Office of the Registrar

Due to Covid-19, Western Illinois University has adjusted the Pass/Fail policy for the Spring 2020 semester. After the Spring 2020 semester, the Pass/Fail policy will revert back to the language noted in the undergraduate catalog.

NOTE: Some external organizations and governing bodies are also updating their rules and regulations regarding Pass/Fail grading, which may impact WIU processes. We will continue to revise these FAQs as things change, so check for updates regularly!

WIU Temporary Pass/Fail Policy FAQs - UPDATED May 13, 2020

  1. What is Pass/Fail grading?

    Pass/Fail grading has been allowed at WIU for undergraduate elective courses for many years. A Pass (P) grade means that a final grade of D- or higher was earned in that course. The student will receive credit for a course with a P grade, but the P grade does not have an impact on the GPA. If the student earned a failing grade (F, FN, or FW), the student will still have that Fail grade noted on the transcript, which does negatively impact the GPA. An F (or FN or FW) grade is the same as a Fail grade.

  2. What is different about the Pass/Fail policy for Spring 2020?

    Due to COVID-19, this policy was temporarily modified for full-semester and second eight-week Spring 2020 courses as follows:

    • Within one week of Spring 2020 final grades posting, any Spring 2020 undergraduate student may elect to have an undergraduate course grade of D- or above changed to a Pass (P) grade,
    • For P grades earned in Spring 2020 only, general education, major and minor course requirements may be fulfilled with those P grades, and the P grades accumulated in Spring 2020 will not count against the 12-semester hour maximum of general elective Pass/Fail credit allowed for graduation, and
    • Students must consult with their academic advisor prior to requesting P grades.
  3. What is the exact timeline for choosing a P grade option?

    Students may request to change a grade of A through D- to a P grade for one week after Spring 2020 final grades post on STARS (between May 13, 2020 – May 20, 2020). The option will not be available after this date, and a decision to take a P grade may not be reversed after May 20, 2020. The revised policy states that students must consult their academic advisor before submitting the request for one or more P grades to the Registrar’s Office. Due to the limited timeline for selecting P grades, students are strongly encouraged to discuss their options with their academic advisors as soon as possible before Spring 2020 final grades are posted on STARS.

  4. (NEW) How do I request P grades?

    Between Wednesday, May 13, 2020 and Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. (CST), undergraduate students will have the option on the STARS Grades screen to change course grades of D- and higher to Pass (P) grades for one or more full-semester or second 8-week undergraduate classes. There will be a “Change to Pass” button next to each eligible course. Courses taken for graduate or bridge credit, and courses with grades F, FN, FW, N, I, W, X, UX, S, or U are not eligible to be changed to P grades. Once the student has selected all courses to be changed to P grades, then the student will be required to click on a link to officially submit the request to change their standard grades to Pass (P) grades. A confirmation box will pop up requiring an acknowledgement that the student discussed the change(s) with their academic advisor and that the student understands and accepts the potential implications of Pass grades. All decisions must be made by the deadline of Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. If the student selects to change standard grades to P grades on STARS Grades screen, and then changes their mind by the May 20th deadline, that student will need to email the Office of the Registrar at to retract their Change to Pass request. No changes may be made after the May 20, 2020 deadline.

  5. Who is eligible to change a class to a P grade?

    All undergraduates are eligible to change one or more classes with a grade higher than D- to a P grade; however, certain programs have degree requirements that specify a minimum grade of C (or C+, or C-, etc.) for certain courses, which means a P grade isn’t necessarily a good idea for all students. A grade of P would not meet the minimum grade requirements for these programs.

  6. How do I know if my program has degree requirements that specify a minimum grade for certain courses?

    Check with your advisor to confirm how this applies to you, but the Office of the Registrar has identified the following programs that officially specify (in the undergraduate catalog and on the degree audit) a minimum grade for certain course degree requirements:

    • Athletic Training *
    • Engineering (all majors)
    • Emergency Management
    • Exercise Science *
    • Health Sciences Management
    • History Pre-Law Option
    • Law Enforcement and Justice Administration
    • Nursing
    • Public Health
    • Social Work
    • Teacher Education (all programs) *

    * (NEW) Athletic Training, Exercise Science, and all Teacher Education programs have approved an exception for Spring 2020 courses, and will allow Pass (P) grades to meet their degree requirements that have a minimum grade of C- specified.

    There are many other programs that requires grades of C or better (or C+ or C-, etc.) in specific courses before you can move forward to the next course in the sequence. These course prerequisites are noted in the catalog, and your advisor would also be able to alert you to those, as a grade of P might not meet those prerequisites.

  7. How will I know if it is a good idea for me to choose a P grade instead of my regular letter grade?

    There are many factors that affect whether or not it is a good idea to request one or more P grades. Generally, standard letter grades are best for the majority of students and situations, but it does depend on your prior academic history, your major, which class(es) you are considering for the P grade, and your future plans for graduate school, professional school, or licensure/certification in your field. Because there are so many factors that determine whether or not it ultimately is in your best interest to change a regular grade to a P grade, you must check with your academic advisor prior to requesting P grades. Your academic advisor will help you determine what is best for you based on your circumstances, but ultimately it is your responsibility to make an informed decision based on your specific situation.

  8. Can my professor just assign me a P grade instead of a regular letter grade?

    No. The professor can only assign one of the regular letter grades approved for the course. You, as the student, would have to take action to change the final grade to a P grade by the deadline. More details will be provided soon on how to select the P grade option.

  9. How will a grade of P affect my financial aid?

    Grades of P for the Spring 2020 semester will be treated as a standard grade change, since they will be applied after final grades are posted. Satisfactory Progress will be evaluated on your graded coursework and attempted/completed hours as of final grades posting. Grade changes that are a result of you switching to P grade(s) can be used to appeal your financial aid if the original grade resulted in financial aid suspension, due to not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress or the terms of a multi-term academic plan. Financial Aid will be notified by the Registrar if you change your official final grades to P grades. Students who failed to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress or the terms of their multi-term academic plan will need to submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal, but if the appeal is based on a grade change, then it will not count against a student’s total number of allowable appeals. For more information, check with your Financial Aid advisor.

  10. I am a Veteran (or in the National Guard or Military Reserves), and using my VA benefits for Spring 2020. Am I able to opt for P grades for one or more of my Spring classes, without jeopardizing my VA benefits?

    As long as you are making sufficient academic progress toward your degree, maintaining your GPA above a 2.00, and have consulted with your academic advisor to ensure your courses contribute toward your degree, the VA will cover courses with P grades for Spring 2020 that were changed to P due to COVID-19. If you have additional questions regarding your VA benefits, you may contact the Veteran's Resource Center at or 309-298-3505 Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

  11. I have a high GPA and I want to keep it that way. Should I change my regular grades to P grades?

    It depends. In many cases, it is in the student’s best interest to retain the original letter grade issued by the faculty member. Since you are not able to request P grades until after Spring 2020 final grades are posted on STARS, you will have the benefit of making the decision with complete information. Your grades may not be as low as you currently expect.

  12. I need a grade of C or better in one of my current classes in order to meet a prerequisite for a class I am scheduled to take in the Fall. Will a P grade meet the prerequisite of C or better?

    It depends. The grade of P will not automatically meet a prerequisite that requires a grade of C or better. Your academic advisor would be able to guide you on whether or not it is a good idea for you to take a P grade in this situation, as departments vary in how they view the P grade.

  13. Can courses that were offered online all semester still be changed to a P grade?


  14. I have an FW grade on my transcript for a Spring 2020 class. Can I opt for Pass/Fail and change the FW to a regular F grade?

    No. The F, FW, and FN grades are all Failing grades that affect the WIU GPA the same way, and would not be impacted by a change to Pass/Fail.

  15. I am on academic probation. Can I still take change my grades to P grades?

    Yes. Students on academic warning and academic probation may choose to change grades of D- or higher to P grades for one week after Spring 2020 final grades are posted on STARS. You must consult with your academic advisor though, because depending on your GPA, it may be better for you to keep your regular letter grade. The Council on Admission, Graduation, and Academic Standards approved a waiver that will allow all students currently on academic warning or probation to continue at WIU for Fall 2020. You will not be suspended or dismissed if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirements usually associated with academic warning or probation. Students should use this extended timeframe to try to improve their GPA as much as possible.

  16. I’m scheduled to graduate in May. Can I still change one or more of my grades to P grades?

    Yes, if you earned a D- or above, but you should be extra cautious in doing so. We will be conferring degrees within two days after final grades post, so if you are planning to change courses to P grades and your degree has already been conferred, please be aware that there are certain situations (depending on your major, and your major, minor and/or cumulative GPA) where a P grade may actually result in you no longer meeting graduation requirements. In that case, your degree would need to be revoked if you have not met specific graduate requirements with the P grade(s). The Office of the Registrar would notify you in advance of removing the degree, in order to verify how you wish to proceed.

  17. I am hoping to earn Dean’s List (Semester Honors) for Spring 2020. If I change some of my grades to P grades, will I be eligible for Dean’s List?

    It depends. The requirements for Dean’s List/Semester Honors did not change. In order to be eligible, a student must be in good standing, earn a minimum of 12 hours of credit in courses graded using honor point bearing letter grades (i.e. A, A-, B+, etc.), and earn a 3.60 average for the semester. If you drop below 12 hours of regular letter graded work due to changing classes to P grades, then you would not be eligible for Dean’s List for Spring.

  18. I am repeating a course for Grade Replacement this semester. I failed it before, but I’m passing it now with a D grade. Should I ask for the D grade to be changed to a P grade?

    Probably not. If you earn a D grade in Spring, then you will receive credit for the class for Spring, and the D grade will replace the GPA impact of the prior F grade. If you take the course for a P grade, then Grade Replacement cannot apply, because a P grade has no GPA impact. So, even though you will earn the credit for the course with the P grade, your prior F grade will still be negatively affecting your GPA.

  19. I am repeating a course for Grade Replacement this Spring. I earned a D+ in the class last year, but a C or better in the class is required for my major. I am earning a C- for Spring 2020. Should change the C- to a P grade?

    It depends. You must discuss this situation with your academic advisor. If you choose to take a P grade for Spring, then the original D+ grade will continue to affect your GPA, whereas the C- grade for the second course attempt would have boosted your GPA a little. You are only allowed to repeat a course twice (taking if for a total of 3 times) under the Repeating a Course for Grade Replacement policy. The P grade would not count as one of those attempts, since it cannot replace a regular letter grade.

  20. I am a student athlete. Can I change any of my regular grades to P grades?

    We have not received guidance on how NCAA plans to handle P grades, so retaining the regular grade submitted by the faculty member is probably best for student athletes. If you still want to change a class to a P grade, you should check with your athletic advisor, in addition to your academic advisor, before submitting your request to the Registrar’s Office.

  21. I received a U (Unsatisfactory) grade in one of my general education classes. Can I change that to a P grade?

    No, only standard letter grades that have honor points associated with them (i.e. A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-) are eligible for a Pass (P) grade. A U grade means the course was not completed satisfactorily. It does not impact your GPA, but you also cannot earn credit for a U grade.

  22. I withdrew from a course. Can I change the W to a P grade?

    No. If you withdrew from the course, then you cannot receive credit or a P grade for the course.

  23. I am enrolled in 12 hours for Spring. If I change a grade to a P, will that mean I’m not full-time anymore?

    No, you will still be considered full-time. Full-time versus part-time status is established at the tenth day of the semester. Also, you still receive credit hours for a P grade.

  24. Will I be able to use the GPA Calculator on the Registrar’s website to calculate the GPA impact of changing my regular grades to P grades?

    Yes. The GPA Calculator allows the option of a P grade, so you can try multiple scenarios.

  25. My professor allowed me to take an Incomplete (I) grade for a Spring class. Can I change that to a P grade once the coursework is complete and the final grade is assigned?

    The deadline for students to change Spring 2020 grades of D- or higher to P grades is May 20, 2020. If your Incomplete is finalized after that date, then you will not be able to change the grade to a P grade.

  26. I am a member of the Honors College. Am I able to change my Honors course grade to a P grade?

    The Pass/Fail option may be applied to your honors courses in the same manner as your non-honors courses.

    The P grade will count towards your honors curriculum for those courses that do not specify a minimum grade to satisfy honors requirements. Examples: Students completing Honors in the Major in Accountancy or Math must earn a B or better in honors courses to earn honors credit. Students completing Honors in the Major in Chemistry must earn a B- or better in honors courses. A Pass/Fail grade will not earn honors credit in courses requiring a minimum grade and students would be required to complete additional honors work to satisfy honors requirements.

    NOTE: Successful completion of in-course honors projects is separate from your course grade. Faculty notify the Honors College regarding completion of your honors project independently of awarding a class grade. You may select the Pass/Fall option (if applicable) and still receive honors credit if faculty inform the Honors College that you completed your project.

    You should carefully review your honors requirements to determine if the honors course(s) in which you are currently enrolled specify a minimum grade requirement. Contact your honors advisor if you are unsure. You must also consult with your major advisor or faculty within your discipline before submitting the grade change request to the Registrar’s Office.

  27. I am enrolled in an integrated degree program, and I’m taking a Bridge course this Spring. Can I change my grade in this course to a P grade?

    Bridge courses meet both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements, and P grades are not approved to count in graduate programs. If you choose to take a P grade for a Bridge course, you will need to choose a different course to fulfil those graduate level requirements.

  28. I am a graduate student enrolled in an undergraduate class for Spring, to complete a deficiency for my program. Can I change the undergraduate class to a P grade?

    Maybe. Check with your program advisor and Graduate Studies to determine if that is an appropriate option for you. Please note that grades in undergraduate classes are already not calculated into graduate student cumulative GPA’s.

  29. (NEW) I am hoping to graduate with academic distinction (cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude). If I change some of my grades to P grades, will I be eligible to graduate with academic distinction?

    It depends. The requirements for graduating with academic distinction did not change. In order to be eligible, a student must have completed at least 60 semester hours of letter-graded coursework (including S/U) at WIU, in addition to meeting the GPA and other requirements outlined in the Academic Distinction section of the catalog.