RIO GRANDE VALLEY -  In an effort to help students maintain their academic goals through the COVID-19 pandemic – and ease their minds during this unprecedented time – UTRGV President Guy Bailey has announced the implementation of a pass/no pass grading option.

“Thanks to the diligent work of our Faculty Senate and for their compassion for our students during this crisis, UTRGV will offer a pass/no pass option for the remainder of the spring semester,” Bailey said via video to the UTRGV student body. “What this means is, students now have the option of accepting a letter grade or a pass/no pass for courses they complete this semester.”

Students will have until May 13 to either accept their letter grades or choose the pass/no pass option – which means they will be able to view their letter grades first, then opt for the pass/no pass option, and only if they choose to do so.

Grades of A, B and C will equal a passing grade of P.

Grades of D and F will equal a no-passing grade of NP.

And, UTRGV has extended the drop/withdrawal deadline until April 30.

“I think the pass/no pass system is an awesome option for students,” said Sarah Wesley, a UTRGV environmental science major from Edinburg. “Things are so hectic for everyone right now. I personally know students that have worked extremely hard all semester who have lost resources and time to continue working.

“It relieves me to know they’re taking steps to help out the student body and that they’re listening to our needs,” she said.

Bailey encouraged students to have proactive conversations about the ramifications of their choices with their advisors and faculty during these final weeks of the semester, as choosing the pass/no pass option could affect financial aid and future academic progress.

To assist students, the university developed FAQs to further guide them on the pass/no pass option.

“I think the decision Dr. Bailey made was nothing short of perfect,” said Verania Elizondo Chapa, a UTRGV psychology major from Brownsville. “It’s incredible that students who need their letter grades for medical school applications, etc., are able to have their grades to display, and students struggling with the repercussions of COVID-19 can lighten their worries as a result of the pass/no pass option.”

Due to the everchanging challenges the pandemic brings to university students, UTRGV also has offered other services to help keep students on track in their academic goals, including:

Increasing the UTRGV Tuition Advantage program to cover costs of tuition for qualifying students with a family income of $95,000 or less. That’s is a $20,000 increase from the current plan. Waiving the GRE and GMAT testing requirements for students pursuing graduate or doctoral degrees. Implementing the Student Emergency Fund for students who need immediate assistance due to these unforeseen circumstances. For more information on the pass/no pass option, visit here. For the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic and UTRGV’s procedures, including student information and services, visit here (https://www.utrgv.edu/coronavirus/updates/2020-04-03-2/index.htm).

“It hasn’t been easy, and every day seems to bring new challenges,” Bailey said. “I am proud of the way we’ve all adapted and come together to respond to this crisis.”