Pass/No-Credit Grading Option Available for Spring 2020

As part of the transition from in-person to online course delivery, Minnesota State University, Mankato is offering students expanded access to the pass/no-credit grading options for the Spring 2020 semester. Students have the option of changing the grading method of any course in which they are enrolled from a standard letter grading method (A-F) to a Pass/No Credit (P/NC) grading method.

What is Pass/No Credit?

Pass/No Credit (P/NC) is an alternate grading method that does not affect GPA. Some courses are already offered using P/NC grading, but most use standard letter grades. This Pass/No Credit grading option will apply to all courses for the Spring 2020 semester only.

Students are required to participate in all course activities and assessments, and faculty must record scores on those activities and assignments in a grade book. At the end of the term, faculty will tally scores and enter grades in eServices as usual.

How will this work?

Current pass/no-credit policies are suspended for the Spring 2020 semester only and will be replaced with the following:

  • Students may change any course in which they are enrolled to pass/no-credit.
  • There will be no limit to the number of Spring 2020 courses or credit hours that may be taken as pass/no-credit.
  • Spring 2020 courses graded as pass/no-credit will satisfy general education, major, minor, degree and/or elective requirements.
  • Undergraduate students
    • Grades of “A” through “C” will change to “P” and will earn the number of credit hours designated for the course. These grade equivalents for “P” align with current Minnesota State Mankato policy and parallel practices at many other universities.
    • If students select the pass/no-credit option, grades of “C-“ through “F” will change to “NC” and no credits will be earned for the course. These grade equivalents for “NC” align with current Minnesota State Mankato policy and parallel practices at many other universities.
  • Graduate students
    • Grades of “A” through “B” will change to “P” and will earn the number of credit hours designated for the course. These grade equivalents for “P” align with current Minnesota State Mankato policy and parallel practices at many other universities.
    • If students select the pass/no-credit option, grades of “B-“ through “F” will change to “NC” and no credits will be earned for the course. These grade equivalents for “NC” align with current Minnesota State Mankato policy and parallel practices at many other universities.
  • Grades of “P” and “NC” will not affect students’ grade point average.
  • At the end of the semester, students will have the option to use the regular grade appeal procedure to change letter grades to P/NC if they choose.

Is P/NC the right choice for you?

Before deciding to choose the pass/no-credit option, students should discuss the changes with their academic advisors to ensure there are no unforeseen consequences that result from switching to pass/no-credit. Students should consult MavConnect should they need to be reminded of the names of their advisors.

  • Courses earning a grade of “P” will count toward credits to graduate, but courses earning a grade of “NC” do not earn credits.
  • Accreditation requirements within the major or minor may prohibit P/NC grades. Many accrediting bodies and other entities recognize the unprecedented nature of this semester across the nation and are adjusting such requirements. Your advisors will have access to the most up to date information.
  • Although many other universities are going through the same changes, we do not know how graduate or professional schools will accept P/NC grades. If you are planning to apply to graduate school in the future, talk to your advisor about how P/NC grades might affect your eligibility.
  • Course prerequisites that require a grade of “C or higher” will be satisfied with a “P” grade. However, courses that require a certain letter grade higher than a “C” (e.g. “B or higher”) will not be satisfied with a “P” grade. If you are in a course or program that requires "B or higher" grades, consult your major advisor or the department offering the course with questions regarding their requirements.
  • If a course counts as part of a group of courses required for admission to a major in which grades are averaged, “P” will not be included in the GPA calculation. Students should consult with the appropriate major and other advisors prior to changing their grading option.
  • Students on academic warning or probation should check with the University Advising office to determine the effect P/NC grades might have on their academic standing.
  • Students on financial aid warning or probation should consult the Campus Hub to determine the effect P/NC grades might have on their financial aid status.


Students have the opportunity to change their grading method for courses completed during Spring Semester 2020 after their grades have been posted. The request for changing your grading method should be made between May 15 and June 15, 2020. Because changing your grading method may impact your academic standing, it is important for you to process your request during this timeframe.

You may change the grading method of any course from Letter Grade (A-F) to Pass/No Credit OR from Pass/No Credit to Letter Grade (A-F).

To request a change in grading method for a course, please complete the Grading Method Change form.

If you previously requested a Pass/No Credit grading method and wish to learn the actual letter grade your faculty member would have assigned, please check D2L or contact your instructor.

If you are unable to obtain your grade using one of these methods, please contact the Registrar’s Office on Maverick OneStop. To protect your privacy, grade information will be sent only to official MavMail email accounts.


The federal CARES Act has changed the way that Satisfactory Academic Progress will be calculated for students enrolled during Spring 2020. The specific language in the act states:

SEC. 4509. Satisfactory progress.

Notwithstanding section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1091), in determining whether a student is maintaining satisfactory progress for purposes of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.), an institution of higher education may, as a result of a qualifying emergency, exclude from the quantitative component of the calculation any attempted credits that were not completed by such student without requiring an appeal by such student.

As a result of this legislation, grades of W, I, and IP earned after March 12, 2020, will be removed from attempted credits in the calculation of a student’s completion percentage for the Spring 2020 semester. After removal, these credits will never be used in the calculation of a student’s completion percentage for any future term.

If you have questions about how this impacts you, please contact your college advising office.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that there are some situations in which students need only a D or better to count that course toward a requirement. In those cases, students should stick with the regular letter grade method.

Graduate students must earn a B or better to quality for the PASS (P) on their transcript and earn the credit for the course.

Most students will not exceed 30 total credits of P/NC courses, but if you are close to the maximum number permitted, talk to your advisor. Waivers might be available to students enrolled in Spring 2020 courses that are subject to the revised Grading Policy.

According to the Minnesota State Mankato Graduate Course Requirements, graduate students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA for all graduate work being counted toward the fulfillment of a graduate certificate or degree and that courses below a C- will not be counted for graduation credit. Thus, there could be cases where no credit (NC) might be advantageous for graduate students and suggest they consult with graduate program advisors.

Some organizations, such as AICPA and MNCPA guidelines, are accepting P/NC grades when listed as completed courses on student transcripts. Other organizations have not changed their stance on requiring letter grades.

We are asking all faculty to maintain a spreadsheet, grade book, or other document that archives all of the final grades for Spring 2020 students. Those archives will help us and the students down the road in case questions arise, students change majors, accrediting bodies require grades rather than P/NC, and other special circumstances.

The grading policy change for Spring 2020 to include P/NC grading accommodates the disruption that has been caused by COVID-19 spread. That disruption has occurred on two fronts: first in the course format change to online and then in the ripple effect it has had on living situations, study habits, workspaces, employment, family care, etc., including those caused by the Minnesota Stay at Home order.

Short courses in the first half of the semester ended before the institutional and community events that required the P/NC policy change.

For example, given that a C- is not considered a passing grade for some classes, shaded grading isn’t necessarily a student-centered grading option in the current situation.

We are still working out the details of the implementation to address everyone’s needs.

If you decide to change the grading method after you see your final grade--whether to change from letter to P/NC or vice versa--you will be able to do this through eServices.

According to the University Grading Policy, completion of course requirements for Incomplete (I) grades must occur by the end of the following semester unless the instructor sets a shorter time limit. Completion of course requirements for In Progress (IP) grades must occur within one year. At the end of that timeframe, the grade of "I" or “IP” automatically changes to “F” or “NC” (depending on the selected grading method) if no other grade is assigned.

Please contact your instructor to make a plan to complete the work required for the course.

Departments who specifically require letter-grades for major coursework may need to be more flexible with students who have transfer work from Spring 2020.

Program requirements that prohibit P/NC grades will be waived for Spring 2020 courses only. 

  • Enrolled in at least 12 credits (i.e. full-time enrollment),
  • Completed at least 6 of those 12 credits using the traditional letter grading method,
  • Earned grades of P for the remainder of their credit load for the term,
  • Earned a term GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Grades of P (pass) in Spring 2020 will not prevent students from earning graduation with honors.

Please contact your academic advisor to discuss your situation.

Student athletes should consult their academic and athletic advisors Karey Kalakian or Shane Drahota to determine whether P/NC grades will affect their athletic eligibility.

Courses offered for only P/NC grading are exempted from the twenty-five percent computation. We do not believe many students completing a baccalaureate degree will exceed 30 credits of P/NC credits, but if their choice this semester does cause that to happen then they can file an appeal for a policy waiver.

If the student is majoring in a department with a stricter limit than 30 total credits, they should contact the academic dean or the Office of the Provost.

Students completing an Associate of Arts degree should work with their academic advisor. If they exceed 15 credits due to their choice in Spring 2020, they can appeal to the Office of the Provost. If excluding Spring 2020 from the count is technologically possible, we support that procedure.

The Incomplete grade (“I") is reserved for special cases and means that, because of extenuating circumstances, the student failed to meet an important requirement of the course but has in other respects done passing work for the semester. The definition and procedure are available in the University Grading Policy.

Instructors may assign the grade of “IP” (In Progress) to students whose work at the end of a term is still in progress because the course, by design or by arrangement prior to registration, requires more than one term to complete all assignments. The In Progress grade is not recommended for students who have extenuating circumstances based on COVID-19.

Students will be able to use an online appeal procedure to change the grading method. To make that work, we must have the "alternate" (i.e. letter grade) recorded to make the change happen.