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September 08, 2010 3:41 PM GPA Forgiveness

By Daniel Luzer

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The Obama administration’s interest in graduating more students from college has created a new effort to get people who may have started (and dropped out of) college years ago back in education.

This is something of a problem, however, if someone stopped going to college because his grades were so low. Some Pennsylvania colleges are trying to help. According to an article by Jan Hefler in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

After Paula Arroyo [returned to finish her degree at Camden County College], she was in for a shock. Her grades - including a bunch of F’s incurred when she failed to withdraw from courses after a serious car crash - were still on file, creating a grade-point average that could be hard to overcome.
Then an adviser recommended an academic-forgiveness program, which allows returning students to reset their GPA and start over.

Many community colleges offer GPA forgiveness programs like this. Many four-year schools, including New Jersey’s Rutgers, also let returning students reset their GPA’s.

One wonders what the grade inflation obsessives might say about this new plan. Why do dropouts get poor grades forgiven, while students who muddled through are saddled with that C- they earned in chemistry freshman year?

Still, the idea seems promising. While the rules are different at different schools, most colleges have found that students who return to college are generally more serious about their students and earn much higher grades than they did when they were younger and unprepared. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer