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High school equivalency/
Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD)

The Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD) is a high school equivalency credential available to Pennsylvania residents who do not possess a high school diploma and who have met criteria specified in the Pennsylvania Code (22 PA Code §4.72).    
 
The Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma may be achieved by passing the GED® test or the HiSET®  exam or by completing the 30 College Credit Option.  
 

eligibility REQUIREMENTS FOR HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY testing   

The Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD) may be issued to an applicant who:  
  • is a resident of Pennsylvania
  • is at least 18 years of age;
  • does not possess a secondary school diploma from the United States;
  • is not in a public, licensed private, registered accredited or licensed nonpublic secondary school;   and has earned a passing score, on all subtests in the same language of a high school equivalency test (GED® or HiSET®   

eligibility requirements to test at age 16 or 17 

If you are 16 or 17 years of age and have officially withdrawn from secondary school in Pennsylvania, you must meet all of the above criteria and also provide the following to meet the requirements of Title 22, §4.72, Pennsylvania Code: 
 
  • Completed Age Waiver form for the respective test (GED® or HiSET®) AND one of the following documents:     
o   A letter from an employer, on company letterhead, stating that you must pass the high school equivalency test (GED® or HiSET® ) in order to gain or maintain employment; OR
  
o   A letter from a college or postsecondary training institution stating that you must pass the high school equivalency test (GED® or HiSET®) for enrollment; OR
  
o   A letter from a branch of the Armed Services stating that you must pass the high school equivalency test (GED® or HiSET®) for induction; OR
  
o   A letter from the director of a state institution in which you are a resident, patient or inmate requesting the high school equivalency test (GED® or HiSET®)
  
Candidates who pass a high school equivalency test prior to turning 18 will be issued a transcript. The Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma will be issued on their 18th birthday.
 
No persons under the age of 16 are eligible to take a test of high school equivalency.
 

GED® Test 

For information about the GED® test including how to prepare for the test, finding a test center in your area, test costs, testing accommodations and registering for the test, visit www.myged.com.
 
For more information about becoming a GED® test center, visit www.gedtestingservice.com
 
On January 26, 2016, GED Testing Service® (GEDTS) announced “a recalibration to the GED® test passing score” reducing the score required to demonstrate high school equivalency from 150 to 145 and recommending that states apply the passing score retroactively to January 1, 2014.
 
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania accepted the new passing score of 145 and made the new score retroactive to January 1, 2014. The new passing score was also applied to tests taken between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2015, under the program in which eligible 2002 Series GED® test scores were combined with passing 2014 GED® tests scores to award the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma. Diplomas and transcripts were mailed mid-March 2016.
 
For more information on the GED Score Enhancements, please refer to the GEDTS website at http://www.gedtestingservice.com/educators/score-changes.
 
Click here for instructions regarding requesting a copy of your GED transcript
 

HISET® Test 

For information about the HiSET® test including preparing for the test, finding a test center in your area, test costs, testing accommodations and registering for the test, visit www.hiset.ets.org.
 
For information about becoming a HiSET® testing center, contact GRecinos@ets.org and HiSETTAS@ets.org
 

30 College Credit Option 

The 30 College Credit Option is a practical alternative for individuals who are living in Pennsylvania, do not have a high school diploma from a United States school, and have accumulated a minimum of at least 30 semester hours of study at an accredited institution(s) of postsecondary education located in the United States.  
 
The Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD) may be issued to an applicant who:  
  • is a resident of Pennsylvania;
  • is at least 18 years of age;
  • does not possess a secondary school diploma from the United States;
  • is not in a public, licensed private, registered accredited or licensed nonpublic secondary school;
  • and presents evidence of satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours of study (in postsecondary level courses) at a U.S.-accredited institution of postsecondary education.

Application Process for the 30 College Credit Option:

  • Download, complete, and sign the Application for Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma – 30 College Credit Option (PDE-6005) (PDF) certifying that you meet the criteria for award of the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD) based on 30 college credits.
  • Provide proof of Pennsylvania residency. The address MUST match the address on the application form. Acceptable proof of PA residency must include at least one of the following documents: PA driver's license, voter's registration card, W2 form, utility bill or bank statement.
  • Provide an official transcript from the postsecondary institution(s) where you earned the credits.
  • Forward the required documentation to our office, using one of the following two options: 
o   Supply the completed application form and proof of residency to the college registrar's office and request they send the official transcript and other documents to the address below; OR
 
o   Request an official postsecondary transcript (in a sealed envelope) from the postsecondary institution. Insert the sealed envelope, application form, and proof of residency into another envelope and mail to the address below:

Commonwealth Diploma Program | 30 College Credit Option
333 Market Street, 12th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
 
Application review cannot begin until all required documents have been received by the high school equivalency administrator. Once reviewed and approved, a diploma and transcript will be issued to eligible applicants.
 
Duplicate diplomas are not issued.