H-2 Undergraduate Grade Forgiveness
Academic recovery and success supported by early intervention and coordinated efforts that allow students to actively improve their academic standing is the driving force behind this policy.
It is part of a broader effort by Faculty Senate to align a larger set of policies aimed at academic recovery. Overall, it is part of a set of procedures intended to help reduce the number of students in academic difficulty and to promote learning along with academic success. Enabling undergraduate students to adjust their grade-point average after repeating a course in which they earned less than a C grade facilitates learning and mastery of academic content while also allowing them to reduce recovery points with the overarching goal of successfully completing their Penn State degree.
Grade forgiveness can only be requested after the student has repeated the course and earned a higher grade. The original grade remains on the transcript, but grade point averages are calculated without the forgiven grade. Grade forgiveness does not automatically alter prior academic decisions. Students should recognize that subsequent graduate or professional programs may opt to calculate a Grade Point Average based on all grades on an official transcript.
Upon implementation, this procedure is available to all current degree-seeking undergraduate students, including for courses completed prior to implementation or as a non-degree student. Once a student has earned their degree and graduated with their baccalaureate degree, they cannot request grade forgiveness.
- Grade Forgiveness: A process to retro-actively omit a grade from the grade-point average calculation. Previous academic statuses (e.g., Academic Warning and Dean's list) are not altered as a result of this process. All grades remain on the student's academic record.
- Attempted (as displayed on the unofficial advising transcript): All credits that a student has enrolled on their official University record following the regular drop/add deadline of a given semester.
- Earned Credits: Total credits earned equal the accumulation of all Penn State credits successfully completed by letter grades A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, or symbols SA, PA, FL and R; credits by examination as defined by Section 42-50; and credit granted by transfer from other colleges and universities as defined in Sections 42-80 and 42-90.
- GPA Units: Credits on a student's academic record that are formally used to calculate the cumulative Grade Point Average (i.e., courses in which a student has received a letter grade (A-F) in a class taken at Penn State).
- Grade Points: Numerical value of letter grades (A-F) used to calculate a Grade Point Average.
The following criteria govern requests for Grade Forgiveness:
- Students have a maximum of 12 credits for which grades can be forgiven.
- Students in an associate degree program have 6 credits for which grades can be forgiven (and another 6 credits if they continue into a baccalaureate degree program).
- Only grades of D or F can be forgiven.
- Students who have graduated are not eligible for Grade Forgiveness.
- Students considering Grade Forgiveness should meet with their academic adviser before repeating the course to discuss potential implications.
- After a course has been repeated (according to procedures outlined in the AAPPM under C-7) and a grade has been posted to the student's academic record, they may submit a request to their College of Enrollment for the prior grade to be removed from the computation of both their semester and cumulative grade-point averages.
- A single course can only be used to forgive the grade in a previous single attempt of that course (i.e., an improved grade only forgives one other grade on a student’s record—not all previous attempts).
- Students are required to work with their academic adviser (or other authorized individual) to complete a Grade Forgiveness Request form.
- Students receiving financial aid are strongly encouraged to consult with their campus representative from the Office of Student Aid about potential implications.
- International students on sponsorship are required to first meet with the Sponsored Relations Office in Global Programs.
- College review/approval of the request is only to ensure that the student still has enough forgiveness credits left; that they have consulted with their academic adviser and that they acknowledge that there may be potential Student Aid implications; and to verify that the courses are equivalent.
- Equivalent courses are considered courses that share the same Subject and Catalog Number. Courses that use the X9X numbering convention are excluded.
- Grade forgiveness cannot be applied to courses in which the student has received an academic sanction because of an academic integrity violation.
- Transfer courses cannot be used to forgive grades earned in Penn State courses.
- Course suffixes are not a restriction to Grade Forgiveness (e.g., Math 140B can be used to forgive a grade earned in Math 140).
When a grade is omitted through this policy:
- The adjusted GPA calculation cannot be reversed
- The credits remain under attempted (all instances of a given course appear in attempted)
- All attempted instances of a course and grade remain visible on the transcript
- A course for which a grade is being forgiven will not be included in the GPA Units and Earned credit totals (in effect, this will impact the GPA in the same way as a retroactive late-drop)
- A notation will be added to the transcript indicating the courses for which a grade has been omitted from the GPA calculation.
- It does not automatically alter prior academic decisions (such as Entrance to Major and scholarship program eligibility), but colleges and programs can establish their own process and criteria for students to request a review of their eligibility after grade forgiveness.
- It does not prevent subsequent graduate or other professional programs from calculating a Grade Point Average based on all grades posted to an official transcript.
Grade forgiveness will not change the Academic Standing of a previous semester. A petition for an immediate stay of academic suspension would be the appropriate way to manage this type of situation.