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Policy Statement Regarding Grading Mode Assigned to Noncredit Courses at UIC

Policy Number: EP-04.01

Effective Date: Fall 2004

Policy Title:  Policy Statement Regarding Grading Mode Assigned to Noncredit Courses at UIC (view the full SCEP proposal)

Contact: Office of Academic Programs

Policy Statement: In order to meet the academic goals of the colleges and at the same time apply the hours assigned to noncredit courses to student financial aid awards, all noncredit courses, including all those numbered 001-099, will award a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grade rather than the standard grades.

Noncredit courses do not count in term and cumulative earned hour totals at UIC and the earned grade of S/U will not affect the grade point average (GPA). However, the hours assigned to these courses count toward tuition and fee assessment and apply toward financial aid eligibility.

Reason for Policy: Noncredit courses currently use a feature called “equivalent hours” in the ISIS student database. The use of  “equivalent hours” in ISIS allows the campus to assign a standard grade to these courses, but the grade received is not reflected in the GPA.

The need for the change the grading mode for non-credit courses comes from a recent biennial audit conducted by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) of academic records of some of the more than 6,000 UIC students receiving financial assistance through ISAC programs.  ISAC is the state agency that funds the financial aid awards for 6,000+ students at UIC.

Two issues were raised in the review of academic records.  The ISAC auditor discovered that UIC has been awarding regular grades (A through E) and “equivalent hours” for non-credit courses but has not calculated the grades in the students’ grade point averages or counted the “equivalent hours” toward satisfactory progress.   The auditor indicated that if UIC is going to give financial aid to students based on noncredit courses, the University has to consider these courses in every respect when computing satisfactory progress.  That means that if UIC awards a standard grade in these courses, the grade earned must be reflected in the grade point average.  Also, UIC needs to consider the credit in these courses when determining junior status under Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.  Students receiving financial aid are required to satisfactorily complete 75% of the total hours attempted each year in order to comply with the standards.  For example, a student who attempts 32 semester hours in an academic year is required to receive passing grades in 24 of those hours.  Currently, “equivalent hours” used for non-credit courses in ISIS do not count in term or cumulative earned hours toward the degree.

A group of representatives from selected academic units, the Office of Student Financial Aid, the Office of Academic Affairs, and the Office of Registration and Records met in August 2003.  The group learned that the continued assignment of standard grades to noncredit courses was unacceptable to ISAC because the grades were not reflected in term and cumulative grade point averages and the “equivalent hours” were not used to determine satisfactory progress.  To complicate matters, the colleges do not want the grades from non-credit courses to be computed in the grade point average.

After discussion, the group decided that changing the grading mode for noncredit courses to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grades only would satisfy the grade point average issue for ISAC.  Further, the Office of Student Financial Aid would use the “equivalent hours” earned in these noncredit courses for purposes of determining satisfactory progress, although the hours would not count in earned term or cumulative hours in the student’s academic record in ISIS.

Who Should Read the Policy:  Faculty and staff at UIC who are involved in the creation, revision, or elimination of courses.

Policy History: This policy was endorsed by the Senate Committee on Educational Policy on October 8, 2003.