Colleges That Don’t Require a High School Diploma or GED

Colleges That Don’t Require a High School Diploma or GED

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There are students who want to go to college but do not have a high school diploma or GED. They may feel like their options are limited. However, there may be unique and innovative options available to them. There are many community colleges that accept students without a high school diploma or GED. There also some universities that accept these students. This is the information that you need to know about colleges that don’t require high school diploma or GED. Additionally, you may also be interested in trade schools that don’t require a high school diploma or GED.  

Can You Go to College Online Without a GED or High School Diploma? 

The average college or university requires students to have a high school diploma or GED. However, there may be alternative options available. Students without a GED or high school diploma may be able to enroll in online classes. They also may be able to enroll at traditional colleges. Some community colleges and online schools have options for students without a GED or high school diploma. Students who want to attend college but do not have a GED or high school diploma should evaluate the options available to them.

If I Don’t Have a GED or High School Diploma, What Are College Admission Requirements? 

The admission requirements will vary based on the school. These may include: 

  • Meeting a minimum age requirement. Students typically have to be at least 18 years old. Some may be able to enroll at 16 years old if they also work toward earning their GED.
  • Ability to enroll in remedial courses. These classes help students catch up on missed information. 
  • Providing proof of academic accomplishments. Students may submit reading lists or alternative education program results. 
  • Submitting a personal statement. This essay allows students to provide more information about their background and experience. 
  • Submitting standardized test scores. Adult students without a GED or high school diploma can take the SAT or ACT tests. 

What Are My Options If I Don’t Have a GED or High School Diploma?

There may be options for you if you do not have a GED or high school diploma. These may be some of the most common options:

  • Applying as a non-traditional student. This option may be available at colleges that accept students without a GED or high school diploma. A non-traditional student is considered any adult who has not been enrolled in high school for more than 6 years. If you apply as a non-traditional student, you may have to submit other materials. This may include recommendation letters, test scores and a personal statement.
  • Enroll in a community college. Some community colleges across the country accept students without a high school diploma or GED. After completing courses at community college, you may be able to transfer. You could use your academic records to transfer to a four-year college or university. You also may be able to complete your degree program at the community college. Many community colleges offer online classes.
  • Enroll as a lifelong student. A lifelong student is defined as a person who takes an individual class during a semester. You could complete coursework that is relevant to your career goals. This might help you build skills, and help you gain knowledge.
  • Consider finishing high school while taking college classes online. There are some colleges that allow students to earn their diploma while beginning their college career. It is important to verify that this option is available. If you are interested, you should check with the college you are considering. 

Am I Eligible for Financial Aid If I Don’t Have a GED or High School Diploma?

Many federal student loans are only available to students with a high school diploma or GED. However, the Ability to Benefit program was changed in 2015. Now, some students without a GED or high school diploma may be able to receive financial aid. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.

The eligibility requirements typically include: 

  • Being enrolled in a program that receives Title IV funding. These are typically career pathways programs.
  • Passing the Ability to Benefit exam.  
  • Completing six credits that could be applied toward a degree program. 

Students without a diploma or GED may also have additional options for financial aid. If you do not have a GED or high school diploma, you may want to reach out to local non-profit organizations and private companies. Some of them may offer scholarships to qualifying applicants.

What is Ability to Benefit?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Ability to Benefit is an educational law. This law was amended in 2015. Now, it allows for qualifying students without a high school diploma or GED to be eligible for Title IV funding. The law was amended in order to help more students enroll in college. The hope is that students without a diploma or GED will feel that college is within their reach. Those who amended the law believe that it will help thousands of students nationwide.

Colleges That Don’t Require a GED or High School Diploma

There are colleges and universities across the country that do not require a GED or high school diploma. Here are a list of some colleges that do not require a GED or high school diploma:  

1University of California
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The University of California is a four-year university that may accept students without a high school diploma or GED. This school has several campuses in the state. Students without a GED or high school diploma must pass the California High School Proficiency Examination. In addition, students must meet all other admission requirements.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $35,000

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
55% Get, Avg. Amt. $18,000

Grad Rate

97%

2 Southern Technical College
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Southern Technical College offers a career pathways program. This school is located in Florida. Students without a high school diploma or GED may be eligible for it. Students must pass the Ability to Benefit exam, enroll in a GED preparation course and enroll in career training classes.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $18,000

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
85% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,500

Grad Rate

61%

3 Columbia-Green Community College
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Columbia-Greene Community College is based out of Hudson, New York. It may accept students without a high school diploma or GED. There are several admission requirements. Students must be at least 17 years old. They also must take a placement exam. They may have to work with a counselor to learn more about additional requirements.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad $5,300

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
70% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,700

Grad Rate

35%

1

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Take advantage of some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, while earning a degree from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • No application fee for April & June terms.
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2

Purdue Global University

  • Competency-based ExcelTrack™ Programs may allow you to earn your degree faster and for less money
  • Experience world-class education online with more than 175 programs at associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.
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4 Community College of Baltimore County
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The Community College of Baltimore County may accept students without a high school diploma or GED. It is located in Baltimore, Maryland. Students must pass an entrance exam or commit to completing their GED while enrolled.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $7,300

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
65% Get, Avg. Amt. $3,600

Grad Rate

11%

5 St. Charles Community College
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St. Charles Community College is a school in Missouri that may accept students without a high school diploma or GED. Students could be admitted if they are eligible for Ability to Benefit. They have to complete an application. They also have to take an academic skills assessment.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $4,100

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
75% Get, Avg. Amt. $3,700

Grad Rate

22%

6 University of Hawaii Community Colleges
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The University of Hawaii Community Colleges does not require students to have a high school diploma or GED. Students who wish to enroll have to be at least 18 years old.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $3,200

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
57% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,200

Grad Rate

16%

7 Wayne County Community College District
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Wayne County Community College is a community college located in Detroit, Michigan. This community college has an adult education program. Students who do not have a high school diploma or GED are eligible to apply. Students must be at least 18 years old to qualify for the program.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $3,200

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
81% Get, Avg. Amt. $3,700

Grad Rate

11%

8 Union County College
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Union County College is a community college based out of Cranford, New Jersey. This community college may accept students who do not have a high school diploma or GED. However, students who pass an Ability to Benefit test may not be eligible for financial aid at this school. Students without a GED or high school diploma must be 18 years old to enroll in classes at this community college.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $5,200

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
64% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,400

Grad Rate

30%

9 Central Community College
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Central Community College is a Nebraska community college that may accept students who do not have a high school diploma or GED. Students who do not have a diploma or GED are eligible to apply as long as they are 18 years old. Students who are 16 years old may apply and work toward their GED at the same time. However, students without a diploma or GED may not be eligible for financial aid.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $3,100

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
71% Get, Avg. Amt. $3,100

Grad Rate

41%

10 Lawson State Community College 
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Lawson State Community College is located in Alabama. This community college allow students without a high school diploma or GED to apply. Students without a high school diploma or GED must take the Ability to Benefit assessment. Once the student passes the assessment, they work with a school counselor to continue the application process.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $4,800

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
96% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,700

Grad Rate

17%

11 Community College of Denver
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Community of College of Denver may accept students without a high school diploma or GED. This community college is located in Denver, Colorado. Students without a high school diploma or GED could apply if they qualify for Ability to Benefit. Students who pass the assessment also may be eligible for financial aid.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $4,800

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
71% Get, Avg. Amt. $6,200

Grad Rate

13%

12 Westchester Community College
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Westchester Community College is an extension of the State University of New York. This community college is located in Valhalla, New York. Students who do not have a high school diploma or GED may apply to this school. The admission requirements include passing the Ability to Benefit assessment.

Tuition & Fees

Undergrad: $5,000

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
65% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,100

Grad Rate

18%

These are just a few of the colleges that don’t require high school diploma or GED. There may be other community colleges and universities across the country that accept these students. Students without a high school diploma or GED do have options available to them. If you do not have a high school diploma or GED, you could begin exploring your options. You may be eligible for Ability to Benefit. You also may meet other admission requirements. There is a chance that you could attend a college program. You could pursue your career of choice. 

The next step that you should take is to find the perfect community college or university for you. You may have the choice of traditional school or online programming. You should consider your current lifestyle and responsibilities. An online program may be the most flexible option. However, the traditional classroom experience may be available to you. There are colleges that don’t require high school diploma or GED. Take the next step toward getting an education. This could be the perfect step toward pursuing your career. To learn more about these colleges and universities, contact us today.

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Take advantage of some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, while earning a degree from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access.
  • Offering over 200 online degree

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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