Disqualification Frequently Asked Questions

At the end of every term, the academic standing of each student is calculated based upon their semester GPA and their cumulative GPA. There are three levels of academic standing. Those with both semester and cumulative GPA above 2.00 are in Good Standing. Students who stumble and have a semester GPA below 2.00 or fail to complete at least 12 hours of coursework may end up on Academic Warning.

Students may also be Disqualified based on their cumulative GPA (see below). This document describes just what "disqualified" means, what steps a student may take to appeal the disqualification, and the appeal process to follow in order to be reinstated at SUNY Oswego for a future semester.

This document describes the processes of appeal and reinstatement followed by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, though the general description of what disqualification is and what steps students should take are applicable to all students. Students in the School of Business, the School of Communications, Media and the Arts and School of Education should contact their Dean for specific advice regarding their appeals and reinstatement processes.

  1. What are the academic disqualification standards?
  2. But one of my grades is wrong!
  3. But I have an incomplete and when I get that grade, I'll be in Good Standing!
  4. Can I take just one or two courses at Oswego?
  5. Why can't I appeal my Mandatory Semester Off status?
  6. How do I appeal my disqualification?
  7. How does the appeal process work?
  8. How come some students who have disqualified are allowed to take courses during the summer?
  9. Why should I repeat courses in which I did poorly? I'm changing my major and don't need those courses anymore?
  10. My friend had the same grades as I did and you reinstated him/her so why didn't you reinstate me?
  11. But I know of students who have disqualified three or four times, and you keep letting them back!
  12. I want to change my major to business/education, does that make a difference?
  13. How do I calculate a GPA?

What are the academic disqualification standards?

For all matriculated students, the following chart outlines the scholarship standards and review procedure. First semester matriculated students should note that at the end of the first marking period of attendance, they will be disqualified if their semester average is below 1.01. Such individuals will be required to have at least one semester away from the College before appealing for reinstatement consideration.

Grade reports for students are marked "Academic Disqualification" with a mandatory semester off or "Academic Disqualification" subject to review according to the following grade point average guidelines.

Cumulative registered credit hours* Disqualified with cumulative average below Mandatory Semester off before appeal if cumulative grade point average is Subject to internal review** if cumulative grade point average is
1st semester of attendance 1.01 All No review
Through 30 1.76 1.50 or lower 1.51-1.75
Through 45 1.86 1.60 or lower 1.61-1.85
Through 60 1.96 1.70 or lower 1.71-1.95
61 or more 2.00 1.80 or lower 1.81-1.99

* The computation of the "Cumulative Registered Credit Hours" is defined as the total credit hours of all marking periods in which a student was registered. The computation of "Cumulative Registered Credit Hours" for transfer students includes the total number of transfer credit hours which apply to their Oswego degree program.

** Instructions for students in this category would accompany grade reports - review procedure in January may differ from that used in June.

[taken from the College Catalog]


But one of my grades is wrong!

If you believe one or more of your grades are in error you need to contact the instructor as soon as possible. The instructor can verify the grade based on their records. If there is an error, the instructor can submit a change of grade form. Grade changes can only occur based on a clerical error, so you cannot ask for additional work or a change to an incomplete grade.

If the grade change is approved, the Registrar will recompute your semester and cumulative GPA. You will be notified of the grade change and the change, if any, in your academic status.

If there is no grade change, then the disqualification remains. There are deadlines for appealing a disqualification and if you decide to pursue a grade change and no grade change is forthcoming and you haven't appealed your disqualification then you will not return to Oswego for the next semester. The moral is that you should appeal the disqualification while you pursue the grade change.

While it is true that a single grade change may change your status from "Disqualified" to "Academic Warning" or "Good Standing," the fact that a single grade change can have such an impact is evidence that your academic record is fragile and you should meet with your advisor in order to discuss ways of strengthening that record. One recommendation is to repeat one or more courses in which you have done poorly in order to improve your GPA.


But I have an incomplete and when I get that grade, I'll be in Good Standing!

The incomplete grade is not included in the computation of your GPA. Your academic standing is based upon the completed coursework and if those grades were poor, you may have disqualified. Once you have disqualified, you must apply for reinstatement. Your letter of appeal should focus on the reasons behind those poor grades. The status of the incomplete should be discussed in your letter of appeal but you need to be aware that the reason for your disqualification are the poor grades you have and not the incomplete. The promise of a good grade to replace the incomplete is not sufficient for reinstatement.


Can I take just one or two courses at Oswego?

No. If you are a disqualified student you may not take any courses at SUNY Oswego.


Why can't I appeal my Mandatory Semester Off status?

There are two categories of disqualification. Students who have a severe academic deficit fall in the category of Mandatory Semester Off (MSO). Such a severe deficit cannot be resolved in a single semester, which is a normal expectation of all reinstated students. Consequently, students who are MSO are expected to spend their time away from Oswego reassessing why they are in college and addressing the difficulties that led to their poor performance. Sometimes these are financial issues, or health issues, or personal problems that must be successfully confronted.

In addition students need to demonstrate academic success by taking coursework elsewhere. This coursework should include repeating courses in which there are poor grades at Oswego, in order to reduce the size of the academic deficit. The coursework should also demonstrate an ability to succeed in the desired major. This will not guarentee that an appeal of disqualification will succeed, but without such positive evidence of academic success all appeals will be denied.


How do I appeal my disqualification?

There are two types of students who might appeal a disqualification: students who have been away from Oswego for at least a semester and those who have just disqualified and wish to return for the next semester.

If you are a current student who has just completed a semester and have become disqualified (subject to review, not mandatory semester off), you should send, as soon as possible, a letter to the Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, 601 Culkin Hall, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126. See below for a description of the letter.

If you are a former student who has been away from the College for at least one semester, you should contact the Dean's Office for an Appeal Packet. This will include instructions and deadlines for the appeal as well as an Application for Readmission form. You will need to submit a letter of appeal along with the form and official transcripts of academic work done while away from Oswego. The form and letter should be sent by the deadline listed on the form; the appeal may be held until the transcripts arrive, but they must arrive by January 15 or June 15 in order for the appeal to be considered.

In either case a letter of appeal is necessary. In preparing your appeal letter, you should make sure that your statements are clear and speak to your reasons for disqualification and your anticipated plan for academic success. Since this is your opportunity to provide all relevant information, please take the time to edit your own statements for accuracy and completeness. Your written appeal should clearly indicate

  1. The cause(s) of your disqualification
  2. Your current major interest
  3. Your reason(s) for seeking reinstatement at this time
  4. Your plan for academic success

For students who have been away from the college, the letter should also include

  1. Your current activities
  2. What you have done since leaving Oswego, including coursework

You should realize that reinstatement is not automatic. It is in your best interest to consider alternative educational and/or career plans in case you are not reinstated. In addition, we must consider the enrollment pressures in particular majors/courses, and whether access to appropriate courses is possible. We encourage all students seeking reinstatement to apply to other colleges, since your appeal may very well be denied.


How does the appeal process work?

In Arts & Sciences, the Associate Dean chairs an Appeal Committee composed of several faculty and staff. Included is a representative of the Admissions Office, the Office of Learning Services, the Athletic Department and faculty from across Arts & Sciences (including several of the larger departments). When an appeal is considered the Committee has the student's permanent folder, current Oswego transcript, transcripts from other institutions (especially in the case of students who have been away for a semester or more), and the letter of appeal. While the transcripts are projected for the entire committee to view, the letter is read aloud and the full academic record discussed.

A decision is made to reinstate or deny reinstatement. If the student is to be reinstated, the Committee will decide upon specific stipulations to ensure the student returns to Good Standing. This will include credit hour course load limits for the upcoming semester, course or courses to be repeated, mandatory schedule of meetings with an advisor and any other stipulation designed to support the student's successful return. Students in the College of Arts & Sciences who are reinstated must complete a Mandatory Reinstatement Form  (128K .pdf document) with their advisor during the first few days of semester of their return.

If the decision is to deny reinstatement, the reasons for the denial will be made clear and the student will be given specific advice regarding how they should continue their academic career.


How come some students who have disqualified are allowed to take courses during the summer?

Students who have begun a Wintersession or Summer session course before the grade reports for the previous semester are created are allowed the complete the course they have begun prior to their disqualification. The outcome of the course(s) does not change their academic status and they must appeal their disqualification.

Students who initially disqualify at the end of the summer or wintersession are automatically reinstated to the College and placed on Academic Warning. This is because the timeframe between the end these sessions and the beginning of the next semester is so short that an appeal process is not feasible. As part of that reinstatement, students in the College of Arts & Sciences will be required to complete a Mandatory Reinstatement Form (24K Word Document) with their advisor.


Why should I repeat courses in which I did poorly? I'm changing my major and don't need those courses anymore?

Your cumulative GPA is based on attempted hours and quality points (see How do I calculate a GPA?). To repair your GPA and move it well above the 2.00 minimum needed for graduation (and to remain in Good Standing), you must make up any quality point deficit you may have.

Suppose you have an 8 quality point deficit (perhaps you have 62 hours and 116 quality points). If your schedule is based upon 15 new credit hours (no repeated courses), then you would need at least 38 quality points to clear your average (30 quality points for "C" grades in the courses plus the eight point deficit). That would be a semester Average of 2.53 or a semester with three "B-" grades and two "C+" grades.

If instead you repeat a "D" grade, your schedule would be 15 hours (12 new hours and 3 repeated hours). In order to clear your average, you would need a 2.33 semester average or a semester of five courses, all with "C+" grades.

These calculations assume you clear to exactly a 2.00 GPA and provide no cushion for any poor grade in the future.

So while you may not need a course that is stipulated to be repeated because your major has or will change, without repeating the course the task of clearing the cumulative GPA is that much more difficult. Generally the Committee stipulates specific courses to be repeated that are required for the (new) major or to satisfy general education requirements. The only time courses from an "old" major are stipulated is if no other reasonable options for clearing the cumulative GPA exist.


My friend had the same grades as I did and you reinstated him/her so why didn't you reinstate me?

The disqualification is based on cumulative GPA and not on the most recent semester's grades. That cumulative GPA is the result of a mixed pattern of success (or lack of success) in a variety of courses and no two students have the same academic history. As a result of the case-by-case personal review of each appeal, the decisions are unrelated and it may appear that one student was reinstated while a "similar" case was denied reinstatement. Such surface similarities, however, mask the underlying problems and potential for successfully returning to Good Standing. At all times, the Committee's decision is based on maximizing the chances of a returning student to clear to Good Standing and make progress towards the successful completion of a degree.


But I know of students who have disqualified three or four times, and you keep letting them back!

There have been, usually due to extraordinary circumstances, a few students who have been reinstated on several occasions. In most cases, once a student disqualifies a second time they are not reinstated. One exception to this would be a reinstatement under the Forgiveness Policy (see the college catalog for details) which is available to students who have been away from the college for more than two years.


I want to change my major to business, CMA, or education, does that make a difference?

Yes. An Arts & Sciences student who wishes to be reinstated into a different division of the college (School of Business, School of Communication, Media and the Arts or School of Education) should not appeal to the College of Arts & Sciences for reinstatement, but rather should appeal to the appropriate Dean. You should be aware, however, that some of these majors require very high GPAs in order to access the programs and disqualified students by definition lack the requisite academic record. Without additional coursework having been taken at another institution while away from Oswego, you will not be reinstated directly into those majors. If business or education is truly what you desire, you should contact those offices to see what specific coursework you should take to strengthen your appeal.


How do I calculate a GPA?

Academic standing is based on the cumulative quality point index or grade point average (GPA), and it is determined by assigning a numerical value for each letter grade earned according to the following:

A: 4.00
A-: 3.67
B+: 3.33
B: 3.00
B-: 2.67
C+: 2.33
C: 2.00
C-: 1.67
D+: 1.33
D: 1.00
D-: 0.67
E: 0.00

No other grades carry quality point value.

The quality point index for one semester is determined by dividing the number of quality points earned during the semester by the number of credit hours carried during the semester for all courses in which weighted grades were received. The following example illustrates how the quality point index is determined for one semester.

Course Semester Hours
Semester Hours
Grade Quality
Art 100 3 3 B+ 9.99
Eng 102 3 3 C- 5.01
Mat 120 3 3 C 6.00
Bio 101 4 4 A- 14.68
His 100 3 3 B 9.00
  16 16   44.68


In the foregoing illustration 44.68 quality points divided by 16 semester hours attempted yields a semester index of 2.793 or a 2.793 GPA.

The cumulative quality point index is determined by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of credit hours carried for all courses in which weighted grades were received.


S-Satisfactory, U-Unsatisfactory, P-Passing, F-Failure, H-High Honors, Inc-Incomplete, and W-Withdrawal grades are not computed in the grade point average.

[taken from the College Catalog]