SIU institutes pass/fail option for students facing hardships during COVID-19

By Bethany Rentfro, Staff Reporter

Chloe Schobert | @chloscho_art2020

SIU students will have the option to accept a pass/fail grade if they are facing academic hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Chancellor John Dunn said the university understands students are having difficulties navigating the online/alternative format for classes and the university is doing its best to be accomodating to everyone. 

According to an email sent to students, faculty and staff at SIU, the only two departments that are excluded from the pass/fail option are students enrolled in the School of Law or Medicine. 


“We understand that students are facing difficulties when it comes to access to technology, loss of employment, childcare, changes in family situations and more,” Dunn said. “All of which are related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor’s stay at home order.” 

Dunn said the decision was not easy to make and he acknowledges there are issues related to accreditation requirements and GPA’s required for scholarships but he said he believes this is the best decision given that this is a unique experience for everyone. 

“The overriding principle is to provide flexibility to our students,” Dunn said. 

Faculty will submit their final grades on Wednesday, May 13 and students will be able to view them and choose the pass/fail option online. 

Students can select the pass/fail option on a course-by-course basis and a pass grade will be substituted for an A, B, C or D grade by the registrar’s office. 

The registrar’s office will provide students with information about choosing this option online through Salukinet. 

The email also said students who were on academic probation at the end of Fall 2019 will not face academic suspension for the Spring 2020 semester. Instead, the probation will be extended to Fall 2020. 


Selecting a pass/fail grade could impact “satisfactory academic performance” for financial aid and students seeking scholarship eligibility. Students must speak with their academic advisor and the financial aid office before choosing this option. 

Students who are enrolled in academic programs requiring a certificate or licensure should get prior permission from their program director or department chair before choosing the pass/fail option.

Staff reporter Bethany Rentfro can be reached via email at [email protected]

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