Frequently Asked Questions
Fall 2020 Flexible Grading Policy

FAQs about Fall 2020 Flexible Grading Policy

The sections below address frequently asked questions about the flexible grading policy for fall 2020. Click on a heading to expand the list.


Important reminders:

  • CR/NC will be available for all courses, except those listed here: https://provost.qc.cuny.edu/flexible-grading-policy/fall-2020-exclusions

  • This option is not mandatory. You can opt in for a CR/NC grade for one or more courses, even for all courses you’re taking this semester, provided they aren’t on the exclusion list. You can also choose to keep any and all regular letter grades you earn.

  • If you’re graduating in spring 2021 and your GPA is below 2.0 (undergraduates) or 3.0 (graduate students), speak with an advisor and strongly consider not opting into CR/NC. Also speak with an advisor if you’re considering graduate programs.

  • The window to opt into a CR/NC grade is Thursday, December 24, through Tuesday, January 12.

  • Can't figure out the impact on your GPA? Login to Degreeworks (https://degreeworks.cuny.edu/) and use the Term Calculator to manipulate possible scenarios and explore grading calculations.

General Questions

Does this policy apply to any semester other than Fall 2020?

This policy applies only to courses taken during the Fall 2020 semester, and not to any terms before or after Fall 2020.

What is the purpose of the Fall 2020 Credit/No Credit Grading Policy?

This policy was designed by CUNY in consultation with campus presidents and deans, the University Faculty Senate, the University Council of Registrars, and the University Student Senate to provide students with maximum flexibility during the ongoing pandemic.

At QC, the localized components of the policy were designed in consultation with the QC Academic Senate, the QC Personnel and Budget Committee, and QC’s Student Association.

Does this policy apply to students in all academic programs?

This policy applies to all CUNY students enrolled in credit bearing courses for the Fall 2020 semester, including undergraduate and graduate courses at QC, with the exception of a list of courses to be excluded from opt-in (see https://provost.qc.cuny.edu/flexible-grading-policy/fall-2020-exclusions).

Will all course grades automatically be converted to a Credit/No-Credit option? When will this conversion happen? If students need to decide, how will they do so?

Course grades will not automatically convert to CR/NC. The change is optional, at the student’s discretion. Opting in is done on CUNYfirst, in the Student Center, View Grades page. Instructions: https://provost.qc.cuny.edu/flexible-grading-policy/instructions

Students will have until January 12, 2021, to elect Credit/No Credit.

Undergraduate students who are graduating and whose cumulative or major GPAs are below a 2.0, or graduate students who have a GPA below a 3.0 should consult with their advisor before electing the option. (See below.)

Can students elect the Credit/No Credit option for individual courses?

A student can opt to take the Credit/No Credit option for all, some, or none of their graded classes for Fall 2020 semester, with the exception of courses chosen by campuses to be excluded from opt-in.

Are there circumstances or conditions in which a request would be denied, or a student would be ineligible for this option? Can a program prohibit use of the Credit/No Credit option?

Students will not be denied the right to opt-in to receive a Credit/No Credit grade for course that applies toward their degree (general education courses, electives, major, minor, and prerequisite courses) based upon this policy, with the exception of courses chosen by campuses to be excluded from opt-in. A grade of Credit/No Credit may not be acceptable to licensing, accreditation, or other bodies external to CUNY. Students should consult with their program advisors or the external body prior to making the decision to elect Credit/No Credit.

Are there cases when a student should not choose the Credit/No Credit option?

Graduation: If an undergraduate student’s major GPA and/or cumulative GPA is below a 2.0, and the student is graduating, and the letter grade will raise the GPA to at least a 2.0, then choosing the Credit/No Credit option would prevent the student from graduating. Similarly, if a graduate student’s cumulative GPA is below a 3.0, and the student is graduating, and the letter grade will raise the GPA to at least a 3.0, then choosing the Credit/No Credit option would prevent the student from graduating.

Professional Licensure, Transfer, and Graduate School Admission: Some professional licensure organizations, and graduate schools outside of CUNY, may not accept a grade of CR. As such, students, in consultation with program advisors, should weigh the potential impact of electing the Credit/No Credit option on their ability to: earn licenses, transfer credit to non-CUNY institutions, and/or gain admission into graduate school outside of CUNY. For example , there are some graduate programs that typically convert a CR grade to a C and an NC grade to an F when evaluating a transcript.

The University will endeavor to ensure that the flexibility afforded by this policy works in the best interest of students. Students will be encouraged to be in contact with external scholarship organizations, the transfer admissions offices of non-CUNY institutions, the graduate admissions offices of non-CUNY institutions and any organization external to CUNY that could have an impact on their current or future educational or professional plans.

Does this policy apply to any semester other than the one in progress?

This policy currently applies exclusively to courses taken during the Fall 2020 semester.

Will this policy be published in the course catalog of each campus?

Yes. The QC catalog (bulletin) will be updated with Policy on Credit/No Credit.

Is the decision to convert course grades to the Credit/No Credit option reversible during the opt-in period, December 24 through January 12?

No. After the University’s final grade submission deadline a student will have until January 12 to elect the Credit/No Credit option. Once a student chooses to convert course grades to the Credit/No Credit the decision is final. Importantly, there may be circumstances where electing the Credit/No Credit option may not be in the best interests of the student, some of which are described below.

If I have an INC (incomplete grade), am I eligible to select CR/NC?

No. In order for you to process your CR/NC Request, you must first have a letter grade for the semester.

Financial Aid

Will the decision to elect Credit/No Credit impact financial aid?

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, both the federal government and the New York State Higher Education Corporation (HESC) have provided a waiver to the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for Fall 2020.

If you opt-in to receive a CR grade, there is no impact to your current or future federal and/or New York State financial aid awards.

If you opt-in to receive an NC grade, there is no impact to your Fall 2020 financial aid award. Your Spring 2021 should not be impacted due to a COVID 19 Satisfactory Academic Progress waiver by the Federal government and HESC.

  • New York State’s High Education Services Corporation (HESC) has ensured that no HESC state financial aid programs will be disrupted by coronavirus.

  • NYS HESC’s Guidance on COVID-19 Updates & FAQs for Students and Parents: https://www.hesc.ny.gov/coronavirus

Any questions or issues associated with your selection of NC grade for Fall 2020 should be sent to keeplearning@qc.cuny.edu.

Grades and Grade Point Average (GPA)

How will the Credit/No Credit grades be calculated into the grade point average?

Neither the CR nor the NC grade is included in the calculation of the GPA. The CR grade will allow the student to earn credit (for credit bearing courses) but is not factored into the GPA. If the student elects an NC grade in place of an F then it is not factored into the GPA, but the student will not earn the credit. A student should carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of electing the Credit/No Credit option, particularly on matters related to graduation, professional licensure requirements, financial aid eligibility, and transfer of credit and/or graduate admissions to non-CUNY institutions.

Will a grade of CR at one CUNY institution transfer to another CUNY institution?

Yes, a course with a grade of CR earned at one CUNY institution will transfer to another CUNY institution. There are no exceptions to this.

Will a CR grade in a course be acceptable to register for higher level courses in subsequent semesters if the course taken in the fall was a prerequisite with a minimum grade requirement?

All students opting for a CR grade will receive credit for that course (for credit bearing courses). Students will not be prevented from registering for courses in subsequent semesters that require specific grades in courses completed in the Fall 2020 semester, including students who transfer. Prerequisites for all courses, with the exception of courses chosen by campuses to be excluded from opt-in, and programs will be considered complete with a CR grade, at all CUNY institutions. Students should, however, consider the likelihood of succeeding in subsequent courses, in which they will earn a letter grade, if they have not mastered the material in a related lower-level course. In the case of programs that fulfill the academic requirements for licensed professions, student decisions to pursue the Credit/No Credit option may impact their acceptance into the program (or graduate program). These students are encouraged to check with their respective departments.

Does this policy impact ePermit or Study Abroad grades?

The policy applies to ePermit and Study Abroad courses offered in the Fall 2020 semester. The only courses that are excluded from the policy are those listed here: https://provost.qc.cuny.edu/flexible-grading-policy/fall-2020-exclusions.

Will a Fall 2020 hold or stop prevent a student from selecting the Credit/No Credit option?

Stops and holds will not have an impact on a student’s ability to select the Credit/No Credit option.

Will the CR grade apply towards F-Repeat policy where the F grade was earned?

A grade of CR is a passing grade, will replace an F, apply towards the F-Repeat policy, and count towards the 16-credit F-Repeat limit (for credit bearing courses) but will not contribute to the calculation of the term GPA.

Will the NC grade apply towards F-Repeat policy where the F grade was earned?

A NC grade will not replace a previously earned F grade.

Will a WU grade convert to a NC grade?

WU is not an earned grade and is assigned to students who stop participating in and do not complete the course; thus, student will not have option to convert to an “NC” grade.

Will a FIN grade convert to a NC grade?

FIN is not an earned grade and is assigned to students who do not complete coursework for which they received an INC grade in Fall 2020 semester, thus, student will not have the option to convert to an “NC” grade.

Does this policy apply to a course where a student has already earned any version of the W grades on their record for Fall 2020 semester?

If a student has a version of the W grade (W, WN, WA, WD) on their record for a course for the Fall 2020 semester, this option does not apply to that course.

Will this interfere with the number of Pass/Fail/No Credit grades that a student can utilize after the Fall 2020 semester which is dependent on local campus policy?

These grades will not be included in the total number of non-letter grade courses a student may take as per the existing campus policy.

Does this policy impact a student’s eligibility for Dean’s List/Campus Honors for Fall 2020 semester?

Credit/No Credit grades are not counted toward the Dean’s List and Campus Honors. Students must earn letter grades to be considered for any honors opportunities.

If unexpected issues arise around Credit/No Credit implementation, does there exist a process to ensure that they are addressed?

Each campus has a grades appeals process that can be invoked if issues arise because of the Credit/No Credit policy.

Will successfully retaking the course in subsequent semesters replace the NC grade?

No, the NC grade will not be replaced and will continue to appear on the transcript. A grade of NC is not calculated into the GPA; therefore, it will not impact the 16-credit university limitation on repeats. On the other hand, if an F is received in a course, then successfully repeating that course later would replace the F grade in the calculation of the GPA.

Does this policy apply to F grades assigned due to academic sanction for the violation of Academic Integrity Policy?

No, students found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy are not allowed to opt-in to receive a No Credit grade, as academically sanctioned F grades are not earned grades.

What's the best way to figure out the impact on my GPA?

Login to Degreeworks (https://degreeworks.cuny.edu/) and use the Term Calculator to manipulate possible scenarios and explore grading calculations. The screenshot on this page shows how it works.

Screenshots of Degreeworks Term Calculator

Use Degreeworks Term Calculator to explore different scenarios for your GPA.

Credit/No Credit Opt-In

When will I be able to opt-in for Credit/No Credit Option?

Students will be able to elect this option after their class grades have been posted in CUNYfirst by their instructor, with the exception of courses chosen by campuses to be excluded from opt-in.

When will I be able to opt-in for grades I have already received for the Fall 2020 semester?

Students will be able to elect this option for classes for which they have already received grades for Fall 2020 semester.

Will students have to apply through CUNYfirst or through Degreeworks?

Students will use CUNYfirst to elect the Credit/No Credit option.

I am not able to opt-in for certain courses in CUNYfirst, who do I contact?

Students will be able to opt-in for all courses except those listed here, https://provost.qc.cuny.edu/flexible-grading-policy/fall-2020-exclusions.

What will this look like on my transcript?

The grade glossary, attached to each transcript, will be updated to include a notation denoting that Fall 2020 grades of CR or NC, were earned during a major emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Should a student opt for NC if they earned a D and want to repeat the course?

A passing letter grade (B+ through D) can convert to ‘CR’ with credit for the class being awarded (for credit bearing courses), while a failing grade (F) can convert to ‘NC’, with no credit awarded. Still, it is important to understand that under certain circumstances, there is a difference between a passing grade for the purposes of CUNY, and an acceptable grade in the eyes of institutions outside of CUNY, specialized programs such as Nursing, and standards for professional licensure. Students should consult with their advisors before electing the Credit/No Credit option.

I graduated at the end of Summer or I have already graduated. Will I able to use Credit/No Credit option?

Once a degree is conferred and the student has graduated, changes to an academic record, including grade change due to Credit/No Credit option, cannot be made.

Will a Fall 2020 hold or stop prevent a student from selecting the Credit/No Credit option?

Stops and holds will not have an impact on a student’s ability to select the Credit/No Credit option.

QC has a standing Credit/Pass/Fail/No Credit policy that is available to students every semester. Does the Fall 2020 Credit/No Credit Grading Policy replace that policy or is this an additional option for students?

QC’s existing Pass/No Credit (P/NC) grading option continues to apply in the Fall 2020 semester. Information about P/NC is available here: https://www.qc.cuny.edu/Academics/SupportPrograms/advising/Pages/pass-no-credit-grading-option.aspx.

If I am transferring to CUNY from outside the university and my previous school had a mandatory or voluntary binary grading system (P/F; CR/NC) will my credits still transfer?

For courses taken in the Fall 2020 semester only, we will honor and transfer in binary grades for all courses that would normally transfer, without negative impact on admission, transfer credit, or degree requirements. ​

New Students: Freshman or Transfer

What’s QC’s First-Semester Forgiveness Grading Policy, and does it apply to me?

QC’s current first-semester forgiveness policy converts all failing grades (F, WU, FIN, WF) to an NC (No Credit) or R (Repeat) in the case of CESL classes. The following definition is used to determine a student’s first-semester status:

  1. A full- or part-time freshman in the first semester of matriculation at Queens College with 24 or fewer credits combined from Advanced Placement; International Baccalaureate; college preparatory programs including High-Jump and College Now; and coursework from nonaccredited or accredited postsecondary institutions. The only exception shall be for a Fall semester freshman who chooses to attend the immediately preceding Summer Session. In such cases NC or R shall be recorded for failing grades as defined in “A” received in both the Summer Session and the Fall semester of entry.

  2. A full- or part-time first-semester transfer student with 30 or fewer combined credits as defined under #1. The only exception shall be for a Fall semester transfer who chooses to attend the immediately preceding Summer Session. In such cases NC or R shall be recorded for failing grades as defined in “A” received in both the Summer Session and the Fall semester of entry.

The First-Semester Forgiveness policy will help you if a course you’re taking is exempted from the CR/NC policy.


Students in Special Programs, including International Students and Veterans

What are the implications of Credit/No Credit opt-in for International Students?

International students should consult with the International Students and Scholars office (http://www.qc.cuny.edu/isso). For Fall 2020, international students will be able to opt-in to Credit/No Credit without any impact on their visa status if the decision is due to the COVID-19 crisis.

What are the implications of Credit/No Credit opt-in for Veterans Benefits?

Veteran students should consult with Veteran Support Services (https://www.qc.cuny.edu/StudentLife/services/advising/veterans). The VA does not typically pay for classes for which the grade received, such as Credit/No Credit, may not contribute to student progress standards for graduation (what the VA calls “non-punitive grades).” If “Level 10” mitigating circumstances (i.e., contracting COVID-19) is reported by the institution for the student’s receipt of a non-punitive grade then VA will consider paying for the class. Other circumstances could result in unintended VA debt.

Does this policy apply to Non-Degree, College NOW, or Early College Initiative (ECI) programs?

The policy applies to all students taking courses in the Fall 2020 semester regardless of matriculation status, with the exception of courses chosen by campuses to be excluded from opt-in.

How will this policy affect undergraduate Macaulay Honors, Campus Honors, Adult and Continuing Education, and other special academic programs?

The policy applies to all courses applicable to all CUNY undergraduate programs equally, with the exception of courses chosen by campuses to be excluded from opt-in, listed here: https://provost.qc.cuny.edu/flexible-grading-policy/fall-2020-exclusions.

Students Pursuing Licensed Health Professions Programs

I am applying to a degree program in a licensed health profession at my school at the end of this semester. How will accepting a grade of CR affect my admission to the program?

Admission to many of the licensed health profession programs at CUNY is highly competitive. There are more students interested in these programs than there are clinical placements available, therefore there is a selection process based upon a review of the academic record of each student seeking admission. While no student will be deprived the right to a CR grade in any class at CUNY, overall GPA is not the only indicator in admissions decisions to licensed health profession programs. Students are encouraged to review the admissions criteria, which can be viewed on the program’s webpage, for acceptance to the program. Program directors will review the full transcript of each student and will make their admissions decisions based upon conclusions drawn from the review of those transcripts. Opting for a CR grade instead of a letter grade in a course may impact your ability to meet the expected admission criteria and acceptance into the program. Students doing poorly in a course may be advised to withdraw from a course (deadline was December 19) or take a Credit/No Credit grade option (unless the course is excluded), and repeat the course in a subsequent term.

I am a student in a licensed health profession program at my school, currently taking courses in my major. How will accepting a CR grade in my major courses affect my ability to continue in the program?

No student will be denied the right to elect the Credit/No Credit grade option, with the exception of courses chosen by campuses to be excluded from opt-in. All students, regardless of their field of study need to consider the impact that their level of proficiency in a Fall 2020 course will have on their success in a future course or in successfully advancing in the program in which they will earn a letter grade or choose a Credit/No Credit This consideration is particularly important for students in programs preparing them to take licensing examinations in one of the health professions upon graduation. Students doing poorly in a course may be advised to withdraw from a course or take an NC grade and repeat the course in a subsequent term. Students should contact their professor or advisor either prior to the end of the semester or certainly prior to opting for the Credit/No Credit grade.

I am a senior applying to graduate programs in a licensed health profession. How will the CR grades impact my chances of gaining admission to the schools to which I have applied?

Each graduate program will view these grades as they see fit. Many colleges and universities throughout the United States are implementing similar type grading options for students for the Fall 2020 semester, so your transcript will most likely not be the only one with a Credit/No Credit. Students may consider admission criteria for graduate schools in your selected health profession to inform decisions on eligibility and other conditions that may potentially impact admission to the program. You have twenty days after your letter grade has been submitted to decide if you want to opt in for the Credit/No Credit grade, with the exception of courses chosen by campuses to be excluded from opt-in. We advise you to use that time to check with the admissions office of each program to which you have applied to make an informed decision.

Students in Education Programs

I am a student in an Education program that leads to teacher certification. How will opting into a CR grade in my Education courses affect my ability to get certified?

Candidates who complete a registered program would apply for certification through the approved program pathway. In this pathway, NY State Education Department (OTI) looks for the institutions’ recommendation for certification in the candidates’ TEACH account and does not look at courses on a transcript. Credit/No Credit courses would not be an issue in this case.

I am a student taking education courses because I intend to apply for certification through the individual evaluation pathway. (I am not enrolled in a registered program that leads to certification.) How will opting into a CR grade in my Education courses affect my ability to get certified?

Candidates who complete college courses but are not matriculating in a registered program and would not receive an institution recommendation for certification, may apply for certification through the individual evaluation pathway. In this pathway, “candidates” must have achieved at least a C or its equivalent in any undergraduate level course and at least a B- or its equivalent in any graduate level course in order for the semester hours associated with that course to be credited toward meeting the content core or pedagogical core semester hour requirements for a certificate”, according to the regulations.

Students pursuing the individual evaluation pathway who earn at least a C or its equivalent in any undergraduate level course and at least a B- or its equivalent in any graduate level course may decide to accept the letter grade (and not convert it to CR) so their transcript can be more readily assessed by NY State Education Department.

How do CR grades apply to the general core and content core requirements of NY State Education Department?

The minimum letter grade requirement does not apply to the general core (liberal arts and science) courses unless they are also counting towards the content core semester hour requirements. Credit/No Credit grades would be acceptable for those courses. In addition, any grade is acceptable, including pass/fail grades, for the 12-semester hour graduate coursework content core for the Professional certificate master’s degree requirement if the college granted degree credit for the course.

I am a senior applying to graduate programs in Education. How will the CR grades impact my chances of gaining admission to the NY colleges to which I have applied, given the state’s 3.0 GPA minimum?

Each graduate program will view these grades as they see fit. Many colleges and universities throughout the United States are implementing similar type grading options for students for the Fall 2020 semester, so your transcript will most likely not be the only one with a Credit/No Credit or P/F or P/NC grade. CUNY’s Credit/No Credit grades will not impact the students’ GPA. You have twenty days after your letter grade has been submitted to decide if you want to opt in for the Credit/No Credit We advise you to use that time to check with the admissions office of each program to which you have applied to make an informed decision.