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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If you are 16 or 17 years of age and have officially withdrawn from secondary school in Pennsylvania, you must meet all of the above criteria and also provide the following to meet the requirements of Title 22, §4.72,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:
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.

    For more information on the GED Score Enhancements, please refer to the GEDTS website.
     

    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.

    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.

    Diplomas and Transcripts

    In an effort to enhance services for individuals who receive the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma, the Pennsylvania Department of Education is transferring all of its diploma and transcript processing services to DiplomaSender.   
     
    Effective October, 1, 2016, all Pennsylvania high school equivalency diplomas and transcripts for the GED test, HiSET exam, as well as those awarded through the 30 College Credit Option, will be handled by DiplomaSender
     
    To request a copy of a transcript, diploma, or letter of verification of high school equivalency, visit  www.diplomasender.com.
     
     

    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, PA voter's registration, PA vehicle registration, bank statement, W2 form, lease agreement, utility bill.

    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:

    To Send by Postal Mail

    • Submit this application form and the proof of residency to the address below.
    • Have an official transcript sent by the school directly to the address below.

      30 College Credit Program
      333 Market Street, 12th Floor
      Harrisburg, PA  17126-0333


    To Send Electronically

    • Submit this application form and the proof of residency by scanning and emailing the documents to RA-EDHSE@pa.gov
    • Have an official electronic transcript sent by the school to RA-EDHSE@pa.gov.


    All electronically submitted transcripts must come directly from the postsecondary institution to the Department of Education.  Electronically submitted transcripts from students will not be accepted as official documentation. 
     

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