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To ensure successful completion of the course of study, students must meet course requirements and complete all enrollment procedures before being admitted to class.

All adult students who enter James Rumsey Technical Institute must be assessed. With the exception of the truck driving program*, adult students must hold a high school diploma, HISET, TASC™, or GED® prior to admission into an occupational training program. Those who are required but do not possess a high school diploma, HISET, TASC™, or GED® are referred to Adult Basic Education and must earn a West Virginia High School Equivalency Diploma before enrolling.

A student must be qualified to study at the postsecondary level. A student qualifies if he/she:

  • has a high school diploma (can be from a foreign school if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma);
  • has the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma, such as a GED, HiSET, TASC™ certificate or other state-sanctioned test or diploma-equivalency certificate; or
  • has completed homeschooling at the secondary level as defined by state law.

Before final admittance, the student must meet with the instructor for an informal, introductory interview.

***Ability to Benefit/Admitting Students by Exception does not apply to any programs that receive Federal funding.***

***Students entering the truck driving program, which does not require a high school diploma or its equivalency, are not eligible and do not receive Title IV funding.***

 Ability-to-Benefit (Admitting Students by Exception)

Public Law 112-74 amended HEA section 484(d) to eliminate Federal student aid eligibility for students without a “certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate.” The law makes an exception for students who have completed a secondary school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or private school under State law.

Therefore, students who do not have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent (e.g., GED), or do not meet the home school requirements, and who first enroll in a program of study on or after July 1, 2012, will not be eligible to receive Title IV student aid. Students will qualify for Title IV student aid under one of the ability-to-benefit (ATB) alternatives if the student was enrolled in a Title IV eligible program prior to July 1, 2012. Those alternatives include the student passing an independently administered, approved ATB test or successfully completing at least six credit hours or 225 clock hours of postsecondary education.

 ***Students entering the truck driving program, which does not require a high school diploma or its equivalency, are not eligible and do not receive Title IV funding.***

Information for school-determined requirements can be found on the Federal Student Aid website. A direct link for the qualifications is shown below:

https://ifap.ed.gov/fsahandbook/attachments/1819FSAHbkVol1Ch1.pdf , pages 8 – 20, which states:

Academic qualifications

HEA Sec. 484(d)

34 CFR 668.32(e)

COD Technical Reference

Graduate or professional student definition

34 CFR 668.2(b)

For Title IV student eligibility purposes, a graduate or professional student is defined as a student who is enrolled in a program or course above the baccalaureate level or in a professional program and has completed the equivalent of 3 academic years of full-time study, either prior to entering the program or as part of the program itself. Also, a student who is receiving Title IV aid as an undergraduate student can’t be considered a graduate/professional student for that same period of enrollment.

ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS

To receive FSA funds, a student must be qualified to study at the postsecondary level. A student qualifies if she:

has a high school diploma (this can be from a foreign school if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma);

has the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma, such as a general educational development (GED) certificate or other state-sanctioned test or diploma-equivalency certificate;

has completed homeschooling at the secondary level as defined by state law;

has completed secondary school education in a homeschool set­ting which qualifies for an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements under state law, if state law does not require a home­schooled student to receive a credential for their education; or

has completed one of the ability-to-benefit (ATB) alternatives and is either currently enrolled in an eligible career pathway program or first enrolled in an eligible postsecondary program prior to July 1, 2012.

A student may self-certify on the FAFSA that he has received a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate or that he has com­pleted secondary school through homeschooling as defined by state law. If a student indicates that he has a diploma or high school equivalency certificate, your school isn’t required to ask for a copy (except as noted below), but if your school requires a diploma for admission, then you must rely on that copy of the diploma or high school equivalency certificate and not on the stu­dent’s certification alone.

Glossary-Acronyms CFR DCL Awards submitted to the COD system for all students require a Student Eligibility Code (previously Ability to Benefit Code) to report how the stu­dent (including graduate and professional students) is qualified to study at the postsecondary level (e.g. by obtaining a high school diploma or its rec­ognized equivalent). For more detail on submitting the appropriate Student Eligibility Code, see the COD Technical Reference on IFAP.

Checking the validity of a high school diploma

If your school or the Department has reason to believe that the high school diploma is not valid or was not obtained from an entity that provides secondary school education, you must evaluate the validity of the student’s high school completion. Students who indicate on their FAFSA that they graduated high school must give the name, city, and state of the high school. FAFSA on the Web will not allow students to skip these items, and it will have a drop-down list of both public and private high schools populated by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Inclusion on the list does not mean that a diploma from the school is valid, nor does exclusion from the list mean that the diploma is invalid. Acceptable documentation for checking the validity of a student’s high school completion can include the diploma and a final transcript that shows all the courses the student took.

Diplomas from unaccredited high schools can be valid and qualify stu­dents to receive FSA funds, as well as to meet college admission standards. One resource that a school may consider to determine if a high school di­ploma is valid is the department of education in the state in which the high school is located, if that department has jurisdiction over the high school. Colleges are also free to consult with each other as they develop their pro­cedures for checking the validity of high school diplomas. For students who completed their secondary schooling outside the United States, comparable documents can help, as can the services of companies that determine the va­lidity of foreign secondary school credentials.

A student’s self-certification is not sufficient to validate a high school di­ploma that is in question. If there is conflicting information between the stu­dent’s certification on the FAFSA and other documentation or information obtained from the student, the institution must resolve this conflict. It should be remembered that for a college to be an eligible institution, it must admit as regular students only those with a high school diploma or the recognized equivalent or who are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance. As in other areas of FSA administration, schools have final authority in meeting this requirement. The Department does not plan to have an appeal process or to intervene in reasonable judgments of school administrators, such as a decision to move a high school from a college’s acceptable to unacceptable list or a case where one school has different lists than another.

Recognized equivalents of a high school diploma

The Department recognizes several equivalents to a high school diploma:

  • a GED certificate;
  • a certificate or other official completion documentation demonstrating that the student has passed a state-authorized examination (such as the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), or, in California, the California High School Proficiency Exam) that the state recognizes as the equivalent of a high school diploma (certificates of attendance and/or completion are not included in this qualifying category);
  • an associate’s degree;
  • successful completion of at least 60 semester or trimester credit hours or 72 quarter credit hours that does not result in the awarding of an associate’s degree, but that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree at any institution; or
  • enrollment in a bachelor’s degree program where at least 60 semester or trimester credit hours or 72 quarter credit hours have been successfully completed, including credit hours transferred into the bachelor’s degree program.
  • for a student who enrolls without completing high school, a transcript indicating the student has excelled in high school. The student must no longer be enrolled in high school, must satisfy your school’s written policy for admitting such students, and must be starting a program that leads at least to an associate’s degree or its equivalent.

Note that merely possessing a certificate of attendance and/or high-school completion is not sufficient for a student to be Title IV aid eligible. Such a certificate may be issued without a student having completed all of the academic graduation requirements, including passing any required examina­tions. A state must consider a certificate or high-school-completion-equiva­lency test as equivalent to a high school diploma in that state in order for it to be considered equivalent to a high school diploma for Title IV aid eligibility purposes.

Homeschooling

Though homeschooled students are not considered to have a high school diploma or equivalent, they are eligible to receive FSA funds if their second­ary school education was in a homeschool that state law treats as a home or private school. Some states issue a secondary school completion credential to homeschoolers. If this is the case in the state where the student was home­schooled, she must obtain this credential to be eligible for FSA funds if the state requires it. She can include in her homeschooling self-certification that she received this state credential. An eligible institution is defined in part as one that admits as regular students only those who have a high school di­ploma or equivalent, are beyond the compulsory age of attendance for the school’s state, or are dually enrolled at the college and a secondary school.

For students who finish homeschooling at a younger age, the Depart­ment considers them to be beyond the age of compulsory attendance if your school’s state would not require them to obtain a secondary completion cre­dential as provided under state law, or if not required by state law, has com­pleted a secondary school education in a homeschool setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance under state law. See also Volume 2, Chapter 1. Ability-To-Benefit (ATB) Alternatives & Eligible Career Pathway programs

Admitting Students by Exception

According to Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education:

Students may become eligible for Title IV aid through the ATB alterna­tives in one of two ways. If a student first enrolled in an eligible postsecond­ary program prior to July 1, 2012, the student may enroll in any eligible pro­gram and can become eligible through one of the ATB alternatives. However, if a student first enrolled in an eligible postsecondary program on or after July 1, 2012, the student may only become eligible through one of the ATB alternatives if the student is enrolled in an “eligible career pathway program.” See below for more details about eligible career pathway programs. An ATB student need not be enrolled concurrently in both the eligible postsecondary program and the component for attaining a high school diploma or its recog­nized equivalent.

The ATB alternatives include:

  • Passing an independently administered Department of Education approved ATB test (see chart at the end of this section).
  • Completing at least 6 credit hours or 225 clock hours that are ap­plicable toward a Title IV-eligible degree or certificate offered by the postsecondary institution (neither remedial nor developmental coursework count toward this requirement. The coursework must demonstrate that the student has the ability to benefit from the postsecondary program in which the student is enrolled or intends to enroll, but need not be applicable to the specific degree or pro­gram in which the student is enrolled).
  • Completing a State process approved by the Secretary of Education. Note: To date, no State process has been submitted for the Secre­tary’s approval.

https://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/attachments/GEN1209.pdf (Letter from the United States Department of Education concerning Title IV eligibility for students without a high school diploma)

James Rumsey Technical Institute does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, age, or any other basis prohibited by law in its programs, activities, or employment practices.

For inquiries contact: Kathy Morgan, Title IX Director, 3274 Hedgesville Rd, Martinsburg, WV 25403, 304-754-7925.

Title IX Statement: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Sex discrimination under Title IX includes sexual harassment and sexual violence.

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