24 Credit High School Equivalency

The 24-credit High School Equivalency (HSE) is a New York State Department of Education program to help people who want to earn a college degree but do not possess a high school diploma. Students attend regular college classes at RCC that are required for the college degree that they choose and earn their HSE with the same college credits that are part of their chosen degree program. Upon completion of the 24 credits required to earn the HSE students do not need to take an HSE test or special HSE classes. For more information please visit College Credit and Out-of-State Testing. People not interested in starting a college degree program at this time should see GED Testing Service for information about earning the New York State HSE by testing.

Attend one of our sessions to find out more about the program.

  1. Must be at least 16 years of age at the time the semester starts.
  2. It is advised that you meet with our 24-credit counselor to learn more about program details and required pre-admission steps or attend a virtual information session.
  3. Complete the online  application. Make sure to choose yes to the question “Are you seeking to complete a High School Equivalency Diploma/GED at RCC?” on the high school section of the application.
  4. Take assessment tests in English and Math and earn scores that meet or exceed the Ability to Benefit (ATB) scores approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
    Accuplacer SectionFederal Minimum (Required Test Score)
    EssayNo minimum score required
    Reading233 Minimum passing score
    Writing235 Minimum passing score
    Arithmetic230 Minimum passing score
    Elementary AlgebraNo minimum score required
    College Level MathematicsNo minimum score required
    1. Visit our Placement Testing Schedule page to register.
    2. Find information on how to prepare for the ATB exam.
  1. Must be at least 16 years of age at the time the semester starts.
  2. You must be a current resident of New York State for at least one month at the time you apply for the HSE Diploma.
  3. You have not graduated from high school or are currently qualified for the NYS High School Equivalency Diploma.
  4. Candidates must, at the time they apply to New York State for their diploma be:
    1. 19 years of age or older or
    2. 17 or 18 years of age and one year has passed since you were legally able to leave high school and last enrolled in a regular full-time high school program of instruction or was a member of a class that has already graduated.

Note: Students attend the courses necessary to satisfy the New York State requirements at RCC, but the College does not grant the HSE diploma. Students must apply for the diploma through the New York State Education Department. Any questions can be emailed to [email protected].  

24-Credit students may qualify for NY State Aid, including the Excelsior Scholarship, but are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid until they complete their 24 credit requirements and receive their High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma from the State of New York. Students must take the Accuplacer Placement Exam and meet certain score thresholds to qualify for the NY State Aid. Any questions about Financial Aid can be answered by emailing [email protected].

Will my credits count towards my college degree?
Yes, the credits you earn in the 24-credit program will be counted towards your degree at Rockland Community College or can be transferred to a separate institution.

Will I be enrolled in regular college classes like everyone else?
Yes, the 24-credit program offers students an inclusive college setting.

Can I get Financial Aid?
Yes, 24-credit program students may apply for the New York State Financial Aid, including the Excelsior Scholarship. Students can apply for Federal Financial Aid once they receive the HSE Diploma.

What program can I apply for?
You may apply to any of our 50+ degree programs, from our 5 academic schools.

How do I get my HSE Diploma? When can I get it?
Once you have completed the required 24-credits, you should apply to the New York State Department of Education to be granted your High School Equivalency Diploma. You can apply for this while still completing your Associate’s Degree. You must apply for the diploma before you graduate from Rockland Community College.

How long will it take to complete the program?
Depending on the number of credits you take per semester, students can finish the program in 2 semesters if they enroll in at least 12 credits per semester. We suggest completing the required 24 credits as early as possible, as to not delay your graduation from your Associate’s degree.

The following are examples of courses that meet the distribution requirements.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive but only includes typical examples.

English Language Arts [6 credits]

English Composition
English Literature
Creative Writing

Mathematics [3 credits]

Business Math Technical

Natural Science [3 credits]

Earth Science

Social Science [3 credits]

Political Science

Humanities [3 credits]

Foreign Languages
Art History / Art Appreciation
Music / Music Appreciation
Philosophy/ Religion
MCS in American Art
MUS 101
SPE 101
American Sign Language

College Degree Program
Requirements [6 credits]

This section is intended for courses that can be considered a “major” or are “career oriented” in nature and are not simply Liberal Arts courses, i.e.: Nursing, Auto Tech., Business, Hospitality etc.

If you have any questions call Admissions at 845-574-4224 or email [email protected].