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FAQ for Fall 2020 Grading Options (COVID-19)

Like the Spring, this will be our page for FAQ about the FA 20 Optional Alternative Grading

FAQ for Fall 2020 Optional Alternative Grading Options (COVID-19)

Smeal and Smeal Bound Student FAQ for COVID-19 Grading Policy (Applies to Fall 2020 semester only) 


The University has an FAQ that will answer many of your questions about the optional COVID-19 grading options for the Fall 2020 semester. First, go to these websites and read through the information:






This Q&A is aimed specifically at Smeal-specific questions, so it is limited in scope. 

Question: How can I request to change my grade under the new COVID-19 grading policy and what is the process? 

Answer: The University will be publishing the specifics of this information in the future on this website:   



Question: Will SAT, V, Z graded courses count towards my credit window for Smeal Entrance to Major? 

Answer: The SAT, V and Z grades will NOT count toward your entrance to major credit window. The SAT/V/Z grades will also not be used in the calculation of your grade point average. 

  • Sophomores (admitted in SU 19, FA 19 and SP 20) making adequate progress should be in or near the credit window (25-59 credits) already.   
  • First-year students (admitted in SU 20 and FA 20) should continue to take normal credit loads. If you use the COVID-19 grading system in the Fall 2020 semester, as long as you are making adequate progress, you will be able to apply for your major on time. 


Question: What alternate grade is acceptable to meet “C or better” entrance to major required courses? 


  • A Fall 2020 Alternative Grade of SAT is allowed for ENGL 15/ESL 15/ENGL 15A/ENGL 30/ENGL 137H/CAS 137H, MATH 110/140/141 and SCM 200/STAT 200.
  • A Fall 2020 Alternative Grade of SAT or V is allowed for ECON 102.  If you are interested in pursuing a major in Actuarial Science, please review the information below from the CAS/CIA/SOA VEE Administration Committee to learn more about Alternative Grading for ECON 102.
  • Please note that Smeal will NOT accept Fall 2020 Alternative Grades in MGMT 301, ACCTG 211, MKTG 301 and FIN 301 for entrance to major purposes. 
    • If you take a SAT/V/Z grade in MGMT 301, ACCTG 211, MKTG 301 and FIN 301 in the Fall 2020 semester, the course will not count towards entering your Smeal major.  You will have to retake that course(s) and earn a standard letter grade (C or better) in a future semester.  Be advised, retaking a course could result in exceeding the Smeal entrance to major credit window (59 cumulative completed Penn State credits) among other potential negative ramifications (financial aid, delayed graduation, etc.) so you should discuss this with your adviser.
    • This is a significant change from the Spring 2020 Alternative Grade policy, where SAT grades were and are accepted for MGMT 301, ACCTG 211, MKTG 301 and FIN 301 towards Smeal entrance to major credit.


Question: What alternate grade is acceptable to meet graduation requirements for “C” required courses that are not entrance to major courses? 

Answer: A COVID-19 grade assignment of SAT is required to fulfill your “C” required courses. 


Question: What alternate grade is acceptable to meet graduation requirements for “D” required courses? 

Answer: A COVID-19 grade assignment of SAT or V will fulfill a “D” required course. 


QuestionI am an Actuarial Science major in the Smeal College of Business or am interested in pursuing a major in Actuarial Science. Can I take courses under the Fall 2020 Covid-19 grading policy (SAT, V, Z)? 

Answer: The Joint CAS/CIA/SOA VEE Administration Committee will not be accepting alternative grades for transcripts in the Fall 2020 Semester.  Please see this link for the policy on alternative grades from Spring 2020 and Summer 2020.  The VEE courses requiring a B- or better are:

  • ECON 102
  • ECON 104
  • ACCTG 211
  • FIN 301
  • STAT 415


Question: I am an Accounting major in the Smeal College of Business or am interested in pursuing a major in Accounting and I am planning to take the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam. Can I take courses under the Fall 2020 COVID-19 grading policy (SAT, V, Z)? 

Answer: Qualifications to sit for the CPA exam are determined by individual states. We recommend students in the Accounting major or intending to be Accounting majors contact the state where they intend to take the exam for guidance.  https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/licensure/state-requirements/