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The University of Montana’s Faculty Senate passed a new policy Thursday that will grant undergraduate students the option to choose a Credit/No Credit grading system, according to an email from the Office of the Provost.

The senate passed the policy to ease students’ worries about Grade Point Averages in the midst of changing class formats and syllabi caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Provost Jon Harbor stated in the email. The policy will let undergraduates choose whether they want to receive a traditional letter-based grade or a credit grade. The choice will not have to be made until after final grades have been posted.

“I am proud that our academic community has developed a solution that can take some pressure off our undergraduates and give them some options in light of the current circumstances,” Harbor stated in the email. “I look forward to a similarly helpful provision geared toward UM’s graduate students soon.”

The credit-based grades comprise three categories, according to the policy. Complete credit, credit and no credit. Complete credit is equivalent to a C- letter grade and above, credit is equivalent to a D, and no credit is an F grade.

Credit grades do not factor into a grade point average (GPA), but complete credit and credit grades will count toward earned semester hours. Complete credit grades will qualify as prerequisites and will satisfy both degree and general education requirements at UM, according to the email. A no credit grade does not count toward earned semester hours. 

Students don’t need to worry about making any changes now. Instead, the policy designates that all students who choose the Credit/No Credit format will have their transcripts changed by the Registrar uniformly. The transcripts will indicate that the grades were impacted by a “global health emergency.”

Instructors will post grades in a traditional letter format, and each student will have seven days to decide whether or not they want to choose Credit/No Credit.

UM’s Graduate Council will be meeting to discuss alternate grading solutions next week, according to Harbor’s email.