Cal Poly is now operating with new policies issued from the California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Office that limit the number of incomplete, withdrawal and repeat grades students can accumulate per academic record to “make room for serious students,” said Bradford Fely of the Office of the Registrar.

The office of the registrar notified students via e-mail on Sept. 18 addressing Executive Order 1037 that includes these new policies, but many students are still unaware of the changes, as school had yet to begin when the e-mail was sent.

“The concept of throughput is important in understanding the rational behind the policy changes”, said Fely. “(These policies) should discourage students from planning poorly … it will also be harder to get out of a class.”

The four major changes in Executive Order 1037 involve incomplete grades, course withdrawals, course repeats for grade forgiveness and course repeats for grade improvement.

Incomplete Grades

Students will not be able to re-enroll in a course for which you have received an “I” (Incomplete) grade. Instead you have to work out how you will complete the work with your instructor.


Students will be able to only withdraw from up to 28 units during your undergraduate education here at Cal Poly. They will start with a zero count towards your 28 unit withdrawal limit as of Fall 2009. Any medical/emergency withdrawals after the end of the seventh week of classes will not count towards your 28 unit limit.

Repeats for Grade Forgiveness

Students will be able to repeat up to 16 units for grade forgiveness (where the new grade replaces the old grade in Grade Point Average (GPA) calculation). Students’ existing number of repeat units (that they might have accumulated prior to fall 2009) will be carried forward in calculating your repeat totals. If students have already reached the 16 unit limit, they will not be allowed to register for additional repeat courses. They may repeat a specific course for grade forgiveness one time only. If a course is taken after being repeated once, the second and third attempts will be averaged into the GPA. Note that the second grade will replace the first grade only if the second grade is equal or better than the first grade. If the second grade is worse than the first grade, it will not replace the first grade and this attempt will not count towards the 16 unit limit.

Repeats for Grade Improvement by Averaging

After students reach the grade forgiveness limit, they can repeat an additional 18 units for grade improvement by averaging, where consecutive attempts are averaged into GPA.

Executive Order 1037 arrives just after the introduction to a university registrar, a new position to Cal Poly. The Office of the Registrar, formerly known as Academic Affairs, appointed Cem Sunata early last summer, replacing Tom Zuur, who retired in December. Sunata comes to Cal Poly from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she worked for more than 10 years.

A Cal Poly news report to faculty in August said the new position would play a key role in attaining graduation, enrollment and retention goals.
Sunata is responsible for insuring the integrity of student academic records by requiring that students have a clear path to graduation.

Instructors are now required to produce a contract with a student who receives an incomplete grade to prove that the student knows exactly what needs to be done to fulfill the course and students will have a harder time dropping classes after the withdrawal deadline.

With the 1037 policies just taking effect this quarter, it isn’t noticeably apparent to anyone that students are experiencing relevant problems. However, the Office of the Registrar is anticipating grievances later in the year. The Cal Poly Portal will not alert a student about hitting a limit.

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