Early Graduation

Early Graduation

Published: 5/7/2018 11:21 AM

The Early Graduation regulation, 704 KAR 3:305, is a result of Senate Bill 61 (2013) and is a companion to Senate Bill 97 (2013). Beginning in 2014-15, 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.

Early Graduation Requirements 

Early Graduation is a deliberate pathway for students in grades 9-11 who 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 pathway provides a financial scholarship, known as the Early Graduation Certificate, to support this action. Students participating in the pathway must meet the requirements set forth by 704 KAR 3:305 including those listed below.

  • Students must notify the school principal within the first 30 days of the school year in which they intend to graduate.
  • Students must enter the Early Graduation pathway prior to October 1 of the year in which they intend to graduate early.
  • Students must graduate in three years or less. Students exceeding three years do not qualify for the incentives identified with Early Graduation.
  • Students must take and achieve ACT benchmarks as designated by the Council for Postsecondary Education (CPE).
  • Students must take and score proficient on all required End-of-Course Assessments (EOCs). To meet this requirement, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) will provide EOCs for those students participating in the Early Graduation pathway during the 2017-18 school year.

2017-18 EOC Guidance for the Early Graduation Certificate

As 704 KAR 3:305 requires a student to score proficient on all required EOCs in order to attain an Early Graduation Certificate, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) will provide EOCs for those students participating in the Early Graduation pathway during the 2017-2018 school year.

Additional information regarding the ordering, shipping and scoring of these assessments will be released soon.

Important Notes
  • All early graduates must be flagged by October 1 of the academic year in which the student declares the intent to graduate early. There are no exceptions to this deadline which is mandated by legislation.

  • All early graduation students must pass ACT CPE benchmarks. Other "readiness exams" will not be accepted.

  • 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.

  • Students and their families 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 and their family 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 students and parents. The regulation outlines the criteria for and method of establishing Early Graduation in schools, but does not establish parameters around other such decisions.

  • KDE and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (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 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 EOCs and ACT benchmarks while they are in the program.​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Robin McCoy
Office of Teaching and Learning
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-9850
Fax (502) 564-6470
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