The University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus will use modified undergraduate course grading throughout the academic year to help address the challenges of pursuing coursework during COVID-19 pandemic.

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In a message sent Aug. 20 to Ann Arbor faculty and students, Provost Susan Collins said all undergraduate courses will use a modified version of traditional grading in which the regular A-C grading system is maintained but students who earn D or E grades will receive a “No Record COVID (NRC)” on their permanent transcripts.

Students receiving an NRC grade will be able to request that it be converted to a letter grade, Collins said.

The university also will put in place a more flexible withdrawal policy, allowing students to withdraw from a course at any time up until the end of classes and not have the course appear on their transcript.

“We are making these changes with the understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating inequitable circumstances for students to pursue their coursework and demonstrate their learning,” Collins said.

“We know that many students are managing very challenging personal situations as they work toward earning their degrees.”

The provost said additional information regarding graduate and professional coursework grading policies will likely be released next week.

“Our hope is that these changes will help to support the well-being and success of learners and faculty members alike while meeting the university’s mission, maintaining the academic integrity of our programs, and staying true to our values,” Collins said.

The transition to a modified grading system follows a similar change during the 2020 winter semester after the university moved to entirely remote classes.