Home Education Options A High School Diploma Is Not the Only Ticket into College
A High School Diploma Is Not the Only Ticket into College

A High School Diploma Is Not the Only Ticket into College

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By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS

One of the general requirements for attending college and receiving Federal Student Aid (FSA) is completing a high school education. To demonstrate they meet this requirement, students must typically produce a high school diploma or transcript.

However, not everyone follows the same educational path and may not know how to demonstrate that they have fulfilled the secondary education requirements without a diploma.

Here are several ways that can be accomplished:

1. A General Education Development (GED) certificate. A GED is awarded upon passing a standardized test of questions that covers a normal high school level curriculum. GEDs provide a score in core competencies, and students must pass all the competencies as well as get a passing aggregate score.

2. Home-school completion. Homeschooling has become more common in recent years. Those who successfully complete a home schooling program are eligible to attend most colleges and receive FSA. Each state has different criteria for certifying home schooling completion, so make sure you fully understand your state’s laws on the subject.

3. Other Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) alternatives. If you do not have a high school diploma, a GED certificate, or if you did not complete a home schooling program, you may still be eligible for admission to college and for FSA. Establishing eligibility for FSA through any one of the ATB alternatives is limited because of their very specific requirements. However, this may still be an option, albeit a last resort for some. You can learn more at studentaid.gov or by talking to someone in your school’s financial aid office.

The U.S. Department of Education and most colleges and universities recognize that not everyone follows the same path to their educational goals. While completing high school is the most direct route to attending college, there are other options available for those who have not completed high school. As always, reach out to a representative at the school you wish to attend if you are unsure of your eligibility for admission and for FSA.

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