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Texas Success Initiative (TSI)


The Texas Education Code, Section 51.403(e), authorizes the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to establish guidelines and reporting requirements. The purpose of Chapter 4, Subchapter C, is to implement the Texas Success Initiative for Texas public institutions of higher education. This includes assessing the academic skills of each entering undergraduate student prior to enrollment of the student. Students must be deemed "college ready" before proceeding to college-level course work.

It is the intent of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board that Texas public institutions of higher education use the flexibility and responsibility granted under these rules to improve individualized programs to ensure the success of students in higher education. 

The following students are exempt from TSI: 

  • Students who have graduated with an Associate's degree or higher from an accredited institution within the U.S.
  • Students who earned a degree outside the U.S. must submit transcripts accompanied by a general evaluation completed by an accredited service. The evaluation must verify their degree to be the equivalent of an associate degree or higher earned at an accredited institution within the U.S. A list of accredited evaluation services may be found at the following link - www.naces.org/members.htm
  • Any student wishing to enroll in a certificate program. Such "Level One" certificates are programs of one year or less that require at least 15 but no more than 42 semester credit hours.
  • Students who are serving on active duty as a member of the U.S. armed forces, or serve as a member of a reserve component of the U.S. armed forces, or National Guard for at least three years preceding enrollment. All TSI rules apply when the student is discharged from the military.
  • Students who were honorably discharged, released or retired from active duty as a member of the U.S. armed forces, the Texas National Guard, on or after August 1, 1990.
  • Students who transfer from private or out-of-state institutions may use transferred courses for which college credit is earned in the areas of Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. List of equivalent NCTC courses are listed in the Transfer section.
  • Students with the following scores: (Partial Exemptions available on tests taken on or after April 2004)
    • ACT - Composite score of 23; at least 19 on both English and/or Math portions. Note that scores must have been earned in one sitting within the past five years.
    • SAT - New SAT: 530 on Math and 480 on EBRW (Evidenced Based Reading and Writing), no composite score. Old SAT: composite score of 1070 and at least 500 on critical reading and/or 500 on math for tests taken after April 1995. Note that scores must have been earned in one sitting. Other scores apply to SAT tests taken before April 1995.
    • TAKS - For a period of five (5) years from the date of testing, a student who is tested and performs at or above the following standards of the Eleventh grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) may be exempted for the corresponding section: minimum scale score of 2200 on the mathematics section, minimum scale score of 2200 on the English Language Arts section with a writing subsection score of 3.
    • STAAR End-Of-Course (EOC): (End of Course Exam) English III - taken during 11th grade year, score of 2000 on Reading and 2000 on Writing, or 4000 if score is combined; EOC Algebra II - taken during 11th grade year, scores of 4000.
*These rules are subject to change by the Texas Legislature.

An accepted TSI placement test is also required of all dual credit/early admission students from area high schools unless they are exempt.