High School to College & Careers

Overview

High School to College and Careers

College and Career Readiness (August, 2017)

Alabama

Alabama adopted the Alabama College- & Career-Ready Standards (CCCRS) in 2010. Beginning with the class that entered the 9th grade in 2013-2014, all students are required to complete the 24-credit required curriculum to earn an Alabama High School Diploma. Beginning in 2014, the ACT is administered to all 11th graders, and the ACT WorkKeys to all seniors beginning in the spring of 2015. Achieving college-readiness on one or more assessments (ACT, ACT WorkKeys, IB, AP, etc.) is separate from and not required for high school graduation.

Arkansas

Arkansas’s Academic Standards define the knowledge and skills Arkansas’ students should have in order to be ready for college and careers. Arkansas requires that student’s must be assessed for college and career readiness before graduating from high school. If they do meet established benchmarks for college and career readiness at least one of the approved assessments (ACT, PLAN, PSAT, Compass, ASSET or PARCC) the school must provide a transitional course designed to help them reach college and career readiness. All Arkansas 11th grade students enrolled in a public or charter school are given the opportunity to take the ACT during the spring of their junior year at no cost to the student. Parents may request that their student not participate.

Delaware

Delaware adopted the Common Core State Standards to promote the skills and concepts required for college and career readiness. Beginning in 2016, a high school student must complete a 24-credit curriculum including 4 units each of English and math to graduate. Also, beginning in 2016, the SAT was identified as the state college-readiness assessment for 11th grade students. The SAT is administered to all high school juniors at no cost. Students who exceed the college and career ready benchmarks set by individual institutions of higher education (IHE) are exempt from placement testing and remediation in college. Students who choose to participate in a pilot transitional course in high school and pass with a 77 or higher are also exempt.

Florida

The Florida Department of Education has established college and career ready competencies in Writing, Reading and Mathematics. Florida has a statewide college-readiness assessment instrument ─ the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT). Beginning in 2016, local school districts have the option of administering it to their students, usually in the junior year. Beginning in spring 2014, students who graduate from a Florida public high school with a standard high school diploma are exempt from placement testing, are deemed college and career ready and may enter college coursework without a readiness assessment. However, a recent high school graduate can opt to take the PERT and enroll in an appropriate level of developmental instruction.  To earn a standard high school diploma, students must complete a prescribed 24-credit curriculum with a 2.0 GPA or better and successfully pass all required end-of-course assessments.

Georgia

Georgia has established a College and Career Ready Performance Index to communicate expectations to all Georgia public school students. Georgia Milestones end-of-course assessments determine high school student progress and readiness for college and career. High school students take end of course measures (EOC) for each of ten courses associated with the EOC measures. Starting in 2016-17, juniors not meeting readiness standards in math will be able to take a senior year transition math course. The course will be available, but is not required.

Kentucky

In response to legislation passed in 2009, the Kentucky Department of Education created a plan for college/career readiness including more rigorous standards and assessment benchmarks. The Kentucky Performance Rating for Education Progress (K-PREP) assesses students from elementary to high school. A series of diagnostic assessments, using the ACT suite of assessments, are required for public school students ─ high school readiness in grade 8, college readiness in grade 10 and college admissions and placement in grade 11. In addition, ACT End-of-Course examinations are required in Biology, Algebra II, English II, and U.S. history. Students not meeting the standards are required to enroll in an intervention program in the senior year or between the junior and senior year. Students meeting college- and career- readiness standards in high school are deemed ready and do not have to undergo placement testing upon entering postsecondary education, and cannot be remediated.

Louisiana

Louisiana has adopted the Louisiana Student Standards designed to prepare students for college and a career. The state requires all public high schools to administer the ACT or ACT Work Keys to all 11th graders. The state pays for one administration; students who choose to re-take the ACT do so at their own expense. End-of-course examinations in Algebra 1, Geometry, English II, English III, Biology and U.S. History are also required. Transitional, readiness or bridge courses are available but not required. Students meeting the College and Career Ready Standards may enter credit bearing courses at any state supported IHE to which they have been admitted.

Maryland

The Maryland State Board of Education has adopted the Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards. To earn a diploma, all high school students must complete a minimum of 21 credits including English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, receive a passing grade in Biology and U.S. Government and, depending on the course, pass the Maryland High School Assessment and/or the PARCC. A student who does not meet benchmarks is required to complete an individualized Bridge Plan project.

Mississippi

In 2016, The Mississippi State Board of Education adopted revised Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts. The legislature requires all 11th graders take the ACT. The state pays for one administration. Students who choose to retake the ACT do so at their own expense. Transitional courses (SREB Math and Literacy Readiness) are offered to seniors who have an ACT sub-score between 15-18, but are not required.

North Carolina

North Carolina’s Standard Course of Study strives to prepare all students to become career and college ready. All public and charter school students enrolled in grade 11 for the first time are required to take the ACT. In 2013-14, A college- and career- readiness indicator was added to the Academic Achievement Descriptors for the End-of-Grade (EPG) and End-of-Course (EOC) assessments. North Carolina is in the process of piloting programs introducing college developmental math, reading and English into the curriculum for the high school senior year to be fully implemented in 2107-2018.

Oklahoma 

The goal of the Oklahoma Academic Standards is to prepare all students to be college and career ready upon graduation from high school. Beginning in 2017, school districts can choose whether to have their high school juniors take the ACT or the SAT free of charge. In 2017-2018, all juniors will be required to take one of these college- and career- readiness exams. If a student meets the ACT cut score (or a cut score on another valid measure), they may be placed in a college-level courses without additional placement testing. Beginning in 2017-2018 the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) will pilot the SREB Math Ready Senior Transition Course, and will provide students at all grade levels remediation opportunities to successfully progress to and through college-level English courses.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Education adopted college- and career- readiness standards effective for the 2015-2016 school year. South Carolina requires that all 11th grade students take ACT WorkKeys. Further, to earn a South Carolina high school diploma, students are required to pass a high school credit course in science and United States history and four gateway courses (English, math, science and social studies) in which a state authorized end-of-course examination, aligned to the South Carolina College and Career Ready Standards, is administered. End-of-course examinations comprise 20 percent of the student’s final course grade.

Tennessee

Tennessee’s college- and career- readiness standards define the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in postsecondary study or careers. The state implemented the Tennessee Diploma Project (TDP) in 2009 as part of an initiative to raise academic standards and better align high school curricula with postsecondary expectations. To receive a regular high school diploma, all students must complete a 22-credit curriculum and, beginning with the graduating class of 2018, complete the ACT or SAT in their junior year of high school. Students who choose to retake a college-readiness exam (ACT or SAT) in their senior year can do so free of cost on a specified state testing date, regardless of socioeconomic status. Through the Tennessee Response to Instruction and Intervention Framework (RTI2) schools, at all grade levels, are directed to use data from a variety of sources to develop Early Warning Systems (EWS). The data from the EWS is used to identify students in need of skills-specific interventions, remediation, re-teaching and enrichment. The goal is for every student to graduate from high school ready for college and career.

Texas

The Texas College and Career Readiness Standards define what students should know and accomplish in order to succeed in entry-level college courses or skilled workforce opportunities. Students entering 9th grade in 2014-2015 or later have the option of graduating under the 22 credit Foundation High School Program with at least one 4-credit endorsement. The Foundation High School program with endorsement is the default graduation requirement. A student, with written approval of parent/guardian and a high school official, may be permitted to graduate without an endorsement. High school students are required to pass five State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course exams, counting 15 percent toward the final grade in each course, to meet graduation requirements. Students who have failed no more than two of the required end-of-course exams are eligible for Individual Graduation Committee (IGC) review and may be given permission to use scores on the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) assessment in lieu of scores on the required STAAR assessments. Districts are required to provide remediation to a student at any grade level who fails a STARR assessment.

Virginia

The Virginia College and Career Readiness Initiative is designed to ensure that college and career-ready standards are taught in all Virginia high schools. In Virginia, to graduate with a Standard Diploma a student must earn at least 22 credits and earn at least six verified credits by passing end-of-course Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Beginning with students entering 9th grade in 2013-2014, a student must also earn a career and technical education credential and successfully complete one virtual course (credit or non-credit). To graduate with an Advanced Studies Diploma a student must earn between 24 and 26 credits and earn at least nine verified credits as well as one virtual course. Students substitute approved tests (e.g., AP, IB, ACT, SAT, Cambridge International, CLEP) for the end-of-course SOL tests to receive verified credit. Students who fail one or more of the SOL tests are required to receive remediation.

In September 2017, legislation will be enacted that directs the Virginia Board of Education to establish high school graduation requirements emphasizing flexibility and competency-based learning. The new requirements will apply to students entering high school as a freshman after July 1, 2018.

West Virginia

The West Virginia College and Career Readiness Standards define the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to be successful in postsecondary education and/or training leading to employment. All students currently take the West Virginia General Summative Assessment (WVGSA) in 11th grade to determine college-readiness. Students who score a 3 or 4 on the WVGSA are exempt from having to take non-credit-bearing, remedial courses. Students who do not meet the state college-readiness benchmarks in 11th grade are required to complete transition course(s). The mathematics transitional course counts toward a fourth year of math if the student has completed Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry.

College and Career Planning 

Requirements for the high school diploma (August, 2017)

Alabama 

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Alabama provides students with multiple paths to the state’s single high school diploma. All students must earn at least 24 credits — 21.5 of which are required. However, students can pursue either a General Education, Essentials, or Alternate Achievement Standards Pathway by substituting some of the required credits with credits from Career and Technical Education, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Postsecondary credits through dual enrollment, or other state-approved courses. Effective with the 2017-2018 school year, only students with disabilities will be allowed to enroll in Essentials courses. If a student takes four or more core courses on the Essentials Pathway he or she is required to complete the work component requirements of this pathway.

Regardless of the paths that students choose, they must complete four units each in core subjects (English, math, science and social studies), one unit of physical education and a half unit of health. Students must take three units of either foreign language or career or technical education or arts education. Two and half credits of electives complete the 24 credit requirement.

Assessment Requirements

To be determined

Arkansas

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

The state requires districts to enroll high school students in the Smart Core unless parents sign a waiver to opt their children out of the default curriculum, in which case they will participate in Basic Core. While the two diploma paths require the 22 course credits in each subject area, specific course requirements vary.

The state requires high school students to take a half-unit digital course.

The Academic Challenge Scholarship (ACS) provides scholarships to Arkansas residents pursuing a higher education. Students who graduated from an Arkansas public high school and made a 19 or higher on the ACT or an ACT equivalent are eligible for the ACS. Unconditional admission to more selective public universities requires the completion of the Smart Core.

Assessment Requirements

The state requires ACT Aspire for Grades 9-10. ACT participation in Grade 11 is optional.

Delaware

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete at least 24 units to earn a regular high school diploma.

Assessment Requirements

Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA) requires students to participate in the following assessments:

  • Grade 10 ACT Aspire
  • Grade 11 ACT Plus Writing
  • Grade 12 WorkKeys
  • ACT QualityCore End-of-Course Assessments in English 9 or 10 and Algebra I (Others to be determined)

High school sophomores were required to take the PSAT in fall 2014. High school juniors were required to take the SAT in spring 2015. 

Delaware also offers optional assessments: Smarter Interim Assessment for all grades as well as the PSAT for grade 9 and the PSAT/NMSQT for grade 11.

Florida

Course and Diploma Requirements for Student Entering Grade 9 in the 2016-2017 School Year

Districts may use computer science courses to satisfy certain graduation requirements for math and science if students also earn the related industry certification.

House Bill 7031 (2014) allows students to use earned industry certifications as substitutes for certain math and science units. All students still must earn course credit in Algebra I, geometry, and Biology I. The bill also removes the Algebra II course requirement for the standard diploma.

Diploma Designations for the Standard Diploma​

Standard Diploma

  • Complete curriculum with a 2.0 grade-point average.
  • Complete at least one course through online learning. Students who completed an online course in middle grades schools or through virtual dual enrollment are exempt. 

Scholar Diploma Designation

In addition to meeting the 24-credit standard high school diploma requirements and the state assessment requirements, a student must

  • Earn 1 credit in statistics or an equally rigorous mathematics course
  • Earn 1 credit in chemistry or physics
  • Earn 1 credit in a course equally rigorous to chemistry or physics
  • Earn 2 credits in the same world language
  • Earn at least 1 credit in AP, IB, AICE or a dual enrollment course.

A student is exempt from the Biology I or U.S. History assessment if the student is enrolled in an AP, IB or AICE Biology I or U.S. History course and the student:

  • Takes the respective AP, IB or AICE assessment
  • Earns the minimum score to earn college credit

Merit Diploma Designation

  • Meet the standard high school diploma requirements
  • Attains one or more industry certifications from the list established (per section 1003.492, Statutes [F.S.]).
Assessment Requirements

To graduate, high school seniors must pass the grade 10 English Language assessment or obtain a concordant score on the ACT/SAT as well as pass the Algebra I end-of-course (EOC) state-wide assessments. Both ninth and tenth graders must take Florida Standards (FSA) assessments in English Language Arts reading and writing. Students must also pass the Algebra II (if enrolled), Geometry, Biology I and U.S. History EOCs, which will count 30 percent toward the final course grades.

Georgia 

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete at least 23 units to complete the core curriculum. Students planning on attending college need to take two years of the same foreign language.

Assessment Requirements

Students must pass the Georgia High School Writing Test to earn a regular high school diploma. Schools administer end-of-course (EOC) exams in 8 courses across four subjects:

  • English/language arts: Grade 9 Literature and Composition, American Literature and Composition
  • Math: Coordinate Algebra, Analytic Geometry
  • Science: Biology, Physical Science
  • Social studies: U.S. History, Economics

Each exam counts for 20 percent of the final course grade. Middle grades students who take high school courses also sit for EOCs.

Kentucky

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete at least 22 units to earn a regular high school diploma.

Assessment Requirements

High school students take ACT Quality Core end-of-course tests in English II, Algebra II, Biology, and U.S. History. The Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-Prep) exams are given to tenth and eleventh graders. Eleventh graders also participate in the ACT. Twelfth grade student who do not meet ACT benchmarks must take the Kentucky Online Testing (KYOTE) in designated subjects. Students enrolled in CTE courses may take the Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment (KOSSA) after completing two credits as well as the ACT WorkKeys upon enrolling in a third CTE credit in an approved career pathway.

Louisiana

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering Grade 9 in the 2014-2015 School Year

Act 403 of the 2015 Louisiana Legislative Session takes effect with students entering 9th grade in 2014-2015 and beyond. Students may complete two types of high school diplomas: the Taylor Opportunity for Students (TOPS) University Diploma or the JumpStart TOPS Tech Career Diploma. The Jump Start program allows students to take career courses, certify skill mastery in specific career fields and prepares students for high-wage careers.

Each diploma requires 23 credits for completion. However, all Louisiana’s 9th and 10th grade students will take common foundational coursework, irrespective of the diploma pathway they ultimately receive. Each student will be required to complete 2 units of English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Health & PE in these grades.

Students may earn a Community Service Endorsement for completing a minimum of 80 hours of community service hours by graduation.

Assessment Requirements

Students take end-of-course (EOC) tests in six areas: English II, English III, Algebra I, Geometry, Biology, and U.S. History. To earn a high school diploma, students must score Fair or above on at least three EOC exams, including one in English, one in math, and one in Biology or U.S. History. Student scores on EOC tests count toward a student’s final course grade. Students in grade 11 must also take the ACT or ACT WorkKeys if on track for a Jump Start Diploma.

Maryland

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors 

To earn a regular high school diploma, students must complete at least 21 credit units as well as a hour service learning experience or a locally designed program in student service that has been approved by the state Superintendent. Students complete the same core curriculum requirements but have the choice to pursue an academic, advanced technology, or career-technology concentration through elective courses.

Students must complete a 75-hour service-learning requirement or complete a locally designed program in student service that has been approved by the state Superintendent.

Assessment Requirements

Maryland requires students to take end-of-course tests called the Maryland High School Assessments (HSAs) in four subjects: PARCC English II, PARCC Algebra I, HSA Biology, and HSA Government. There are a variety of regulations that address whether a student need only take, but not pass, a particular MHSA. The “take-only” requirements are currently instated to account for the years of transition from the Maryland State Curriculum to the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards. Students graduating in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years who were first-time English 10 and/or Algebra I test takers in those school years need only take, but not pass, the assessment. For Government HSA test-takers, the required passing score of 394 applies to first-time test takers in school years 2013-2014 and beyond. Currently, students are only required to take the Biology HSA assessment, although some passing scores vary depending on the year the tests were taken.

Students may also meet the assessment graduation requirement through a “combined score option.” Students unable to meet the graduation assessment requirements through either of the previous options may do so through the Bridge Plan for academic evaluation. For further information, please see the Maryland High School Graduation Requirement FAQs.

Mississippi

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Districts must require students to complete at least 21 units before issuing a high school diploma. Students may choose the traditional academic or career diploma paths. The latter requires students to complete four units in one of 16 career clusters. The Early Exit Exam Option is a diploma path available to students who demonstrate readiness for college and careers by completing an abbreviated curriculum and showing mastery on multiple assessments (the ACT, ACT QualityCore end-of-course exams, and Mississippi Institution of Higher Learning-approved tests).

Assessment Requirements

Mississippi administers the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) and Subject Area Testing Program, Second Edition (SATP2) to high school students. MAAP comprises Algebra I and English II exams while SATP2 comprises Biology I and U.S. History assessments. SATP2 scores will constitute 25 percent of a student’s final grade. A passing score in each of the four subject-area tests is required. Students may also use a combination score option to meet graduation requirements if they do not pass any one of the EOCs. All students complete the ACT in grade 11.

Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, Seniors who have failed an end-of-course SATP test may use the test score with their overall course grade to apply for graduation. Students will qualify for this option if their course grade and test score, when evaluated together, demonstrate adequate mastery of course content. State Board Policy 3804 allows students to satisfy assessment requirements through alternative means, such as qualifying ACT sub-scores, earned college credit, or an earned industry certification.

North Carolina

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete at least 22 units to earn a regular high school diploma, in addition to any local requirements. Students may choose to pursue a core or occupational preparatory diploma.

Future Ready Core

  • English: Students take English I, II, III and IV, or a designated combination of four courses.
  • Mathematics: Students take Math I, II, III. A fourth math course should align with the students’ postsecondary plans.
  • Science: Students take three courses: one each in physical, biological and environmental science.
  • Social studies: Students take Civics and Economics, American History I, American History II, and World History.
  • Electives: Students take two credits from career and technical education (CTE), arts education or world languages. Additionally, students may take a recommended sequential, four-unit concentration chosen from CTE, JROTC, arts education or any other academic subject area.
  • World Languages: The state does not require completion of foreign language courses to graduate, but the UNC system requires two units to meet minimum admission requirements.

Future Ready Occupational

  • English: Students take English I, II, III and IV.
  • Mathematics: Students take three courses: Math I; Financial Management; and, Alternate Math II or Personal Finance.
  • Science: Students take Biology I and Applied Science.
  • Social Studies: Students take American History I and American History II.
  • Electives: Students take a four-unit sequence in Occupational Preparation. The state requires students to complete IEP objectives and a career portfolio.
  • Career Technical Education: Four elective units
Assessment Requirements

North Carolina requires students enrolled in Math I, Biology and English II to take end-of-course (EOC) exams in these subject areas. Students who receive a proficient score on an EOC may use the score as at least 20 percent of their final course grades, but passing them is not a graduation requirement. If students do not receive a proficient EOC grade, they must take the NC READY EOC assessment at the completion of the course.

The ACT Plan is administered to 10th graders as a diagnostic assessment that predicts future performance. Students in grade 11 are required to take the ACT, and those concentrating in Career and Technical Education also take the ACT WorkKeys.

Oklahoma

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors 

Students must complete at least 23 units to earn a regular high school diploma. The College-Preparatory/Work-Ready curriculum is Oklahoma’s default diploma path. Parents or guardians may waive this curriculum if they wish, which places their student onto the Core diploma path. Regardless of the path chosen. All students much complete a personal financial literacy requirement as well as complete a CPR/AED requirement.

*Senate Bill 1422 (2014) allows certain future high school senior students to substitute AP computer science for any math requirement.

Assessment Requirements

The Oklahoma School Testing Program (OSTB) administers seven end-of-instruction (EOI) exams in English language arts, math, and science course subjects as well as U.S. History, in compliance with the ESSA that are aligned with the Oklahoma Academic Standards. Students in grade 11 will be given the Oklahoma College and Career Ready Assessment (CCRA) which is comprised of two parts. Part one is either the ACT or SAT, inclusive of the writing section, and part two is science content.  

South Carolina 

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete at least 24 units to earn a regular high school diploma.

Assessment Requirements

South Carolina administers End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP) assessments in four subjects: English I, Algebra I/Mathematics for the Technologies II, Biology I, and U.S. history and constitution. The end-of-course assessments count as 20 percent of the final course grades. Students must pass Biology I and U.S. history and constitution courses to graduate high school.  Students in grade 11 will take both the ACT and ACT WorkKeys.

Tennessee

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete at least 22 units to earn a regular high school diploma.

Graduation with State Distinction

Students graduate with “state distinction” when they attain a B or better grade point average and accomplish one of the following:

  • Earn a nationally recognized industry certification
  • Participate in at least one of the Governor’s Schools or ALL State musical organization
  • Be selected as a National Merit Finalist or Semifinalist
  • Score a 31 or higher on the ACT Composite Score
  • Earn a three or higher on two Advanced Placement (AP) exams
  • Successfully complete the International Baccalaureate Programme
  • Complete at least 12 semester hours of postsecondary credit
Assessment Requirements

Tennessee administers at least nine regular End of Course (EOC) exams as part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP): English I/II/III, Algebra I/II, Geometry, Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History & Geography. Exam results count for 25 percent a student’s final course grade. Passing the EOC exams is not required in order to graduate from high school. To obtain a degree, all students in grade 11 must take either the ACT or SAT. Beginning in 2017, all high school students will be given a U.S. Civics test. However, a passing grade is not required to receive a regular diploma.

Texas

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

House Bill 5 (2013) authorizes the Texas State Board of Education to adopt rules for the new Foundation High School Program. The Texas commissioner of education has developed a transition plan to replace the Recommended, Distinguished, and Minimum Diplomas with the Foundation Program. Students who enter ninth-grade in the 2014-2015 school year will be the first group required to graduate under the Foundation High School Program.

Under House Bill 5, students entering ninth-grade after fall 2014 are required to choose an endorsement and complete an additional four credits in one of five areas: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), business & industry, public services, arts & humanities, or multidisciplinary studies. Like current diploma options, students and families may opt out of additional requirements after completion of the sophomore year and after consultation with high school counselors. Students who complete the Foundation Program, with or without an endorsement, are eligible for general admission to a Texas public 4-year institution. However, students who graduate without completing an endorsement and specific coursework may not meet admissions requirements at certain state colleges and universities.

Distinguished Level of Achievement 

Graduates can earn the distinguished level of achievement designation by completing 26 credits including four credits in math (including credit in Algebra II), four credits in science, and completion of curriculum requirements for at least one endorsement. Receiving this designation gives students Top 10% automatic admissions eligibility and priority for the need-based TEXAS grant, if financially qualified. 

Performance Acknowledgments

House Bill 5 requires the development of performance acknowledgments — awards that students may earn by completing certain programs of study or for receiving credit toward future college and career opportunities. Specific acknowledgments include, but are not limited to:

Degrees and Certificates

  • An earned associate degree
  • Business and industry recognized certification or license

Accelerated Learning Options

  • Dual credit (12 hours of credit with a GPA of 3.0 or higher)
  • Passing score on at least one AP or IB exam
  • Bilingualism (minimum GPA of the equivalent of 80 on a scale of a 100 in English language arts and minimum proficiency on Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, AP, or IB exams)

Performance on Standardized Tests

  • SAT scores of at least 410 on the reading section and 520 on the math section
  • ACT composite score of 28 or higher

Recognition as a commended scholar or higher by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation

Assessment Requirements

In 2006, Texas became the first state to mandate the use of college and career readiness standards through the Texas Essential Knowledge and Standards (TEKS). The state measures TEKS proficiency through the STAAR EOC assessments. The Texas Education Agency is in the process of developing “measures of student progress,” which will provide an early warning indicator for standards not on track to meet the passing standard on the EOC assessments or who may be unready for postsecondary study.

House Bill 5 requires districts to partner with at least one postsecondary institution to develop and provide college preparatory courses designed for high school seniors whose performance on an EOC assessment, college admissions or placement exam, (e.g., ACT/SAT or Texas Success Initiative Assessment), or coursework does not meet college readiness standards. Students who successfully complete a college preparatory course are eligible to enroll directly, without remediation or further assessment, in college-level coursework in the associated content area at the partnering postsecondary institution.

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program requires passing scores on five end-of-course (EOC) exams to graduate: English I, English II, Algebra I, biology, and U.S. history. STAAR English III and Algebra II are now available for districts to administer as optional assessments. House Bill 3 requires scores on the EOCs to count as 15 percent of a student’s final course grade. A student who has failed the EOC assessment graduation requirements for no more than two courses may receive a Texas high school diploma if the student has qualified to graduate by means of an individual graduation committee (IGC) determination.

Virginia

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must earn at least 22 standard units to earn a Standard Diploma. To receive an Advanced Diploma, students must earn four additional standard units. All students must complete at least one virtual course, which may be non-credit-bearing as well as earn a career and technical education credential that has been approved by the Virginia Board of Education. Examples include, but are not limited to, the successful completion of an industry certification or the passing of a state licensure exam, national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia Workplace Readiness Skills test. Students entering ninth-grade in the 2016-2017 school year and beyond must also complete a requirement to be trained in Emergency First Aid, CPR and Use of an AED.

Assessment Requirements

The Virginia State Board of Education requires districts to administer end-of-course exams through the state’s Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment program. Students who pass corresponding SOL assessments receive “verified credit” for those courses. Virginia has developed a battery of 12 exams in 11 subject areas: Algebra I and II, biology, chemistry, earth science, English (reading and writing), geometry, World History I and II, world geography, and Virginia and U.S. history.

Students pursuing the Standard Diploma must earn at least six verified units of credit by passing corresponding SOL exams. Students pursuing the Advanced Diploma must earn at least nine verified units of credit by passing corresponding SOL exams. In addition to the verified credits for the four core subjects, students may also select an SOL assessment or alternate tests in computer science, career and technical education (CTE), or other areas approved by the state board of education.

The state department of education, in consultation with higher education faculty, has developed English and Math Capstone Courses, which have completed required courses, earned at least two “verified” credits, but are not fully college ready. The Virginia General Assembly funds academies for students at risk of not meeting college and career readiness benchmarks through a program called Project Graduation.

The department of education produces school and district report cards, which include the (1) number and percentage of students participating in Advanced Placement and dual credit programs; (2) SOL test results; and, (3) the number of students who receive a career and technical education credential.

West Virginia

Course and Diploma Requirements  for Current Seniors

Students must complete 24 credits to receive a High School Diploma. All students must in an experiential learning experience at some time in grades 9-12. It is recommended that all students complete an online learning experience and at least one course in technology applications. All senior students are required to enroll in a full day of high school and/or college credit bearing courses and are encouraged to complete a senior project.

Personalized Education Plan

Each student’s Personalized Education Plan (PEP) will include a four-credit concentration that, if completed, will lead to (1) placement in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses; (2) attainment of an industry-recognized certificate or license; or, (3) enrollment in a workforce training program.

Students may pursue an academic or career and technical education (CTE) concentration. For the academic concentration, the state encourages students to take at least one Advanced Placement (AP®) and/or Advanced Career (AC) course with corresponding examination, a fourth science credit, and two credits in one World Language.

The CTE concentration results in the acquisition of an industry-recognized, CTE credential. The four credits taken in a CTE concentration must be consistent with those identified for West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) approved CTE programs of study. Each career-technical concentration in a school shall provide students the opportunity to obtain an industry-recognized credential as part of the instructional program, when applicable. Schools offering a concentration outside of the state-approved CTE concentrations must have four related courses approved by their local boards of education.

Assessment Requirements

The West Virginia General Summative Assessment is a customized test used to measure students’ levels of achievement of the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives (CSOs) for West Virginia. Grades 3-11 are assessed in the areas of English Language Arts and mathematics in alignment with College to Career-Readiness Standards. Tenth graders also take an assessment in science.  

Accelerated Learning Options

Postsecondary Admissions (August, 2017)

Alabama

Four-Year Institutions

Common, statewide admissions requirements do not exist for four-year institutions. Institutional governing boards set admission requirements.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

For admission to associate degree programs, students must show that they have completed a high school diploma or an equivalent credential. Students applying to vocational programs must demonstrate an ability to benefit from instruction.

In May 2017, the Board of Trustees adopted the Chancellor’s recommendation to re-codify policies governing admissions and placement. The new policy series references admissions but repeals ACCS Policy 802.01, which addressed system-wide provisions for student assessment and placement.

Arkansas

Four-Year Institutions

Students must have a high school diploma or GED credential. For unconditional admission, students must complete the high school curriculum requirements with a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0. All students must meet the “Smart Core” requirements with college preparatory mathematics, social studies, and science requirements unless parent/guardian waives student’s participation, in which case the student will complete the “Core” requirements.

State law authorizes institutions to admit applicants on a conditional basis. These students receive full admission once they complete 12 hours of core academic courses with a cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or an equivalency credential. While community and technical colleges are open-access institutions, admission does not guarantee entry into specific academic programs. Applicants who score below 15 on the ACT Composite must take an assessment to demonstrate their ability-to-benefit from postsecondary instruction.

Delaware

Four-Year Institutions

Admission to Delaware’s two public universities is based on grades, class rank, test scores and recommendations from appropriate high school officials. Applicants to the University of Delaware and Delaware State University must complete a required high school curriculum. Delaware State University requires a GPA of 2.0 or better in core academic subjects. See Delaware’s state profile for required and recommended high school curricula specifications. 

Course Requirements

University of Delaware

  • Science: Applicants may substitute a fourth year of math or science for the fourth unit of social studies. For the required curriculum, at least two science units must include a lab component.
  • Social Studies: Applicants must complete two units in history. World history is required.
  • Foreign Language: Applicants must take the two required units in the same language.
  • Other: Applicants must take specific courses if they plan to enter a business or STEM major.

Delaware State University

  • English: Writing, Literature and Oral Communication
  • Math: Algebra I and II, Geometry or the equivalent
  • Social Studies: Applicants must complete two units in history. World history is required.
  • Science: Applicants must complete one or more of the following: biology, chemistry, physics.
  • Foreign Language: University recommends that applicants take units in same language.
  • Electives: Allowable units include core subjects, art, theatre, music, and/or computer science.

Delaware State University also requires a minimum SAT score of 800 or 17 ACT Composite score.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Delaware Technical Community College students must have a high school diploma or GED credential, or they must be 18 years old and pass institutional tests that demonstrate their ability to benefit from instruction.

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or an equivalency credential if they want to apply for financial aid and/or admission to selective programs of study. Students not seeking state and federal financial assistance can take the SAT or ACCUPLACER to demonstrate ability to benefit from postsecondary institution.

Florida

Four-Year Institutions

The Florida Board of Governors set minimum admission criteria. Individual institutions may choose to establish more stringent admission requirements within the parameters outlined in the board’s regulations. The minimum standards require that applicants graduate with the Standard Diploma. See Florida’s state profile for minimum admission crieteria for first-time, degree-seeking freshman.

Florida has three routes to university admission:

  • Standard admission – students having a high school GPA of 3.0, completion of the minimum admissions criteria, and presentation of official SAT and/or ACT scores.
  • Talented Twenty – students receive guaranteed admission to one of the 12 state universities if they are in the Top 20 percent of their graduating class while completing the 18 credits required for SUS admissions and submitting SAT or ACT scores. The Talented Twenty program does not guarantee admission to the first-choice institution.
  •  Alternative admission – A limited number of applicants who are not eligible for standard admission may be considered for alternative admission.  University admissions officers review a variety of factors, including but not limited to, potential for success, family education background, socioeconomic background, and graduation from a low-performing high school. The additional factors shall not include preferences in the admissions process based on race, national origin, or sex. 
Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Students who attend two-year institutions must have a standard high school diploma or its equivalency or must demonstrate potential for success in postsecondary course work.  

Georgia

Four-Year Institutions

The University System of Georgia (USG) contains community colleges and universities. High school diploma requirements are identical for all system institutions, but minimum admissions criteria vary by institution type. The system authorizes institutions to enroll a small number of students under the Limited Admissions category. See Georgia’s state profile for the high school admission requirements and minimum ACT/SAT scores.

The system sets minimum admission cut scores based on the Freshman Index (FI)—a composite score based on students’ SAT or ACT score and high school GPA.

  • SAT Formula: (500 x High School GPA in required courses) + SAT Critical Reading + SAT Math
  • ACT Formula: (500 x High School GPA in required courses) + (ACT Composite x 42) + 88
  • Freshman Index Thresholds: Research Universities (2500), Regional Universities (2040), State Universities (1940), State Colleges (1830)

Programs Leading to a Baccalaureate Degree

Other admission requirements for baccalaureate programs vary by institution type. Students seeking admission to system universities must have a minimum SAT critical reading score of 430 and a math score of 400 (after March 2016 an SAT reading score of 24 and math score of 22) or an ACT English score of 17 and ACT math score of 17. The system sets minimum admission cut scores based on the Freshman Index (FI)—a composite score based on students’ SAT or ACT score and high school GPA.

Programs Not Leading to a Baccalaureate Degree

Admissions requirements for career certificates and career degrees (Associate of Applied Science degrees and Associate of Science degrees in allied health areas) depend upon the extent to which the general education component is based on Core Curriculum courses. There are two sets of admissions requirements.

Programs with more than twelve (12) semester hours of Core curriculum

All applicants must have a high school diploma. At research, regional and state universities and some state colleges, applicants must achieve the institutional sector’s Freshman Index (FI) for Limited Admission and must have the sector’s minimum SAT scores. Applicants are not held to the required high school curriculum requirements, and they will not be counted among the students in the Limited Admission category.

Programs with twelve (12) or fewer semester hours of Core curriculum 

Applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Graduate from an accredited high school with a minimum GPA of 1.8
  • Meet the beginning freshman required high school curriculum criteria for the institutional sector
  • Earn a GED
Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Persons 16 years of age or older are eligible for admission to Georgia’s technical colleges. Applicants to technical colleges must submit proof of a high school diploma or its equivalent, unless otherwise specified by the program’s standards.

Kentucky

Four-Year Institutions

First-time freshmen must show that they have completed the Pre-College Curriculum and have taken the ACT assessment. Out-of-state students should complete a college-preparatory curriculum comparable to Kentucky’s Pre-College Curriculum.

In addition to the Kentucky minimum high school diploma requirements, the Pre-College Curriculum requires two consecutive years of a world language or demonstrated proficiency. State policy authorizes institutions to substitute the SAT for the ACT Assessment and to set additional admission criteria.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants must possess a standard high school diploma or GED credential, or be eligible to pursue a GED credential.

Louisiana

Four-Year Institutions

The Board of Regents groups public, four-year universities by institution type. Each grouping shares minimum standards for ACT scores and high school GPAs in the core curriculum. Universities may adopt additional, more specific or rigorous requirements.

All applicants must complete the Regents’ 4 Core curriculum, which is composed of 19 credits: four units each in English, math, science and social studies; two units of world language; and one unit of fine arts. The Board of Regents will use the TOPS University Diploma curriculum starting with the 2018 high school graduating class. Universities may make exceptions to the minimum admission standards for 4 to 8 percent of the freshman class, depending on the institution type. See Louisiana’s state profile for minimum performance requirements by institution type.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Community colleges are open-admission institutions. Applicants must complete an admissions application, provide proof of selective service registration, and produce immunization records. System policy states that specific educational programs may require additional admissions documentation.

Statewide Placement

Maryland

Four-Year Institutions

The Board of Regents sets minimum admissions requirements but authorizes the 12 system institutions to set more rigorous criteria. Institutions may make exceptions to the minimum requirements for up to 15 percent of their incoming classes. The state-wide minimum admissions requirements are as follows:

  • An earned high school diploma or equivalency credential
  • High school GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Completion of the Core Curriculum
  • Submission of national college exams such as SAT or ACT scores

See Maryland’s state profile for its required core high school curriculum.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Community college admissions requirements vary by institution.

Mississippi

Four-Year Institutions

The Board of Trustees for the Institutions of Higher Learning set the minimum admissions requirements for public universities. All applicants must complete the Required College-Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) to receive full admission. The Board also has created a more rigorous, recommended preparatory curriculum. Students may substitute Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses for specific subject-area requirements.

The Board authorizes institutions to admit students completing the CPC with a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and an ACT Composite of 18 or higher. Institutions may enroll students with ACT Composite scores as low as 16 if they have a higher GPA and/or class rank. 

Universities may admit students who do not meet full admissions requirements through enrollment in the Summer Development Program. Successful completion of the program entitles students to continue enrollment in the fall semester. Institutions also may enroll students in Yearlong Academic Support Programs. Some credit earned through the yearlong program does not count toward graduation.

See Mississippi’s state profile for IHL’s college-preparatory curriculum.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Academic and technical students must meet one of the following Mississippi Community College Board admissions criteria to enroll at an institution:

  • An earned high school diploma or approved equivalency certificate;
  • The completion of at least one unit less than the minimum acceptable high school units as prescribed by law, i.e. if the state requires 21 high school units to graduate, a student can be admitted into a community/junior college with 20 high school units;
  • Mississippi Occupational Diploma or state-approved Career Certificate; or
  • Official transcript from accredited postsecondary institution

Two-year institutions may enroll students in career programs based upon qualifying scores on a federal assessment that demonstrates their ability to benefit from postsecondary instruction.

North Carolina

Four-Year Institutions

The Board of Governors has established minimum course requirements that align with the North Carolina State Board of Education’s (NCSBE) college preparatory curriculum. First-time undergraduates must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.5 and produce minimum qualifying scores on the SAT (800 or higher, or the corresponding score on the redesigned SAT) or ACT Composite (17 or higher).

System institutions may set higher admission standards. Institutions may make exceptions to the minimum SAT/ACT score or GPA requirements for up to one percent of their incoming classes.

See North Carolina’s state profile for the University of North Carolina’s/State Board of Education’s college preparatory curriculum.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Community colleges have open-door admissions policies for applicants who are at least 18 years old and who possess a high school diploma or an equivalency credential.

Oklahoma

Four-Year Institutions

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education require applicants to complete a 15-unit pre-college curriculum. Institutions admit applicants through a combination of performance measures, including high school GPA, class rank, and ACT/SAT scores. Institutions may make exceptions to minimum standards for up to eight percent of first-time freshmen class or 50 students, whichever number is greater.

See Oklahoma’s state profile for required high school curriculum and minimum performance requirements for first-time students.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants must possess high school diplomas or GED credentials. Students who plan to enter a degree or certificate program must complete the 15-unit, pre-college curriculum requirements and present scores from ACT or a similar assessment.

South Carolina

Four-Year Institutions

The governing boards of four-year colleges and universities establish admissions standards. However, state law requires that the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education review minimum undergraduate admissions standards for in-state and out-of-state students. The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education has a policy for College Preparatory Courses. See South Carolina’s state profile for its minimum pre-college curriculum requirements.

Each institution can make exceptions in admitting students who do not meet these prerequisites, limited to individual cases in which failure to meet one or more prerequisites is due to circumstances beyond reasonable control of the student.

Beginning in the 2019-20 academic year, entering college freshmen will need to complete 20 units, including an additional elective. The Fall 2019 curriculum standards also require half units of economics and American government. The standards explicitly reference reading, communication and researching in the English coursework.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Students designated as baccalaureate-ready must meet the same admissions requirements set for students who apply to the system’s flagship. Regional campuses designate applicants who do not meet system standards as provisional admits. Provisional enrollees undergo placement testing in English and math to determine readiness for college-level courses. Failure to reach readiness benchmarks results in placement in enriched sections of entry-level courses.

While technically allowed by Commission rules, the University of South Carolina System’s Board of Trustees prohibit the delivery of standalone remediation at regional campuses.

Technical colleges operate as open admissions campuses. The State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education requires applicants to be 18 years old. Younger applicants must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent.

While board rules do not require adult applicants to hold a high school diploma, some institutions require them for enrollment in a degree or certificate program.

Tennessee

Statewide

There are two public postsecondary systems in the state – the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and the University of Tennessee (UT). The TBR system includes six universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 colleges of applied technology. The UT system includes three universities and a health sciences center.

The state implemented the Tennessee Diploma Project (TDP) in 2009 as part of an initiative to raise academic standards and better align high school curricula with postsecondary expectations. To receive a regular high school diploma, all students must complete a 22-credit curriculum and, beginning with the graduating class of 2017, complete the ACT or SAT in their junior year of high school.

Effective January 2014, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) agreed to grant freshmen admission to applicants who have completed the regular high school diploma curriculum. Freshmen applicants must provide a high school transcript showing graduation from high school and passing scores on the Proficiency Examination. They also must present Enhanced ACT, SAT scores. Universities are directed to use these scores in keeping with recommended best practices in admissions, advising and placement. Community Colleges have open enrollment policies, but may use ACT and SAT scores in the advising and placement process.

See Tennessee’s state profile for regular diploma curriculum.

Students who are admitted without the minimum high school unit requirements are required to remove deficiencies in a “timely manner.” Students must have high school diplomas or pass the GED test with scores that meet institutional requirements. Individual institutions determine admission criteria, including required GPAs and ACT or SAT scores.

The University of Tennessee admission requirements also incorporate the core high school graduation requirements into their curriculum requirement. Students must submit high school transcripts and either the ACT or SAT for consideration of admission to the University of Tennessee.

TBR policy directs universities to use test scores for advisement and as one metric in placement decisions. Community colleges have open-enrollment policies, but these institutions may use ACT/SAT scores for advisement and placement purposes.

Texas

Four-Year Institutions

Students who graduated high school in the last two years receive automatic admission to four-year institutions, except for the University of Texas at Austin, if they meet the following criteria:

  • Place in the Top 10% of their graduating class
  • Complete the Foundation Diploma requirements at the Distinguished Level
  • Meet the ACT Benchmarks (i.e., 18 English, 22 Reading, 22 Math, and 23 Science) or score 1500 (out of 2400) on SAT

Students who do not qualify for automatic admission may apply to four-year institutions if they earn the Foundation Diploma or meet the ACT Benchmarks. The University of Texas at Austin admits students through the Top 10% Plan up to 75 percent of enrollment capacity.

See Texas’ state profile for course requirements for the Foundational diploma.

To attain the Distinguished level, students must complete 26 units including:

  • four units each in English, math, science, and social studies;
  •  Algebra II;
  • four-unit endorsement in one of five areas: STEM, business and industry, public services, arts & humanities, or multi-disciplinary studies;
  • three levels of the same foreign language; and
  • one half unit in Speech
Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges 

Applicants are eligible to apply to two-year institutions if they are 17 years of age or older and possess a high school diploma or equivalency credential. Those without diplomas or the equivalent must demonstrate that they can benefit from instruction. Texas public community and technical colleges primarily serve their local taxing districts and service areas offering vocational, technical, and academic courses for certification or associate degrees. Continuing education, remedial and compensatory education consistent with open-admission policies, and programs of counseling and guidance are also provided. 

Virginia

Four-Year Institutions

Institutional governing boards set admissions requirements and minimum qualifying scores on college entrance exams. Colleges and universities consider high school curriculum, GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and class rank when making admissions decisions.

Through system-wide agreements, students who graduate from a transfer-oriented degree program at a Virginia Community College System institution with an associate’s degree are eligible for guaranteed admission to more than 30 public and private four-year institutions, provided they meet minimum GPA requirements.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants are eligible for admission if they possess a high school diploma or an equivalency credential, or if they are 18 years of age or older and demonstrate an ability to benefit from postsecondary instruction, as measured by the Virginia Placement Test (VPT). Students who do not achieve the scoring benchmarks will only be permitted to enroll in non-credit classes. See Virginia’s state profile for readiness assessment benchmarks. 

West Virginia

Four-Year Admissions

State policy sets minimum admissions criteria based on the institution’s Carnegie classification. Institutions may set more rigorous standards than the state minimum. Institutions may admit students who do not meet minimum requirements on a conditional basis, so long as the number of students in this classification does not exceed 10 percent of total freshmen enrollment.

Students may satisfy minimum state admissions requirements by submitting their high school GPA and/or ACT Composite scores.

In addition to GPA and ACT/SAT score requirements, students must successfully complete the following minimum core courses prior to enrollment.

See West Virginia’s state profile for minimum state requirements for four-year institutions and minimum high school curriculum requirements

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants are eligible for admission if they possess a high school diploma or an equivalency credential, or if they demonstrate an ability to benefit from postsecondary instruction through certain assessments. Institutions may establish more rigorous admissions standards for specific programs.

Postsecondary Placement (August, 2017)

Alabama

Four-Year Institutions

Common, statewide placement requirements do not exist for four-year institutions. Institutional governing boards set placement requirements.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

The system encourages institutions to use the ACCUPLACER to assess students for placement into college-level courses. Students can exempt placement with minimum scores on the ACT or SAT. Each institution sets their cut-off scores, but generally students are exempt with satisfactory SAT (Math – 480 or above, Verbal/Reading – 480 or above, and English/writing sections – 480 or above) or ACT (e.g., 18 or above in English/writing, and 20 or above on Reading or Math) scores.

In May 2017, the Board of Trustees adopted the Chancellor’s recommendation to re-codify policies governing admissions and placement. The new policy series references admissions but repeals ACCS Policy 802.01, which addressed system-wide provisions for student assessment and placement.

Arkansas

Statewide

In January 2016, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) Coordinating Board adopted a new Student Placement Policy requiring all IHEs to submit and have approved a student placement plan. IHEs are encouraged to use multiple weighted measures to determine placement in college-level courses if a student’s scores fall below the minimum ACT scores for the subject matter. These measures may include high school GPA, the number of years since a student took a specific course or was in school, other test scores (such as SAT or high school end-of-course exams), or other non-cognitive information such as motivation, time management skills or family support, writing samples and successful completion (A or B) of transitional courses in high school.

See Arkansas’ state profile for minimum ACT scores.

Whichever placement criteria the IHE chooses must predict a better than 75 percent likelihood of the student’s ability to earn a “C” or better in the course in which the student is placed. A student’s reading level should be strong enough for them to earn a “C” or better in courses that require substantial reading. At some institutions, STEM majors must meet higher standards for placement than non-STEM majors. IHEs are required to use data-driven practices, provide data to support their placement decisions and allow for follow-up evaluation of placement effectiveness.

Delaware

Four-Year Institutions

The SAT is administered to at no cost for all high school juniors. Students can take the ACT at their own expense. Students achieving the SAT cut score set by the individual IHEs are exempt from remedial or developmental courses. Students participating in the current transitional course pilot program and passing the course with a 77 or higher are exempt from remedial/developmental work.

Both universities require all first-time freshmen to take the ALEKS assessment to determine math course placement.

University of Delaware

Placement goals vary by college and intended major. Students cannot register for a specific math course unless they attain the appropriate placement threshold. Students can enroll in credit-bearing math courses if they reach 45 percent proficiency on the ALEKS assessment. In the fall 2017, University of Delaware is instituting a test-optional pilot program for Delaware residents applying for first-year admission.

Delaware State University

All formally admitted freshmen and transfer students must complete online ALEKS placement test for Mathematics two weeks prior to orientation. Students who score a 15 or lower on the ACT must take the Nelson Denny reading test. Students are placed in English composition courses based on their SAT/ACT scores: Under 400/15 or below ─ Writing Skills; 400-574/16-19 ─ Regular Composition; 575+/20+ ─ Honors Composition.

Delaware State offers two Summer Bridge programs – Jumpstart and Project Success – for first-time freshman who could benefit from academic enrichment. Students may be provisionally admitted if they do not meet regular admission requirements, contingent upon successful completion of the Project Success Program. 

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Delaware Technical Community College students who meet minimum admission test scores requirements (SAT Math of 500 or above, SAT Verbal of 475 or above), have competed credit-bearing courses in English, reading and math, or who have a bachelor’s degree when they are admitted, may be exempted from taking standardized placement tests in reading, writing and math. All other students are required to take the ACCUPLACER to determine the level of instruction at which they begin college course work.

Florida

Statewide

A student who demonstrates college readiness by achieving or exceeding the minimum standard test scores and enrolls in a Florida College System institution within two (2) years cannot be required to retest or complete developmental education at a Florida College System institution. Further, a student who entered 9th grade in a Florida public school in the 2003-2004 school year or after and earned a Florida standard high school diploma, or a student who is serving as an active duty member of any branch of the United States Armed Services, is exempt from placement testing and cannot be required to enroll in developmental education instruction in a Florida College System institution. A student who is exempt may opt to be assessed and to enroll in developmental education, and the college shall provide such assessment and courses upon the student’s request.

Non-exempt students who have not earned credit for college level coursework for reading, writing, and mathematics shall be tested for proficiency prior to the completion of initial registration. A student admitted to a Florida College System institution whose score on a common placement test indicates a need for developmental education must be advised of all the developmental education options offered at the institution and, after advisement, shall be allowed to enroll in the developmental education option of his or her choice.

See Florida’s state profile for minimum placement assessment scores.

Georgia

Four-Year Institutions

For placement purposes, students admitted to career degree or certificate programs must be evaluated for Learning Support placement. Students who meet the institution’s regular admission standards for programs leading to baccalaureate degrees are exempted from taking the CPE or COMPASS.

A Mathematics Placement Index (MPI) and an English Placement Index (EPI) will be calculated based on High School Grade Point Average (HSGPA), SAT or ACT and, when indicated, the COMPASS placement test or other approved placement test.

Indices are calculated using formulas for the following combinations of variables:

  • HSGPA and SAT/ACT – when both are available
  • HSGPA and COMPASS – when SAT/ACT are not available
  • SAT/ACT and COMPASS – when HSGPA is not available
  • COMPASS – when neither HSGPA nor SAT/ACT is available

For some students who score below the cutoff EPI or MPI, COMPASS test scores provide additional information over that contained in HSGPA and SAT/ACT; those students will be required to take the appropriate COMPASS tests. The COMPASS score will be combined with the HSGPA and SAT/ACT and the resultant EPI or MPI will be compared to the System level cut scores to determine students’ Learning Support Placement.

See Georgia’s state profile for the Collegiate Placement Index. Students with placement indices less than the minimum collegiate placement index for that subject will be placed into co-requisite or Foundations-level Learning Support.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Effective November 1, 2016, a technical college must utilize ACCUPLACER or COMPANION, the TCSG-approved assessment instruments when evaluating students’ readiness for diploma, degree and certificate programs. However, in the place of ACCUPLACER or COMPANION, or General Education Development (GED®) scores of 165+ on English or Math, technical colleges may accept a student’s official entrance score on a validated assessment instrument (such as SAT or ACT) if the scores meet the college program’s required minimums. If a student’s SAT or ACT scores do not meet the college’s program minimums for regular admission, a student must be assessed using one of the TCSG-approved instruments.

Students who do not meet all requirements for regular admission into a selected program are granted provisional admission status. Provisionally admitted students may take learning support classes, and certain specified occupational courses until class pre- and co-requisites are satisfied.

Kentucky

Statewide

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education adopted College Readiness Indicators after the passage of Senate Bill 1 (2009). The Council revised the readiness benchmarks for the 2017-18 academic year. Beginning fall 2016, students who have been admitted to a public postsecondary institution and meet or exceed one of these benchmarks are automatically eligible to begin college-level work. 

See Kentucky’s state profile for minimum qualifying scores for eligibility to enroll in credit-bearing college courses.

Louisiana

Statewide

Students at all institutions must earn at least 18 on the English and 19 on the math sections of the ACT (or the equivalent on SAT, ASSET or Compass) for placement in entry-level courses. Universities may admit students who are within 2 points of minimum college-level placement in Mathematics Summer Provisional Admission. To be fully admitted, these students must enroll in prescribed mathematics course(s) during the summer prior to admission with appropriate support and complete the degree-credit mathematics course with a grade of “C” or better and a term GPA of at least 2.5.

Students within 1 ACT point of the benchmark in Mathematics (or within 2 ACT points in English) may be admitted if enrolled in an English/math course with supplemental/co-requisite delivery of developmental support. As of June 2015, regional institutions can admit students needing one developmental course, but only 2-year institutions and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are authorized to teach the developmental courses.

Maryland

Statewide

Requirements vary by institution and institution type. In 2015 USM was awarded a four-year grant from the USDOE Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education to develop new mathematics pathways aligned with student’s major programs of study. Five USM institutions and seven community colleges are participating in the pilot.

Mississippi

Four-Year Institutions

Students who do not meet the requirements for unconditional admission may be admitted but must participate in an on-campus placement process at the institution. Students who score below 16 on the ACT English, Reading, or Math subtests must take intermediate courses. However, institutions must exempt students who completed SREB Math Ready and/or Literacy Ready courses with a grade of “80” or higher from taking intermediate courses. Students who are admitted without sufficient skills in English, reading or math are required to enroll in the Summer Development Program. Successful completion of the summer semester program entitles the student to continue enrollment at the university.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Institutions set their own placement thresholds for entry into college-level English and math courses. However, the Mississippi Community College Board convenes the Chief Academic Officers in an affinity group. Through this group, 14 of 15 institutions have agreed to use a minimum ACT English sub-score of 17 for placement into English Composition I (ENG 1113) and a minimum math sub-score of 19 for College Algebra (MAT 1313).

Entering freshmen enrolled at a public postsecondary institution who have an ACT Mathematics, Reading or English subtest score of 16 or less are required to take Intermediate Algebra or English during their first semester of college. Institutions can require students who score 17, 18 or 19 to take the intermediate course(s). However, students who complete the SREB Math, English and/or Literacy Ready course with a grade of 80 or better are not required to take the Intermediate level course before entering college-level course work. Students taking two or more intermediate courses must enroll in the year-long Academic Support Program or equivalent courses.

North Carolina

Four-Year Institutions

While the system has set a common definition for “remedial instruction” through its annual Remedial Activities Report, institutions choose how to deliver remedial and developmental education at their campuses. Since 1992, the system board has authorized institutions to contract with community colleges to offer remedial instruction.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

The State Board of Community Colleges adopted a multiple-measures placement policy in March 2014 with a system-wide implementation occurring by fall 2016. There are no exemptions. To be eligible for Multiple Measures Placement, a high school student must complete four math courses including Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra II (or the Common Core equivalents) and one additional math course.

See North Carolia’s state profile for the community college system’s placement procedures.

North Carolina community colleges have recently modularized their developmental math, English and reading courses. The future goal is a modular approach. However, the paths vary by college.

Oklahoma

Statewide

The Board of Regents provides for students who achieve a score of 19 or higher on each ACT subtest will usually be placed directly in college-level courses. If students score below 19 on a subject test their past academic record will be reviewed or they may be asked to complete additional testing before being placed. Students who score below the scoring threshold must take developmental courses for those subject areas. Students placed in developmental education must start in their first semester and complete these courses within the first year or before completing 24 credit hours. The State Board of Regents are collaborating with Complete College America and providing support to state public institutions to implement co-requisite English and math remediation in the 2017-2018 academic year.

South Carolina

Four-Year Institutions

Individual institutions establish minimum ACT/SAT scores and class rank requirements. Developmental courses can only be offered by two-year institutions, but university students may still complete placement testing by subject through various instruments.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

University of South Carolina Two-Year Regional Campus provisional students undergo placement testing in English and math to determine readiness for college-level courses.  Failure to reach readiness benchmarks results in placement in “enriched” sections of entry-level courses.

Technical colleges may offer developmental education, but the system board has not enacted policies that govern placement into college-level or developmental education courses. 

Tennessee

Statewide

Board of Regents

System policy has approved placement cut scores for ACT and SAT subtests. Students scoring at or above the cut score are exempt from Learning Support (i.e., developmental education).

See Tennessee’s state profile for ACT/SAT placement cut scores. 

Institutions require students who score below the cutoff in writing, reading, and/or math to enroll in co-requisite learning support courses. Also, institutions must address in their Learning Support Framework how to support students who score 12 or below on any ACT subtest. The system advises institutions to partner with local school districts to deliver learning support to at-risk students identified through placement assessments administered prior to senior year.

All TRB institutions are directed to form partnerships with their local high school district to develop early intervention systems and provide learning support to at-risk students identified through assessments prior to their senior year in high school.

Stand-alone learning support may be provided only to support non-degree seeking students whose program does not require college-level math, English or reading. An institution must have strategies to address learning support for students with ACT subject scores (or equivalent scores on other assessments such as the SAT, PSAT, etc.) of 12 or below.

University of Tennessee System

The system’s three undergraduate institutions set minimum ACT and SAT cut scores for entrance into specific English and math courses. If a student’s scores are high enough, they have completed an appropriate course with a C or better, made a passing score on an AP or CLEP exam, or pass the approved online math placement exam with an 80% or higher, they qualify for the first math course required for their major. If not, they are directed to take a pre-requisite course. All three institutions require students with low ACT English or SAT Critical Reading sub-scores to take an additional course or participate in a supplemental writing lab.

UT-Martin requires students who score below 21 on the ACT English and/or ACT Math subtests to enroll in the lowest applicable college-level courses.

Texas

Statewide

Students who present minimum qualifying scores on one of six college-readiness assessments may enroll in any entry-level college courses without placement testing. Veterans and active-duty military, transfer students who have satisfied readiness requirements at other institutions, and students enrolled in a short-term certificate program at a public two-year campus also are exempt from placement testing.

See Texas’ state profile for college readiness benchmarks.

TAAS is the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills. TAKS is the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. STAAR is the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.

Institutions administer the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) for students who do not meet the exemption criteria. Students participate in a Pre-Assessment Activity, which includes test preparation and academic counseling. Students who do not meet or exceed TSIA cut scores (Math, 350; Reading, 351; Writing, 350/5 363/4) must work with a counselor to develop an academic success plan for exiting developmental education status. Institutions may offer one or more of the following:

  • Standalone, developmental education
  • Co-requisite/mainstreaming models
  • Non-course competency-based options
  • Modular/technology-based options

Virginia

Four-Year Institutions

Institutional governing boards also set assessment and placement policies. Most institutions set placement scoring thresholds through these policies.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

The Virginia Placement Test for Math (VPT‐Math), identifies the specific skills modules a student needs to complete to be eligible for a specific college‐level math course. The Virginia Placement Test for English (VPT‐English) includes an essay component designed to assess incoming students’ English preparedness and place them into the appropriate English course. Students who are considered nearly college ready may enroll directly into College Composition I (ENG 111) while co‐enrolling in a two‐credit‐hour developmental English course.

West Virginia

Statewide

Degree-seeking students at all public postsecondary institutions must demonstrate minimum proficiency in mathematics, writing, and reading. State policy authorizes institutions to offer three types of support for students who do not meet minimum standards: stand-alone developmental education courses, co-requisite courses, and supplementary academic support programs.

State policy provides minimum placement cut scores. Institutions may set higher cut scores for placement decisions. However, high school juniors who score a Level 3 or higher on the English Language Arts and math summative assessments are exempt from placement testing.

See West Virginia’s state profile for minimum placement exam cut scores.

Students not meeting one of these standards must successfully complete required remediation. Institutions must develop strategies that allow students to progress through college-level, credit-bearing courses in the first year of enrollment. Institutions may require students who do not meet the standards to complete such courses at another institution. Such courses could include a stretch course, a co-requisite course, an ALP class or other embedded course delivery.

State Financial Aid

Alabama

The Alabama Student Grant Program provides up to $1,200 annually for students attending nonpublic institutions. The Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP) provides need-based grants to students. Annual awards range from $300 to $5,000. To receive initial and renewal ASAP grants, students submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. Students with qualifying Expected Family Contributions (EFCs) may use the reward at nearly 80 postsecondary institutions in Alabama.

Arkansas

The state lottery funds the merit-based Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Program. Freshman students receive $2,000. Students receive one thousand more dollars for every 30 credit hours completed. Students may receive up to $5,000 if they have senior standing. Students receive financial aid only if they maintain a 2.5 GPA and earn 30 credit hours per year. Students qualify for aid in two ways: (1) high school grades and assessment scores or (2) college freshman GPA.

Recent high school graduates must complete the Smart Core curriculum and achieve one of the following: GPA of at least 2.5 or an ACT composite score of at least 19 (or SAT equivalent). Full-time college students can earn the merit scholarship if they receive a first-semester GPA of at least 2.5 or produce an ACT composite score of at least 19. Academic Challenge Scholarship recipients must maintain a 2.5 GPA to continue receiving aid.

Two other merit scholarships exist on a more-limited basis. The Arkansas Governor’s Scholars program rewards up to $4,000 a year to the most highly qualified student in each county. Selection is based on a weighted formula that includes ACT/SAT score, high school GPA, class rank, and leadership skills. Renewal of the Governor’s Scholarship is contingent on maintaining a 3.0 GPA. Depending on available funding, Arkansas also gives up to $10,000 to 300 Governor’s Distinguished Scholars. Governor’s Distinguished Scholars must have a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher and score at least 32 on the ACT (i.e., an equivalent of SAT score of 1410). To retain the reward, students must maintain a 3.25 GPA in college. Recipients of both awards may renew the scholarship for up to three additional years based on GPA and hours earned.

In addition to the Academic Challenge and Governor’s Scholars programs, Arkansas provides a number of other merit- and need-based scholarships to students based on family attributes or specific programs of study.

Delaware

Delaware’s awards the majority of financial aid through the Scholarship Incentive Program. The scholarship provides need-based aid up to $700 annually for students with a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher. Students receive up to $1,500 in merit-based supplements based on GPA. The grant awards are not renewable, meaning that students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on an annual basis.

The Delaware Higher Education Office administers six professional incentive programs for students who pledge to enter teaching, nursing, optometry, speech pathology, or librarianship. In addition, there are several merit based scholarships administered through the Higher Education Office. Delaware is a participant in the Academic Common Market and pays for a limited number of students to enroll in veterinary programs through a partnership with SREB.

Students attending Delaware Technical Community College or enrolled in the Associate in Arts program through University of Delaware are eligible for the SEED scholarship, which covers tuition for up to two years. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA and complete their FAFSA. Delaware State University students are eligible for the INSPIRE scholarship if they maintain a 2.75 GPA and complete a FAFSA. This provides for up to three years of tuition. Both scholarships are funded through the state.

Florida

The majority of state financial aid is allocated based on academic merit.

Academic and Medallion Scholar applicants may apply up to two additional optional units drawn from the core academic areas, and/or Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Advanced International Certificate of Education fine arts units in order to raise their GPAs to the qualifying level.

House Bill 5101 (2014) created the National Merit Scholarship Incentive Program, which provide last-dollar aid to National Merit Finalist and Semifinalists. The scholarship provides aid equal to the highest cost of attendance at a Florida public university minus the sum of the student’s Bright Futures and National Achievement Scholarships. Aid is renewable as long as students maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Georgia

All lottery-funded scholarships reward financial aid based on academic merit.

Georgia residents graduating with regular diplomas may receive state lottery-funded HOPE Scholarships by earning a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 in core subjects (e.g., math, English, science, social studies and foreign language). College students may earn a HOPE scholarship if they have a qualifying GPA of 3.0 at the 30, 60, or 90 semester hour milestones.

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in college to keep the HOPE Scholarship. Institutions monitor continuing eligibility as students pass the 30, 60, or 90 semester hour thresholds. College students may regain HOPE eligibility if their GPAs exceed 3.0 at the next 30 semester hour milestone. Students can regain HOPE only once.

HOPE Scholarship recipients at Georgia public colleges receive a set tuition award amount based on the institution they are attending and the number of credit-hours for which they are enrolled. Full-time HOPE Scholarship recipients attending Georgia private colleges receive $1,910 per semester.

Students may be eligible for HOPE grants for certificate and diploma programs at public institutions by earning a minimum high school GPA of 2.0. HOPE Grant recipients at Georgia public colleges receive a set tuition award amount based on the number of credit-hours for which they are enrolled.

The Zell Miller Scholarship awards grants to students who (1) graduate from HOPE-qualifying high schools as class valedictorian or salutatorian or (2) possess a minimum 3.7 GPA with 1200 SAT (26 ACT). The Zell Miller Scholarship varies based on institution and whether the student attends college part time or full time. Students retain the scholarship as long as they maintain a GPA of 3.3. If a student’s GPA drops below 3.3, the student may be eligible for a regular HOPE scholarship, as long as the GPA stays above 3.0. Zell Miller recipients enrolled full time at private colleges receive $2,110 per semester.

Starting fall 2014, students may earn the Zell Miller Grant to pursue certificate or diploma programs at eligible public postsecondary institutions. To retain the grant, students must maintain a 3.5 GPA at the end of each term. HOPE and Zell Miller grant recipients may also be eligible for a Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant. All three grants are funded through state lottery revenues.

Current seniors who apply for the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships must complete two full credits from any of four academic rigor course categories:

  • Advanced math (e.g., Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry, Math III, or an equivalent course
  • Advanced science (e.g., chemistry, physics, biology II, or an equivalent course
  • Advanced foreign language courses
  • Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Dual Credit Enrollment courses in core subjects (i.e., English, math, science, and social studies). 
Current juniors must complete three full credits and current sophomores four full credits. 
Students who qualify for both scholarships may receive either a HOPE or a Zell Miller Scholarship, but not both. Students who become academically ineligible for either scholarship have only a single chance to regain it. Neither scholarship covers textbooks or institutional fees. The state caps HOPE scholarship aid at 127 credit hours.

Kentucky

The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority administers the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), which provides financial support for state residents based on their academic performance throughout high school. The value of the award increases for each year of high school in which a student maintains a 2.5 or higher GPA in the Pre-College Curriculum. Students may earn additional increases based on their ACT or SAT composite scores. Students who were eligible for free or reduced-priced meals at any time during high school may earn additional supplements based on their performance on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams.  Students receive a scholarship equivalent to the total accumulated amount each year that they are enrolled in Kentucky postsecondary institutions, as long as they meet GPA requirements. To maintain the scholarship unconditionally, a student must earn a 3.0 GPA for each year in college. Students can receive half of the award amount if they fall below the 3.0 GPA threshold but maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. Students may regain the scholarship if they meet renewal criteria by the end of the spring semester.

Louisiana

The majority of state financial aid is allocated based on academic merit. Louisiana’s Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarship has four award categories.

Maryland

Nearly all state financial aid dollars for first-time, full-time freshmen are allocated based on demonstrated financial need.

Students may not hold the Guaranteed Access and Educational Assistance Grants simultaneously. Any combination of multiple state awards may not exceed $19,000 per year.

Maryland will implement during the 2015-2016 academic year, a 2+2 Transfer Scholarship (SB1215, 2014), which will provide scholarships of $1,000, or $2,000 for STEM Majors, for students who earn an associate’s degree before transferring to a four-year institution.

Mississippi

The majority of state financial aid dollars for first-time, full-time freshmen are allocated based on academic merit.

North Carolina

The majority of financial aid dollars in North Carolina are allocated based on financial need. 
North Carolina sponsors four need-based grant programs that vary based on which type of college that students attend and the level of financial need.

All North Carolina need-based grants require students to submit the federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid which generates the students’ Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Oklahoma

The majority of the state’s financial aid is provided through non-grant based aid such as loans, work-study and tuition waivers.

South Carolina

South Carolina awards all financial aid based on academic merit. Students may accept only one of the following awards, even if they meet eligibility requirements for more than one.

Palmetto Fellows Scholarships provide a maximum of $6,700 to first-year students and $7,500 per year to second- through fourth-year students at an eligible South Carolina four-year institution. Students must satisfy assessment and GPA requirements. Students can satisfy eligibility requirements if they:

  • Score at least 1200 on the SAT (27 on ACT) by the June test administration of their year of graduation, earn a 3.50 GPA on the SC Uniform Grading Policy at the end of their junior year, and rank in the top six percent of their high school class in either their sophomore, junior, or senior year; or
  • Score at least 1400 on the SAT (32 on the ACT) by the June test administration of their year of graduation and earn a minimum 4.0 GPA on the SC Uniform Grading Policy. 

LIFE Scholarships are available for students at each public and independent institution in South Carolina. The scholarships provide a maximum of $5,000, including a $300 book allowance. Students must meet two of the following requirements:

  • Score 1100 on the SAT or (24 ACT)
  • Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA based on the SC Uniform Grading Policy upon high school graduation; or
  • Rank in the top 30 percent of their graduating class.

LIFE Scholars must maintain a 3.0 cumulative LIFE GPA and earn an average of 30 credit hours toward graduation each academic year in order to retain their scholarships. Palmetto Fellows Scholars must maintain a 3.0 cumulative institutional GPA and earn at least 30 credit hours each academic year (not to include any AP, IB, dual enrollment, CLEP, or exempted credit hours).

Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholars may receive an additional $2,500 enhancement in their second, third, or fourth year if they enter certain majors, including math, computer science, engineering, nursing, pharmacy, and middle grades education. Eligibility for the enhancement must be earned in the first academic year only and students must be enrolled in an eligible major at their home institution. Students also must meet all continuing eligibility requirements for the Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholarships.

South Carolina HOPE scholarships provide a one-time maximum award of $2,800, including a $300 book allowance, to entering freshmen who had high school GPAs of at least a cumulative 3.0 GPA based on the SC Uniform Grading Policy upon high school graduation but who are not eligible for Palmetto Fellows or LIFE Scholarships. The state’s HOPE scholars who maintain a 3.0 LIFE GPA and earn an average of 30 credit hours toward graduation during their first academic year may qualify to receive the LIFE Scholarship for subsequent years.

Tennessee

Tennessee awards financial aid based on academic merit and financial need. Beginning with the class of 2015, Tennessee high school graduates will have the opportunity to enroll in two years of tuition-free education as part of a new scholarship called the Tennessee Promise. The Tennessee Promise is a last- dollar scholarship, meaning it will cover the remaining portion of tuition and fees after all other aid is applied (excluding loans and work-study). The scholarship funds can be applied toward tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges of applied technology, as well as two- or four-year institutions that offer an associate’s degree.

The Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) program awards HOPE scholarships to recent high school graduates who attend approved Tennessee public or independent institutions. Students must have a score of 21 on the ACT (or 980 SAT) or a 3.0 weighted high school GPA. Students must maintain a 2.75 college GPA to renew the HOPE scholarship for the first 48 credit-hours and a 3.0 GPA to renew after 72 credit-hours. HOPE scholars also may qualify for supplemental awards, including the General Assembly Merit Scholarship and the need-based ASPIRE Award.

The HOPE Access Grant is awarded to students who earn a 2.75 weighted high school GPA, score an 18 on the ACT (or 860 on the SAT) and have an annual household income of $36,000 or less. While the HOPE Access Grant expires after one academic year, students can receive the HOPE scholarship if they maintain a 2.75 GPA for their first two semesters of college. The state also provides several other grant opportunities for specific student subgroups through the TELS Program.

Tennessee graduates who qualify for the Federal Pell Grant and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) under $2,100 can receive additional aid through the Tennessee Student Assistance Award. Funding is limited and awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant, also part of TELS Program, is available to Tennessee residents who attend one the state’s 27 colleges of applied technology.

Texas

Texas does not sponsor a statewide, merit-based scholarship program.

The Towards Excellence, Access and Success (TEXAS) Grant provides up to $8,000 annually to eligible students who enroll at Texas public universities within sixteen months of high school graduation, whose expected family contribution is less than $4,800, and who successfully complete the Foundation, Recommended, or Distinguished Achievement high school diploma. Students who have earned an associate degree, transfer to a four-year institution with at least 24 credit hours and a GPA of 2.5 or higher may also be eligible. Effective fall 2014, community and technical college students are no longer eligible to award initial year TEXAS Grants. Community and technical college students may continue to receive renewal awards if eligible.

Students receive priority consideration for TEXAS Grant awards if they satisfy requirements in at least two of the following four areas : (1) advanced academic programs ; (2) Texas Success Initiative (TSI) college readiness ; (3) class standing ; or, (4) advanced math.

To receive a TEXAS Renewal Grant, eligible students must maintain an overall grade-point average (GPA) of 2.5 and complete at least 24 credit hours per year. Students may renew TEXAS Grants for up to five years.

Students with demonstrated financial need who rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class, complete the Recommended or Distinguished Achievement program , and enroll full time in Texas public colleges or universities may be eligible to participate in the Top 10% Scholarship Program. This program awards eligible students up to $2,000 per year. While the Top 10% Program has a Workforce Bonus Award, the Legislature has not provided sufficient funding for this supplement for the fall 2013 and 2014 semesters.

In order to renew the Top 10% Award, eligible students must complete at least 75 percent of credit-hours attempted, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25, and complete at least 30 credit hours per year.

The Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG) was created in 2001 (Texas Education Code Section 56.402) to provide grant aid for tuition and required fees to financially needy students who enroll in Texas public two-year colleges. Public two-year colleges have experienced a substantial growth in enrollment over the last two years, accounting for an estimated 56 percent of public higher education enrollment in fall 2011. To be eligible for a TEOG, a student must be enrolled at a public community college, technical college, or state college, have an Estimated Family Contribution of no more than $2,000, and enroll in at least six semester credit hours per term.

Students who continue in college and who meet continuing eligibility requirements may receive awards for up to 75 semester credit hours, for four years, or until they receive an associate’s degree, whichever comes first. The continuing eligibility requirements are: (1) Meet the school’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements at the end of first year; and End of second year – Must complete at least 75 percent of the hours attempted in the prior academic year and have an overall college GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale

The award amount is equal to the statewide average of a student’s tuition and required fees. The financial aid office at the college the student is attending will notify the student if he/she is eligible for a TEOG.

Virginia

The majority of the state’s financial aid is provided through non-grant based aid such as loans, work-study and tuition waivers.

The Virginia Commonwealth Award is a need-based, institutional grant funded through state dollars. Colleges and universities choose how to award aid. The law, however, requires that institutions award aid in such a way that the students with the greatest need receive the largest awards.

The Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program is a mixed aid (i.e., merit and need) program that provides state grants to eligible, full-time students enrolled in a Virginia public two- or four-year colleges or universities who have demonstrated financial need and who graduate from high school with GPAs of at least 2.5. In order to renew aid, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and demonstrate continued financial need.

The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program provides financial aid for students attending in- state, nonpublic institutions. The maximum 2014-2015 award is $3,100.

The Two-Year College Transfer Grant provides $1,000 per year to students who have earned associate degrees at a Virginia two-year college with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, enroll full-time at an in-state, four-year institution, and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $12,000 or less. Students who enter baccalaureate programs in science, teaching, engineering, math, or nursing fields are eligible to reach an additional $1,000 per year.
Smaller merit scholarship and loan programs provide aid to aspiring teachers, nurses, shipyard workers, and aerospace and civil engineers.

West Virginia

West Virginia awards financial aid based on academic merit, financial need, and intended career.

The primary financial aid program is the merit-based Providing Real Opportunities for Maximizing In-State Student Excellence (PROMISE) Scholarship. The program offers awards for tuition and fees of up to $4,750 toward attending an in-state public or private college.

To be eligible, West Virginia high school graduates must meet two requirements: (1) a 3.0 GPA in PROMISE core and overall high school course work; and (2) an ACT composite score of at least 22, with minimum scores of 20 in each subject (or equivalent SAT scores). The PROMISE core is aligned with university admission requirements.

To renew the award, full-time enrollees must earn a 2.75 GPA in the first year and a cumulative 3.0 GPA thereafter. Further, students must earn a minimum of 30 credit-hours per year.

The West Virginia Higher Education Grant (HEGP) is a need-based financial aid program. Awards vary based on the extent of financial need. Maximum annual awards are $2,600. This grant can be used in conjunction, or “stacked,” with the PROMISE Scholarship.

The West Virginia Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student (HEAPS) Grant program is a need-based financial aid program for students enrolled part-time or enrolled in a short-term workforce training program. Award amounts vary.

The West Virginia Engineering, Science, and Technology Scholarship provides a maximum annual award of $3,000 for students admitted to eligible programs. Graduates must repay the scholarship with interest if they do not meet the work requirement (i.e., one year of in-state work for each year the scholarship was received).

Other scholarship and loan programs increase affordability for students entering early childhood, teaching, and health science fields.

Postsecondary to High School Feedback Reports

Alabama

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education provides feedback reports on the postsecondary enrollment and success of recent high school graduates. The Commission tracks the feeder high schools for each public two-and four-year college. Each high school also receives a report that includes the number of students taking remedial courses.

Arkansas

Annual feedback reports provide information on Arkansas high school graduates enrolled in college, subdivided by district, school, and institution. The reports include data on (1) high school and first- semester college GPAs; (2) scores on college entrance and placement tests; (3) the percentage of students who completed the Smart Core; and (4) the number of students enrolled in remedial courses.

Delaware

Delaware Department of Education released in September 2014 the first annual feedback reports that includes data on student enrollment and remediation rates in Delaware public and private colleges. In addition, the state level report includes data on average first-year credit accumulation and GPA.

Florida

The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation provides high schools with information about the number and percentage of their graduates who have gone to college, their scores on placement tests, and the number enrolled in remedial courses. For past years, the Performance on the Common Placement Tests report has provided assessment results for the subtests of the SAT, ACT and the Common Placement Test (CPT) across the state’s postsecondary institutions.

Georgia

The University System of Georgia releases annual reports on SAT/ACT scores, high school GPA, and College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) completion rates for enrolled students. These reports do not disaggregate data by district or school.

Kentucky

The Kentucky High School Feedback Report provides high schools with the following information:

  • Postsecondary enrollment rates
  • Developmental education rates
  • Number of freshman year courses attempted and earned
  • Comparison of high school and college GPAs

  • Freshman retention rates

Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Education publishes data on the number and percentage of graduates who are attending college and the number who return after the first academic year. The department also publishes ACT scores by school and district.

Maryland

The Maryland Higher Education Commission produces a biennial high school feedback report. The Student Outcome and Achievement Report (SOAR) informs school districts on the college enrollment and first-year success of their graduates. The report compares the performance of students who did and did not complete a college-preparatory curriculum and identifies factors that predict how freshmen will perform. A Commission-led workgroup revised the SOAR Report in 2014 to include new and revised data elements with the improved report scheduled for publication in 2015.

Mississippi

Mississippi does not provide feedback reports from colleges to high schools on student admission, placement and performance.

North Carolina

The University of North Carolina System provides schools with three feedback reports: Freshman Application Report; Freshman Performance Report; and Retention, Graduation and Persistence Report. These reports include information about enrollment rates, student performance, and graduation rates.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Regents provides feedback to districts on the college-going rates and first-year success of recent high school graduates. Indicators include enrollment rates, first-year GPA and credits earned, mean ACT scores by high school, and the number and percentage of students taking developmental or remedial courses by subject.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Education compiles a report on the numbers and percentages of South Carolina high school graduates who attend college. The report indicates the numbers of college courses that students passed or failed by subject area. The summary also includes a percentage breakdown of the postsecondary activities of high school graduates, including college enrollment, gainful employment, and military enlistment.

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education compiles an annual report on the admission standards for first-time entering freshmen. The report includes data on applications, acceptances, and enrollment and specifies the minimum SAT score required of most applicants for admission.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), in collaboration with ACT Inc., publishes annual feedback reports. The reports provide information on recent high school graduates enrolled in college, subdivided by district, school, college, and postsecondary system. These reports, which are limited to outcomes from Tennessee’s ACT-tested public and private high school graduates, track college enrollment, first-year college GPA, average ACT courses, and median course loads.

THEC publishes an annual higher education fact book, which provides detailed information about higher education enrollment and persistence in the state.

Texas

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board provides high schools with a number of feedback reports. The report High School Graduates Enrolled in Higher Education the Following Fall by High School County, School District, High School provides high schools with information on the numbers of their graduates who enrolled in college the following fall and which institutions they attended. Other reports provide high schools with information on graduates’ college readiness, freshman-year performance (i.e., college GPA), and degree completion rates.

Virginia

The Virginia Department of Education publishes annual postsecondary enrollment reports by school and district. The data tables break down enrollment by institutional sector and demographic subgroup.
House Bill 886 (2014) requires the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to share remedial enrollment, credit accumulation, and degree and certificate completion, and graduates’ employment rates with districts. The bill requires districts to share these data with students and families on an annual basis. School divisions can do so by linking to the SCHEV Research website. The law further requires that all public and private institutions receiving any general fund support (including the Tuition Assistance Grant) provide the same information to students and prospective students. All required institutions link to the SCHEV Research website, usually to their specific institutional profile. The HB886 Compliance Report demonstrates institutional compliance.

West Virginia

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Council of Community and Technical Colleges produce an annual report on college-going rates of recent high school graduates, by county and school. These reports do not contain data on the placement status and college success of high school graduates; however, the state’s High School Readiness Report discusses college developmental education, placement, GPA, and retention.

SREB State Highlights

Since SREB first catalogued various policies in SREB states related to high school completion and postsecondary admission, the region has seen many changes on most of the policies. States have developed and reformed their assessment and accountability systems and made strides aligning high school graduation requirements with college admission requirements. Many have much more to offer in college and career planning now than they did a dozen years ago. Highlights of recent changes include the following examples, all of which can be traced in the last several editions of HSCC.

  • Most SREB states offer students multiple diploma paths to high school graduation—some up to four paths—each state with varying course requirements. While each state has a standard diploma path, other state diploma paths offer students the option of a college or career technical focus or even graduate in three years, instead of the traditional four years. In the states with single diploma tracks, students are provided with concentration or endorsement options that allow to them to choose required or elective courses within a college or career technical focus.
  • Depending on the state, students must complete from 21 to 24 units to earn a standard high school diploma. All but one state require that all students complete four English courses.
  • The majority of SREB states require four math courses to earn a standard high school diploma.
  • Math course requirements vary by state. However, every state requires students to complete an Algebra I course and a geometry course or a course equivalent.
  • All but one state require that students take three science courses to earn a standard diploma, but not every state requires that at least one of the required science courses be lab-based.
  • Most SREB states use end-of-course tests to measure student academic progress across a variety of courses and subjects. Each of these states requires that these exams count as some percentage of the final grade for the course.
  • Eight states link eligibility for graduation to passing certain courses and exams. Maryland, for example, requires students to take end-of-course tests in four subjects. Students must earn passing scores on each test or earn a passing combined score on the four tests to graduate.
  • Every state now incorporates college and career measures into its state’s accountability system. State measures include, for example, the use of assessment results in various subjects, participation in accelerated learning opportunities and industry certification.
  • By 2014, eight SREB states required that all high school juniors take the ACT as part of the state’s accountability program. These states use ACT’s College Ready Benchmarks as their proxy measure for college and career readiness until they adopt state assessments with college- and career-readiness measures to use within the next several years.
  • While every state requires middle school and high school students to participate in academic and career planning activities, not every state designates specific activities or timelines.
  • Every SREB state offers accelerated learning opportunities that allow high school students to earn college or career technical credits through a variety of programs such as dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, Early College and competency-based credit.
  • All SREB states have developed postsecondary to high school feedback reports, through which the state notifies districts and schools about their graduates’ postsecondary enrollment performance.
  • While some SREB states have linked high school graduation requirements to college admission requirements, other states allow institutions to set admission requirements independently.
  • Six SREB states require that 11th grade assessments be used for postsecondary placement. Five of these states exempt students who pass the assessments from postsecondary institutional placement testing.
  • The majority of state financial aid in the SREB region is provided to students based on merit. But, all 16 SREB states have need-based scholarship programs to increase educational access for students from low- and middle-income families.
  • Nine SREB states use state lottery funding to support merit-based aid programs.
  • Almost all of SREB states have established minimum high school grade point averages between 2.5 and 3.0 that students must meet to be eligible for state need- and merit-based financial aid.
  • Thirteen SREB states require that students receiving state financial aid maintain a minimum grade point average to continue receiving aid.
  • In addition to minimum grade point average requirements that may apply, seven SREB states also tie continuing eligibility for state financial aid to specific credit hour requirements, either by semester or year.
  • Six SREB states require students to complete a specific number of credits hours per semester or year.
  • One SREB state stipulates that students must complete 75 percent of credits attempted to retain their financial aid.
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West Virginia – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

The West Virginia College and Career Readiness Standards define the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to be successful in postsecondary education and/or training leading to employment. All students currently take the West Virginia General Summative Assessment (WVGSA) in 11th grade to determine college readiness. Students who score a 3 or 4 on the WVGSA are exempt from having to take non-credit-bearing, remedial courses.

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Virginia – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

The Virginia College and Career Readiness Initiative is designed to ensure that college and career-ready standards are taught in all Virginia high schools. In Virginia, to graduate with a Standard Diploma a student must earn at least 22 credits and earn at least six verified credits by passing end-of-course Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Beginning with students entering 9th grade in 2013-2014, a student must also earn a career and technical education credential and successfully complete one virtual course (credit or non-credit).

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Texas – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

The Texas College and Career Readiness Standards define what students should know and accomplish in order to succeed in entry-level college courses or skilled workforce opportunities. Students entering 9th grade in 2014-2015 or later have the option of graduating under the 22 credit Foundation High School Program with at least one 4-credit endorsement. The Foundation High School program with endorsement is the default graduation requirement.

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Tennessee – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

Tennessee’s college- and career- readiness standards define the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in postsecondary study or careers. The state implemented the Tennessee Diploma Project (TDP) in 2009 as part of an initiative to raise academic standards and better align high school curricula with postsecondary expectations. To receive a regular high school diploma, all students must complete a 22-credit curriculum and, beginning with the graduating class of 2018, complete the ACT or SAT in their junior year of high school.

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South Carolina – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

The South Carolina Department of Education adopted college- and career- readiness standards effective for the 2015-2016 school year. South Carolina requires that all 11th grade students take ACT WorkKeys.

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Oklahoma – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

The goal of the Oklahoma Academic Standards is to prepare all students to be college and career ready upon graduation from high school. Beginning in 2017, school districts can choose whether to have their high school juniors take the ACT or the SAT free of charge. In 2017-2018, all juniors will be required to take one of these college- and career- readiness exams. If a student meets the ACT cut score (or a cut score on another valid measure), they may be placed in a college-level courses without additional placement testing.

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North Carolina – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

North Carolina’s Standard Course of Study strives to prepare all students to become career and college ready. All public and charter school students enrolled in grade 11 for the first time are required to take the ACT. In 2013-14, A college- and career- readiness indicator was added to the Academic Achievement Descriptors for the End-of-Grade (EPG) and End-of-Course (EOC) assessments.

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Mississippi – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

In 2016, The Mississippi State Board of Education adopted revised Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts. The legislature requires all 11th graders take the ACT. The state pays for one administration. Students who choose to retake the ACT do so at their own expense. Transitional courses (SREB Math and Literacy Readiness) are offered to seniors who have an ACT sub-score between 15-18, but are not required.

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Maryland – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

The Maryland State Board of Education has adopted the Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards. To earn a diploma, all high school students must complete a minimum of 21 credits including English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, receive a passing grade in Biology and U.S. Government and, depending on the course, pass the Maryland High School Assessment and/or the PARCC. A student who does not meet benchmarks is required to complete an individualized Bridge Plan project.

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Louisiana – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

Louisiana has adopted the Louisiana Student Standards designed to prepare students for college and a career. The state requires all public high schools to administer the ACT or ACT Work Keys to all 11th graders. The state pays for one administration; students who choose to re-take the ACT do so at their own expense. End-of-course examinations in Algebra 1, Geometry, English II, English III, Biology and U.S. History are also required. Transitional, readiness or bridge courses are available but not required.

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Kentucky – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

In response to legislation passed in 2009, the Kentucky Department of Education created a plan for college/career readiness including more rigorous standards and assessment benchmarks. The Kentucky Performance Rating for Education Progress (K-PREP) assesses students from elementary to high school.

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Georgia – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

Georgia has established a College and Career Ready Performance Index to communicate expectations to all Georgia public school students. Georgia Milestones end-of-course assessments determine high school student progress and readiness for college and career. High school students take end-of-course measures (EOC) for each of ten courses associated with the EOC measures. Starting in 2016-17, juniors not meeting readiness standards in math will be able to take a senior year transition math course. The course will be available, but is not required.

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Florida – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

The Florida Department of Education has established college and career ready competencies in Writing, Reading and Mathematics. Florida has a statewide college-readiness assessment instrument ─ the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT). Beginning in 2016, local school districts have the option of administering it to their students, usually in the junior year.

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Delaware – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

Delaware adopted the Common Core State Standards to promote the skills and concepts required for college and career readiness. Beginning in 2016, a high school student must complete a 24-credit curriculum including 4 units each of English and math to graduate.

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Arkansas – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness

Arkansas’s Academic Standards define the knowledge and skills Arkansas’ students should have in order to be ready for college and careers. Arkansas requires that student’s must be assessed for college and career readiness before graduating from high school. If they do meet established benchmarks for college and career readiness at least one of the approved assessments (ACT, PLAN, PSAT, Compass, ASSET or PARCC) the school must provide a transitional course designed to help them reach college and career readiness.

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Alabama – High School to College & Careers

College and Career Readiness 

Alabama adopted the Alabama College- & Career-Ready Standards (CCCRS) in 2010. Beginning with the class that entered the 9th grade in 2013-2014, all students are required to complete the 24-credit required curriculum to earn an Alabama High School Diploma. Beginning in 2014, the ACT is administered to all 11th graders, and the ACT WorkKeys to all seniors beginning in the spring of 2015.