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Special Ed Students who Graduate Early

Special Ed Students Who Graduate Early


Special education students who graduate early and who have met the requirements for a regular diploma prior to the anticipated date in June of their 11th or 12th-grade year for their cohort. If a student with an IEP receives their regular diploma early, it is important to properly report the scenario to WISEdata. An early graduate is counted as a completer within their cohort, so graduating early does not negatively impact a school's completion rate.

Data Element Information: 

A student in special education must have matching dates on their sSEPA and their enrollment records.

Exit Types:

  • High School Completion (HSC): Use this exit type if the student earned a high school completion credential on or before the exit date. This exit type requires that your district submit a High School Completion Credential Type. Though the HSC exit type is used for all high school completers, only use the HSC exit type for special education graduates once the student receives a regular diploma and will no longer return to school for any services, as the HSC exit code removes the student from being eligible for FAPE. Enter the highest credential type earned.

Enrollment and Exit Dates:

  • Special Education Graduates: The exit date is the last day of enrollment for the school year. When a student with disabilities graduates, the student's special education record must show that special education services continued until at least the exit date. Even if the student graduates prior to the last school year day, as seniors often do, the student will be documented properly as graduating with a disability only if services continue through the exit date and the exit type is marked as High School Completion.

sSEPA Begin and End Dates:

  • The early graduate’s sSEPA record and enrollment record should end on the same day, the date at which graduation requirements were fulfilled and/or the student stopped receiving services.
    • For example, if the student earned their diploma 1/12/22 and stopped attending school at that time, the enrollment should be ended on 1/12/22 with the HSC Exit Type, the credential information sent to WISEdata, Completed School Term value set to “Yes'', and the sSEPA record ended on 1/12/22 with the Reason Exited Special Education “E”.

  • The student will NOT be counted as a special ed graduate if the sSEPA record ends before the enrollment record ends. It is very important that both the enrollment and sSEPA end dates match.

  • Do not keep a student who has earned a regular diploma enrolled until the end of the school year if they are no longer receiving services.

Helpful Details/Use Cases: 

  • Exit Date Corresponding with sSEPA Record End Date: A district should not continue to keep a student enrolled after they have graduated. However, if a student graduates early and their sSEPA enrollment continues, there will likely be a negative impact on attendance rate because that sSEPA enrollment would result in the student being counted absent for the remainder of the school year after the graduation/exit date.
  • If a student does not receive a regular diploma, but rather a different type of completion credential, then the information on this page does not necessarily apply. The student would continue to be eligible to receive special education services and could continue to be enrolled.
  • Other important points to remember:
    • The issuance of a regular diploma ends the district’s responsibility to provide FAPE.

    • An early graduate may return later in the school year to participate in the school’s graduation ceremony if that is provided for by district policy.

    • If the student is kept enrolled and counted as absent for the remainder of the school year, then the school and/or district attendance rate could be negatively impacted.

  • Refer to the Graduation FAQ for more information about graduation requirements.

Membership/Financial Implication:

See School Financial Services' page Special Education Aid


Related Links: 

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