A new credit/no credit option will be offered to students starting this fall semester as announced in an email sent by the Office of the Provost on Tuesday, Nov. 16. 

There has been some confusion among students as to what the new policy is, and how one would qualify. The email sent out discussed the new option briefly, but more detailed instructions are found in the Undergraduate Course Catalog. 

“People keep mentioning credit/no-credit in emails from the dean but do not describe what it means,” says student Catherine Zarrella ‘24. “I think a lot of students are confused as to what they are getting at, I don’t fully understand what it means.”

The Mirror reported in its April 21 issue that the University was debating the future of the Pass/Fail policy. 

This option is new and differs from the Pass/Fail option granted to students in the spring of 2020 through the spring of 2021. 

This option grants students the ability to elect two courses throughout their undergraduate career as credit/no-credit. 

Courses opted under Pass/Fail will not be counted against the maximum of two courses.

These two courses, according to the policy located in the Undergraduate Course Catalog, can include an elective or Magis core class that does not count towards the student’s major. 

If a course is found within one’s major or is required by the major, it cannot be elected as credit/no-credit. 

No more than one Magis core class can be elected under this policy. 

According to the same policy, other exceptions include courses that are part of competitive programs, which “students have joined upon successful application.” 

Such courses include, but are not limited to, the Honors Program, Study Abroad and the Residential College Program. 

This option for students is intended by Fairfield to encourage “intellectual exploration and risk-taking” among students. 

Students are eligible for this option after completing 30 credits. Most first-year students, therefore, will not be eligible since typically 30 credits are not reached until sophomore year. “I believe that providing first-years with this option would be beneficial to us,” says first year student Nikki Farmer. “Learning and understanding the material is the whole point of having an education, not just the grade we receive.”

Under the policy, the student’s GPA is left unaffected in either case of electing credit or no-credit. If a student earns a C or above (73-100), the instructor will enter the grade as “credit” and the credits will count towards graduation, but will not be factored into the student’s GPA. 

If, on the other hand, the student earns a C- or below (0-72), the instructor will enter a grade of “no credit,” and again will not be factored into the student’s GPA. The student will, however, be responsible for determining how and when the credits will be made up. 

Further, the student will not receive any refund for a course that is designated as “no credit.”

“From what it sounds like, it means if you fail the class that it won’t be shown on your transcript,” says student Joseph Westhoff ‘24. “I think it’s good because it lets people try different classes without fear of an’ F’ lowering their GPA.” 

One thing to note is that the previous Pass/Fail option considered a letter grade of D and above as passing, however within the new Credit/No-Credit option it has increased a whole letter grade. 

“I think it makes sense that the University increased the grade from a D to a C to make it harder because circumstances are different this year than they were at the height of the pandemic,” says student Carina Kortick ’24. “It should take more effort than receiving a D to get credit from a course because you want the student to still learn and take something away from it.”

For students who choose to elect this option, it is shared that the credit/no-credit form can be found via my.fairfield, in the email sent to students by the Office of the Provost. 

When logged onto the platform, one can find the correct documentation within the Registrar’s “forms and documents” tab. 

Once a student reviews the policy found on the top of the page and completes the required forms, the student must email it to the appropriate Dean’s Office, and from there, it will be forwarded to the Office of the Registrar. 

The appropriate Dean’s Office refers to the school in which one is enrolled, which can also be found further explained at the bottom of the form.  

The deadline to utilize this option will be the same as the course withdrawal deadline. This year, there was an exception, and the deadline was extended to Tuesday, November 23, for students. The course withdrawal deadline remained as November 16. 

Once a student declares their intention to the Office of Registrar, the decision is “irrevocable,” according to the policy found within the Undergraduate Academic Catalog. 

Within the policy, students are urged to first meet and discuss the option with their academic advisor, instructor, and/or academic dean. 

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