High School Equivalency Program
The purpose of the High School Equivalency Program (HSEP) is to prepare eligible students to pass the high school equivalency exams instead of earning a high school diploma. Any school district or open enrollment charter school can apply for authorization to operate a HSEP in the state of Texas.
Texas Education Code - Chapter §29.087
Commissioner's Rules - Chapter 89, Subchapter DD
About the High School Equivalency
You can learn more about the HSEP from the links below:
- Student and parent information regarding the high school equivalency
- High school application for a HSEP
- Information for high schools operating a HSEP
- HSEP guidelines for high schools
- HSEP locations
- High school equivalency exam home page at TEA
The Texas Education Code - Chapter §25.085 statute requires anyone under age 18 to attend school. The HSEP allows students who are at risk of dropping out of high school to earn a high school equivalency credential. The TEA provides a list of schools which operate a HSEP.
Student Eligibility Requirements
- The student is at least 16 years of age at the beginning of the school year or semester; at least two school years have elapsed since the student first enrolled in ninth grade; the student has completed fewer than 1/3 of the credits required for graduation under the district's or the open enrollment charter school's minimum graduation plan.
- Students ordered by a court under Family Code, Truancy Court Proceedings, Section 65.103 or directed by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department are automatically accepted to the program.
Student Registration to take the High School Equivalency Exam
As a HSEP student, you need to register to test. There are two vendors that now provide testing. You can learn more about each vendor here. Note: HiSET will no longer administer the HSE tests as of September 1, 2021. During the registration process you must indicate:
- You are currently enrolled in high school
- You attend a High School Equivalency Program (Options Program)
Note: Your high school will need to submit an "Authorization to test" form so you can schedule your exams.
There are alternative educational opportunities, some are free of charge and others have a fee. We recommend you talk to your school counselor regarding your options.
Free of Charge:
- The Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) offers online learning opportunities to students across the state through a partnership with districts.
- The TxVSN Online Schools Program (OLS) offers full-time virtual instruction through eligible public schools to Texas public school students in grades 3-12.
- Job Corps is a free education and training program that helps young people learn a career, earn a high school diploma or high school equivalency credential, and find and keep a good job.
- The Texas ChalleNGe Academy is designed to reclaim the potential of at-risk students by training them to be successful, responsible, productive citizens through a program of education, mentoring, physical fitness, and volunteer service to the community.
- Career One Stop offer seamless access to services under a variety of employment, training, and education programs.
Fee based accredited online schools for a high school diploma:
- The University of Texas and Texas Tech University offer online high school diploma programs accredited by TEA.
- To verify accreditation of online and private high schools, contact the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission and International Association for Learner Driven Schools (TEPSAC IALDS).
High School Equivalency Preparation
School districts and open enrollment charter schools must complete an application form (PDF) and submit it to the TEA for approval. The application will include the following:
- evidence of a public hearing concerning the HSEP or Option Program
- assurances from the school that they will follow the specified rules in the application for providing a HSEP
- narrative description of the proposed program
- contact information for all campuses with a HSEP