BETHANY, W.Va. – With the global COVID-19 pandemic prompting unprecedented changes to the spring semester, Bethany College has changed its grading policy to help ease the transition to remote learning.

The Bethany College faculty recently voted to allow students to replace their traditional letter grades with “credit” or “no credit” if they so choose.

Provost and Dean of Faculty Joe Lane announced the change in a video sent to students, faculty, and staff.

“We recognize that this sudden shift in instructional mode has been unsettling and that some students are probably very worried about how this will impact their grade point average,” Lane said. “We know that a bad grade can have consequences for our students’ ability to participate in sports and extracurriculars, eligibility for scholarships and graduation honors, and applications for graduate schools and jobs.”

Bethany announced March 12 that it would extend its spring break and return with remote instruction on March 23. As shelter in place orders became more widespread, President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg announced March 27 that classes would remain online for the remainder of the semester.

Under the new policy – which applies only to the spring semester – students will receive traditional letter grades upon the completion of their coursework. However, students then will have the option to seek their advisers’ permission to change an A, B, C, or D into “credit” or an “F” into “no credit.”

“Students may, of course, elect to keep letter grades if they choose to do so, and we expect that many students will want to excel in their courses to raise their GPAs in the Spring 2020 semester,” Lane said.

Seniors who will receive their degrees in May must make their “credit/no credit” requests within 48 hours of the grade posting; all other students must make their requests within seven days of the posting.

Courses that are converted to the “credit” grade may be applied to major, minor, and liberal arts core requirements, but they will not affect a student’s grade point average.

The Academic Standards Committee’s decisions on academic warning, probation, and dismissal – as well as scholarship and athletics eligibility – will take into account the GPA after applying the “credit/no credit” designation.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.