Academic renewal, the little-known hack that can save your GPA

Kathleen Quinn, Staff Reporter

Academic renewal is a way for students who have been with the college for over two years to wipe out Ds and Fs from the calculation of their GPA.

Ian Balene, 20, criminal justice, said he believes the policy would be helpful to students trying to transfer. 

“I know that some classes you just fall behind on,” he said.

The policy does not remove the grade from the transcript, but it does mark and remove it from the calculations of a student’s cumulative GPA.

Though the policy is helpful, it doesn’t appear to be widely utilized.

“I see at least maybe four to five students a year, so it’s not every day or even every quarter necessarily,” Betty Inoue, transfer counselor, said. 

To be eligible, one academic year must have elapsed since the course to be removed was taken and students must meet the GPA requirement, which varies based on how many units are attempting to be removed.

Getting rid of a D may have unintended consequences since it gets rid of the credit as well as the bad grade. 

“If you were reliant on this for your general ed then you wouldn’t have that credit anymore,” said Lisa Castro, transfer counselor.

Meeting with a counselor is required since counselors must sign off on any academic renewal at De Anza.

“As long as we know that’s what the appointment is for, we can do it all in one visit,” said Castro.

The program which started in 1997, changed in 2017 to create a less restrictive and more student-driven process.

The policy amendment eliminated language that required students to remove a whole quarter of their academic history. Now students can pick and choose which classes within a quarter are worth saving.

Inoue thinks the new policy is less punitive for students.

“Let’s say they had a tough quarter, but they still had maybe, you know, two classes they failed and one they got by with a C,” said Inoue. “Now with the new policy, they can still get the first two classes disregarded, whereas in the past it had to have been the whole quarter.”

Academic renewal isn’t the only option for students to clean up their transcripts. Retaking classes serves as another option.

“If students retake the classes then they don’t need the academic renewal,” Inoue said.

Inoue said that shortening the length of time elapsed is a good option to consider when looking at the policy.

Castro said “I think it can be a wonderful solution to help students be more competitive for transfer.”