CUNY students will now have until the end of each semester to withdraw from a course and receive a non-punitive grade of W, according to an email shared with The Envoy.
In March, CUNY extended the deadline for students to withdraw from a course with a grade of W to the last day of spring semester classes. That extension is now being made permanent, according to an email sent to CUNY administrators Monday morning from CUNY provost José Luis Cruz.
“An analysis of Spring 2020 class withdrawals show [sic] that students benefited from this flexibility and that withdrawal rates were lower than in previous semesters,” Cruz wrote. There were also fewer unofficial withdrawals, which are treated as Fs in GPA calculation, than there usually are. In turn, this lower amount of WUs resulted in less administrative work for CUNY employees, another perk of the new grading policy.
Previously, students had to decide by the middle of the semester whether they wanted to withdraw officially, or, if they wanted to drop after the tenth week of classes, they had to submit documentation of an illness or other personal emergency in order for it to count as an official withdrawal. That will no longer be necessary.
Documents obtained by The Envoy through the Freedom of Information Law show that at Hunter College, official withdrawal rates among undergraduate students decreased from 2270 in the spring 2019 semester to 2144 in spring 2020, when the new policy was implemented. Meanwhile, the number of unofficial withdrawals went down from 1285 in spring 2019 to 1166 in spring 2020.
The change is not yet reflected in individual colleges’ academic calendars. As of this writing, Hunter’s academic calendar for this fall still shows the withdrawal deadline as being in the middle of the semester, but it will be updated to show that the deadline to withdraw for a grade of W is December 13, the last day of classes. The change is already reflected in CUNY’s academic calendar.