Pass/fail option back with a twist as Morgan State students prepare to end another semester online

Alana Bynes-Richardson, Staff Writer

As the fall semester comes to an end, students are scrambling to turn in last-minute assignments in hopes of boosting their GPAs. So when Morgan State announced it’s set to give its students the pass/fail option again, many were relieved.

Several months ago, the university offered a pass/fail option after students were forced to finish their semester online because of the coronavirus. The difference this semester is students will be able to decide to use the option once their final grades are posted on Websis. 

To utilize the option, students must fill out the pass/fail form, which will be made available at noon on Mon. Dec. 21 and will close 48 hours later on Wed. Dec. 23. In a message addressed to the university’s student body earlier this month, the Office of the Registrar said no extensions will be given for this option and once the form closes, the option will no longer be available.

Kenyatta Bender, a senior business marketing major, said she appreciates the alternative, but it isn’t an option she’s considering. 

“The pass/fail is a great option during the pandemic because not everyone has the same resources they had while we were in school,” Bender said. “But depending on your major… people just really need to look into it, there are some things that aren’t common knowledge.”

Pass/fail doesn’t affect a student’s GPA, as no points are added or taken away if the student chooses to use the option. Also, students only receive course credits for a pass grade and no credit for a fail grade.  

 For seniors like Bender, pass/fail isn’t a choice that can be taken lightly. She’s decided to apply to graduate school and like many colleges, her program requires letter grades to be submitted for acceptance and enrollment into the school.

 Although not all certifications need letter grades on a student’s transcript for its programs, the Office of the Registrar has encouraged students to discuss their options with their academic advisors.

“As we enter into the end of the fall 2020 semester, our primary goal is ensuring that you can successfully complete all of your fall 2020 courses and that you are aware of important information that may impact you,” said the Office of the Registrar in a December email addressed to the student body. 

For continuing students, there are other factors to consider with the pass/fail option. If the student uses the pass/fail for a course that is a prerequisite for future courses, they will need to have an override to register for certain classes.

 Additionally, those who seek to be on the Dean’s List of their major may run into some trouble as a pass/fail grade will not count for this honor. Only a minimum of 12 letter grade credits will be considered eligible.

 “I think of it as a safety net for students who had a really tough semester—especially during a global pandemic,” said Autumn Jackson, a junior strategic communications major.