Energy and Sustainability Policy
Program Office

Alternative Grading Information

Optional alternative grading was made available for this semester.   The alternative grading options are as follows:

  • SAT (Satisfactory). This grade will be available if a student earns a C or better in a course. A course with an SAT grade can be used to meet all requirements, including entrance to major and prerequisites requiring a C or better.
  • V (Pass). This grade, which will be available if a student earns a D in a course, will be considered a passing grade. The student will earn credits for the course, and a V grade can be used to meet requirements for which D is an acceptable grade. The V grade cannot be used to meet C or better requirements.
  • Z (No Grade). This grade will be available if a student earns an F in a course. Z can be used to replace an F grade and will be treated similar to Late Drop (LD).

For your convenience, some of the frequently asked questions regarding alternative grades from the site are included below. Many more answers are included on the site, and you should read it thoroughly.  In considering options about alternative grading, you also may find the following alternative grade decision worksheet to be helpful:  Remember that decisions about using alternative grading involve more than just your GPA; academic advisers are prepared to discuss the implications with you.  Please reach out to your adviser if you have questions.

Very important: You must make your alternative grade decisions by 11:59 pm on May 29! 



  • How will I enter information about what grading system I prefer?

We are finalizing a new tool in LionPATH, the Alternative Grade Calculator and Request Tool, to allow you to make your alternative grade selections after final grades are posted. You can read detailed instructions on using the toolThe tool will be available May 20, and you will have until May 29 to finalize your selections. Meanwhile, the LionPATH GPA Calculator can help you explore how selections in the alternative grading system will affect your GPA. Read guidance on using the GPA Calculator for this purpose. 


  • Will a SAT or V grade in a course be accepted in meeting the prerequisite for a subsequent course? 

If the prerequisite requires a D or better, both grades will work. If the requirement is to earn a C or better in the prerequisite course, you will need to earn a SAT grade.


  • In the future, I am considering graduate and professional schools. Does this impact how I make this decision?

We do not control how these external agencies might recalculate GPAs, and many in the advising community believe that the prudent advice is for students to continue to work toward strong letter grades, especially in key courses related to their programs of study. Please speak with your academic adviser about this, as you may want to elect to maintain letter grades even if they decrease your GPA slightly.


  • I am a student-athlete. Is this option available to me?

Yes. Students-athletes should consider taking advantage of this option just like any other student would. If you have questions concerning eligibility, you should contact your campus athletic director (Commonwealth campuses) or your adviser with the Morgan Academic Center (University Park).


  • Will switching to alternative grades negatively impact my financial aid eligibility?

In all cases, the decision whether to select alternative grading should be based on academic issues. As always, you need to be concerned about making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and the change to alternative grading does not eliminate this as a consideration. If you have SAP questions, you should consult with your campus Office of Student Aid representative.


  • I am a Schreyer Scholar. How does this apply to me?

The Schreyer Honors College will not institute any warning status or dismissals this semester except for rare exceptions. Any student currently on warning or extended warning will remain so into the fall semester unless the student has achieved a 3.40 for SGPA (based on 12 or more graded credits) and/or CGPA to return to good standing.


  • I am an undergraduate student taking a mix of undergraduate and graduate courses. Can I use alternative grading?

You can use the undergraduate alternative grading options for your undergraduate courses. For your graduate courses, the Graduate School has provided additional flexibility through their alternative grading system. Please contact your academic adviser for guidance.


  • I am in an Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) program. How does this affect me?

Students in IUG programs should consult the Graduate School for guidance after reviewing their optional alternative grading plan.


  • If I’m found responsible for violating Penn State’s Academic Integrity (AI) policy in one of my courses, can I still use alternative grading for that course?

You will not be able to elect alternative grading for the course in which the AI violation occurred if you are found responsible and the AI sanction includes any adjustment to individual grades in the course or your overall grade.


  • I completed a course prior to spring break. Can I elect to use alternative grading for that course?

No. The alternative grading system was developed in response to the considerable disruption created by the move to remote teaching, which happened after spring break, and therefore is only available for courses that conclude after March 6.