A student who elects to receive a special diploma must complete the required number of course credits, and take courses offered by the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) department. These courses are designed for students with special needs.
Some students elect this option because they will find success in the ESE courses as opposed to mainstream courses. Also, if a student cannot pass the High School Competency Test (HSCT) s/he may choose to be awarded the special diploma.
The student can earn 15 credit hours of coursework, but cannot be eligible for admission into the AA, AS, Associated Certificate programs or Limited Access Vocational Certificate programs. Special diploma students are eligible to declare into Vocational Certificate programs that are not limited access.
A student with a special diploma is not eligible to receive federal financial aid unless s/he is declared into an eligible Vocational Certificate program and has satisfactorily met the TABE level prior to entry. This shows “ability to benefit.”
A special diploma student can be declared into a degree program, pursue additional credit hours and receive federal financial aid if s/he passes the Florida GED.
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) may fund students who are ineligible for federal financial aid. For further information contact your local VR representative at one of the following offices:
New Port Richey 727-816-1714
Spring Hill 352-666-5700
Most students will be identifying a disability and may need to complete additional paperwork. Special diploma students should be referred to the coordinator of disabilities services or Assistant Dean of Student Development so accommodations can be arranged.
On the college application for admission, question one under educational background on page three asks the student to mark what type of diploma was awarded. The Admissions and Student Records office will note this to track the student.
On the program declaration, special diploma students should check “Special Student – Other Personal Objectives” (SPOPO-XX) unless s/he is going into an eligible Vocational Certificate program. For the basis of admission, mark the letter A. High school graduate.
Each of these certificates generally indicate that a student, ESE or mainstream, has completed the required coursework for graduation, but has not completed some other graduation requirement such as the HSCT or other state mastery standards. These certificates are rarely awarded.