Graduating from High School in California – Students’ Rights

If any one of these situations applies to you:

  • You are in an unstable living situation, without a safe and steady home
  • You are in foster care
  • You are part of a military family
  • You are a migratory child OR
  • You have been in a juvenile court school

And if both of these apply to you:

  • You changed schools any time after 10th grade


  • You probably can’t graduate from high school in 4 years,

Then you can:

1. Stay in high school an extra year (a 5th year) to finish your graduation requirements


2. Get a state diploma* (easier than a regular diploma), if you can’t finish all your graduation requirements in 4 or 5 years of high school

3. Even if you never changed schools, you get partial credit for any part of a course you completed, even if you didn’t finish the course.

*A state high school diploma requires fewer credits than a regular district high school diploma, so it’s easier to get. BUT, keep in mind that with a state diploma, you will not be able to go directly into a four-year state college or university. You will be able to go directly into a community college.

Ask your counselor about partial credits and graduation options today!

This link will help your counselor understand the law. If your counselor can’t help you, try your district “homeless education liaison.” If that person can’t help, contact the state “homeless education coordinator,” or email us!

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