You are considered a Returning Student if:

  • You were previously enrolled at CSU as an admitted, degree-seeking student AND
  • You left for at least one fall or spring semester while your degree was in progress OR you completed your degree AND
  • You are applying to return as an admitted, degree-seeking student to finish a degree in progress OR to begin a new CSU degree program.

Planned Leave

If you are returning from a leave of absence through Planned Leave, follow the prompts in the Registration section of RAMweb.

We recommend that you apply several months prior to the start of the term and no later than:

  • August 1 for Fall Semester (classes begin mid-August)
  • January 2 for Spring Semester (classes begin mid-January)
  • May 1 for Summer Session (classes begin mid-May through mid-July)

If your intention is to graduate at the end of the term for which you are seeking to return, you must contact the Degree Office to submit your Intent to Graduate in addition to applying to return.

If you are returning to CSU to start a new degree, your eligibility will be impacted by our second bachelor’s/post-bachelor admission standards.

If you are returning to CSU to complete a degree in progress, your eligibility will be impacted by your academic standing when you left CSU.

Good Academic Standing

  • If you have a cumulative CSU GPA of 2.0+, you are in good standing, academically eligible to return.
  • Your eligibility to return and to register for courses may be impacted by non-academic factors, such as holds from your prior enrollment.

Probationary Status

  • If you have a cumulative CSU GPA <2.0 but have not been academically dismissed, you likely are in a probationary standing, academically eligible to return.
  • You will have one or two semesters to repair your CSU GPA to avoid academic dismissal.
  • If you’ve attended another institution since leaving CSU, submit an official transcript for transfer evaluation purposes. Successful completion of course work at another institution will not change your probationary status upon return or impact your CSU GPA.
  • You are strongly encouraged to meet with your academic advisor now to ensure that you have a plan in place to support your success upon return.
  • Because we care about your success, we may contact you to offer additional support if there are concerns about your readiness to resume your academic efforts here.
  • Your eligibility to return and to register for courses may be impacted by non-academic factors, such as holds from your prior enrollment.

Dismissed Status

If you were academically dismissed from CSU, you must demonstrate readiness to return through ONE of the two following options:

  • Repair your cumulative CSU GPA to a 2.0 or higher through non-degree enrollment in Summer Session, GUEST or CSU Online. You will return in good academic standing if you first repair your cumulative CSU GPA.


  • Demonstrate success through course work completed at another institution after leaving CSU. Strong candidates present 15-30 college-level credits in a range of academic subjects with a GPA of 2.5 or better and no grades of D/F or repeat/deletes. At a minimum, you must complete more than 12 credits to be considered for return.

Our evaluation of transfer work includes a variety of factors, including academic rigor, the types of courses/subjects and how well they meet AUCC and degree requirements, and trends in grades. We are looking for evidence that you’re ready for success in the rigor and range of CSU courses you’ll complete when you return. You will return in a probationary standing with two terms to repair your cumulative CSU GPA to 2.0 if you choose this option.

You are strongly encouraged to visit with your academic advisor to determine which option is best for you based on your CSU GPA deficiency, proximity to graduation, and other factors.

Your eligibility to return and to register for courses may be impacted by non-academic factors, such as holds from your prior enrollment.

Competitive Majors and Requests to Change Major

Regardless of your academic standing when you left CSU, you may return to the major you were previously in or request a different major.

Some majors have more competitive entrance requirements. If you are eligible to return but do not meet the more competitive entrance requirements for your preferred major, you may be admitted to the alternate major you select in your application or to a corresponding exploratory studies interest area so that you may work toward the prerequisites for entrance after returning to CSU.

Effective Fall 2023, the academic Fresh Start policy is changing to require only one year’s absence from CSU and to eliminate the Freshman Accelerated Fresh Start pathway. If you have questions about your eligibility for Fresh Start in light of these changes, please contact us. The information below will be updated in August to match these changes.

What is Fresh Start?

The Fresh Start policy allows students to restart their CSU GPA and return in good academic standing while retaining credit for courses with grades of C- or better.

Generally, Fresh Start best serves students in a probationary or dismissed status who need 30 or more credits to complete their degree.

Who is eligible for Fresh Start?

There are two types of Fresh Start with different eligibility requirements.

1. Academic Fresh Start

To be eligible for an Academic Fresh Start:

  • You must be pursuing your first undergraduate degree and
  • You must have a break of at least two years (four fall/spring semesters) since your last term of enrollment as an admitted, degree-seeking student

You’re considered enrolled in the semester if you utilize a semester withdrawal, so time away from CSU starts after a semester withdrawal term.

Dismissed students can enroll in non-degree options (GUEST, CSU Online or Summer Only) during the two-year break and retain eligibility for Fresh Start.

2. Freshman Accelerated Fresh Start

To be eligible for the Freshman Accelerated Fresh Start option:

  • You must be completing your first undergraduate degree and
  • You must have started your CSU enrollment as a first-time freshman and
  • You must have finished your first semester at CSU with a term GPA below 1.000 and
  • You must have a break of 1-3 fall/spring semesters away from CSU starting your second semester (immediately following your initial <1.000 term)

How do I apply for Fresh Start?

Before you apply to return to the University, you’re encouraged to have two important conversations:

  • Visit with your academic advisor or academic success coordinator about your eligibility for Fresh Start and its implications for graduation. Students awarded Fresh Start must successfully complete at least 30 upper-division credits in residence at CSU after Fresh Start is granted in order to graduate. In some cases, students are closer to graduation without Fresh Start.
  • Contact your admissions counselor to discuss the return process and your potential eligibility to return. Eligibility for Fresh Start does not guarantee the opportunity to return.

Once you’ve had these conversations, you can request a Fresh Start within the Returning Student application. On the Personal Statement tab, simply check the box to be considered for a Fresh Start and then include a personal statement that addresses the following topics:

  • Why you wish to return to CSU.
  • Factors that support your successful return – what you’ve learned about yourself, evidence of change/success since you last attended CSU.
  • Your plan for academic success – tools and resources you intend to use when you return.

Students pursuing a Freshman Accelerated Fresh Start must also submit an action plan to an Academic Success Coordinator in the Student Achievement Outreach and Support Programs office before a decision can be rendered by Admissions. Instructions and the FAFS Action Plan form will be sent to you after you submit your application. The earlier you apply the more time you’ll have to complete this step in the process.

Finally, while it’s helpful to know whether you have completed additional academic work elsewhere since leaving CSU, additional course work is not required to be considered for either Fresh Start option.

You can only utilize one Fresh Start during your undergraduate degree.

More details are available.

For more information about Fresh Start, your permanent academic record, and your progress to graduation, be sure to consult your academic advisor/academic success coordinator and the University’s Scholastic Standard policy.

Please note that other institutions are not obligated to recognize our Academic Fresh Start policy and may not honor the new GPA.

The application is abbreviated since we have information on file from your prior enrollment. Choose “Returning” as your application type, and be sure you fully complete all residency prompts, even if your residency status hasn’t changed since your prior CSU attendance.

No application fee is required.


  • If you’re in the process of requesting a semester withdrawal for the remainder of this semester, wait until your semester withdrawal has been processed before submitting your application to return.
  • Create an application account as a “First-time user.” The system will recognize your email if you’ve applied using this tool before and help you reset your password.
  • If you are a current CSU student wanting to change your major to an online program, you do not need to reapply to CSU. Please fill out an Academic Program Change instead.

Only academically dismissed students are required to submit an official transcript from each institution attended since leaving CSU.

Students in good or probationary standing are encouraged to send official transcripts for work completed since leaving CSU for transfer evaluation purposes only.

Personal Statement

  • Required if you are seeking a Fresh Start. (Refer to instructions above for a list of the topics we want you to address.)
  • Optional but strongly encouraged if you’re in a probationary or dismissed status and NOT seeking a Fresh Start.
  • Optional but helpful if you’re applying to start a new CSU degree.

Recommendations and Support Documents

  • Optional but helpful if you are seeking a Fresh Start.
  • Support documents may include a resume or other evidence of personal or professional growth since leaving CSU.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Most students will receive a decision within two weeks after submitting a complete application with required documents.

We are committed to helping you return to CSU. Students returning in good academic standing or a probationary status generally are readmitted without needing review by an admissions committee member. Students who were academically dismissed generally are readmitted at the point of committee review if they have satisfied Scholastic Standards requirements to return.

All status updates and final decisions are sent by email only. Check your email and online status regularly. We’ll email you instructions to refresh your eID to access RAMweb, if necessary. It takes an overnight process for a student’s admitted status to show in RAMweb.

Admissions questions?

Contact your admissions counselor.

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Academic questions?

Contact your academic advisor/success coordinator.

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Ready to apply? Begin now.

Returning Student application