We’re excited to introduce the Texas First Program, a program to recognize high-achieving students. Eligible students can graduate early with the Distinguished Level of Achievement and receive a scholarship.
The Texas First Program is designed to keep Texas’ best and brightest on a direct track to postsecondary education here in our great state. Texas’ top students can accelerate their postsecondary path and earn up to a year in scholarship dollars to attend any Texas public institution of higher education, including colleges, universities, and technical colleges.
Students who graduate early and earn a Texas First Diploma receive a scholarship at participating institutions.
Students who graduate two or more semesters before their class receive a two-semester scholarship, equivalent to the amount of the TEXAS grant, to a participating college, university, or technical college. Students who graduate one semester early receive a one-semester scholarship to a participating institution of higher education. Students may also be eligible for additional financial aid at most of these institutions.
The Texas First Diploma does not guarantee automatic admission for students. Students should ask their counselor if their grade point average at graduation qualifies them for automatic admission under the state’s top 10 percent law.
Students who graduate early with a Texas First Diploma may apply to any college or university they choose. However, the scholarship will apply only at the Texas public institution of higher education where they have been admitted.
The scholarship offer will expire at the end of the first academic year following a student’s graduation, so students are encouraged to attend college directly after high school.
Eligible students must demonstrate college readiness in academics and attitude. Eligibility requirements include the following:
- Texas residency
- FAFSA or TASFA completion
- At least 22 high school credits
- Final 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, or GED; or, alternatively, a GPA in the top 10 percent of the student’s class
- Completion of the STAAR EOC exams in English I or II, Algebra I, and Biology, or completion of eligible substitute assessments
- Demonstration of mastery in each subject area of English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and a language other than English
Students should contact their counselor to learn more about this program and verify their eligibility.
View full eligibility requirements and rules:
Updates for the Texas First Program:
Effective September 1, 2023, the list of institutions that can award the Texas First Scholarship had expanded to include all Texas public institutions of higher education. Students who graduated with the Texas First Diploma on or after that date can access the Texas First Scholarship award at any Texas public college or university where they have been admitted.
School District Requirement
House Bill 8, 88th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2023, establishes that a school district is required, rather than permitted, to issue a high school diploma under the Texas First Early High School Completion Program if the student demonstrates mastery of and early readiness for college in accordance with Texas Higher Education Coordinating (THECB) board rules. The statute does not authorize a school district to impose any additional requirements, including, for example, requiring a student to notify a district of their election to participate in the program earlier than the semester in which the student earns the diploma or limiting the students who may earn the diploma to juniors or seniors.
Additionally, each school district is required to notify each student who enrolls in high school of the availability of the Texas First Diploma. A district shall provide the following notice to each high school student: https://reportcenter.highered.texas.gov/agency-publication/miscellaneous/texas-first-diploma-program-flyer/.
Language other than English (LOTE) Requirement
High school students interested in early graduation through the Texas First Early High school Completion Program (aka, Texas First Diploma, TFD) will have another option for demonstrating mastery in the Language other than English (LOTE) subject area. Currently, options for demonstration of mastery in the LOTE subject area include meeting the minimum scores on the AP, CLEP, or IB world language or Computer Science test. Another current option is successful completion of a college-level world language, American Sign Language, or Computer Science course that is in the institution’s core curriculum (e.g. dual credit Spanish 2311 course).
Effective February 15, 2024, students will also be able to use the Foreign Language Achievement Testing Service (FLATS), an online test administered through Brigham Young University. Information about the FLATS assessment, including the foreign language subject areas, test content, registration, test proctoring, and cost can be found at the following link: https://info.flats.byu.edu/ Students choosing to use the FLATS test to demonstrate LOTE mastery must score P (Pass) 101, 102, or 201 to meet the minimum mastery requirements for the Texas First Diploma LOTE subject area.
School District Counselors or Administrators
Once you have verified that the student has met all eligibility requirements for the Texas First Diploma and the student has graduated, please complete and submit the Verification Confirmation Form found at the following Texas OnCourse links: (note you will need to log in to Texas OnCourse to access the form):
Verification form in the Scholarship Application module: https://texasoncourse.instructure.com/courses/253/pages/texas-first-program-eligibility-confirmation-form?module_item_id=13787
Verification form in the High School Graduation Plan module: https://texasoncourse.instructure.com/courses/248/pages/texas-first-program-eligibility-confirmation-form?module_item_id=13788