Honorary Diplomas for Veterans
24 P.S. § 16-1611
Date of Issue: July 21, 2023
This BEC provides guidance on the granting of a high school diploma to World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans who did not graduate due to entry into military service.
Section 1611 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code of 1949 gives boards of school directors the power to confer honorary academic degrees. The board may confer honorary degrees through the
Operation Recognition program. Under Operation Recognition, the board of school directors may grant a high school diploma to any honorably discharged World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War veteran who did not did not graduate from high school due to military service. The board may award a diploma posthumously to a veteran.
A board of school directors may grant a high school diploma to veterans who meet the following requirements:
- The individual was honorably discharged from service.
- The individual did not graduate from high school due to entry into military service.
- The individual served in the U.S. military in World War II between September 16, 1940, and December 31, 1946, and would have been a member of the graduating class of 1941 through 1950,
- Served in the U.S. military in the Korean War between June 27, 1950, and January 31, 1955, attended high school between 1947 and 1955, and would have been a member of the graduating class of 1951 through 1957,
- Served in the U.S. military in the Vietnam War between February 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975, attended high school between 1958 and 1975, and would have been a member of the graduating class of 1961 through 1975.
The diploma may be issued to any veteran meeting the criteria regardless of where they attended high school before leaving to serve. The board of school directors is responsible for establishing the application for a diploma through Operation Recognition. The application process must include confirmation that the veteran was honorably discharged from service and did not complete high school due to serving during the prescribed years. A sample application is available,
Operation Recognition Sample Application (PDF).
Individuals seeking diplomas through Operation Recognition should reach out to their local school district for the application and award process.
24 P.S. § 1611
Bureau of School Support
Division of Planning and Professional Development
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333