High School 21+ Frequently Asked Questions
Does the high school diploma really matter? Isn’t the GED the same?
We want students to be as competitive in the world of work as possible. Students may
have more success applying to apprenticeships and enlisting in military service with
a high school diploma. Further, the GED isn’t a great fit for every student—test anxiety,
among other issues, may keep a student from pursing the exam. Having additional options
is likely to help more students meet their educational goals.
Why do students have to be 21 to earn the degree?
There are a number of reengagement efforts led by local school districts for students
to earn their diploma. By catering the population of students that are 21 and over,
we are able to fill a gap while respecting the work that is already being done in
How many HS credits do the CAP classes equal?
Most of the ten credit classes are equivalent to two high school credits. Because
the coursework is integrated and contextualized, the credits will be split between
subject areas. For example, in CAP 054 students will earn one high school credit each
of math and science.
What grades will allow students to earn HS credit?
Students will need to earn a C or better to earn HS credit.
Can students take more than 1 class at a time?
An academic content area class and an elective is recommended for students that would
like a full time equivalent course load. Two content area classes would result in
a 20 credit hour load for daytime students.
Which campus will offer what classes? Will there be online options?
Course offerings at all campuses are still being determined. Offerings at CTC will
likely be sequenced so that students can progress through the content area at the
same campus. Initially there will not be online options for the HS 21+ program. Online
offerings will be reassessed after running the program for at least one year.
How will students get information about WAFSA and FAFSA?
Information on financial aid will be provided in both CAP 078, Transitional Studies
Preparation, and CAP 079, Transitional Studies Capstone. The Transitions Coach and
Student Success Navigators can also help students understand funding options. Further,
students can get support understanding their funding options in the Financial Aid
and Workforce Education Services offices and information sessions.
Are degrees awarded based on credits or competency?
All students interested in pursuing the HS 21+ will need to take the appropriate coursework
to meet the Washington State Graduation Credit Requirements. Students will only
be awarded credit based on the successful completion of CAP coursework. No credits
will be awarded credit for CASAS or COMPASS test scores.
Are the state residency requirements different for the HS 21+ program than for credit
The cost for Transitional Studies coursework will not vary regardless of whether or
not the student is a resident of Washington. In order to award the HS diploma, the
student must reside in Washington.
Once students complete the HS 21+ program and have their diplomas awarded, they will
be held to the same standards for determining residency as all other students in credit/tuition
In-State Tuition for Non-Citizens (“HB 1079”) Students who are non-citizens who have graduated from a Washington high school and
have lived in the state for at least three years may be eligible for in-state tuition
at public institutions, rather than being charged non-resident tuition.
To qualify for in-state tuition under this classification, a student must meet these
- Graduate from a Washington State high school (or obtained a GED or equivalent)
- Sign an affidavit (written promise) affirming eligibility and promising to become
a permanent resident/citizen of the United States when eligible to apply.Lived in
Washington for at least three calendar years (36 months) prior to earning the high
school diploma or equivalent and continuously since.
For students who are citizens or permanent residents and have moved to Washington
from another state, to qualify for lower “in-state” tuition at public colleges, students
must have established “residency” in the state of Washington. In most cases, the
student needs to be living in Washington for at least a year and not here just for
the purpose of attending college.
Can we use high school transcripts from another state?
Yes! All transcripts will be evaluated for Washington state requirements but coursework
from other states is eligible.
If an international student indicates they have a previous degree (HS or College)
but are unable to produce any documentation, can they qualify for HS 21+?
International students, those with a visa and I-20, are not eligible for transitional
studies coursework and therefore not candidates for the HS 21+ program. Non-citizen
students are eligible for coursework in the Transitional Studies program but would
need to submit an official transcript for evaluation. Absent the transcript they must
complete all credits required for Washington State graduation requirements.
What about international transcripts?
We will accept international high school and college transcripts but they must be
evaluated and submitted directly from an approved evaluation service such as Foundation
for International Services (FIS). Students will also need to submit translated course
descriptions for any courses that are called into question.
What is the earliest age students can enroll?
Students must be 16 years of age or older. If under the age of 19, students must have
a release from compulsory high school attendance. The high school diploma will not
be conferred until the student has reached the age of 21.
Can college credits be counted toward the HS diploma? Do the credits have to be 100
Yes! College coursework can be used toward the high school diploma. Coursework not
specific to the required content areas can count as electives. Typically, five credits
of college coursework will be equal to a half of a high school credit. Classes do
not have to be 100 level or higher to count toward the diploma, we can count any credit
bearing, financial aid eligible coursework. All coursework can be counted toward electives
as a minimum, but coursework could be applied to specific requirements when appropriate
or advantageous for the student.
Why can’t classes that are graded and impact a student’s GPA count as college credit?
CAP coursework is designed to support students in attaining a high school diploma
or high school equivalency credential. The curriculum of the CAP coursework will prepare
students to be successful in classes that will count toward their degree or certificate
program at Clark but is still basic education coursework. Further, students are charged
only 25.00 a quarter for their coursework so they haven’t paid for the college credits.
Will students be required to purchase books?
No, the college cannot require Transitional Studies students to purchase textbooks.
Will there be offerings in the Gorge?
There is no plan at this time to offer instruction in the Gorge.
Can we expect the $25.00 tuition to increase?
There is no anticipation for an increase to the current tuition rate for transitional
Will there be career advising available to students in the HS 21+ program?
Yes, students in this program will have access to traditional advising either in the
T Building or Gaiser Hall. In addition, students will be encouraged to work with the
Career Center, Pathways Center, Transitions Coach, and Counselors on campus to support
the development and attainment of their career goals. Further, the work done in the
Capstone class will provide some additional career exploration and pathways information.
Are there any students that will not be eligible for HS 21+ due to low CASAS scores?
All students who need to earn a high school diploma and have a CASAS score will have
an option for enrollment.
Are the CAP classes credit bearing?
Similar to ABE classes, CAP classes will have associated credits but they will not
be applicable to programs other than HS 21+. Because the new HS 21+ curriculum will
be graded, the impact of these credits and grades will be significant on the cumulative
GPA and will have an impact on financial aid eligibility.
Will the HS 21+ coursework be transcribed?
Yes, CAP classes will be transcribed and will not be suppressed on a student’s transcripts.
Is there an expiration on coursework?
As with most of the programs at Clark, there is not an expiration on coursework.
However, students leaving for more than six months will be required to CASAS pre-test
prior to registering for classes. Returning students will have the opportunity to
continue where they left off, especially if their CASAS scores support the placement.