Whether a result of poor study habits, illness or other life factors, you might have received low or even failing grades in some of your college courses. These bad grades affect your overall grade-point average and can harm your academic standing with your school. This could lead to reduction in financial aid and scholarship opportunities. In a process called academic renewal, your school may allow you to petition to exclude these grades from your overall grade-point average.

Eligibility Requirements

Each school will have specific requirements that you must meet to qualify for consideration. Some of these requirements may include taking the courses at the college where you apply for academic renewal. You may need to wait a certain length of time after you receive the bad grade before you can apply for academic renewal for the course. Some colleges require a minimum of a five-year wait before they will disregard your grade. You also may have a limited number of courses you can petition for academic renewal.

Petition Process

In your school handbook or on its website, you will find the specific instructions for the petition process. However, you will most likely need to begin by meeting with an academic adviser to go over your options and discuss the process in detail. Your school will require you to fill out a specific form, and you may need to explain the circumstances surrounding your grades and how they affect you and your goals. Some forms may only require basic information, including semester and year of the course, course number and total credits petitioned for academic renewal.

How It Works

If you qualify for academic renewal, the bad grades will not completely disappear from your transcript. Instead, your school’s registrar will note that the courses cannot apply toward your grade-point average or the credits you need for graduation. If you transfer to another school, they will see the disregarded courses and the notation for academic renewal, but your new school will not apply these grades to your grade-point average, either.


You may not meet the eligibility requirements for academic renewal, and in this situation, you will need to consider another option -- retake the course. Talk with your academic adviser and she will help you re-register for the course. The school will then apply the better grade to your transcript and overall grade-point average.

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