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Healthy GPA Guide

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What is GPA?

Grade Point Average (GPA) is a statistic used within a standardized grading scale that represents a student's average performance in courses over a set period of time. 

ISU calculates Current Term GPA and Cumulative GPA at the end of each semester.  These numbers indicate an average of the student's academic performance on the 4-point grading scale over time.

The Degree Works degree audit keeps track of every class that a student registers for at ISU as well as any transfer credits they may have.  Degree Works also provides a GPA calculator.

The student transcript on MyISU is an accurate historical academic record of all credits (Attempted, Passed, Earned, GPA), Quality Points, and GPA.


GPA at ISU used to determine:

  • Academic Standing each semester
  • Eligibility for Financial Aid, Scholarships, and continued enrollment
  • Evaluate admission into a competitive program
  • Eligibility to remain in an academic program

A 2.0 GPA is required to remain in Good Academic Standing and stay on track graduate at ISU.

A healthy GPA can be established and maintained when students:

  • Treat their educational obligations as a priority
  • Dedicate an adequate amount of time each week to reading notes, studying, and attending class
  • Create a balance between all other commitments and their education
  • Set realistic expectations and goals
  • Develop relationships with academic professionals to receive appropriate guidance

Try our GPA Calculator.

To manually calculate your current term GPA:

  1. Convert the letter grade to the corresponding grade point scale (i.e. B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, etc.);
  2. Multiply each grade point by the number of credit hours for each class to calculate Quality Points. (Notice that U - Unsatisfactory, S - Satisfactory, and W - Withdraw grades do not have a grade point associated with them, and therefore are not used in calculating GPA);
  3. Add together the Quality Points for each class;
  4. Divide Quality Points by the total number of Credit Hours to determine Term GPA.
Subject & Course #
Grade Point
Credit Hours
Quality Points
BIOL 3302 B 3.0 4 12.0
BIOL 3302L S - 0 0
Math 1143 W - 3 0
PE 2223 B+ 3.3 3 9.9
7 21.9
21.9/7 = 3.12

Grades, point values, and official calculations are recorded on the student's official transcript in a TERM and CUMMULATIVE summary table following each semester of attendance.

First Term Summary Table:

Term Attempted Hours Passed Hours Earned Hours GPA Hours Quality Points GPA
Current 7 7 7 7 21.9 3.12
Cumulative 7 7 7 7 21.9 3.12

"Cumulative GPA" refers to the GPA of all ISU semester GPA's combined. Previous semester Cumulative Summary Table totals are added to the current semester's cumulative Summary Table of Attempted, Passed, Earned, GPA Hours, and Quality Points. Quality Points total is then divided by GPA Hours to arrive at Cumulative GPA.

The most effective way for students to improve cumulative GPA is to repeat classes with the lowest grades.  When there are several courses with low grades, consider repeating those classes with the lowest grades and the highest number of credits first. Note: university policies regarding repeating courses may have student impacts. Students should meet with an advisor to discuss their situation.

  • A course that has been repeated will have its grade "excluded" from the cumulative GPA calculation and annotated on the transcript with an "E."
  • The most recent repeated course and grade will be "included" in the cumulative GPA and annotated on the transcript with an "I."

It takes dedication to improve cumulative GPA and often requires significant changes in academic study habits. Review the Advisor Tips for Success for some motivational strategies. Students who find academic support and connect with university resources are more successful in meeting academic goals.

For unique and extreme circumstances, students may petition for consideration (e.g. complete semester withdrawal) when hardship or medical situations beyond their control result in a negative impact to their GPA.