314  Undergraduate Academic Retention Standards

Approved by President
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Responsible Office:  Student Success
Responsible Officer: Vice Provost for Student Success

I. Purpose

This policy establishes the minimum criteria for undergraduate academic retention standards at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University).

II. Establishment of Criteria

A.  The Division of Academic Affairs will develop specific criteria, in compliance with this policy, to be implemented and enforced as the undergraduate academic retention standards of the institution.

B.  The approved undergraduate academic retention standards shall be clearly expressed in the catalog, uniformly applied to all students, and promptly enforced at the close of each semester.

III. Quality Point System

A.  The following quality point system is to be used in determining averages:

For each credit hour of A:

4 quality points

For each credit hour of B+:

3.33 quality points

For each credit hour of B:      

3 quality points

For each credit hour of B-:

2.67 quality points

For each credit hour of C+:

2.33 quality points

For each credit hour of C:

2 quality points

For each credit hour of C-:

1.67 quality points

For each credit hour of D+:

1.33 quality points

For each credit hour of D:

1 quality point

For each credit hour of D-:

0.67 quality points

For each credit hour of F:      

0 quality points

B.  The quality point average (QPA) is determined by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of credit hours which the student attempted except for credit hours in courses from which the student withdraws in good standing (see Section VI. Drop and Withdrawal Standards) or for courses in which the student receives grades such as pass/fail and which are not considered when determining the QPA.

C.  Grades, which are not considered in computing the QPA, shall be described and explained in the catalog.

D.  In addition, a statement shall be included within the catalog which limits the number of hours of such grades per semester and the maximum number of such hours a student may receive in toto.

E.  Finally, a single student transcript will include term and cumulative QPA calculations, which ensure that MTSU treats remedial/developmental hours alike in calculating QPA. The transcript will include the following:

1.  QPA composed only of hours taken in courses numbered 1000 and above (college only QPA) and

2.  QPA composed of hours taken in courses numbered 100 and above and hours taken in remedial/developmental courses (combined QPA).

F.  The following uses are based on each calculation:

1.  College only QPA will be used in calculating the required QPA for graduation.

2.  College only QPA will be used in determining graduation honors.

3.  College only QPA will be used in determining term honors.

4.  Combined QPA will be used in determining suspension and probation.

5.  Combined QPA will be used in determining financial aid eligibility.

6.  Combined QPA will be used in determining athletic eligibility.

G.  For the purpose of increasing mastery in a course, when such is necessary for successful performance in a subsequent course or for the purpose of increasing the quality point average (and only for these purposes), students may be permitted to repeat courses in which their final grades are "C" or lower.

H.  Courses may not be repeated more than twice (three [3] total attempts) unless the grades in the third and subsequent attempts are used in calculating the quality point average.

I.  Students may be permitted to repeat a course in which a grade of "B" or higher was earned only with the approval of the Provost as an exception to this policy.

IV. Retention Standards

A.  The minimum quality point average required to achieve the baccalaureate degree is 2.0.

B.  In addition, a student who fails during any term to attain a cumulative QPA at or above the level indicated below for the credit hours attempted will be placed on academic probation for the subsequent term.

C.  Required Semester System Cumulative Hours Attempted QPA:

14 and under:                                 

no minimum QPA

15-29 hours attempted:               

1.4 QPA

30-50 hours attempted:               

1.7 QPA

51-67 hours attempted:               

1.9 QPA

Above 67 hours attempted:        

2.0 QPA

D.  At the end of the next term of enrollment, a student on academic probation who has failed to attain either the above cumulative standard or a 2.0 QPA for that term will be suspended for a minimum of one (1) term. The Summer term may not be counted as the term of suspension.

E.  Suspended students may use Policy 301 Admissions to appeal for readmission.

V. Academic Fresh Start

A.  Academic fresh start is a plan of academic forgiveness which allows undergraduate students who have experienced academic difficulty to make a clean start upon returning to college after an extended absence.

The academic fresh start allows eligible students to resume study without being penalized for his/her past unsatisfactory scholarship and signals the initiation of a new QPA and grade point average (GPA) to be used for determining academic standing.

B.  Readmitted students who were formerly enrolled at MTSU as well as transfer students who meet institutional requirements for admission and who have been separated from all institutions of higher education for a minimum of four (4) years shall be eligible for the academic fresh start.

C.  MTSU shall require that the transfer applicant's grade point average on transferable courses must be at least equal to that which MTSU requires for the readmission of its own students.

D.  Applicants who do not meet the MTSU’s standards may be admitted on scholastic probation. (See Policy 301 Admissions.)

E.  The provisions of academic fresh start require meeting the following minimum criteria:

1.  Student Requirements:

a.  Separation from all collegiate institutions for at least four (4) years.

b.  Any time after the readmission or admission as a degree-seeking student, a formal application must be filed with the appropriate office, as identified in the appropriate MTSU catalog, requesting the academic fresh start and describing an academic plan.

2.  Terms of the Academic Fresh Start

a.  Once the student has satisfied the above requirements, MTSU may grant the academic fresh start. The student may be granted an academic fresh start only once.

b.  The student's permanent record will remain a record of all work; however, courses taken and previously failed will be excluded from the calculation of the QPA/GPA. Courses with a "D" grade will also be excluded from the calculation when a grade of "C" or better is required in the student's current major. QPA, GPA, and credit hours will reflect courses for which passing grades were earned and retained.

(1)  Retained grades will be calculated in the academic fresh start QPA/GPA.

(2)  Courses with "D" or "F" grades must be repeated at MTSU when they are required in the student's current major. All remaining courses for the current degree objectives must be completed at MTSU. No transient credit will be accepted after invoking academic fresh start.

(3)  The application of retained credit toward degree requirements will be determined by the requirements currently in effect at the time the academic renewal status is conferred on the student. Specific program regulations must also be met.

(4)  Previously satisfied assessment and placement program requirements will not be forfeited.

3.  Upon degree admission, academic fresh start applicants who did not satisfy assessment and placement program requirements at the time of previous enrollment and whose academic plan includes completion of a college-level English or mathematics course must meet current academic assessment and placement program requirements regarding enrollment in college English and mathematics courses.

4.  The student's transcript will note that the academic fresh start was made and the date of the academic fresh start. 

5.  MTSU will honor an academic fresh start provision granted at another State of Tennessee institution. The student should also signify understanding that other institutions may not accept the QPA as it is calculated with the academic fresh start.

6.  This policy is independent of financial aid regulations. Financial aid requirements at the time of application will apply. Therefore, an academic fresh start applicant shall be informed of the need to check with his/her financial aid counselor for guidance.

VI. Drop and Withdrawal Standards

A.  After the official registration period is over, students may make adjustments in their schedule through the process of adding and/or dropping courses.

B.  A student may drop or add a course by obtaining the approval of the appropriate administrators.

C.  The last date for students to add or drop a course without a penalty is to be clearly indicated and expressed in the MTSU catalog.

D.  At the discretion of the University, courses that are dropped within the add or drop period may be or may not be indicated on the student's transcript.

E.  After the last day to add or drop a class without a penalty, and not later than two-thirds (2/3) into the semester, a student may officially drop a course(s) or withdraw from the University and receive a "W" or other appropriate symbol/grade.

F.  In general, such symbol/grade counts as no hours attempted.

1.  After two-thirds (2/3) of the semester is complete, a student may drop a course(s) or withdraw from the University without a mandatory grade of "F" only after having established the existence of unavoidable circumstances.

2.  In such cases, it is the responsibility of the appropriate university administrators or faculty to determine the grade the student is to receive, which could be an "F".

3.  Statements describing this process shall be clearly shown in the catalog.

4.  MTSU shall develop institutional guidelines outlining specific types of conditions or hardships which will be considered as acceptable.

G.  Students who desire to drop a course(s) or withdraw from the university before the end of a semester must make a formal application in the appropriate administrative office of the University which will be so defined in the catalog.

H.  If for any reason a student does not officially drop a course(s) or withdraw from the University, the student will receive an "F" for each course(s) involved.

Forms: none.

Revisions: none.

Last Reviewed: November 2020.

References: Policy 301 Admissions.