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 the community.

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 bearing coursework?

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 bearing coursework.

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 three criteria:

  • 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 level?

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 studies students.

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.