR/NC Grading Option Student User Guide (click link) describes the process in detail. CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

General Grading Basis Questions

What is grading basis?

CSU courses are mostly offered for a letter grade (A-F) and some are offered with a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) option. The equivalent letter grades for CR/NC are:

  • Undergraduate courses:  CR = A through C- grades and NC = D+ through F grades.
  • Graduate courses:  CR = A through B- grades and NC = C+ through F grades.

Can I choose either the letter grade or CR/NC grade option for my classes?

In response to the COVID-19 disruptions, all undergraduate and graduate courses that were not given a CR/NC option will now have the option for you to choose the equivalent CR/NC grade option. Some courses were already set up with the CR/NC option, but now the university is extending this choice to all courses that use traditional A – F letter grades.

How do I opt for the letter grade or CR/NC grade option?

For process details, please thoroughly review the CR/NC Grading Basis Option User Guide. Please know that we emphasize utilizing these resources, and contacting specific offices based on your status or questions before you make your course decisions. Remember CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

How will CR/NC grades affect my GPA?

CR and NC grades are not calculated in your GPA. Therefore, if you are taking the course to improve your GPA, the CR/NC grading option may not be helpful to you. CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

Can I change my mind about my option choice after the spring 2020 semester?

That’s not so easy… you would need to follow the normal grade appeal process to change any spring 2020 grades and this is typically a long process. Remember CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

I heard there were some student groups who can’t or shouldn’t take CR/NC grades. Am I in one of those groups?

There are some student groups that have CR/NC restrictions, such as student-athletes, veterans, and some international students. Please CHECK with your academic advisor, Athletics Academic Services Office, Veteran Resource Center or the International Programs Office for more details. You may fall into several categories, so it’s a good idea to CHECK with those various offices.

What about courses that are prerequisites for other courses?

For the spring 2020 term, CR grades will be accepted for prerequisite courses. 

What grades are required for the General Education (GE) “Golden Four” courses?

For the GE “Golden Four” courses, you must earn a C- grade or higher in the following categories:

A1 – Oral Communication
A2 – Written Communication
A3 – Critical Thinking
B4 – Mathematics/Quantitative Analysis

What should I consider if I want to choose CR/NC grades for the GE “Golden Four” courses?

For the GE “Golden Four”, both the letter grade (C-) and CR grade would be ok. However, if you earn a D or D+ grade in a Golden Four course, NC may be the better option, as it will not impact your GPA (even though you would still have to retake the course). If you earn a D or D+ letter grade, selecting the D or D+ grade would earn course credit but the NC grade option would not. In such a scenario, you would have to consider which would be better for other factors such as GPA, financial aid eligibility, etc. CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

What grades are required for other GE courses (not GE “Golden Four” courses)?

A grade of CR will satisfy the requirement for all other GE course as well. For GE courses (not GE “Golden Four” courses) a D or D+ grade will also satisfy the GE requirement.  Therefore, for these classes, you should carefully consider whether the D or D+ grade or the NC grade would be your better option for other factors such as GPA, financial aid eligibility, hours to degree, etc.CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

I’m thinking about graduate school/medical school/pharmacy school, etc. Does the grading basis matter for that?

In some cases, yes. Be sure you know what the graduate programs you are interested in require in terms of letter grades in undergraduate coursework.

I’m on the Dean’s List (or trying to use grades this semester to get on the Dean’s List). How do CR/NC grades affect this?

CR/NC grades will not be factored into eligibility for Dean’s List status.

I’m am graduating with honors. How do CR/NC grades affect this?

CR/NC grades will not be factored into eligibility for graduation with the conferral of honors.

I’m in a program that is leading to a license or has clinical requirements. Can I change to CR/NC?

It depends on the course but many might not accept CR/NC grades. CHECK with your advisor for guidance.

I’m in a blended or integrated teacher education program (Liberal Studies ITEP/English FYI and JYI/Math FYI and JYI). Can I take courses for CR/NC grades?

Yes, for the spring 2020 term, CR grades will be accepted for courses within these programs.

I’m in a subject matter waiver program leading to a credential. Can I take courses for CR/NC grades?

Yes, for the spring 2020 term, CR grades will be accepted for courses within these programs.

What about if I have financial aid?

CR/NC grades can have an impact on Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP is measured by cumulative GPA and Program Pace. CR/NC grades have no impact on GPA. Any NC grades will have the same impact on SAP and Pace calculations as an F or WU. Any CR grades will count as units earned in these calculations, but will not help any GPA concerns. CHECK with the Financial Aid office for more information.

I’m on academic probation. Can I change grading status?

The spring 2020 semester will be excluded from GPA calculation of academic probation, allowing an extension of one semester for you to improve your GPA to the minimum 2.0 and come off of academic probation. However, if you earn letter grades that will help you come off of academic probation, then you probably should take the letter grade option for such courses.

My GPAs will probably meet academic disqualification (DQ) at the end of the spring 2020 semester. How does the COVID-19 crisis affect my admitted status for fall 2020?

You will remain in an admitted status –on continued probation– through the end of fall 2020.  Your CSUF and cumulative GPA at the end of fall 2020 will determine official academic disqualification, so it is important your future letter grades from summer and/or fall 2020 improve both GPAs to be at or above the threshold for DQ. GPA information can be found at Academic Disqualification Information.  For further guidance, contact your academic advisors.

Can I change grading basis to CR/NC for my spring 2020 classes if I am going to meet DQ at the end of spring 2020 semester?

If a letter grade on some or all your spring 2020 courses helps to maintain or improve your GPAs, then you probably should not select the CR/NC option. Letter grades are still necessary for good academic standing and most academic plans. CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

Can I ask for a grade of Incomplete?

Yes, you can if you meet the Incomplete Authorized criteria. The incomplete policy may be found in the  CSUF Spring 2020 Registration Guide. Please be sure to set up a clear timeline with your faculty member for completing the work. Remember, if you do not complete the requirements to satisfy the incomplete, you will receive an “IC” grade which is equivalent to an F.

How will my academic record distinguish the unforeseen disruptions to the spring 2020 semester caused by COVID-19?

Each student enrolled during the spring 2020 semester will have a “COVID-19” statement placed onto their transcript for that term.

What should I know if I want to withdraw for the spring 2020 semester?

Some announcements to consider about spring 2020 course withdrawals:

  • You may withdraw for non-medical reasons related to the COVID-19 disruptions up to May 8, 2020.
  • Course withdrawals earned during the spring 2020 semester will not count against the withdrawal maximum of 18 units for courses attempted at Cal State Fullerton.
  • You may repeat a course with a CR grade earned in spring 2020 for a letter grade (to replace the CR grade) in a subsequent term if you think this will be beneficial.
  • Units earned for a repeated course in spring 2020 shall be excluded from the 16 unit maximum for grade forgiveness allowed at Cal State Fullerton.
  • You may repeat a course taken in spring 2020 even if the student has already attempted the course twice without filing a petition to do so.

If I get a letter grade of D+, will that count as a CR grade?

No, for the spring 2020 grading basis, the CR grading basis for undergraduate credit is A to C- letter grades. The CR grading basis for graduate credit is A to B- letter grades.

How many total CR grades can I get toward my degree plan?

You can earn up to 36 CR semester units, including those transferred from other institutions.

Can a CR grade satisfy the Standards in Upper Division or Graduate Writing requirement?

For undergraduate students, the Upper Division Writing Requirement for a major can be satisfied with a grade of CR in spring 2020. For graduate students, a CR grade will satisfy graduate program writing requirements in spring 2020.

Unit-Specific Questions

Academic Advising

Are letter grades required for certain courses in particular majors? Will that be waived this semester?

For the spring 2020 term, CR grades will be accepted for major courses.

What other advisement factors should I consider?

Some other tips to consider:

  • If you are repeating a class to repair a past unsatisfactory grade to raise your overall Grade Point Average (“Grade Forgiveness”), CR/NC will not contribute to an improved overall GPA. Grade Forgiveness requires a letter grade.

How do I opt for the letter grade or CR/NC grade option?

For process details, please thoroughly review the CR/NC Grading Option Student User Guide. Please know that we emphasize utilizing these resources, and contacting specific offices based on your status or questions before you make your course decisions. Remember CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

Who should I contact for more information?

Athletics

As a student-athlete, what are some of the impacts of CR/NC grade options that I should consider?

Some other tips to consider:

  • Per current NCAA rules, student-athletes are required to meet minimum GPA requirements and degree progress benchmarks (each semester and annually), based on semesters of full-time enrollment.  Decisions to elect CR/NC versus a letter grade can have impact on your NCAA eligibility, athletic scholarship, your team and overall Academic Progress Rate (APR).  Failure to meet minimum APR metrics can result in post-season ban, loss of scholarships and NCAA membership for CSUF.
  • As a student-athlete, you are urged to CHECK with your Athletics Academic Services (AAS) counselor prior to making any decisions regarding selection of a CR/NC grade option.  In this way, AAS Counselors can individually advise you regarding how decisions may potentially impact your NCAA eligibility and graduation benchmarks.

How do I opt for the letter grade or CR/NC grade option?

For process details, please thoroughly review the CR/NC Grading Option Student User Guide. Please know that we emphasize utilizing these resources, and contacting specific offices based on your status or questions before you make your course decisions. Remember CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

Who should I contact for more information?

CHECK with your AAS counselor

EOP

I am an EOP student. Who should I contact?

If you are considering opting for CR/NC grades, you are urged to CHECK with your EOP counselor prior to making a decision. For process details, please thoroughly review the CR/NC Grading Grading Option Student User Guide. Please know that we emphasize utilizing these resources, and contacting specific offices based on your status or questions before you make your course decisions. Remember CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

Link to EOP – Click Here

Financial Aid

I really need better understand the impact of CR/NC grades on my financial aid eligibility. What other information should I consider?

Some other tips to consider:

  • NC credits would not be counted as earned credits for Financial Aid purposes.
  • Financial Aid considers grades of F or W or “I” for Withdrawals (R2T4), with NC grade.
  • You will need to maintain a 67% passing rate for courses completed/units attempted. If you fall below 67%, your Financial Aid eligibility may be jeopardized, requiring you to complete a SAP appeal to the Office of Financial Aid for review. Note that appeals are a process, but do not automatically restore your eligibility.
  • Since academic disqualifications will be suspended for spring 2020, if you earn and opt for letter grades that cause your GPA to drop below 2.0, your Financial Aid eligibility may be jeopardized, requiring you to complete a SAP appeal to the Office of Financial Aid for review.
  • You can monitor your SAP status and see additional information on the Financial Aid SAP policy webpage: Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Financial Aid Policy.

How do I opt for the letter grade or CR/NC grade option?

For process details, please thoroughly review the CR/NC Grading Option Student User Guide. Please know that we emphasize utilizing these resources, and contacting specific offices based on your status or questions before you make your course decisions. Remember CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

Who should I contact for more information?

CHECK with your Financial Aid counselor for more information.

International Programs

I am an international student. What special details should I be aware of?

Some other tips to consider:

  • International students on J-1 exchange programs might require a letter grade option for their home institutions’ requirements. As a J-1 exchange student considering the CR/NC grading option, you must seek permission from your home institution and have your home institution notify ISS of such permission.  
  • International students must seek advisement from ISS Advisors prior to any withdrawal from any courses, even if course has CR/NC grading option. Any unauthorized withdrawal from a course with a CR/NC option may result in a NC* grade (equivalent to WU), which will negatively affect your visa status.
  • International students who are enrolled in internship courses such as ART 495, COMM 495, EGGN 495, CTVA 495, etc., and have been issued internship work permits (CPT or Curricular Practical Training) need to understand what is required for a passing grade if choosing CR/NC grade option. If you are an international student intern and cannot fulfill required hours for a passing grade due to COVID19 disruption, you are strongly urged to CHECK with ISS advisors and your internship course instructor.

How do I opt for the letter grade or CR/NC grade option?

For process details, please thoroughly review the CR/NC Grading Option Student User Guide. Please know that we emphasize utilizing these resources, and contacting specific offices based on your status or questions before you make your course decisions. Remember CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

Who should I contact for more information?

P Please CHECK with your ISS advisors.

Open University/EIP

What if I am enrolled in a program through Open University?

Some other tips to consider:

  • You are urged to CHECK with Open University advisors, especially if you are an academically disqualified student or other types of student seeking re-entry to the university.  Letter grades are still necessary for most academic plans and goals.
  • You are urged to CHECK with Open University advisors, especially if you are an academically disqualified student or other types of student seeking re-entry to the university.  Letter grades are still necessary for most academic plans and goals. 

What if I am enrolled in credit programs offered through Extension and International Programs?

Some other tips to consider:

  • Students enrolled in degree programs, postbaccalaureate programs, credit certificate programs, and other credit courses, administered by Extension and International Programs-EIP should first consult with the appropriate program administrator regarding any grade option change decision. Letter grades are still necessary for most academic plans and goals.

How do I opt for the letter grade or CR/NC grade option?

For process details, please thoroughly review the CR/NC Grading Option Student User Guide. Please know that we emphasize utilizing these resources, and contacting specific offices based on your status or questions before you make your course decisions. Remember CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

Who should I contact for more information?

Please CHECK with the following Open University advisors:

Margaret Y. Luzzi (mluzzi@fullerton.edu) or Suzanne Batista (sbatista@fullerton.edu)

Veterans Resource Center

What if I am a veteran or eligible for veterans’ benefits?

Some other tips to consider:

  • Students on VA benefits don’t generally face issues opting for CR/NC grades as long as you complete the course (i.e. do not receive a W or WU grade).
  • There are pros and cons various pros and cons that you should thoroughly consider when deciding which grading basis is best for you:

Pros:

  1. NC grade equivalents for D+, D and F letter grades have less impact of potentially poor performance on GPA and academic status.
  2. You may be able to reduce your worries about receiving unsatisfactory letter grades, (hopefully) allowing you to focus on doing your very best in your courses, and take care of your well-being and non-academic priorities, rather than stressing over individual grades.

Cons:

  1. CR/NC grades are not factored into your GPA and won’t help if you are trying to boost your GPA (unless the NC grade will help avoid a D+, D or F on your transcript and/or if you don’t need credits earned by a D letter grade). This may be important if you are about to graduate and applying to graduate school. The impacts of CR/NC grades upon grad school admission are not clearly known.
  2. If you are a transfer student, CR/NC grades don’t provide as many opportunities left in your degree plan to boost your GPA before completing your degree.
  3. Long-term impacts of competitive admissions for graduate programs (have heard feedback from certain graduate admission committees that they sometimes view credit/no-credit or pass/fail negatively.

How do I opt for the letter grade or CR/NC grade option?

For process details, please thoroughly review the CR/NC Grading Option Student User Guide. Please know that we emphasize utilizing these resources, and contacting specific offices based on your status or questions before you make your course decisions. Remember CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

Who should I contact for more information?

Please CHECK with counselors in the Veterans Resource Center