Reports show significant education and earnings gaps among the Deaf/HOH community. After observing too many Deaf/HOH students narrowly fail the standard high school equivalency exam, the faculty of the Program for Deaf Adults here at LaGuardia Community College decided to look for a new option that would better accommodate Deaf/HOH students. They wanted a program that could be implemented in ASL, and unlike the standard HSE, didn’t rely on exams written in complex prose.

They spent several years looking for a realistic alternative and finally found the National External Diploma Program (NEDP) program, which was recently approved by the New York State Board of Regents as an alternative pathway to a high school equivalency diploma.

After identifying NEDP as a viable option, the faculty then spent a good amount of time developing creative accommodations to adapt it for Deaf/HOH students. Then they had to find funding for a pilot of the program—which they were able to offer tuition-free—then recruit students, and facilitate it.

The pilot was a success! The first enrollees had previously taken and failed the standard HSE, yet passed the NEDP on their first try! The graduates are now planning to start college here at LaGuardia in the very near future.