Early Graduation

Published: 8/17/2016 10:18 AM


KDE and KHEAA work jointly to identify and verify Early Graduation students. Schools may receive emails and requests for information about Early Graduation directly from KHEAA.


Danny Prather is KHEAA’s Early Graduation Scholarship Program Coordinator.  You may contact Danny with questions at danprather@kheaa.com or (502) 696-7399. Please comply with any request for data or information, whether it is from KDE or KHEAA, in a timely manner.

Please note that students entering Early Graduation are not required to complete the graduation criteria PRIOR to entry. Students enter the pathway and accomplish the four EOC’s and the ACT - WHILE IN the program. 

What is Early Graduation?

The Early Graduation regulation is a result of Senate Bill 61 (2013) and is a companion to Senate Bill 97 (2013). To summarize the regulation, beginning in 2014-2015, Early Graduation will be possible for students who intend to progress through high school on an accelerated timeline and graduate college ready in three years or less of high school or age 18.


Early Graduation is a deliberate pathway for students that wish to move on when ready, receive a diploma from the district and be eligible for acceptance into Kentucky public universities and non-profit independent colleges and universities. The regulation provides a financial scholarship, known as the Early Graduation Certificate, to support this action.​

For guidance and information please see the links in the blue box to the right.

​Now approaching its second year of full implementation, the first cohort of Early Graduates, roughly 100 students, have received the “Early Graduation Scholarship” and are finishing their first year of college as many of their peers are just finishing high school.

The second cohort will graduate from high school in three years or less and like the first cohort, will begin their college careers a year early.

Who are these students and where are they attending college? The answer varies as students from all but 80 of Kentucky’s 173 districts have entered the Early Graduation pathway. The exciting news is that these motivated and diverse set of students went on to attend over 27 different colleges and universities in the state. Represented were large state university systems and smaller private schools as well as thirteen different regional community colleges.

The student success survey, begun in the second year of implementation, is meant to gather data about the characteristics of and reasons why students felt Early Graduation was a good fit for them.

Here is how 245 students who applied for Early Graduation rated themselves on a “Grit” survey. 

Early Graduation: 2016-2017
Changes and Important Notices

  • All early graduates must be flagged by October 1st of the academic year in which they wish to graduate, there are no exceptions to this deadline which is mandated by legislation.
  • All early graduation students must pass ACT CPE benchmarksOther "readiness exams" will not be accepted.
  • Not for every student- In the first year 345 students who entered Early Graduation – almost 26% or 90 students withdrew from the accelerated program because they failed to meet the performance criteria on the End of Course exams or ACT. 
  • All incoming Early Graduates will need to take the online "student success survey"- This survey will be used to further refine and collaborate with schools and districts about supporting this legislation through trainings and/or communication.  The survey link is found on the Revised Intent Form.
  • The Intent form is no longer to be added to the ILP; copies of intent forms should be kept in the student cumulative folder and signed copies given to the student for their records.
  • Students and their parents should obtain college pre-admission requirements before meeting with counselors at the high school- Schools and districts are encouraged to meet with every potential student after the student their parents meet with a college admissions counselor who will outline the pre-admissions requirements.
  • ​​​District decisions such as class rankings, commencement speakers, picture placement in the yearbook and privileges such as senior parking are decisions to be made when students apply for Early Graduation by school and district personnel and then communicated to EG students and parents.  The regulation outlines the criteria for and method of establishing Early Graduation in school, but does not establish parameters around other such decisions.

Early Graduation Resources

The chart below, which outlines the three different ways Kentucky students can graduate, was created to help clarify the distinctions between the three options. It is for use by schools, districts, parents and counselors to see, in a clear format, the differences in time, credit hours or outcomes.

Guidance Document 

Kelly Clark
Office of Teaching and Learning
Division of Program Standards
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
(502) 564-2106
Fax (502) 564-9848