Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

To address some of the extraordinary challenges resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado State University will offer undergraduate students the option of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading instead of a traditional grade (A-F) for Fall 2020 courses. This is a temporary policy for Fall 2020 only. It is important to not only read the sections below on S/U grading and late course withdrawal, but also the section that follows on the pros and cons to each of these options.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading Options

Students may select an “S” for courses in which they have grades of C or higher. Grades of D and F can be converted to a “U,” but the student receives no credit for the course. Neither S nor U grades are used in calculating the CSU grade point average.

  • Undergraduate students must decide whether to opt for S/U grading and inform the University through RAMWeb by midnight Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, if they are opting to change from a traditional grade to an S or U.

 Late Course Withdrawal with “W”

 In addition, CSU will offer the late course withdrawal option for all undergraduate and graduate students for Fall 2020. A withdrawal is indicated by a W on student transcripts and students receive no credit for the course.

  •  The course withdrawal option will be open until the last day of classes, Friday, Dec. 11, and must be requested through the Office of the Registrar. This option will not be available after Dec. 11, except through the conventional course withdrawal appeal process through the Office of the Registrar.

Note that students registered and enrolled in CSU Online courses will follow the deadlines established by that unit.

This decision has been made by Provost and Executive Vice President Mary Pedersen for the express benefit of students who faced extraordinary challenges through the pandemic, and in consultation with Faculty Council, the Pandemic Teaching Continuity and Recovery Team, and other members of the Colorado State University community.

The University urges students consult with the Office of Financial Aid and their academic advisors prior to withdrawing from or changing their grading option for Fall 2020 courses to fully understand how the choice will affect their individual situation.

Pros and cons

While course withdrawal and satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading may well benefit a student’s GPA in some circumstances, it is also important to underscore that short-term benefits may be complicated by unforeseen academic consequences and future economic costs.

S/U grading may affect major requirements, transferability, or post-graduate prospects. Course withdrawal may affect student financial aid benefits or likely date of graduation.

In addition to these general concerns, please be aware of the following specific considerations pertaining to S/U grading options:

  • Students may request a change to S/U grading as soon as their course grade is posted to RAMweb but all requests must be made through RAMweb by midnight, Dec. 29.
  • University offices are closed Dec. 23-27. Students will not have access to academic advisors or the Office of Financial Aid for guidance during that time and should arrange to consult with advisors about possible scenarios as soon as possible and before 5 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 22.
  • Students will be able to request S/U grading via RAMweb Dec. 23-29. Contact the Office of the Registrar with questions after Dec. 29.  
  • Students may not use S/U grading for any course that has a required grade as a pre-requisite for the next level of class in a program of study.
  • Students should not use S/U grading for a capstone course.
  • Students must fully understand that controlled majors will not accept an S in place of a letter grade.
  • Students should be aware that there are potential implications of S/U grades for satisfying prerequisites and/or GPA requirements for graduate school admission.
  • Students are encouraged to work with the Office of Financial Aid to determine if an S or U grade will impact their financial aid.
  • Students on or concerned about possible probationary status should check with their academic advisor.
  • This S/U grading option is not available to graduate students.  
  • This option is temporary and is only available for Fall 2020 courses.

The following specific considerations pertain to course withdrawal (W) decisions:

  • Students in sections with multiple components (e.g., lectures, labs, recitations) will need to contact the Office of the Registrar between Dec. 9-11 to request a course withdrawal.
  • Withdrawing from required courses can delay progress toward timely graduation, which can be costly, in both the short and long term. Students should fully explore the consequences of withdrawing from courses with their academic advisor.

We understand that Fall 2020 has been a challenging semester and we are so proud of all our students for persisting. Please continue to check the Keep Teaching and Keep Learning sites for supporting information and guidance in decision making.

We are deeply appreciative of everything every member of the University community has done to keep each other healthy and on track to a successful completion of the semester, and look forward to better days in Spring 2021.


Kelly Long, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs and the Teaching Continuity and Recovery Team