What is Academic Fresh Start?
Your old grades don't have to count against you. If you're a Texas resident and apply for admission to Texas public colleges or universities as an undergraduate, you may be able to begin a new course of study with a clear academic record.
If you have credits for college courses taken ten or more years prior to the planned enrollment date, those credits and grades can be waived under the "Academic Fresh Start" law if you invoke it at the time of application.
Please remember: this is an all or nothing option. You cannot pick and choose which courses to ignore and which courses to count. If you choose the "Academic Fresh Start" option, you will not receive any credit for any courses you took over ten years ago.
This means that courses taken previously:
- Cannot be used to fulfill new prerequisite requirements;
- Cannot be counted toward your new degree; and
- Will not be counted in any future G.P.A. calculations.
How does this affect your financial aid?
Academic Fresh Start clears only your academic record, not the number of semesters you have been in higher education. The maximum number of semesters for receiving federal Pell Grants is 12, which must include all of the time you have spent taking dual credit courses and community college courses, including those from over ten years ago. Contact the Director of Financial Aid at the school where you are enrolling for details.
What happens if you enroll under the Academic Fresh Start option, earn an undergraduate degree, and then apply to a postgraduate or professional program at a public university?
In order to use Academic Fresh Start for graduate admissions, you must have first used it for undergraduate admissions. Admissions committees for master's, doctoral or other professional graduate degree programs at public universities can only consider your grades from course work you completed after enrolling in Academic Fresh Start as an undergraduate. Courses from over ten years ago cannot be used as transfer credits or prerequisites.
Text of the Statute
Sec. 51.931. RIGHT TO AN ACADEMIC FRESH START. (a) This section applies to any public institution of higher education as defined in Section 61.003 of this code.
(b) Unless otherwise prohibited by law, a resident of this state is entitled to apply for admission to and enroll as an undergraduate student in any public institution of higher education under this section.
(c) If an applicant elects to seek admission under this section, a public institution of higher education, in considering the applicant for admission, shall not consider academic course credits or grades earned by the applicant 10 or more years prior to the starting date of the semester in which the applicant seeks to enroll. An applicant who makes the election to apply under this section and is admitted as a student may not receive any course credit for courses undertaken 10 or more years prior to enrollment under this section.
(d) If a student who enrolls under this section completes a prescribed course of study, earns a baccalaureate degree, and applies for admission to a postgraduate or professional program offered by a public institution of higher education, the institution, in considering the applicant for admission into the postgraduate or professional program, shall consider only the grade point average of the applicant established by the course work completed after enrollment under this section, along with any other criteria the institution uses in evaluating applicants for admission into the postgraduate or professional program.
(e) Nothing in this section prohibits a public institution of higher education from applying standard admissions criteria generally applicable to persons seeking admission to the institution.
Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 724, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1993. Renumbered from Education Code Sec. 51.929 by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 17.01(7), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.