Scholastic standards are mandated by the faculty through the Faculty Council Committee on Scholastic Standards. 

Policies regarding probation, dismissal, and appeal are determined by the faculty and CSU in their absolute discretion subject to acceptance by the governing board of CSU.


Procedures relative to undergraduate scholastic standards are administered through the Collaborative for Student Achievement. Those students whose scholastic achievement is less than that required for graduation are placed on probation or dismissed from CSU.

Good Standing - Minimum Cumulative GPA

In order to graduate, a minimum cumulative grade point average (CUM GPA) of 2.000 on a 4.000 scale must be earned at CSU. A student is expected to maintain a CUM GPA of 2.000 or higher at all times. All grades earned in regular credit courses, including those taken through the Division of Continuing Education or the CSU Summer Session, will count toward the CUM GPA. For students who have been granted a Fresh Start, all grades earned prior to the Fresh Start will not count toward the student’s CUM GPA.

Failure to maintain a CUM GPA of 2.000 or higher will result in academic probation or academic dismissal.

Academic Probation

Failure to maintain a CUM GPA earned at CSU of 2.000 or higher will result in academic probation for a period of two regular semesters (fall and spring). Grades earned in regular credit courses through the Division of Continuing Education or the CSU summer session will count toward the CUM GPA regardless of when those classes are taken. At any time that the CUM GPA is raised to a 2.000 or higher, the student will return to regular academic standing.

Students who withdraw from CSU while on probation will remain on probation if they return to the University. Students on academic probation who return to CSU after attending another institution will continue their probation, since transfer credits are not computed within the CUM GPA earned at CSU.

Academic Dismissal

Students on academic probation who do not raise their CUM GPA to a 2.000 or higher after two regular semesters (fall and spring) will be dismissed from CSU. Exceptions to this policy for first-term, undergraduate, non-transfer students are outlined below, under Update to the Scholastic Standards Policy June, 2016.  Students who have been academically dismissed from CSU have three options to seek readmission. First, they may take classes through the GUEST program, through the CSU Summer Session, or through the Division of Continuing Education, but they are not eligible to apply for readmission until the CUM GPA is raised to 2.000 or higher.

The second option available to students who have been academically dismissed is to enroll at another regionally accredited institution and meet the requirements to be admitted as a transfer student to CSU. Upon transferring back to CSU, students will have two semesters following re-enrollment to raise their CUM GPA earned at CSU to 2.000 or higher or face academic dismissal again. Transfer credits are not computed within the CUM GPA earned at CSU.

Students who have raised the CUM GPA to 2.000 or higher or who apply as students transferring from another institution may apply for readmission to the University subject to any enrollment limitation as set by the Colorado Department of Higher Education or the governing board.

Appeal of Academic Dismissal

As a third option, students may appeal academic dismissal. An online appeal may be submitted to the Collaborative for Student Achievement for consideration by the Faculty Council Committee on Scholastic Standards. All appeals must be submitted in accordance with written instructions.

All appeals of academic dismissal will be acted upon by the Faculty Council Committee on Scholastic Standards no later than seven business days prior to the first day of classes for the next regular academic semester (either fall or spring).

A dismissal appeal that is granted allows the student to return immediately for the next regular semester (fall or spring). Dismissal appeals granted cannot carry forward to a future semester unless the student was approved (prior to dismissal) for a planned leave for the next regular semester. If a student withdraws during the dismissal appeal granted semester due to extenuating circumstances, the student must submit another appeal to dismissal that includes documentation of the extenuating circumstances or the student will be dismissed at the end of the dismissal appeal granted semester.

Update to the Scholastic Standards Policy, June 2016

Undergraduate (non-transfer) students who earn a GPA of less than 1.000 in their first semester at CSU will not have 3 semesters in which to earn a cumulative 2.000 GPA, and must make a choice:

  • Take 1 – 3 semesters off, reapply and return with a Freshman Accelerated Fresh Start (see below)
  • Continue attending the following semester and earn at least a term 2.000 GPA on 12 or more credits, and receive a third semester on probation; or earn less than a 2.0 term GPA and be academically dismissed.

Freshman Accelerated Fresh Start (Faculty Council approved minutes April 5, 2016)

The Freshman Accelerated Fresh Start opportunity is available for first-time first-year students who finish their first semester at CSU with a GPA below 1.000.

1. Students who meet these criteria will have the following option:

  • Leave the University for 1 – 3 semesters (the summer session is not included in this count)
  • Reapply/return to CSU and begin earning a new cumulative GPA (first semester grades remain on the student’s transcript but will not be calculated in their cumulative GPA)
  • To return, a student must complete a returning student application accompanied by supplemental documentation that addresses a combination of factors, including evidence of maturity and/or academic success at another institution as well as their strengthened preparation for academic success at CSU. (Details online at Office of Admissions).

2. Students are eligible for only one Fresh Start opportunity (regardless of whether it is a Freshman Accelerated Fresh Start or a standard academic Fresh Start)

Academic Fresh Start 

Former CSU undergraduate students may apply for an academic Fresh Start, a policy which allows students to establish a new academic record. A student may be granted a Fresh Start only once.

An academic Fresh Start may be granted after at least two years have elapsed since the student’s last term of enrollment as an admitted, degree-seeking student, regardless of the number of credits taken. Courses taken through the Division of Continuing Education, as a guest student, or the CSU Summer Session after being dismissed or ceasing enrollment as an admitted degree-seeking student will not count against the two-year interval required for a Fresh Start.

Eligibility for a Fresh Start can be achieved in one or both of the following ways: 

  1. Be successful in a job or volunteer experience and be able to supply strong letters of recommendation from your employer/supervisor (recommendations must not be from a family member or relative).
  2. Take at least 15 credits of academic courses either at another institution or as a guest student at CSU and earn a 2.500 or higher cumulative GPA

Students applying for a Fresh Start will also need to:

  1. Submit a Returning Student Application by the deadline for the appropriate semester.
  2. Write a statement of motivation on why you would like to return to CSU and why you think you are now ready to succeed. Analyze your past behavior and provide evidence of change and success since you left CSU. 
  3. In your statement, include an action plan for academic success that you have researched and considered carefully.  Describe specifically how you will utilize campus advising and resources. Review the Collaborative for Student Achievement website for suggested resources. 
  4. Submit all information to the Office of Admissions.

A student granted a Fresh Start and enrolled will have a demarcation on the permanent academic record to delineate the previous record from the new academic record achieved under the Fresh Start policy. Credits for those courses in which a grade of at least C- or S was awarded prior to the Fresh Start may be applied toward graduation requirements under the Fresh Start policy.

Only grades earned after the Fresh Start demarcation will be computed in the new GPA. A Fresh Start may have implications regarding other requirements for graduation, such as upper-division and in-residence requirements.

If a student receives a Fresh Start, the student must successfully complete at least 30 upper-division credits of course-work in residence at CSU after the Fresh Start is granted in order to graduate. 



U-Turn is a one-day event that provides students access to academic support resources, all in the same room, to assist in making a plan to turn the semester around.

Change of Major

Students who experience academic difficulty may choose to explore a different academic major. Resources for doing so include this General Catalog, the Collaborative for Student Achievement, and the CSU Career Center.

Undergraduate Planned Leave

Other students may decide that taking time off from CSU is in their best interest. Learn more at Undergraduate Planned Leave.

Dean's List

Students should contact their individual college(s) for Dean’s List qualifications. 

Graduation with Distinction

CSU recognizes outstanding scholarship by granting the baccalaureate degree “Cum Laude,” “Magna Cum Laude,” and “Summa Cum Laude” to those students in each college who have achieved unusually high academic excellence in their undergraduate programs. To be eligible for graduation with distinction, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum grade point average required for graduation with distinction and
  • Minimum of 60 credits completed at CSU. Students who have been granted Fresh Start must have completed 60 credits after the Fresh Start designation to qualify for graduation with distinction.

Transfer credits are not considered when determining a) candidacy for graduation with distinction or b) graduation with distinction.

The Current Breakdown of Acceptable GPAs for a Distinction Designation:

College Summa Cum Laude Magna Cum Laude Cum Laude
Agricultural Scienes 3.980 3.900 3.780
Business 3.980 3.900 3.790
Engineering 3.980 3.900 3.780
Health and Human Sciences 3.990 3.910 3.780
Liberal Arts 3.990 3.920 3.828
Natural Resources 3.980 3.900 3.770
Natural Sciences 3.990 3.940 3.830
Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences 3.990 3.940 3.850

These minimum cumulative grade point averages will be reviewed every four years and may be changed if needed to maintain appropriate academic standards. Such changes will become effective the semester following approval by Faculty Council and publication in the General Catalog. Each of the minimum grade point averages needed to graduate with distinction will be adjusted at the end of each four year period only if the percentage of students graduating with distinction in a distinction category and college have shown a statistically verifiable deviation from the target percentages of:

Summa Cum Laude 1%
Magna Cum Laude 3%
Cum Laude 6%

Candidates for graduation with distinction are recognized at the time of commencement. Candidacy is determined by a student's cumulative grade point average through the semester preceding graduation. “Candidacy” for graduation with distinction does not guarantee graduation with distinction. Graduation with distinction is based on the student’s cumulative grade point average at the time of graduation. The CSU GPA calculation is carried to the third decimal place and is not rounded.

Students seeking a second bachelor’s degree are eligible for distinction designation. To qualify for graduation with distinction, a minimum of 60 credits completed at CSU is required after the first degree. In determining the grade point average of the student, only grades earned after the first degree are considered.

Graduation as a University Honors Scholar

Students who complete the University Honors Program academic requirements and achieve at least a cumulative 3.500 grade point average earn the designation of University Honors Scholar. Scholars are recognized at graduation by the Honors Program and during the colleges’ commencement ceremonies. The University Honors Scholar designation appears on diplomas and transcripts.


Graduate students must maintain a 3.000 GPA to be in good standing with the University. Learn more in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin.