Graduation Options for Your Student in Special Education
Students with disabilities and their parents must be able to make informed decisions regarding graduation options. It is important for parents and the IEP team to track and communicate credits toward graduation. This should reduce misunderstanding and clarify the time frame available to attain transition goals, including whether to graduate with peers or continue with additional schooling. Once a graduation option is selected, it should be recorded in the IEP.
If state and federal regulations have been followed, graduation should not surprise parents, since transition needs should have been addressed in the IEP. Please note that the issuance of a regular high school diploma terminates a student’s eligibility for public education services. Parents must be notified of their student’s graduation as a change in placement with enough time to appeal the action.
The following are the different options available to individuals:
Regular High School Diploma
- Graduation credit requirements are determined by the school district or charter school and the Utah State Board of Education
- Ends eligibility for FAPE (free, appropriate, public education)
- Signals a change of placement
Certificate of Completion
- Received when the student completes their school district or charter school’s secondary education.
- Student has not met all state requirements for a diploma
- Student is still eligible for FAPE (free and appropriate public education), if deemed necessary (post-high)
General Education Development (GED)
- Testing service to prove high school equivalency knowledge and available to the general population
- Students receive a Certificate of High School Equivalency
- For students who did not fulfill the credit requirements
- Students with disabilities are still eligible for FAPE
Alternative High School Diploma
- Not specific to students with disabilities
- Minimum 24 credit diploma issued by the LEA or
Adult Education Program. (LEA = District or Charter)
Alternate High School Diploma
- Student is still eligible for FAPE
- May continue on to post-high
- For students with a significant cognitive disability that have met Essential Elements requirements.
For more details on graduation options and diplomas please visit the following site.
Alternate Diploma Options: https://bit.ly/3B2lB4e
USBE Graduation Options: https://bit.ly/3of0bJj
You can find additional information on the UPC’s website through the following links: