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The Lookout | September 22, 2018

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Amnesty improves students’ GPAs

Amnesty improves students’ GPAs

Shelby Schueller
News Editor

Sometimes getting a passing grade in class can be difficult, especially when students are just starting out in college. With academic amnesty, returning students can get failing grades forgiven.

“We found that students were coming back to school after they had been here a long time ago with bad records, doing quite well, and it was a way for those students to have their very bad grades erased from their overall cumulative GPA,” said Eva Menefee, LCC lead faculty adviser.

To be eligible for academic amnesty, a student must have gotten an overall grade of 0.0 in a class taken five or more years ago, according to Menefee. Since then, the student must have taken 12 credits and gotten a grade of at least 2.0.

Since old grades are still factored into GPA calculation, students can use academic amnesty to get a 0.0 grade forgiven, meaning it will no longer be factored in GPA calculation. This makes it so the student’s current work ethic, not past class failures, is reflected in his or her GPA score.

According to Menefee, the course and its 0.0 grade will still be on the student’s transcript, but it will be marked with an “A,” indicating amnesty status.

Up to 18 credits can be forgiven, but if a student is retaking a course, academic amnesty is not recommended because the new grade will replace the 0.0.

To get amnesty, students must meet with an academic adviser, according to Menefee. She advised students to make appointments early in the semester so the amnesty grade will be on their transcript when the semester is over.

Menefee said amnesty can help students with many aspects of education such as the transfer process, scholarship application and financial aid.

According to Lori Allen-Barner, LCC academic records specialist, around 45 to 50 students apply for academic amnesty per semester.

Grace Kusler, Student Nursing Association (SNA) vice president, said she learned about academic amnesty when a previous SNA officer used it. She said she wanted more students to learn about this option.

Kusler said an improved GPA can help students compete in a competitive job market such as the health field.

“In the real world, it’s extremely tough and, at the point where you’re very competitive with someone else, they’ll start looking at those GPA’s,” Kusler said. It’s really important that you look as good as you can.”

According to Kusler, who met with several LCC advisers, getting academic amnesty does not reduce penalization in programs such as Nursing and Dental Hygiene that deduct points for certain failed and retaken classes.

Menefee said she hopes more students learn about academic amnesty and will not be afraid to ask for it.

“I think that it’s important, especially here at LCC, because we are a place where a lot of people get started and sometimes student’s beginnings are not so great,” she said.

“Having amnesty allows them to improve their records so that when they become a good student, or as they are a good student today, they don’t have to worry about that impacting their grade point average.”

The academic amnesty policy is subject to change, but students are encouraged to meet with an adviser if they think they qualify or if they would like more information.

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