Early Graduation Program

Early Graduation Program

Published: 12/14/2023 8:50 AM

​​​​​​​​​​KRS 158.142 establishes the Early Graduation Program (EGP), an optional program in which a student may receive a high school diploma, Early Graduation Certificate and scholarship award from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) upon successful completion of all program requirements provided in 704 KAR 3:305, Section 5 in three (3) academic years or less.

​The scholarship award may be used at a Kentucky public two (2) year community and technical college or a Kentucky four (4) year public or non-profit independent institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


​Early Graduation Program (EGP) versus “graduating early” 

There is a difference between a student who is a graduate of the EGP and a student who “graduates early.” Although the wording is similar, there are important distinctions between these two options.  

Early Graduation Program 

704 KAR 3:305, Section 1 defines the EGP as follows:

“A​​​​​n optional, criteria-based program in which a student may receive a diploma from the school district, an Early Graduation Certificate, and a scholarship award upon successful completion of all program requirements provided in Section 5 of this administrative regulation in three (3) academic years or less.” 

The EGP requires the interested student to formally submit an intent form to participate in the program. Upon completion of all EGP requirements in place for the academic year in which the student intends to graduate, the student is awarded a high school diploma, Early Graduation Certificate and scholarship award from KHEAA.  

While a student in the EGP is not required to meet the minimum 22 credits for high school graduation provided under 704 KAR 3:305, participants must complete all of the unique requirements of the EGP in three years or less.  

For further information, access the FAQ​ addressing questions specifically related to the EGP.  

“Graduating early”  

704 KAR 3:305, Section 1 defines “graduating early” as follows:

A student who is “awarded a diploma from the district, in under four (4) academic years from the start of grade 9, based upon meeting the minimum credit requirements of this administrative regulation and additional requirements as may be imposed by a local board of education.” 

Should the local district offer the option to “graduate early,” the student must still meet all state and local minimum high school graduation requirements as expected of any traditional four-year high school student, but the student does so on an accelerated timeline. 

A student who chooses to “graduate early,” is not a participant of the EGP and is not eligible for the EGP Certificate and scholarship from KHEAA. The option to “graduate early” is based on local board policies.  

For further information, access the FAQ addressing questions specifically related to “graduating early.”  

General EGP Requirements and Expectations of Schools and Districts  

Eligibility and access to participation  

  • Students must graduate in three years or less in order to qualify for the EGP Certificate and scholarship from KHEAA. 
  • Students in grade 12 are not eligible to participate in the EGP.  
  • Students participating in the EGP must complete all requirements in place for the academic year in which the student intends to graduate
  • Schools and districts cannot deny students an opportunity to participate in the EGP if all requirements have been met for the academic year in which the student intends to graduate. 
  • EGP students must meet the ​​​​​following college readiness exam benchmarks established by the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) as required pursuant to 13 KAR 2:020​ without the need for remediation: For English, the ACT Benchmark is 18, for reading the ACT Benchmark is 20 and for m​ath the ACT Benchmark is 19.
  • ​EGP students may take part in the state administration of the college entrance exam prior to the junior year, if needed. 

Enrollment and declaration of intent 

  • Schools and districts cannot deny students an opportunity to declare intent to participate in the EGP.
  • A student interested in participating must notify the school principal by submitting the intent form at the beginning of grade 9, or as soon as the intent is known.
  • There is no specific grade-level required in KRS 158.142 in which a student must decide to participate in the EGP so long as it is within the student’s first three academic years of high school.  ​

Student intent form submission deadline 

The intent form must be received by the principal within thirty (30) days of the academic year in which the student intends to graduate.  

School or district deadline for flagging the student in Infinite Campus (IC)

The school or district shall enter the enrolled EGP student into the student information system by October 15 of the year in which the student intends to graduate. 

2023-2024 Requirements

District Requirements 

By July 1, 2023, the local district must provide schools with a policy, established by the local board of education, for students wishing to participate in the EGP. The policy must include guidance for schools on effective implementation so that students receive the ongoing support needed to successfully complete all program requirements. The district policy must address the student's unique needs by integrating the specific requirements in the Individual Learning Plan (ILP) to support successful implementation of the EGP in each Kentucky high school.

The district policy must include the following components

  • Support for local school personnel in the development and monitoring of an ILP specifically designed to meet the unique needs of EGP students. 
  • Expectations for goal planning​ related to the attainment of established district essential workplace ethics programs provided in KRS 158.1413
  • Expectations for the completion of a professional resume based on the ILP High School Playbook​
  • Requirements associated with the completion of one postsecondary admissions application that may be used at a Kentucky public two (2) year community and technical college, or a Kentucky four (4) year public or non-profit independent institution accredited by SACS in which the student is interested in applying. 

School Requirements  

Beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year, the school counselor shall provide support to EGP students in the following areas:  

  • Utilization of the ILP to assist students in articulating postsecondary goals and career aspirations that make the EGP the best option for the student.  
  • Guide the student in identifying all remaining EGP requirements and develop a strategy within the ILP for meeting those requirements. 
  • In collaboration with the student, provide support in the development of an action plan/strategy for meeting the EGP requirements, as documented in the student’s ILP, including the attainment of the local workplace ethics program provided in KRS 158.1413.  
  • Support and prepare the student in the successful completion of an entrance interview articulating post-secondary goals and career aspirations with the principal, or designee.  
  • Ensure each EGP student completes an entrance interview with the principal, or designee, to discuss postsecondary goals and career aspirations. 
  • Flag participants in Infinite Campus (IC) by October 15 of the academic year in which the student intends to graduate. 

2023-2024 ​​Student Requirements 

Beginning with the 2023-2024 academic year, to successfully complete the EGP and earn an Early Graduation Certificate and scholarship, the student must meet the following requirements: 

Declaring intent and maintaining enrollment 

  • Consultation with the school counselor to discuss the program requirements, postsecondary goals and career aspirations of the student. 
  • Collaborate with the school counselor to create a strategy/action plan within the ILP for meeting program requirements within the academic year in which the student wishes to graduate. 
  • Communicate intent to the principal within the provisions provided under 704 KAR 3:305, Section 5(5). 
  • Complete an entrance interview with the principal, or designee, to discuss postsecondary goals and career aspirations. 

EGP ​minimum graduation requirements ​(704 KAR 3:305)

EGP a​dditional requirements ​

  • Completion of a professional resume.  
  • Completion of one (1) postsecondary admissions application to a Kentucky public two-year community and technical college, or a Kentucky four-year public or nonprofit independent institution accredited by SACS that qualifies for the EGP scholarship offered through KHEAA.  
  • Attainment of college entrance exam benchmarks established by CPE in 13 KAR 2:020​ for placement in credit-bearing courses without the need for remediation.  

EGP Performance-Based Requirement 

​(effective beginning 2024-2025 and beyond) 

Any​ EGP student who chooses to enroll in the​​ EGP for the 2024-2025 academic year and beyond ​must meet all state and local graduation requirements specified under 704 KAR 3:305, Section 5, including the successful completion of a performance-based project, portfolio, or capstone.​

​​​704 KAR 3:305, Section 5(6), requires local boards ​of education to establish a policy by​ July 1, 2024, "requiring high schools to determine performance descriptors and evaluation procedures for an EGP performance-based project, portfolio, or capstone, required for students who intend to complete the EGP beginning with the 2024-2025 academic year."​

Required Capstone Design Elements

For EGP students to have adequate opportunities to practice, grow and demonstrate attainment of critical skills required for postsecondary and career success, 704 KAR 3:305(5)(6) requires schools to integrate, at minimum, the following four design elements:

  1. Attainment of essential workplace ethics program components as established by the board of education pursuant to KRS 158.1413;
  2. Demonstration of an ability to apply the Kentucky Academic Standards, established in 704 KAR 3:303 and 704 KAR Chapter 8, as a life-long learner and contributing member of society;
  3. Demonstration of written and verbal communication skills needed for postsecondary success; and
  4. Demonstration of an ability to think critically, synthesize information and draw conclusions.

In order to support local schools in implementing the 2024-2025 performance-based requirement, the Kentucky Department of Education has developed the Early Graduation Program Performance-Based Requirement Implementation Guidance for Schools and a sample performance-based rubric for school leaders, counselors and other staff responsible for determining performance descriptors and evaluation procedures for the EGP performance-based project, portfolio, or capstone, prior to its implementation in the 2024-2025 academic year

Questions

For questions related to the EGP regulatory requirements provided in 704 KAR 3:305, Section 5, contact policy advisor, Sarah Peace, at sarah.peace@education.ky.gov​.  

For support in implementing or participating in the EGP, contact comprehensive school counseling coordinator, Damien Sweeney, at damien.sweeney@education.ky.gov​.


​Michelle Sircy, Ed.D.
Office of Teaching and Learning
300 Sower Blvd., 4th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 892-6662
Fax (502) 564-6470

​​​


​​Damien Sweeney, Ed.D.
Office of Teaching and Learning
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 892-6639, ext. 4545 
Fax (502) 564-6470


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