Extend Pass/Fail Classes UTA Fall 2020

Extend Pass/Fail Classes UTA Fall 2020

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Drasia Darrough started this petition to Dr. Teik Lim and

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) higher ups claimed to hear and comprehend what their students were asking from them after the "UTA Pass/Fail Option Fall 2020" petition received over 1,500 signatures in support. In response to that petition they made a wager to allow the Pass/Fail option for a limited number of classes for the Fall 2020 semester with the omission of prerequisite courses. However, today the list of courses were posted and many upper level classes, specifically those for Biology and Chemistry majors, are not included. 

In an interview with the Shorthorn Interim President Dr. Teik Lim stated that there was hesitancy to utilize the Pass/Fail option again this semester because “In the [faculty’s] opinion, it would put our students at a disadvantage”. If that be the case, is that not a task that our academic advisors are paid to help us with? 

This semester has been difficult on us all, and it seems that the UTA administration is reluctant to help the student body with academic success. This petition is meant to acknowledge the needs of all students, so all students can benefit from the temporary Pass/Fail grade policy that was implemented this semester.

Attached below is the original petition:

"The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) prides itself on being an affordable university so that it’s diverse community can attend higher education with or without financial resources. During these unprecedented times, our education has been turned into an opportunity cost and question under the context of an economic depression. Should I study and listen to my online lectures or should I work more hours to afford my dorm, apartment, and my bills? To make education more accessible the students ask for an optional pass/fail (that includes pre-requisite classes). If the University of Texas at Arlington created a pass/fail option it would ease the students' financial constraints.

In a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, written by a UTA economics professor stated, “ Instead, students who spend longer hours in paid labor because of preferences or budget constraints.... ultimately perform worse in school than they otherwise would,( DeSimone).” In his abstract, a 40-hour workweek brings down a student's grade point average (GPA)  by an entire mark. This study confirms that students who work tend to have a lower GPA the more hours they work. During a depression, it is imperative for a student or any person to remain financially afloat, and doing so might affect one’s education. 

What about scholarships and grants? Large scholarships and grants have requirements, such as minimums on credit-hours and minimums on GPAs. As proven by the research aforementioned time is money. Students that are financially dependent on their academic scholarships are at risk and might enter academic probation by trying to stay afloat. They are in a position where they cannot lower the number of credit hours they take a semester, they cannot leave their job or go part-time, and they cannot lower their GPA. Without scholarships and grants, this makes the affordable school less affordable. 

“Financial Pressure was 38% of the reasons why college students dropped out.” Dropout rates may increase, graduating on time seems like less of an option for those taking a gap-year, repeating classes means another semester's worth of tuition, repeating pre-requisites until you can afford not to have a job is a negative feedback loop. Education is not inexpensive. To limit those who can attend or afford higher education holds the university back and having a higher-dropout rate and lower GPA makes this institution less credible than it has to. If pass/fail was an option again students will be able to get the education they paid for. "

 

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