COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 188
December 18, 1998

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Clarification Regarding GED Testing Eligibility

 
  Regulations and guidelines governing GED eligibility
  appear in numerous documents:  the Code of Virginia,
  Superintendent's Memorandums, policy statements of the
  General Educational Development Testing Service (GEDTS),
  the official Virginia program brochure ("Virginia's
  General Educational Development Testing Program"), and
  official correspondence from the GED Services section of
  the Office of Vocational and Adult Education Services. 
  For purposes of clarification, this memorandum summarizes
  current regulations and guidelines for GED eligibility in
  Virginia.

  AGE

  An applicant must be at least 18 years of age and out of
  school.  Under special circumstances considered by local
  school authorities to be justifiable, the age limit may
  be lowered if an applicant 1) has been officially
  withdrawn from school, 2) meets the requirements for home
  schooled youth, or 3) meets the requirements for youth
  currently enrolled in alternative education programs. No
  one under the age of 16 is eligible for testing.  A
  summary of the regulations for underage eligibility in
  categories 1-3 follows.

     1)   Officially Withdrawn From School
          Applicants under 18 years of age, but at least
          16 years of age, must provide one of the following:

          a)   A letter from an official of the regular
               day school last attended stating that the
               applicant has been officially withdrawn
               from school for a period of one year, or

          b)   A letter from an official of the regular
               day school last attended stating that the
               applicant has been officially withdrawn
               from school for a period of six months and
               a letter from the director of a high
               school review program stating that the
               applicant has successfully completed the
               program; or 

          c)   A letter from an employer, a recruiting
               officer of the armed forces, or an admissions
               officer of an institution of higher learning or
               post-secondary training institution stating that
               the applicant meets all requirements for employment or 
               admissions with the exception of a General
               Educational Development Equivalency 
               Certificate, and a letter from an official
               of the regular day school last attended
               recommending the applicant be tested.


          A division superintendent's recommendation
          supersedes a-c of the above requirements.

          Emancipated applicants who are out of school
          are subject to the  requirements outlined, or
          must have a superintendent's recommendation.


     2)   Home Schooled
          Applicants under 18 years of age, but at least
          16 years of age, should provide a letter from 
          the school division certifying that the
          applicant has been taught at home for three
          consecutive years and has completed a home
          instruction program. Applicants excused for
          three or more consecutive years are also
          eligible under these guidelines.

          Any additional written requirements promulgated
          by the local school board for applicants in
          this category shall be binding.

     3)   Enrolled in Alternative Education Programs
          Applicants under 18 years of age, but at least
          16 years of age, who are enrolled in the public
          schools may take the GED tests if a letter from
          an official for the regular day school is
          submitted stating that the applicant meets the
          following provisions:

          a)   the applicant is currently enrolled in an
               alternative education or drop-out
               prevention program;

          b)   has been enrolled in such programs for at
               least six months;

          c)   is within 90 days of completion of a
               program which will result in the 
               acquisition of marketable skills;

          d)   the class with which the applicant began
               is within 90 days of graduation

          Applicants must satisfy all requirements, a-d.
          The division superintendent may not waive any
          or all of the above requirements for any 
          applicant.


  RESIDENCE

  An individual must be a resident of the state of
  Virginia.  There is no length of residence required. 
  Non-residents involved in adult education or workplace
  programs may be eligible for testing.

  APPLICATION

  A Virginia resident must make application in the school
  division in which he/she lives, although an applicant may
  take the GED in any official test center.  Since nearly 
  all centers pre-register and have assigned seating, the
  local administrator of GED applications (LAGEDA) should
  make arrangements for the candidate for the center of
  his/her choice.

  Please direct questions to Dr. Patricia Ta'ani,
  Specialist, Office of Vocational and Adult Education
  Services, at (804)371-2333.

  PDS/pst