Nursing Retention, Continuance, Grading Policies, and Appeals Procedure

Academic Progression Policy

To qualify for continued matriculation in the nursing program, all students must maintain ongoing cumulative averages of 2.70 or better by achieving the following averages at the end of each semester: 

  1. a semester average of 2.70 or better, 
  2. not less than a grade C in any professional major course and 
  3. a semester average of 2.70 or better for professional courses attempted in the major. Students enrolled in nursing also must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.70 or better in required science courses. Students who fail to satisfy these academic requirements will be dismissed from the nursing program.  

Appeal Process for Program Dismissal

Students who are dismissed from the Baccalaureate Nursing Program may appeal the decision regarding their continuation in the program by submitting a letter of appeal to the Chair of the School of Nursing by the listed due date in their dismissal letter, so it can be forwarded to the Professional Review Committee. The appeal letter should address what happened, how it happened, what options you would like the committee to consider, and what resources you will use to be successful in the nursing program should you be allowed to continue. You may either bring your letter of appeal to the School of Nursing in O’Leary 540 or send it as an attachment to, Administrative Assistant. After carefully deliberating all the data available, the Committee will make their recommendations and a decision will be sent prior to the beginning of the semester to your University of Massachusetts Lowell email address.

Students must meet the conditions for continuation in the School of Nursing as described in their detailed probation conditions correspondence and per the Undergraduate Course Catalog on Retention and Continuance in the College of Health Sciences and its Programs; this is a one-time probationary period. Failure to maintain all School and Department academic requirements subsequent to that, as outlined in the catalogue “will result in dismissal from the program” with no further appeal to the School of Nursing. 

Consequently, students may submit a written appeal to the Dean of the College of Health Sciences by the listed due date. After deliberation on the available data, the Dean will either request a second appraisal by the Professional Review Committee or uphold the dismissal.

Students who cannot continue in the Nursing Program must withdraw from all enrolled nursing courses and change their major. Students may select and apply for another major within the University if they qualify under University policies. The services of the Centers for Learning and the Office of Career Services are available to students for individual career counseling and guidance and to discuss other career options. Students also may choose to meet with the Counseling Center at UMass Lowell, which provides psychological counseling services, consultation and community referrals to help students gain a better understanding of and cope with their feelings, relationships, choices and academic studies. If you do not wish to remain at the University in another major, you must notify the Office of the Registrar by completing the withdrawal form (pdf).

HESI Policy

All pre-licensure nursing students will be required to take nationally normed tests throughout the curriculum. The specialty tests, which become part of the course grade, will be given in the following courses: Nursing Fundamentals, Pathophysiology, Health Promotion and Risk Reduction of Families I and II, and Pharmacology. In the final semester of the nursing program, students will be required to take a nationally normed comprehensive examination and this test score becomes part of the course grade.

All pre-licensure senior level-nursing students who are registered for the spring term will take a HESI Exit Exam while enrolled in 33.413 Role Transition. Those students who do not achieve the passing score of 90% on the first examination will be required to take a second HESI Exit Exam. If students who pass the first exam wish to take the second exam they will be able to do so. The HESI Exit Exam will be part of the final course grade in the 33.413 Role Transition theory course. If two exams are taken, the highest grade will be utilized. (Registered Nurse students are exempt).

Senior nursing students who do not achieve a HESI score of 800 or higher on the first HESI exit (comprehensive) exam must register for an approved review course and provide a copy of the course certificate prior to taking the second HESI exit exam.

Basic Math Competency Policy

All freshman and transfer students who are entering the nursing program, including those students who are on the waiting list for their junior year, must take and pass a basic math competency exam with a score of 90% or better. Students who do not achieve a successful score of 90% on the basic math competency exam will be required to take and pass a math enrichment course with a grade of 3.3 or higher. Students who do not achieve a score of 3.3 or higher will not be allowed to continue in the nursing program, and have no right to appeal this determination. (Registered Nurse students are exempt).

Medication Calculation Examination Policy

All pre-licensure nursing students must take and pass three medication calculation exams with a score of 90% or higher. An exam will be given in each semester of the junior year and in the fall semester of the senior year. In each of these semesters, students who do not achieve a successful score of 90% or higher on the first examination will be given a second opportunity to take an examination. Those students who do not pass the retake medication calculation examination at 90% will fail that clinical practicum. All second opportunity medication calculation exams will be given prior to entering the next clinical course. Students who fail this second exam will be unable to continue on the nursing program. (Registered Nurse students are exempt).