PRP 3465 - Conferral of Posthumous Degree

ISSUED BY: Diana Rogers-Atkinson, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
DATE: 4/14/2021


Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania views the awarding of a posthumous degree as a compassionate means to celebrate the life and contributions to the university community of a student who expires prior to completion of their degree. 


Degree: An award conferred by a college, university, or other postsecondary education institution as official recognition for the successful completion of a program of studies. Degrees offered by the State System of Higher Education include associate, baccalaureate, masters, first professional, and doctorate. 
Good academic standing: Undergraduate Good Standing (PRP 3446) requires a student to have a cumulative institutional GPA of 2.0 or higher. A graduate student is in good academic standing when they maintain the minimum standard 3.00 term and cumulative GPA (PRP 3565).
Posthumous Degree: A Posthumous Degree is a regular University degree that is included as part of the University’s official count of degrees, but is awarded posthumously.
In Memoriam Degree: A degree In Memoriam is a recognition provided to honor a deceased student’s progress toward the degree. The degree In Memoriam is not included in the official count of degrees.


This policy seeks to provide clear guidelines on awarding posthumous degrees in order to recognize a student’s academic achievement when the student’s progress would have likely fulfilled the requirements of a degree except for the occurrence of death. 

4.    POLICY

In the event of a death of a Bloomsburg University student, the University may grant a posthumous degree to the family under the following circumstances: 

A.    At the time of passing, the student was an active student in good academic standing. 
B.    The decedent earned at least 75% of the credits for the degree program in which they were enrolled. The hours completed do not have to apply towards the degree and may include transfer courses. 
C.    The major department recommends the awarding of the posthumous degree. 
D.    No disciplinary actions were pending. 
E.    If all conditions are met except B, but the student successfully completed the equivalent of one year of full-time coursework, the University may grant an associate’s degree posthumously to the family. (**Pending future institutional offerings of associate degrees.)


1.    Posthumous Degree Procedure:
A.    Upon notification of the student’s death, the Office of the Provost will initiate a request of review of a Posthumous Degree with the Office of the Registrar and will coordinate outreach to the student’s immediate family. 
B.    The Registrar’s Office will notify the appropriate academic Dean to determine whether the student meets the criteria described above. The Dean will consult with the student’s academic program and forward to the Provost a recommendation on awarding a degree posthumously. 
C.    The Provost will review the Dean’s recommendation and recommend to the President whether a degree will be granted. If approved, the Provost will request the Registrar to complete the transcription, graduation, and diploma procedures. On the diploma the words “awarded posthumously” will appear. On the transcript, a notation will be added to indicate a posthumous degree. The Registrar’s Office will be directed to print the appropriate diploma and waive any associated fees. 
D.    The Provost will contact the student’s immediate family and inform them a posthumous degree will be granted by Bloomsburg University. The family will be given the option of receiving the degree at graduation, in a small, private diploma presentation ceremony, or having the degree mailed directly to them and determine the following: 
a.    How many diplomas are needed (i.e. if the parents are divorced, more than one diploma may be requested, etc.)
b.    How the student’s name should appear.  
c.    To whom it should be sent/delivered.  
d.    If the family will attend Commencement (family contacts should be sent to the Commencement Coordinator indicating parking passes and seats) 
e.    Determine the family preference if the deceased students name should be printed in the commencement program.  
2.    Assignment of Outstanding Grades: 
A.    The Dean of the College in which the student was enrolled shall work with the Registrar’s office to determine the assignment of final semester grades. If a faculty member feels that insufficient coursework was completed to warrant awarding a grade, the registrar will post a P for the semester which will not be calculated into the final cumulative GPA. 
3.    Degree In Memoriam Procedure
A.    If the student does not meet the criteria, or if the decision to award the degree is not approved, the Provost will have the option to award a Degree In Memoriam.
B.    A Degree In Memoriam is a recognition provided to honor a deceased student’s progress to a degree for those students ineligible for a Posthumous Degree. 
C.    The Degree In Memoriam is not included in the official count of degrees and is not reported nor recorded to the student’s academic record and transcript. The Degree In Memoriam may be awarded solely at the discretion of the Provost.
D.    The Provost will be responsible for communicating the final determination to the students’ family.