Law expands pathways to earning high school equivalency diploma
Unemployment hits those without high school diplomas especially hard.
Of the nearly 146,000 working-age Iowans without diplomas, a full 10.7 percent are unemployed. That’s compared to only 3.8 percent of those who hold at least a high school diploma.
Going back to earn a diploma can represent an obstacle. There’s only one path to earning an equivalency diploma - the HiSET exam - which doesn’t always recognize and support different learning styles, financial circumstances, life goals, and postsecondary and workforce aspirations.
That’s about to change. With the signing of a bill into law today, there eventually will be expanded ways in which Iowans can earn a high school equivalency diploma (HSED).
House File 473 aims to increase the number of Iowans obtaining high school equivalency diplomas by providing flexibility in how competency is demonstrated.
The bill modifies Iowa Code chapter 259A, permitting additional options for students to demonstrate competency that would then lead to the issuance of HSEDs by the Iowa Department of Education.
The different pathways to graduate have yet to be decided. The Department will be convening a statewide taskforce to review possible pathways and define specific options for earning high school equivalency diplomas.
The bill aims to help more Iowans earn their high school equivalency diplomas, increasing their earning potential, expanding employment opportunities, and preparing them for additional training or postsecondary education required for many of the state’s high-growth jobs.