Texas First Diploma

  • Texas First Early High School Completion Scholarship Program

    Notice of Texas First Early High School Completion Program and Texas First Scholarship Program

    The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), Texas Education Agency (TEA), and enrollment and admission leadership at institutions of higher education (IHEs) developed the Texas First Early High School Completion Program (Texas First Diploma) for students who graduate from high school early and meet eligibility criteria.

    This program comprises two parts:

    • The Texas First Early High School Completion Diploma, which allows students to graduate high school early with a Distinguished Level of Achievement by demonstrating early readiness for college
    • The Texas First Scholarship Program, which awards scholarship credit equivalent to up to one year of the TEXAS Grant at eligible institutions

    Texas First Early High School Completion Diploma (High School)

    Eligibility:

    • Texas residency
    • FAFSA or TASFA completion
    • At least 22 high school credits by any permissible method, including credit by examination
      • Students are not required to meet Foundation High School program credit requirements in order to graduate from high school under this program; however, students should be aware that being accepted to the participating university or universities requires meeting the university’s admission requirements, which may include credit for specific courses and other factors.
        • The Texas First Diploma does not guarantee automatic or guaranteed admission to any university or their academic programs.
        • Certain programs or majors within the universities, such as admission to the School of Engineering or honors programs, for example, may have additional requirements, such as submitting proof of Calculus Readiness, an expanded résumé, or other criteria.
        • Students should visit the university website and submit inquiries to the university early, well before the admissions application deadline, in order to prepare for and meet any admissions requirements beyond the courses taken for the Texas First Early High School Completion Diploma.
      • Final Grade Point Average (GPA) equivalent to 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
      • Overall score in at least the 80th percentile on one or more of the following assessments:
        • ACT
        • SAT
        • PSAT/NMSQT
        • TSIA/TSIA2
        • GED
        • Or, alternatively, a GPA in the top 10 percent of the student’s class
      • Satisfactory level of performance as defined by the Commissioner of Education on STAAR EOC (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness End-Of-Course) for:
        • English I or II, and
        • Algebra I, and
        • Biology;
        • Or, if the student has not taken the required STAAR EOC assessment for English I or II, Algebra I, or Biology, the student has satisfied the STAAR EOC requirement by achieving a passing score on an eligible substitute assessment for that subject area
      • Demonstration of mastery of each subject area of English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and a Language Other Than English (LOTE) through one or more of the following criteria:
        • Earning a score on the STAAR EOC assessment that meets the college readiness standards
        • Credit earned in a course in the core curriculum of an institution of higher education in which the student received at least a C (such as a dual credit course); or
        • Meeting the standards on the assessments set out in Figure 1

    Interested students should contact their counselor to plan for early graduation and verify their eligibility for the Texas First Early High School Completion Diploma.

    The student must provide an official copy of their assessment results, as applicable, to their school counselor to receive credit for the assessments required to receive early graduation from the program.

    According to state requirements, the student will be responsible for providing all documentation to their school counselor, who will confirm eligibility. According to the THECB, “Once the High School Counselor confirms a student’s eligibility as an early high school graduate who has a Texas First Diploma with the THECB, the eligible student will be issued a Certificate of Eligibility by the THECB (based on that confirmation of eligibility). The student must then enroll in one of the 10 eligible institutions in order to receive the state credit [scholarship] issued under the Texas First Scholarship Program."

    Students graduating early during spring and summer of 2024 who meet eligibility criteria for the Texas First Diploma may collect the required documentation and provide it to their school counselor, and students graduating in the summer should submit all documents prior to August 1st.  Please keep in mind that high school counselors will not be on campus during the summer from June 14th - July 15th. At this time, we do not have information regarding the length of time it will take for the THECB to award the Certificate of Eligibility to the student.  As more information is received, we will post updates on this website.

    Texas First Scholarship Program (University)

    • Students may apply to any college or university they choose; however, the scholarship will only apply toward participating universities.
    • Students who graduate two or more semesters before their class receive a two-semester scholarship, equivalent to the amount of the TEXAS grant. Students who graduate one semester early receive a one-semester scholarship.
    • The scholarship offer will expire at the end of the first academic year following high school graduation; therefore, interested and eligible students are encouraged to attend college directly after high school.
    • Students may also be eligible for additional financial aid at the universities.
    • Students should contact the university to discuss the university’s application procedures for the Texas First Scholarship Program. Many universities list scholarships and who to contact for scholarship information on their Financial Aid webpages.
    • NOTE: Before September 1, 2023, the Texas First Scholarship was only applicable at 10 Texas public universities. However, effective September 1, 2023, the number of institutions of higher education eligible to award the Texas First Scholarship to eligible Texas First Diploma graduates expanded from 10 universities to all Texas public institutions of higher education, including colleges, universities, and technical colleges (Senate Bill 2294, 88th Texas Legislature, Regular Session). Please see your high school counselor for information regarding eligibility requirements to graduate early under the Texas First Program and receive a scholarship up to one year upon admission to any eligible Texas public institution of higher education, per Texas Education Code, Section 61.003.

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