Committee hosts forum to revise FAMU’s policies for GPA resets, course withdrawal limits

Florida A&M’s Academic Policies Committee on Thursday discussed possible changes to the university’s academic policy that could affect grades and allow disabled students to take fewer classes while still being enrolled full time.

The committee’s agenda targeted military veterans and active duty, reduced course loads, course withdrawal limits and GPA resets for students at colleges and universities.

“It’s only for the benefit of the students and the university so we are more empowered and a more knowledgeable institution,” said Danette Saylor, director of the Center for Disabilities Access and Resource Center.

Saylor said the reduced course load policy would allow students to reap the benefits of being a full-time student while attending school part-time.

The policy outlines how students can be recommended to become recipients. A student in an undergraduate program must take a minimum of nine credit hours, and a graduate student must take a minimum of six.

The recommendation would come from the registrar’s office so the student’s disability is documented for verification. The final decision on the recommendation is made by the office of the vice president for academic affairs.

“It has been a practice because it is an accommodation we can provide by virtue of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), but we want it to be more than a practice,” Saylor said. “We want it to be in policy so the whole university body will understand, and there won’t be a question of it.”

Brenda Spencer, director of the office of university retention, agreed with Saylor.

“It will impact students most,” Spencer said. “It helps to have everything in writing for reference and so administrators and students can be on the same page.”

Spencer will speak on withdrawal limits during the next committee meeting Oct. 23.

Agatha Onwunli, from the university registrar division of academic affairs, spoke on the GPA reset policy.

According to the policy, an undergraduate student in poor academic standing – with a GPA less than 2.0 – or who has been academically dismissed from the university may petition for reinstatement and may request that his or her cumulative GPA be reset after earning an Associates of Arts degree from a Florida public institution other than FAMU.

A student’s GPA may be reset only once during their undergraduate career.

This option is not available to undergraduate students who obtained a Bachelor’s or Associates of Arts at FAMU or students with double majors. Graduate students who have been previously dismissed from a program may not use the GPA reset for that particular program.

The School of Journalism & Graphic Communication Academic Conduct Committee Chair Valerie White spoke on the policy regarding students who are military veterans or on active duty.

This policy states students who withdraw from classes due to military services are permitted the options of completing the course(s) at a later date without penalty or withdrawing from the course(s) with a full refund of fees paid.

Angela Coleman, division of student affairs associate vice president, said these policies will impact all students attending Florida colleges and universities.