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Undergraduate Academic Retention & GPA Standards :

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Policies

Applicable Divisions

Community Colleges


The Tennessee board of Regents will establish minimum criteria for undergraduate academic retention standards at the institutions under the governance of the Tennessee Board of Regents.  


  1. This policy establishes minimum criteria for undergraduate academic retention standards at the community colleges under the governance of the Tennessee Board of Regents.


    1. Establishment of Criteria
      1. Each institution will develop specific criteria, in compliance with this policy, to be implemented and enforced as the undergraduate academic retention standards of the institution.
      2. Initial institutional standards and all subsequent revisions will be submitted to the Chancellor for review and approval.
      3. The approved undergraduate academic retention standards of the institution are to be clearly expressed in the catalog, uniformly applied to all students, and promptly enforced at the close of each semester.
    2. GradePoint System
      1. The following grade point system is to be used in determining averages:
        1. For each credit hour of A: 4 grade points.
        2. For each credit hour of B: 3 grade points.
        3. For each credit hour of C: 2 grade points.
        4. For each credit hour of D: 1 grade point.
        5. For each credit hour of F: 0 grade points.
      2. The grade point average is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of credit hours which the student attempted except for credit hours in courses from which the student withdraws in good standing (see Drop and Withdrawal Standards) or for courses in which the student receives grades such as pass/fail and which are not considered when determining the GPA.
      3. If an institution elects to award grades which are not considered in computing the GPA, it must describe these in the catalog or bulletin and explain the application of such grades.
      4. In addition, it must provide a statement within the catalog which limits the number of hours of such grades per semester and the maximum number of such hours a student may receive in toto.
      5. Finally, a single student transcript will include term and cumulative GPA calculations which ensure that all TBR institutions treat learning support hours alike in calculating GPA. The transcript will include the following:
        1. A GPA comprised only of hours taken in courses numbered college level courses 1000 and above ("college only" GPA) and
        2. A GPA comprised of hours taken in college level courses 1000 and above and hours taken in learning support courses ("combined" GPA).
      6. The following uses are based on each calculation:
        1. The "college only" GPA will be used in calculating the required GPA for graduation.
        2. The "college only" GPA will be used in determining graduation honors.
        3. The "college only" GPA will be used in determining term honors.
        4. The "combined" GPA will be used in determining suspension and probation.
        5. The "combined" GPA will be used in determining financial aid eligibility.
        6. The "combined" GPA will be used in determining athletic eligibility.
      7. For the purpose of increasing mastery in a course when such is necessary for successful performance in a subsequent course or for the purpose of increasing the grade point average (and only for these purposes) institutions may permit students to repeat courses in which their final grades are C or lower.
      8. Thus, in computing the grade point average, the question of how to count repeat courses must be specifically addressed in the catalog or bulletin of each institution, and courses may not be repeated more than twice (three attempts) unless the grades in the third and subsequent attempts are used in calculating the quality point average.
      9. Students may be permitted to repeat a course in which a grade of B or higher was earned only with the approval of the chief academic officer as an exception to this policy.
    3. Retention Standards
      1. GPA Community Colleges
        1.  The minimum quality point average required to achieve the associate degree is 2.0.
        2. In addition, a student who fails during any term to attain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0for the credit hours attempted will be placed on academic probation for the subsequent term.
        3. At the end of the next term of enrollment, a student on academic probation who has failed to attain a 2.0 GPA for that term will be suspended for a minimum of one term. The summer term may not be counted as the term of suspension, unless institutional policies provide for multiple term suspension.
        4. Each institution may develop specific readmission policies to enable the suspended student to appeal for readmission.
        5. The policies shall be based on factors of extenuating circumstances and hardship.
    4. Minimum Criteria for Institutional Academic Fresh Start Policies
      1. "Academic Fresh Start" is a plan of academic forgiveness which allows undergraduate students who have experienced academic difficulty to make a clean start upon returning to college after an extended absence.
      2. The Academic Fresh Start allows eligible students to resume study without being penalized for his/her past unsatisfactory scholarship and signals the initiation of a new GPA/GPA to be used for determining academic standing.
      3. Readmitted students who were formally enrolled in the institution as well as transfer students who meet institutional requirements for admission and who have been separated from all institutions of higher education for a minimum of four (4) years are eligible for the Fresh Start.
      4. Institutional policies governing the readmission of former students and admission of transfer students must be in compliance with TBR policy Admissions.
      5. This policy requires that the "transfer applicant's grade point average on transferable courses must be at least equal to that which the institution requires for the readmission of its own students.
      6. Applicants who do not meet the institution's standards may be admitted on scholastic probation or other appropriate condition. ( Section II.B.3.)
      7. Each institution may establish an Academic Fresh Start provision which must meet the following minimum criteria:
        1. Student Requirements
          1. Separation from all collegiate institutions for at least four (4) years.
          2. Anytime after the readmission or admission as a degree-seeking or certificate-seeking student, file a formal application to the office as defined by the institution's catalog requesting the Academic Fresh Start and describing an academic plan.
        2. Terms of the Academic Fresh Start 
          1. Once the student has satisfied the above requirements, the institution may grant the Academic Fresh Start. The student may be granted a Fresh Start only once.
          2. The student's permanent record will remain a record of all work; however, courses taken and previously failed will be excluded from the calculation of the GPA. Courses with a D grade will also be excluded from the calculation when a grade of C or better is required in the student's current major. GPA and credit hours will reflect courses for which passing grades were earned and retained.
            1. Retained grades will be calculated in the Fresh Start GPA.
            2. Courses with D or F grades must be repeated at the institution when they are required in the student's current major. All remaining courses for the current degree objectives must be completed at the institution. No transient credit will be accepted after invoking Academic Fresh Start.
            3. The application of retained credit toward degree requirements will be determined by the requirements currently in effect at the time the academic renewal status is conferred on the student. Specific program regulations must also be met. 
            4. Previously satisfied and approved standardized test requirements will not be forfeited.
          3. Upon degree admission, Fresh Start applicants who did not satisfy approved standardized test requirements at the time of previous enrollment and whose academic plan includes completion of a college-level English or mathematics course must meet current approved standardized test requirements regarding enrollment in college English and mathematics courses.
          4. The student's transcript will note that the Fresh Start was made and the date of the Fresh Start.
          5. The student will apply for the Fresh Start with the understanding that all TBR institutions will honor a Fresh Start provision granted at another TBR institution. The student should also signify understanding that non-TBR institutions may not accept the GPA as it is calculated with the Fresh Start.
          6. This policy is independent of financial aid regulations. Financial aid requirements at the time of application will apply. Therefore, a Fresh Start applicant should check with his/her financial aid counselor for guidance.
    5. Drop and Withdrawal Standards
      1. After the official registration period is over, students may make adjustments in their schedule through the process of adding and/or dropping courses.
      2. The last date for students to add or drop a course without a penalty is to be clearly indicated and expressed in the catalog or bulletin of each institution.
      3. After the last day to add or drop a class without a penalty, and not later than two-thirds into the part-of-term, a student may officially drop a course(s) or withdraw from the institution and receive a "W" or other appropriate symbol/grade.
        1. When calculating two-thirds, calendar days shall be used, not just class or working days.
      4. In general, such symbol/grade counts as no hours attempted.
        1. Community Colleges
          1. A student who is withdrawn after two-thirds of the part-of-term is complete will receive a "W" or other appropriate symbol in the course or courses passing.
          2. However, the student will receive a failing grade (usually denoted by an "F") in the course or courses failing unless it can be clearly demonstrated that an unusual condition or hardship exists.
          3. Each institution must develop institutional guidelines outlining specific types of conditions or hardships which will be considered as acceptable.
      5. Students who desire to drop a course (s) or withdraw from the institution before the established deadline must do so according to the published procedure defined by the institution.
      6. A student who does not officially drop or withdraw from a course, but receives a failing grade, will receive an "F" if their last day of attendance was not earlier than two-thirds into the part-of-term.
      7. A student who does not officially drop or withdraw from a course, but receives a failing grade, will receive an "FA" if their last day of attendance was earlier than two-thirds into the part-of-term. The student will be considered as an unofficial withdrawal from the course.



    T.C.A. § 49-8-203


    TBR Meetings, June 24, 1977; March 20, 1981; September 30, 1983; June 24, 1988; September 20, 1991; March 15, 2002; Board Meeting June 20, 2014; Revised at Board Meeting, March 31, 2017; Revised at Board Meeting, September 28, 2018; Revised at June 18, 2021 Board Meeting; Revised at December 1, 2022 Board Meeting.

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