Emergency COVID-19 Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Policy

Due to the impact of COVID-19, Middlesex Community College has implemented a temporary Pass/Fail grading option for Spring 2020 semester courses. The Pass/Fail option will provide students in full-semester and Minimester 2 courses with choices of grading options. For a limited time period after faculty submit final grades on May 20, students will be allowed to choose a Pass grade for their courses. Passing grades of PC, PC-, and P will be utilized, with “PC” representing a passing grade of C or better, “PC-“ a passing grade of C-, and “P” representing a D+, D, or D-. A grade of PC, PC-, or P will indicate that the student completed the course and received full credit for the course. However, these Pass grades will not be counted in the grade point average (GPA). While this option is available to students until June 12, 2020, the traditional grading system still applies to all Spring 2020 courses. A review of the Middlesex Community College Grading system can be found in the 2020-2021 catalog.


Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Revert Back to Letter Grade Form
The Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Revert Back to Letter Grade Form can be used for students who select Pass grades and then want to switch back to letter grades for course(s).  This form will be available until September 25, 2020.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. How will the Pass/Fail Option work?

  • Faculty will assign grades as usual. They will submit a letter grade for each student by the final grade submission deadline on May 20, 2020.
  • After reviewing final grades, students may choose to keep their assigned letter grade or choose the Pass/Fail option between May 20 - June 12, 2020. Students cannot choose the Pass/Fail option before or after these dates. There is no limit on how many courses a student can choose for the Pass/Fail option.
  • If a student does not choose the Pass/Fail option, no action is needed and the assigned letter grade will stand.
  • Students who choose the Pass/Fail option will need to complete the Spring 2020 Final Grade Pass/Fail Option Form. After they do so, the College Registrar will convert the assigned letter grade(s) on their transcript to Pass/Fail option grades. Students who have received a grade of C or higher in a course will receive a “PC” grade, students who receive a grade of C- will receive a “PC-“ grade; and students who receive a grade of D+, D, or D- will receive a “P” grade.
  • An assigned letter grade of F will remain an F.
  • Students who are on academic probation or had academic warnings are eligible for this Pass grade option.

2. How does a “Pass” (P) grade impact my GPA?

A grade of PC, PC-, or P will indicate that you completed the course and you will receive full credit for the course. However, it will have no impact on your grade point average (GPA).

3. When will the official Spring 2020 Final Grade Pass/Fail Option be available to choose the Pass/Fail option? What is the process for submission?

Students will be able to choose the Pass/Fail option by completing the online form (the Spring 2020 Final Grade Pass/Fail Option Form) which will be available to students on the College website (https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/studentinformationcenter/default.aspx) beginning May 20, 2020. Students must complete the online form no later than June 12, 2020. The Registrar’s office will then convert letter grades (A through D-) to a passing grade within 3-7 business days. An assigned letter grade of F will remain an F. Students will receive an email confirmation from the Registrar’s office upon receipt of the Pass/Fail request and upon completion of the grade change to the Pass/Fail option.

IMPORTANT: By completing and submitting the Pass/Fail Option Form students acknowledge they understand the potential future impact that Pass/Fail grading may have on their academic record, including transferability, meeting course prerequisites, and eligibility for internal and external prog

4. Can I choose to receive a letter grade (A through D-) instead of a Pass grade?

Yes. There is no action that needs to be taken on your part if you choose to keep your assigned letter grade. If you decide not to use the Pass/Fail option, then the letter grade that your faculty member assigned to you will stand.

5. Can I choose a Pass grade if I received an “I” or “IP” (incomplete) for a course.

No, in this case you cannot choose the Pass/Fail option because "I" or "IP" are not eligible for pass/fail conversion. If a grade of "I" or "IP" is not resolved by June 12, 2020 then you are not eligible for a Pass grade.

6. What will happen to my cumulative GPA if I choose the Pass/Fail option for all of my classes for the spring semester?

Your cumulative GPA will not change if all of your spring 2020 courses convert to a Pass grade. Your cumulative GPA will stay the same as it was at the end of the fall 2019 semester. Students who are new to Middlesex Community College in the spring 2020 semester and choose the Pass/Fail option for all their classes will not have a cumulative or term GPA.

7. What is the deadline for choosing the Pass/Fail option for my class/es?

Students can only select the Pass/Fail option within a very specific timeframe: after their final grade is issued beginning on May 20 - June 12, 2020.

8. Can I change my mind about receiving a letter grade or receiving a Pass/Fail grade after the June 12th deadline?

Yes. Students will be given until September 25, 2020 to ask to have their Pass grades changed back to a letter grade. After September 25, 2020, all grades, whether letter graded, or Pass/Fail graded, are final. Continuing students requesting to change Pass/Fail option grades back to letter grades must complete and submit the Spring 2020 Final Letter Grade Form found at https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/studentinformationcenter/default.aspx. Students who are graduating in the Summer 2020 must request a change Pass/Fail option grades back to letter grades by July 31, 2020.

9. Will I be able to see my letter grade before making my decision?

Yes. You will have the opportunity to see your assigned letter grade for each course prior to choosing the Pass/Fail option. You cannot choose the Pass/Fail option until after final grades are posted. Final grades can be viewed on the student portal by clicking on My Grades.

10. If I choose the Pass/Fail option for a class, will Middlesex Community keep a record of my assigned letter grade?

Yes. The assigned letter grade submitted by your faculty member will be stored in our student information system. However, the Pass grade will be the recorded grade on your official Middlesex Community College transcript and academic record.

11. Are there courses where I must take a letter grade?

You may choose the Pass/Fail option for any course offered at the College. However, for programs that have minimum grade requirements for specific courses, opting in for a Pass grade might not meet the program requirement. It is strongly recommended that students review their curricular requirements and discuss the Pass/Fail option with an academic advisor.

Students enrolled in health programs are strongly encouraged to discuss with their program advisor how the Pass/Fail may impact their progress in their program.

Students in Ramp-Up/Prep for College Math have to complete 4 modules in a semester to earn a grade of C or higher, otherwise they receive an F. Is there anything different about Ramp-Up this semester?

The only final grade in Ramp-Up below a C is an F, so there is no opportunity to convert a C-, D+, D, or D-, to a Pass Option. In response to the current situation, the Math Department has determined that students enrolled in Spring 2020 for Ramp-Up/Prep for College Math will have the opportunity to receive a final grade for the completion of 3 modules instead of the standard 4 modules required for a final grade (above an F). Students completing 3 modules in the Spring 2020 semester will receive a final letter grade that is the average of the 3 modules they completed.

12. Will faculty continue to grade assignments with letter grades or just Pass/Fail?

Faculty will continue to grade assignments. Faculty will assign letter grades for courses at the end of the semester. The only way an assigned letter grade can be converted to a Pass grade is if the student chooses the Pass/Fail option and submits the official Spring 2020 Final Grade Pass/Fail Option Form.

13. I was repeating a course this semester to improve my GPA. Will a grade of Pass (P) help?

Possibly. The most recent attempt in a course replaces a previous attempt. Therefore, if you previously earned a low grade in a course, repeated the course this spring semester and earned a low grade again, choosing the Pass option will remove the previously earned grade from your GPA calculation. It may help raise your GPA to have the previously earned low grade no longer counting in your GPA.

Note that while the PC, PC-, or P replace letter grades they do not affect the GPA. Alternatively, if you earn a high letter grade this spring for the repeated course, your best option is likely going to be keeping the high letter grade that you earned which will have a positive impact on your GPA. For specific questions about whether to choose the Pass/Fail option or keep your assigned grade, it is highly recommended that you consult with an academic advisor.

14. I took a course during Wintersession or Minimester 1 and already received a grade. Can I still choose the Pass/Fail grade option?

No. Courses graded in Spring 2020 Wintersession and Minimester 1 are not eligible for conversion to Pass/Fail grading.

15. If I choose to withdraw from a course by the withdrawal deadline of May 8, 2020, rather than using the Pass/Fail option, will I be eligible for any refund or other adjustment on my student account?

No. You will not be eligible for any adjustments to your student account. All instruction is ongoing, and the standard tuition and fee refund policy for spring 2020 remains in effect. It is highly recommended that you speak with an academic advisor before withdrawing from a course.

16. I am graduating this semester. If I take all Pass grades, how will it impact my graduation honors (e.g., Honors, High Honors, Highest Honors)?

If you take a grade of Pass in all of your spring 2020 courses, your degree honors will be calculated based on your cumulative GPA at the end of the fall 2019 semester. Candidates for associate degrees with a GPA of 3.2 will graduate with honors’ a GPA of 3.5 with high honors; and those with a GPA of 3.7 will graduate with highest honors. To be eligible for graduation honors students must earn a minimum of 35 credits at Middlesex.

17. Will a grade of Pass affect my eligibility for Dean’s or Merit List?

Pass grades will not count towards the Dean’s or Merit List. If a letter grade is taken for any course/s, the letter grade(s) received will dictate your spring 2020 eligibility for Dean’s or Merit List, so long as you maintain a minimum of six college-level credits for the Merit List and 12 credits or more for the Dean’s List and attain a term GPA of 3.2 without D, F, I, or IP grades.

Graduating Student Questions

18. Will opting-in for a Pass grade in my classes affect my ability to graduate this semester?

Most likely it will not, but it does depend on your individual situation. Students who are struggling to meet minimum GPA standards for program completion may need to earn a letter grade in the spring 2020 semester in order to raise their cumulative GPA. Most graduating students will be able to choose the Pass grade option in their classes with no impact to their graduation status. For graduating students, we highly recommend that you speak with an academic advisor or send your question to registrar@middlesex.mass.edu.

Students graduating for Spring 2020 graduation must submit their Pass grade option by May 22, 2020.


Transfer Student Questions

19. I am planning to transfer next semester to another school or am taking a course as a non-degree student to transfer at the end of this semester. How will a grade of Pass (P) impact my ability to transfer?

For Undergraduate programs: Due to the special circumstances surrounding spring 2020, many two- and four-year colleges are making exceptions for transferring a grade of Pass for the spring 2020 semester only. However, we cannot guarantee that other colleges will accept credit for courses with Pass grades. We have purposely set up PC and PC- grades for those colleges that require a minimum grade of C or C- for transfer. In addition, it is important to note that the Mass Transfer Gen Ed Foundation only allows for grades D or better. A “P” grade would not count for a Mass Transfer student.

You should consult with the transfer professionals or admissions office at the school you are transferring to for their specific institutional policies in this area. In many cases, it may be to your advantage to choose a letter grade. For specific questions about transfer, you may email fainj@middlesex.mass.edu or cloutiern@middlesex.mass.edu and a transfer advisor will contact you.

For Graduate programs: Graduate programs generally will not accept a Pass/Fail grade for pre-requisite or program admission credit.


Veterans & Military Questions

20. I am a veteran receiving GI Bill benefits. How will the Pass/Fail option affect my eligibility for benefits?

If you choose to receive a Pass grade for some or all of your classes, there will be no impact on your eligibility for benefits. Students who are reported in the final grading process as having stopped attendance may see an impact to their benefits. Middlesex Community College must continue to report nonattendance failures to the VA, resulting in the VA creating a debt against the student. For specific questions about your benefits and the Pass/Fail grading option, please e-mail VetCert@middlesex.mass.edu or consult Jessica Frost at frostja@middlesex.mass.edu.


International Students Questions

21. I am an International Student studying at Middlesex Community College on a visa. How will the Pass/Fail option affect my visa?

If you receive a Pass grade for any/all of your classes, there will be no impact to your international student visa. For specific questions about your visa status and the Pass/Fail grading option, please consult imoffice@middlesex.mass.edu.


Selective Admissions Questions

22. I am completing pre-requisite coursework for admission into a selective health sciences program at Middlesex Community College. How will opting-in to the Pass/Fail option affect my candidacy for these programs?

Several selective Health Sciences programs continue to require minimum grades and some also limit the number of times you can attempt courses required for admission. Opting-in for a Pass grade in a required course will count as an attempt and will likely not meet the program requirement. If you have questions, we strongly recommend speaking with an admissions counselor at admissions@middlesex.mass.edu.


Financial Aid Questions

23. How will a Pass grade affect my Financial Aid?

A Pass grade is counted as attempted and completed course. A grade of Pass does not negatively impact the quantitative or qualitative components of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Federal aid regulations consider a grade of Pass as completed. Students cannot receive aid for a repeated course after completing the course twice. Letter grades of D- or higher also count as completed.

24. Will selecting the Pass/Fail option impact my current or future eligibility for Student Employment?

No, choosing the Pass/Fail option does not directly impact Student Employment. However, if you have been awarded Federal Work Study, it may affect your Financial Aid eligibility. If you have questions about your Financial Aid status, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at financialaid@middlesex.mass.edu.

Last Modified: 7/14/20