Academic Standing and Success

Your academic performance can affect you in a variety of ways and could change your eligibility for recognition and scholarships, your standing, and the requirements for you to continue enrolling in courses.

Graduate Students

Graduate students are advised by Penn State faculty from their degree programs. Graduate students should contact their academic adviser with any questions about academic performance requirements.

If you’re not sure who your adviser is, visit the “Your Program” section and select your program to find general contact information.

Degree-seeking graduate students can also find academic performance requirements by selecting their program in the "Your Program" section.

For questions related to your student record, please contact Penn State’s Graduate School at 814-865-1795 or [email protected].

Undergraduate Students

You must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher to be considered in good standing, to declare a major, and to graduate from the University. You may also need to meet GPA requirements to qualify for additional opportunities such as internships. Depending on your GPA and other considerations, your academic achievements may also be recognized or may qualify you for several opportunities:

To maintain satisfactory progress, you should meet regularly with your academic adviser, communicate with your instructors, and become familiar with academic support services and resources, including tutoring, subject-specific assistance, and training to build academic skills.

Changes to Academic Standing

If your cumulative GPA drops below a 2.00 (see policy 54-20), you will be notified. This may result in Academic Warning, Academic Suspension, and/or Academic Dismissal.

Academic Warning

Academic Warning results when you earn less than a 2.00 cumulative GPA.

While on Academic Warning, you will have a registration hold placed on your LionPATH account and you will not be able to enroll in courses for future semesters until you meet with your academic adviser to discuss an academic recovery plan.

Working with your adviser, you will identify issues that may have impeded your academic success, learn about support resources, and develop a meaningful plan to raise your GPA and continue making progress in your degree.

Academic Warning is not a punishment or the end of your academic career. It is a signal that it is time to seek assistance to improve your grades.

Academic Suspension

Academic Suspension occurs when you earn less than a 2.00 semester GPA while on Academic Warning. Academic Suspension prevents enrollment at Penn State for a minimum of two consecutive semesters.

If you have been placed on Academic Suspension, you will need to schedule a meeting with your academic adviser. For assistance with scheduling your appointment or if you have questions, please submit the Academic Advising contact form.

Prior to the meeting, you will need to complete and submit the Academic Suspension Recovery Plan form. The recovery plan form will require you to reflect on past barriers to your success and set goals to help you recover from Academic Suspension.

Steps to Recover from Academic Warning or Suspension

After receiving notification that you are in Academic Warning or Academic Suspension, you will need to work with your academic adviser to plan how you will return to good academic standing.

  1. Make an appointment with your academic adviser to discuss your academic standing and goals.
  2. Prior to your appointment, complete the following:
  3. Plan to work closely with your academic adviser to identify relevant resources, build a balanced schedule for upcoming semesters, and stay in regular communication regarding updates, concerns, and progress.

Academic Dismissal

A student who returns from Academic Suspension and does not achieve at least a 2.00 semester GPA is subject to academic dismissal and is no longer permitted to take courses at the University (see policy 54-50).

After a period of four calendar years, a student who has been academically dismissed from the University may seek re-enrollment to the University by requesting academic renewal (see policy 54-90). At that time, students can begin the process of re-enrollment by contacting a member of the Academic Advising team through the Contact Form.

Financial Impacts

It is important to think about your academic success and how any warning, suspension, or dismissal statuses may impact your financial aid, benefits, or obligations.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is closely tied to academic progress. Financial aid recipients are encouraged to contact our Financial Aid team to discuss plans and review financial aid eligibility.

Military Benefits

Military students are encouraged to work closely with our Military Educational Benefits team, who can assist you with questions about academic progress and military education benefits.

Related Academic Policies

An academic adviser can help you understand University policies that may apply to you and discuss available options for moving forward to support your academic progress. Make an appointment with your adviser to discuss any specific questions you may have.

You can also use our recovery and GPA calculators to estimate semester grades and their impact on your cumulative GPA, or to determine how many credits of B-or-better grades you may need to bring your GPA into good standing again.

Regular Add/Drop, Late Drop, and Withdrawal

During the semester, you may have the opportunity to make changes to your course schedule if you realize that you are not able to complete a course or courses successfully. Learn more about dropping a course.

Deferred Grades

If you are experiencing extenuating circumstances, your instructor may extend the completion date of your course if they think it is appropriate. You will need to discuss this with your instructor and obtain their approval prior to the beginning of the final exam period of the semester in which you are taking the course.

Repeating Courses and Grade Forgiveness

You may repeat a course that you did not pass with a grade of C or higher previously (see policy 47-80 for more information). You can simply enroll in a course again to take it a second time; however, a special request is required to take a course for a third time. If you repeat a course successfully, you can then consider requesting grade forgiveness, which allows a grade of D or F to be “forgiven” if you repeat the course and earn a higher grade.

Changes to Past Semesters in Your Academic Record

You may petition for an exception to a policy and/or to request a retroactive procedure. Documentation may be required to establish the circumstances you experienced that warrant an exception. Your adviser can help you navigate the petition process. The most common petitions are retroactive withdrawals and retroactive late drops.

Academic Renewal

Academic Renewal (see policy 54-90 for more information) provides an opportunity to resume your academic career after four years of absence from the University. You can return with a cumulative GPA that starts over at 0.00 in good academic standing. Grades of C or higher may be used to fulfill degree requirements. Learn more about Academic Renewal.