Nov 112002
Authors: Kyle Endres

Eric Love is making sure he gets good grades this semester. He wants to avoid academic probation again.

“I will do well this semester because I am actually working this semester,” said Love, a sophomore landscape horticulture major who was put on probation after his first semester at CSU. “I’ve changed my habit of not going to class and I am trying hard to do well in my classes.”

The university puts students who have less than a 2.0 cumulative grade point average on academic probation. The students then have two full semesters to improve their GPA or they will be removed from the university. Dismissed students may appeal their dismissal through the Help/Success Center.

“We want students to have fun and enjoy themselves, but at the same time they need to understand that the university has high academic standards,” said Paul Shang, director of the Help/Success Center. “There has to be a balance.”

There are several ways for students to improve their GPA when they are on academic probation, Shang said.

One way would be to attend CSU’s summer session. The summer session is not considered a full semester of course work, so it does not count in the two-semester improvement requirement. However, summer session grades do count toward a student’s GPA.

“I think students should really try to take advantage of the summer session more than they do,” Shang said.

Another way to improve a GPA is to take advantage of the university’s repeat/delete program. This allows students to retake classes that they may have done poorly in and have the new grade count toward their GPA. Repeat/delete can only be used for nine course credits and can only be used once for a given course.

Students may also withdraw from classes if they are having trouble improving their grades. Withdrawing clears the student’s grade record for that semester, but usually they will not be refunded for their paid tuition.

This is what Love did while he was on academic probation.

“I dropped out to avoid failing,” Love said. “It doesn’t affect your GPA if you withdraw from classes.”

Student Financial Services also requires that students maintain satisfactory progress in order to continue receiving any form of financial aid.

Students must pass at least 75 percent of their attempted credits, withdraw from the university no more than once, stay under their academic program’s credit limit and not receive a combination of all F’s, W’s (withdrawals), U’s (unsatisfactory) or I’s (incompletes) for a semester.

The financial aid restrictions are different from academic probation in that the federal government requires the restrictions.

“We have to deal with the federal regulations side of it,” said Jim Harris, associate director of Student Financial Services. “The people that give us money have standards.”

This is one of the main reasons Love wants to avoid academic probation this semester.

“It’ll strip away your financial aid if you have academic probation, plus there’s the added stress of doing well in class,” Love said. “It’s already stressful enough doing well in classes without having the added stress factor of it affecting your financial status.”

Over the past few years, the number of students on academic probation has decreased. In 1997, about 9 percent of undergraduate students were on probation as opposed to less than 7 percent this year, Shang said.

“I think students are much better informed about scholastic standards,” he said. “The university has very stringent academic standards. Colorado State is a place where you can be dismissed for poor scholarship.”

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