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Sunday, April 11, 2021

UF isn’t offering an S-U grading option to students this Fall

Photo of Newell Drive with Century Tower and Marston Science Library visible in the view
Photo of Newell Drive with Century Tower and Marston Science Library visible in the view

UF gave students an academic safety net in the Spring that won’t be available this Fall.

UF isn’t planning to offer an S-U option and is not anticipating another transition to fully online classes this Fall, UF spokesperson, Steve Orlando, wrote in an email.

When COVID-19 moved UF’s classes online in the middle of the Spring semester, students could opt for a Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory grading style for any course. For UF’s Fall semester, S-U grading can only be used for one elective course per term, as usual, but must be approved for courses. 

S-U grading is not the same as pass/fail grading, though the names tend to be used interchangeably. UF does not offer pass/fail grading where a grade of D- or above is a “Pass” and E grades are considered a “Fail.”

General education requirements cannot be taken S-U, according to UF’s policy.


“UF offered this option in the Spring because of the disruption caused by switching to being fully online mid-semester,” Orlando wrote. “That did not happen over the Summer or this Fall.”

Under S-U grading, a student must earn a minimum of a C by the end of the semester to pass a class with an “S,” according to UF’s grading policies. This means the letter grade would not show up on a student’s transcript and would not affect their UF grade point average.

In his 11 years at UF, Kevin Knudson, mathematics department chair, has only had a few students ask for pass/fail grading during that whole time, he wrote in an email. Knudson said they only requested it because the courses were electives.

The change of policy in the spring was appropriate because of how sudden the move online was, Knudson wrote.

“This term, however, we all knew in advance what the teaching format would be and so I think it’s less necessary now,” Knudson wrote.

Because students knew how classes were going to be set up for the Fall semester, Erin Hilsabeck, a 20-year-old UF psychology junior, understands why S-U isn’t an option.

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During the transition to asynchronous classes in the spring, meaning there are no live class meetings, Hilsabeck struggled with time management and procrastination. She considered S-U grading for some of her classes.

“I really liked the schedule of going to lectures at a certain time, and having to be there in class and listen,” Hilsabeck said. “It was really hard for me to keep up and actually watch the lectures when I was supposed to.”

She didn’t end up choosing S-U in spring, but this semester, she said she wishes she had the option now because of her asynchronous organic chemistry class, which doesn’t meet at a scheduled time online.

Unfortunately, students hoping for the same S-U option from the Spring will have to keep their GPAs in good condition the old-fashioned way: good grades.

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