Academic Progress, Warning and Probation

To graduate from Luther, students need 128 hours, with a minimum GPA of 2.0.  The GPA is listed on two forms accessed through my.luther.edu: the transcript form and the program evaluation. You can also calculate your GPA, or calculate how future grades will affect your GPA, using these GPA calculation instructions. Remember that the GPA reflects only those grades earned at courses taken at Luther. Transfer credits do count toward the 128 needed for graduation, but the specific grades from those courses are NOT calculated into your Luther GPA.

To make adequate progress toward graduation in four years, students should complete 14-16 hours each semester with a GPA of at least 2.0. For example, if a student enrolls in 8 semesters of 16 credits each and enrolls in two January terms (each for 4 credits), the student would graduate with 132 credits total, so there is room for some semesters of fewer than 16 credits. In fact, many advisors recommend that students enroll in 12-14 credits during their first semester. 

Students are admitted to Luther College under the assumption that they have both the preparation and the ability to succeed and flourish at the college. But there are circumstances that can prevent that success—sometimes there is a particularly tough semester of courses that stretch a student's abilities, and poor grades begin to spiral into a lack of motivation and engagement. Luther College uses an Academic Alert system to notify students if their grades within individual courses fall below the level of "C-" either because of poor test grades or lack of attendance. Both students and their advisors receive a copy of any notification. The SASC office (Preus Library 108) offers tutoring, time-management help, and other direct intervention to help students keep on track with their academic progress.

Sometimes, there are personal conflicts, family emergencies, or health-related issues that make it difficult or impossible for students to do their best work. Students should contact their advisor to discuss whether it is wise to drop one or more classes, and students should also consult with Health Service, the Student Life Office or the Counseling Service for additional support during challenging semesters.

When students do not make adequate progress toward graduation, the college has three categories to signal this:  "academic warning," "academic probation,"  and "academic dismissal." 

Academic Warning

Students will be placed on academic warning if one of the following occurs:

  • The student's Luther GPA is less than 2.00 but above the minimum level for academic probation; or
  • The student's Luther GPA is 2.00 or higher but the student has obtained a semester GPA of less than 2.00.

The academic record of students who remain academic warning for more than one semester will be reviewed for possible placement on academic probation.

Academic Probation

Students will be placed on academic probation when their cumulative GPA falls below the minimum listed here:

Total Hours on Luther Transcript Minimum Cumulative GPA
0-26 1.75
27-59 1.90
60-93 2.00
94-128       2.00

To be placed on academic probation is a very serious matter, and students should not treat this casually. Because the College wants to be sure that students understand that being on probation means they are one step away from being dismissed, we require students who are on academic probation to complete an "academic recovery plan" with the SASC office. Students who are placed on probation will receive an email from SASC explaining the steps involved toward completing that plan.  

Academic Dismissal

Students on academic probation risk dismissal from Luther College. Full-time students on probation will be dismissed:

  • If they remain on academic probation for three consecutive semesters;
  • If they fail to adhere to the conditions of enrollment established by the committee on academic progress;
  • Or if they earn a term GPA of less than 2.00 ( 12 hours minimum fall or spring, 4 hours minimum January term), unless the term GPA raises the cumulative GPA above the minimum level for academic probation.

Under normal circumstances, only a student previously on academic probation will be considered for dismissal. The college reserves the right at any time to dismiss any student who was not previously on academic probation.

What to do if you receive a letter indicating you are on academic warning or probation:

  • Take the letter seriously. Do not panic, but do not go into "denial mode" about its importance. 
  • Have a conversation before the next semester begins with your advisor or a member of the SASC staff to discuss honestly the causes for the poor performance, and to think carefully about strategies that will help you avoid repeating that pattern. 
  • If you are on probation, complete the academic recovery plan in a timely manner. This will involve conversations with SASC as well as your advisor, which will help you determine if the schedule you have for the next semester is appropriate, given your need to bring your semester GPA to the level of 2.0.  
  • It is Luther College policy to send copies of letters regarding academic warning, probation or dismissal to the student's parents, if the student is listed as a dependent. 

What to do if you are dismissed:

  • Students do have the right to appeal an academic dismissal. To begin the appeal process, students should notify the Registrar's Office that they intend to appeal, and then complete the Dismissal Appeal form. The plan and all supporting documentation must be returned to SASC by the stated deadline. The appeal is reviewed by a college committee on academic progress (the Registrar, members of the faculty, and representatives from Student Life and Financial Aid) and the student is notified by the Registrar of the result.
  • Students may choose to enroll in courses at a community college or a different four-year college on a part-time or full-time basis, to help them assess whether or not it is a good idea to return to Luther.
  • The time period of dismissal will be for at least one semester (fall or spring). Students requesting to return to Luther after the dismissal period should notify the Registrar's Office, and then complete the Dismissal Appeal form. The plan and all supporting documentation must be returned to SASC by the stated deadline. The appeal is reviewed by a college committee on academic progress and the student is notified of the result by the Registrar.