Return to Campus FAQs

Updated November 18, 2020
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Frequently Asked Questions for Undergraduates

I want to improve or maintain my GPA. How do I know if I should take the new PASS/PASS* option for a course?
  • Compare the numerical value of your cumulative GPA to the grade point equivalence for the letter grade.  Keep those letter grades where the grade point equivalence for the letter grade is larger than your cumulative GPA, and elect to change the grade to PASS or PASS* if the grade point equivalence for the letter grade is less than your cumulative grade. 
  • See the charts below.  To illustrate, if your cumulative GPA is 2.2, you will want to keep C+ (2.3 grade point equivalence) to A (4.0) grades and replace C (2.0) grades with PASS and D (1.0) grades with PASS*. 


What’s the temporary grading scale for Fall 2020 for undergraduate students? [updated 11/18/2020]
  1. The university’s regular grading scale for undergraduates is A, A-, B+ B, B-, C+, C, D, and F. Faculty will use the regular letter grades as normal.
  2. You will be able to choose which courses (none, one, two, three, etc., up to all courses) that you want to replace with a Pass/Pass*/Fail grade instead. To be clear, you do not have to change any course letter grade to PASS. For any course that you choose, you can request that an A-D grade be replaced with a passing grade (your transcript will have a grade of "PASS" for courses in which a letter grade of A-C was initially awarded and a grade of “PASS*” for courses in which a letter grade of D was initially awarded). F grades will remain as F. (Note that you cannot choose this option if you are seeking teacher certification. Also, if you are in the ROTC program, you will need to talk with ROTC about implications of choosing the pass/pass*/fail grade mode.)

The directions for how to change to Pass/Pass*/Fail will be outlined in an email you will receive from the registrar on 12/7/20. You should consult with your faculty advisor to determine your best option for academic success and submit all grading mode changes starting Monday December 10, 2020 at 8am and before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15, 2020.

Grading FAQs

Why do I see a FA or FE temporary grade?

  • These temporary grades are used to differentiate students who earned a failing grade because a student never attended or stopped attending a class (FA) or because a student did not successfully meet the requirements to pass the class (FE). When grades are processed, all FA and FE grades will be changed to a grade of F, and this grade will be used in the calculation of your GPA.

How will the Pass/Fail impact the GPA of students who need a 3.0 for teacher certification?

  • Students in majors leading to PA Department of Education (PDE) teacher certification will not be able to elect the Pass/Pass*/Fail option in order to maintain the certification requirements of PDE, Pennsylvania Department of Education requires that students have a 3.0 for entry into any Teacher Education Programs. After entry into the program, this GPA must be maintained for certification purposes. Also, certification officers must verify that a GPA of a 3.0 is maintained in order to approve PDE teacher certification.   If you have any concerns, please talk to your academic advisor.

Can I choose the Pass/Pass*/Fail option for any course whether it is general education, major course, minor course, cognate course, etc?

  • The Pass/Pass*/Fail option can be applied to any course.  However, if any part of your program has a minimum QPA requirement (such as teacher certification programs), you should speak with your academic advisor about the implications of choosing the Pass/Pass*/Fail option for a particular course.

Can I repeat a Shippensburg course from any previous semester in which I earned an F grade this winter?

  • Yes, only for winter 2020.

What happens to my grade if I am registered for a class that is already offered with Pass/Fail grading, like certain internships?

  • Students who are registered for courses where Pass/Fail grading is already in place will continue to receive the Pass/Fail grade.  Students will not have the ability to change the grade mode to something different between Dec. 10 through 15th at 3pm.

I filled out a visiting student form for a class.  Will the alternative grading scale apply to me, and if so, how?

  • Yes, the temporary grading scale will apply, and you will also be able to change the grade to Pass/Pass*/Fail.   Because the Visiting Student policy allows for the letter grade you earned to transfer, as well as the credits, you will have the same opportunity to change these to a Pass/Pass*/Fail as if you took the course at Shippensburg this semester.  You will get an email from the registrar’s office regarding how you can change the grading mode on these courses, if you choose to do so, and that email(s) will be sent specifically to you if the grades from those schools are processed at a later point in time than the grades given by Shippensburg faculty.

How will Pass/Pass*/Fail impact a student retaking a class?

  • The grade associated with the student-selected grade mode will be used for grade replacement purposes.  If you are within the repeat limit, per the policy, the grade associated with the chosen grade mode will replace the previously earned grade in the GPA calculation. When the new grade is PASS or PASS*, the quality points and the credits for the course are not included in the GPA calculation, but the credits count toward graduation.  If you repeat a previously passed course and earn an F grade this Fall 2020 semester, you will lose both the quality points and the credits you had previously earned, and the F grade will be calculated into your GPA as per normal academic policy
  • You will want to talk with your advisor to determine what is in your best interest. In general, you may be advised to choose the letter grade if your overall GPA will increase with this decision.

If I am approved by my professor to take an incomplete grade for a fall course, will the same grading options that apply this fall semester still apply?

  • Yes, the same grading options will apply.  If you are eligible, you will be given the opportunity to review your grade and update your grade mode after a letter grade is assigned.
  • When your faculty member submits your final letter grade, you will have one week to indicate if you want to change the grading scale to Pass/Pass*/Fail.

I chose to take a course at the beginning of the semester using the Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory option in the catalog.  Can I change this to a letter grade or to Pass/Pass*/Fail?

  • Yes, you may change the grade to Pass/Pass*/Fail.  You cannot, however, change the grade to standard letter grading.

What should I do if I am not able to finish the semester due to health problems?

  • Contact your dean’s office and refer to the “Withdrawal from a Class” policy in the catalog, specifically the last paragraph.

I’ve been called up for active military duty (military reservists or members of the National Guard) and don’t think I can finish the semester.  What should I do?

  • Contact your dean’s office to learn about two policies: the incomplete grade policy and the leave of absence policy.  If you choose the leave of absence policy, you will be withdrawn from the semester and will get a refund.  If you choose the incomplete grade policy, the dean’s office can help you communicate with each of your faculty members in order to request an incomplete grade for each course, learning what you need to do before the end of the Spring 2021 semester to finish each course.  You also need to talk with your faculty advisor regarding which option is in your best interest.  For more information, see “Temporary Grades (‘Q’ and ‘I’)” and “Withdrawal and Leave of Absence” in the catalog.

I am living in university housing as a residential student and need to request an exemption for the second year of the residency requirement. How will my GPA be taken into consideration for this request?

  • Upon choosing the Pass/Pass*/Fail grading option, all A-C grades will be issued as “PASS”, D grades will be issues as PASS*, and F grades will remain.  If you earn all A-D grades and select the Pass/Pass*/Fail grading option,  a new GPA will not be calculated for the semester, and your cumulative GPA remains the same as the previous semester. Housing and Residence Life will use your previous cumulative GPA to determine eligibility for exemption. Review the full two-year residency requirement.

I took a fall course that has ended before the new grading scale was announced on November 5th. Is that course eligible for the temporary grading scale for spring 2020?

  • If your course ended before the announcement on November 5th, the course is not eligible for the temporary grading scale.

If my program requires a C or better in required prerequisite courses, can I request the Pass/Pass*/Fail option?

  • Yes, you can request the Pass/Pass*/Fail option. If you replace any D grade with PASS*, you will not be allowed to take any courses that need you to have a C or better until you repeat the course and meet this criteria. Since Pass is the equivalent of a C or higher, you will meet this criteria if you need a C or better in a course. Choosing the Pass/Pass*/Fail option may improve your GPA, however. It is important that you check with your academic advisor regarding requirements like these for your major.

If I want to switch majors, how will Pass/Pass*/Fail courses impact my ability to switch?

  • Your ability to switch majors typically depends on grades earned in specific course and GPA. Any letter grade that you earn this semester will be kept in your academic record even if you replace it with a Pass grade. As for GPA requirements to change your major, the decision is at the discretion of the Dean of the program you wish to transfer into; the dean reviews the recommendation of the department/program chair. Consult your advisor with any questions you have regarding switching your major.

Does the grading scale apply to graduate students?

  • No.  This grading scale is only applicable to undergraduate students..

How will Pass/Pass*/Fail impact the grade of a student retaking a class?

  • You will want to talk with your advisor to determine what is in your best interest. In general, you may be advised to choose the letter grade if your overall GPA will increase with this decision.

How will my GPA be calculated if I choose the Pass/Pass*/Fail option?

  • Choosing the Pass/Pass*/Fail option removes that letter grade  of A-D from the GPA calculation. For example, an undergraduate student with five three-credit courses where four courses have a B grade and the fifth course has a C grade, the GPA is 2.8. If this student chooses to have the C grade replaced with a PASS, then the GPA is 3.0. If this student chooses to replace all letter grades with PASS, then there is no semester GPA, and the cumulative GPA remains the same as the previous semester.

How will the Pass/Pass*/Fail grade option impact students on academic probation?

  • You will want to talk with your advisor to understand the impact of your choices on your academic probation status. In general, you should choose to keep letter grades that increase your cumulative GPA.

Will Pass/Pass*/Fail impact a student's financial aid eligibility?

  • You will want to talk with financial aid about your specific situation. In general, you want to earn as many credits as you can this semester, thus no F grades.

Will the new system impact a student-athlete's NCAA eligibility?

  • You will want to talk with Ms. Ashley Grimm about the choices you want to make and how this will impact your athletic eligibility. There are required minimums for cumulative GPA and new credits earned for the semester, academic year, and annually (which includes summer credits earned).

Will faculty still award +/- grades?

  • Yes, faculty can award the +/- grades, if they choose. For undergraduate, the grades are A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D and F.

I dropped a class before learning this temporary grading scale was announced. How does this apply to me?

  • Courses from which a student has withdrawn will have a W on the transcript as the grade. When you later follow the instructions to change grade mode between Dec. 10 and 15th (by 3pm), you will not be given the option to change the grade mode for any course that you have withdrawn from.  Note that W grades do not earn credit and do not have QPA points.

When and how can I submit my request for the Pass/Pass*/Fail option?

  • Eligible students will receive an email from [email protected] on December 7th with directions on how to change the grade mode for courses in the student registration system.
What is the guest visitation policy for the residence halls?

Updated 10/14/2020 - For the wellbeing of residence hall community members, guest visitation will be limited for the remainder of the fall semester. On-campus residents may not visit other halls but are permitted to enter rooms/suites from within their own building as long as all roommates agree and are comfortable. Non-students, off-campus students, parents, and family members will not be permitted to visit residence halls during the day or for overnight visits and may only be present in the exteriors of residence halls for brief and temporary time periods. No more than one guest per student may be in a room at a time, and all roommates must agree. Masks must be worn, and social distancing guidelines must be maintained. Exceptions may only be made for housing and residence life student staff members serving in an employment responsibility.  

All residents should download the Campus Shield app and use it daily. By answering three easy questions each day you can assess your health and determine if you are at risk for testing positive for COVID-19. You answer the questions, and Campus Shield will provide guidance and recommendations based on your answers.

Will I need to move out of the residence hall when in-person instruction ends on November 20?

Updated 10/14/2020 - Students do not need to remove their belongings from residence hall rooms at the end of the fall semester if the student intends to return to on-campus in the spring semester. More information has been communicated directly to students on October 13, 2020 in the winter break residence hall bulletin.

Will I be able to study abroad during the 2020-21 academic year?
Due to the continued travel restrictions and bans because of ongoing COVID-19, and based on current System guidance, student study abroad and faculty-led student study abroad will be cancelled for the Academic Year 2020-2021 which includes winter, spring break and summer 2021. Questions may be directed to Ms. Mary Burnett, Director of International Programs, [email protected], or Dean Denise Yarwood, Associate Vice President for Student Success, [email protected] For students seeking information for travel options in Fall 2021 onwards, please contact the office for an advising appointment.
I am a commuter student, or want to participate in my remote classes while on campus. Where can I go?

The University has created multiple Virtual Lounges across campus, as well as erected numerous outdoor tents. For details and locations visit:

For Face to Face & Remote and Blended & Remote courses, am I permitted to start the semester attending face to face and later switch to remote learning, or vice versa?

Yes, you may change how you choose to attend class. Please communicate any changes with your instructor. It is helpful for social distancing measures if you try to keep your attendance method as consistent as possible.


For 100% online courses, how will I know if the course is being taught during the meeting times listed (synchronous) or if the work can be completed at my own pace (asynchronous)?

The class type for online classes is being updated to identify the course as either Online – Synchronous or Online – Asynchronous.

What does it mean if my course says that the Instruction Method is 100% Online but there is a building and room number?

These courses will be updated to remove the building and room number before classes begin.

If my schedule lists a class as in-person or blended, can I opt to take it remotely?

Yes, and you do not need to adjust your schedule to do so.  Every course for Fall 2020 can be taken remotely from a computer at any location except for a few that must be taken face to face (such as a science laboratory for science majors; your instructor will tell you).  The three different ways which courses are being offered this fall are described below.  These descriptions are in the Instructional Methods section of your course schedule.

  1. Face to Face & Remote (<30% Online):  The course will be taught fully face-to-face with no more than 30% of the course taught online.  Students will attend these classes in a classroom with desks that are at least 6 feet apart and wearing masks.  Faculty will teach from behind Plexiglass.  Students who opt not to sit in the classroom can choose to attend remotely during the class period.  There will be a camera in the classroom to live stream the lecture with the students in the classroom using Zoom.  
  2. Blnd&Remote (30%-79% Online):  Same as Face to Face & Remote except that the number of days in the classroom are fewer.  Your instructor will provide information regarding when you will meet in-person if you choose to participate face to face versus remote.
  3.  100% Online:  These courses do not have any meetings face to face and all instruction will be online using D2L and Zoom.
Is it possible to cancel my housing agreement?

The June 1 cancellation deadline has passed for all students not under the two-year residency requirement. However, all students have the right to request to be released from the housing agreement, or to request an exemption from the two-year residency requirement.  

I am concerned about sharing a bedroom, can I change my room to a single room?

The availability of “C”, “E”, and “F” units is very limited. There is greater likelihood of a single room being available in McLeanPlease enter your room preference in the MyHousing area of the MyShip portal. Preferences will be reviewed, and changes will be made as availability occurs. Change requests are not guaranteed. The room change process will be frozen at a date to be announced and will not be able to occur until after the fall semester starts, typically after two or three weeks.   

Will there be accommodations for students with pre-existing medical conditions that may put them more at risk than the general student population?

Students with medical conditions or disabilities may request accommodations via the Office of Accessibility Resources. Students who are concerned about their health and community living can request an exemption to the live-on policy. An approval of the exemption is not guaranteed.

What actions can students take to help keep themselves and their fellow community members safe and healthy this fall?

Actions that every member of our campus community must take to keep ourselves and each other safe and healthy:  

  • If you are sick, stay home and do not go to class or work. 
  • Always wear a face covering indoors and outdoors. 
  • Keep appropriate distance between you and others. 
  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. 
  • Refrain from touching your face.
Will I be expected to wear a face covering on campus?

In accordance with public health guidance, all campus community members will need to wear a face covering when on campus, including within the residence halls whenever outside your room, to support the overall health and well-being of our residence hall and campus communityStudents will wear face coverings while in the common areas of the residence halls, including stairwells, elevators, hallways, lobbies, kitchens, computer labs, TV lounges, etc.  

Will there be opportunities for students to get to know others in their residence hall and community?

Opportunities for students to get to know each other and build community is one of our highest priorities. We are using the summer to create activities for students to interact, meet new friends, and engage with one another while remaining consistent with public health recommendations and physical distancing requirements. 

Will residence life staff be available on campus to assist in the fall?

Housing and Residence Life staff will be available to provide support, guidance, and assistance to students to create a welcoming community for all students. Each resident will have an assigned Resident Assistant who will help them navigate both the rights and the responsibilities that come along with living in a residence hall community. We will also continue to operate residence hall front desks where students may contact staff with questions or concerns. Additionally, Facilities staff will continue to provide housekeeping and maintenance services to all residence halls.  

Interactions between students and our staff will be guided by public health recommendations related to physical distancing. Students should expect that some contact with staff may be in person, in a physically distanced way, and some contact and connection will be done remotely.  

How are the residence halls cleaned?

Within the suites, residents are responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the bedrooms, bathrooms, and all in-suite common spaces. University custodial staffs will clean the building-wide common areas, including lounges, kitchens, hallways and elevators based upon public health recommendations and guidance. 

Traditional residence hall bathrooms, common spaces, and hallways are cleaned by university custodial staff based upon public health recommendations and guidance. 

Within all buildings, custodial staff will perform increased cleaning of common spaces, community restrooms, and high touch point areas such as elevator buttons, handrails, water fountains, and door handles based upon public health recommendations and guidance. 

How will I receive my mail? Will the UPS Store be open?

Yes, the UPS Store at the CUB will be open, and will remain the central point for students to receive and send mail and packages. All students will have to visit the UPS Store from August 11-15 to pick up their mailbox key. Students will receive their UPS mailing address in August.  

Will residence hall amenity spaces be available during the academic year?
  • Common area residence hall kitchens will be closed for student use in the fall semester.
  • Computer labs in all residence halls will be open and include access to printing.
  • Game rooms will be open for students to use with personal billiard or ping pong equipment.
  • Outdoor hammock stations will be open for students to use personal hammocks.
  • Physical changes to the stations may occur, which will limit the number of users at one time.
  • Laundry rooms will be open and remain free of charge to use.
  • TV Lounges will be open with limited furniture to reduce capacity.

Frequently Asked Questions for Student-athletes

What about practice sessions and strength and conditioning workouts for fall sports?

Per the PSAC's release, "The Conference and its member institutions will develop guidelines for all teams to continue individual skill instruction as well as strength and conditioning activities under social distancing protocols by the end of the summer."

What about practice sessions and workouts for winter and spring sports?

Per the PSAC's release, "The determination as to when winter and spring sports may begin workouts and practices will be considered at a later date."

I have an NCAA eligibility question. Who should I contact?

Student-athletes with questions related to NCAA eligibility should contact Ashley Grimm, associate director of athletics, at [email protected]

What will the 2021 schedules look like?

Revised schedules for competition in 2021 are being developed by the PSAC and will be posted once they are approved and made official.

Faculty members may find answers to frequently asked questions on the Provost’s intranet page by logging in with their single-sign-on (SSO) credentials to access the page. The Faculty FAQ page is currently under construction.

As our Mighty Ship navigates having students, faculty, and staff on campus, some operational details may change based on continuing developments and revised guidelines and recommendations from the federal government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), and Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education (State System/PASSHE). Shippensburg University is deeply committed to the well-being and success of our campus family, Shippensburg community, south-central Pennsylvania, and the Commonwealth.