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EIU Academic Affairs

Undergraduate Student Option to Change Grade Type

March 30, 2020

Dear Students,

As the university makes our unanticipated transition to remote learning, EIU faculty continue to be committed to academic excellence and high-quality learning experiences for every student. At the same time though, we — the university and specifically your faculty — also understand the challenges this rapid transition presents you, our students. For that reason, your faculty encourages every one of you to remain fully engaged in their classes, read your email, login to D2L, and strive to obtain the highest levels of academic achievement — on every assignment, on every test, and in every course. Please know, we believe in you — you’ve got this!

While I am confident every member of the EIU community is working to promote student success, the university recognizes that in some cases students may need additional options. Indeed, the COVID-19 crisis itself has not only prompted academic challenges, but also has changed everyday life for students and faculty alike. To respond to these significant disruptions and the migration from face-to-face to remote learning, undergraduate students may petition the Registrar to change grade type in self-selected courses. While graduate students are not covered by this extraordinary change in practice, any graduate student who believes the COVID-19 events were especially harmful relative to their academic performance may contact the Dean of the Graduate School to discuss potential options (see the FAQs, below).

In terms of the administrative relief available to undergraduate students, a broad overview of the changes is presented below:

  • Only after consulting their academic advisor, students can petition to change course grade types from a grade of “C” or “B” to “Credit,” or CR. Individuals with grades of “D” or “F” can request a “No Credit,” or NC.
  • There is no limit on the number of Spring 2020 courses a student can convert to credit/no credit grading. Students can make the decision on a course-by-course basis after final grades are posted at the end of the Spring 2020 semester.
  • When and where a CR designation may complicate graduation or program requirements, the Registrar, with the full support of your College Dean and Provost, will facilitate progress towards degree, registration, and/or certify graduation.
  • Students may petition to change course grade types through the Registrar beginning May 13 through August 1, 2020. As indicated above, all students are required to consult their academic advisors prior to submitting requests.

In addition to the information above, I, along with the Registrar, Mr. Brad Bennington, will also review the official Spring 2020 academic standing for all students to ensure the relative performance of individual students will not be disproportionately harmed by the transition from the physical classroom to online or remote learning. Likewise, Financial Aid and Enrollment Management ensures all students that merit-based scholarships will not be negatively impacted as a result of a student selecting the CR/NC option.

We’ve made these options available with our students’ best interests in mind. If you have further questions about grading options, please contact your academic advisor. Further, I would encourage you to review the additional FAQs below the signature line.

Finally, as always, our primary concern continues to be your health, well-being and safety. Regardless of where you may be completing your semester from, please continue to follow the CDC’s best-practice guidelines for keeping you and those around you healthy and safe.


Jay Gatrell Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


Are all courses now “Pass” or “Fail”?

No. Eastern Illinois does not have a grade type equivalent to “Pass” or “Fail.” After spring grades are posted, students may seek academic relief by requesting a grade type change for one or more courses. Please note, the only grade type change relief available will be from a letter grade to credit or no credit only. Most importantly though, while relief is available, the expectation is that all students will remain engaged in their courses and perform at the highest level possible. Finally, it is the student’s responsibility to meet with their advisor and submit any requests prior to the August 1, 2020 deadline. The online form will be available at the Registrar’s webpage in May.

Who can request a change in grade type?

Any undergraduate student enrolled at EIU during the Spring 2020 semester. This one-time form of administrative relief cannot be applied to prior or subsequent terms.

How does an undergraduate student request a change in grade type from a letter grade to credit / no credit (CR/NC)?

After the close of the Spring 2020 semester when final course grades have been entered, students must consult with their advisor prior to making a request for a change in grade type in one or more classes. Following the meeting with the advisor, students can complete an electronic form that will be posted on the Registrar’s website from May 13 through August 1, 2020.

How does a graduate student obtain administrative relief as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the transitions / disruptions that have occurred during the Spring 2020 semester?

Graduate students may make a direct appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School for academic relief in extraordinary situations. Depending on the context, graduate students may be eligible for the CR/NC option. Graduate students should consult with their academic advisor prior to making this request, and if desired, must do no later than August 1, 2020.

Why is consultation with your advisor required?

The decision to change a course grade from a letter grade to CR/NC in one or more classes can have significant consequences. In nearly all cases, students should focus on completing their coursework to earn the highest letter grade possible in each of their courses. Should a student consider the CR/NC option, every student needs to understand the implications relative to future transferability, as well as the future admission requirements to graduate school and/or professional programs (such as medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant, or law school). Indeed, many post-baccalaureate programs have minimum letter grade requirements in required courses as an admissions requirement. Please be sure to discuss your career goals with your advisor, including any intent to pursue an advanced degree. Similarly, if you are in a degree program leading to licensure or specialized accreditation, your advisor will be able to provide guidance.

Who is my advisor? How do I meet with my advisor?

Your advisor is listed at the top of your degree audit in PAWS (instructions here). If no advisor is listed, please contact the department office for your major. Students may accomplish the required consultation with their advisor through a virtual meeting (e.g., Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc.), telephone call, or email. The key is to discuss the potential implications of a grade type change on future academic opportunities or professional goals.

What about teacher education students?

With respect to teacher education students, EIU has received confirmation from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) that the CR/NC is acceptable as the CR is the equivalent of a “C grade or better.”

What about EIU course pre-requisites?

In situations where a “C grade or better” is required in a pre-requisite course, a “CR” will meet the EIU requirement and all academic deans agree on this point.

What about student-athletes?

Student-athletes are expected to consult their departmental or program advisor, as well as their assigned Panther Athletic Academic Student Services advisor.

Do I need advisor “approval”?

No. The decision to change grade type is yours as a student. While an advisor consultation is required, you are responsible for the decision: advisor or program approval is not required. In order to prevent limiting future options or situations where a course would be repeated, the letter grade is the safest option and is preferred.

When can I submit the request?

Undergraduate students may submit their request electronically to the Registrar after final grades post on or about May 13, 2020. All requests for grade type changes to CR/NC must be submitted prior to August 1, 2020. After August 1, 2020, no further requests will be accepted. The same timeline applies to graduate student appeals to the Graduate School Dean.

What does CR/NC mean and why is it different than a letter grade (A/B/C/D/F)?

Generally, the safest and preferred option is to accept the earned letter grade. The most important potential benefit of the CR/NC option is that is does not impact your term or cumulative GPA. Although this may be a benefit in some cases (outlined below) it is important to recognize that choosing NC instead of a “D” means you will NOT earn academic credit for the course. Students are encouraged to consider the following:

  • If you earned an “A” the “CR” does not provide any potential benefit. The letter grade is the optimal choice.
  • If you earned a “B” the “CR” may provide some benefit depending on a student’s cumulative GPA. Additionally, all students should discuss the future implications of converting this grade to a “CR” with their advisor.
  • If you earned a “C” the “CR” may provide some benefit depending on your cumulative GPA. All students should discuss the future implications of converting this grade to a “CR” with their advisor.
  • If you earned a “D” the “NC” option is not optimal as you will not earn academic credit. As such you will need to retake the course, if required. Depending of the specific context, converting a “D” to a “NC” might make sense in a given term — particularly if the student intends to replace the grade in a future term by repeating the course. As the grading scale for graduate school is different than that for undergraduate students, only a B or C can be changed to CR/NC for a graduate student.
  • If you earned an “F” the “NC” option would provide a concrete benefit to your term and cumulative GPA. In both cases, academic credit is not earned.

What about an “Incomplete”?

The grade "I" or "Incomplete" for courses in which letter grades are earned is given only by the course instructor when, because of documented illness or other valid reason, a student's progress in a course is delayed so that not all requirements for the course are fulfilled by the official closing date of the term. In no case may an "I" be substituted for a failing grade. Procedures for assigning and removing incomplete grades are outlined in IGP 46. An “incomplete” grade does not remain on your transcript and is removed once you have earned a letter grade. You are encouraged to complete course assignments as soon as possible.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Ryan Hendrickson
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Office of Vice President for Academic Affairs

1020 Old Main , 600 Lincoln Ave, Charleston, IL 61920

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