High school equivalency tests give students who left high school before graduating an opportunity to earn a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED). Iowa uses the HiSET high school equivalency test to award a HSED. The HiSET meets the requirement set by Iowa Code 259A.1 that the diploma be issued on the basis of satisfactory competence as shown by tests covering all of the following: Language Arts-Reading, Language Arts-Writing, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.

As of July 1, 2023, Iowa's Adult Education and Literacy Programs have transitioned to Iowa Workforce Development to reflect programs and services primarily focused on workforce development and employment. High school diplomas and alternative diploma pathways will continue to be approved and issued by the Iowa Department of Education.

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Earn Your HSED with HiSET

Each of Iowa's 15 community colleges offer programs to help students earn their HSED. Contact the community college of your choice to get started.

Iowa Community College Map
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Alternative Pathways to HSED

Iowa Code 259A gives the State Board of Education authority to approve additional pathways to achieve a HSED based on quality standards and demonstrated competency.

Entities wishing to provide one or more HSED Alternative Pathway options must be approved by the Department per Iowa Administrative Code 281-32.3(1). Eligible entities must either be (a) accredited by the Higher Learning Commission or (b) eligible entities as defined by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, 20 U.S.C. Ch. 73 and subsequent federal workforce training and adult education legislation.

The process of becoming an authorized HSED alternative pathways provider begins by completing an application and submitting it with all necessary signatures to the Department. Applications may be submitted for any or all of the following HSED options:

  1. Department-Approved Test;
  2. Attainment of High School Credits;
  3. Postsecondary Degree; and
  4. Foreign Postsecondary Degree.

Implementation Guide: Alternative Pathways to a High School Equivalency Diploma - Describes available options and processes.

Agency/Program Application

Registration Data Elements

Final Transcript Evaluation Form

Program Checklist

Sample Action Plan

Prior Work Site Learning Assessment

Current Work Site Learning Assessment

Assurance of HSED Completion - Option 2

Assurance of HSED Completion - Option 3

Assurance of HSED Completion - Option 4


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Transcript and Diploma Requests

Information on how to request a transcript for HSED or GED.

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Iowa High School Equivalency Diplomas Earned

Iowa High School Equivalency Diplomas Earned dashboard shows HSED completers broken down by community college from 2012 to the present.

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