Spring 2020 Grading for Lawrence and Edwards Campus

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 12:49 p.m.
All KU Lawrence and Edwards Students


  • Students will be able to pursue a credit/no credit grading option in many cases.
  • If faculty for the College or a professional school elect to move all courses in their unit to a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading system, students (except for Law School students) will have the option to receive a letter grade.
  • The period to withdraw from a regular 16-week course has been extended to May 4.
  • Considering your best interest, the best advice I can offer is that you meet with an advisor before you make any changes to your grades or your academic plan.

Students –

Thank you for your perseverance and patience as we become more accustomed to our new learning environment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has required all of us at the University of Kansas to adjust and approach learning in different ways. I want you to know that as we work through these challenges together, my first consideration is for you, our students. My goal is to ensure to the greatest extent possible the ways we adjust do not impede your efforts to continue your educational goals, and when you experience adverse effects we work to offer you a means to ease your burden.

In recent weeks I’ve worked closely with the deans, vice provosts and student leadership to identify academic issues we now face as a result of this unique time so as to determine how we can best move forward.

For many of you, the disruption caused by COVID-19 may feel overwhelming and disorienting. Staying focused on studies may be a challenge under the best circumstances, let alone what we are experiencing now. Some Jayhawks now have child care responsibilities, responsibilities to care for ill and vulnerable family members, financial insecurity, mental and physical health concerns, and other situations that prevent you from working, or participating in course work and exam preparation as you did in the past. We are all struggling to adapt to such rapid and radical changes in the way we provide education and engage with each other in the instructional environment.

This disruption requires that we re-evaluate certain course completion and grading policies. Faculty have been informed of temporary policy and procedure changes that will be available to you, our students. How these changes might affect you will depend on your personal circumstances. Please carefully read these policy changes related to grading and course withdrawal and make sure you speak with an advisor to understand the long-term and short-term impact they may have on your academic career.

The temporary policy changes described below have been shared with KU faculty, advisors and academic leaders in order to support you and facilitate your academic progress this semester:

Extending the timeline for students to withdraw from classes

During the spring 2020 semester, students in regular 16-week classes will have until May 4, 2020, to withdraw from a class. For short courses still in progress, the withdrawal deadline will be modified proportionately. Please consult an advisor for the exact dates.

Spring 2020 grading policy options

It is important that the grading policy adopted by KU at this time does not further damage the ability of students to make progress toward completion of their degree program. Nor should we take any action that may negatively impact a student’s ability to complete licensure requirements or graduate program requirements. Therefore, and especially in licensure courses required in some fields, any student who is considering requesting a change to credit/no credit (CR/NC) is strongly encouraged to receive approval by an academic advisor or associate dean before making this change. Further, it is important to note that, if the CR/NC is not currently permitted by a school or program or for a licensure course, it will not be permitted as part of this policy.

Students, the most important advice I can offer you at this time is, before you proceed with any change, you should work closely with your advisor to fully explore and understand the implications, including those associated with student financial aid, degree completion, or licensure.

  1. Credit/no credit option: The Grading System described in University Senate Rules and Regulations (Article II, Section 2) will be modified for the spring 2020 semester to allow most students the choice of a credit/no credit option. - For spring 2020 term, courses that currently use letter grades will continue to use letter grades. However, students may individually opt to receive grades of credit/no credit through the Enroll and Pay System. All requests for credit/no credit grading option must be submitted in Enroll and Pay no later than 11:59 p.m., April 17. Students may select to change one or all of the classes in which they are enrolled. A separate request form is needed for each course.

Undergraduate students: The Undergraduate Advising Center offers introductory information on its website. Consult with an academic advisor before electing credit/no credit. Advisors, you should record notes in Jayhawk GPS that you consulted with the student.

Graduate students: Work with an advisor to submit changes to course grading options. Law School students, please refer to the grading policy update shared by Dean Stephen Mazza. - Students should consult with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and their advisor before changing grading options for their course(s).

Undergraduate students: Courses taken during the spring 2020 semester for credit/no credit, that are satisfactorily completed, can count toward a student’s undergraduate major requirements, unless the course falls under the CR/NC exception because it is not currently permitted by a school of program or for a licensure course. Courses graded credit/no credit do not count in computing grade point average. When a student changes academic programs, any satisfactorily completed credits accumulated during the spring 2020 will be accepted by the new KU department.

Graduate students: Courses graded credit/no credit may be taken in a graduate program if the course is not needed to fulfill hours toward the satisfaction of requirements. No course graded credit/no credit can count toward the satisfaction of the requirements for a graduate degree or a graduate certificate, except in the School of Law. - Students will choose to receive either the letter grade recorded by the instructor OR a credit /no credit designation by the deadline, April 17. Faculty will grade students as usual during the semester, and submit the letter grade (A-F, I) to the University Registrar following the standard submission process.

  1. Through the Dean, the entire faculty of the College or school may petition the Provost to convert grading for all Spring 2020 courses as outlined in U.S.R.R. Article II, Section 2.2.10, with the exception of the strikethrough sentence: “When it would not be appropriate to grade a course according to the grading system established above, the College or school may authorize the use of grades S and U in designated courses. A course to be graded S or U shall be identified prior to the beginning of the course in the Schedule of Classes. Approval to offer a course with the S and U grading system precludes the use of grades A, B, C, D, or F. The grade of S shall indicate the student did satisfactory work and these hours will count toward graduation. The U grade shall indicate the student's work was unsatisfactory and these hours will not count toward graduation. Grades of S and U will not count in computing the grade point average.
    In addition, for the spring 2020 term, in the case when academic units (other than the Law School) move to S/U grading, any student will have the opportunity to request an exception in order to receive an assigned grade.

Focus on Wellness and Studies

I know these past few weeks have not been easy for many of you. Our hope is that these policy changes will help you make informed decisions that allow you to manage the disruption we’re experiencing. We know you have additional questions, and our Public Health Planning Team as well as KU’s senior leadership are meeting daily to ensure we provide you with answers.

Please stay connected, virtually, with your classmates and faculty. Study and try to keep your mind on your subjects. Take care of yourself and the others around you. And now more than ever, please practice social distancing and follow the guidelines on self-care.

As always, if you need help and are unsure where to go, or if you feel the need to share your perspective with us, please send an email to provost@ku.edu.



Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor