GED and Alternatives

Feeling Pushed Out of School or Out of Options?

We know that older youth who are not on a traditional four-year graduation track sometimes wonder what their rights are or what school path makes the most sense. We have spoken with too many young adults who have felt their schools pushed them out or only offered a GED as an option.

You don’t have to navigate this decision on your own. Please reach out to our Helpline.

graduation hat

Navigating Barriers

Many students face setbacks in school— harsh discipline, discouraging words from a teacher or family member, substance use, learning disabilities or criminal justice involvement. Sometimes students, especially older students, feel that graduation is impossible.

We’re here to tell you: It’s not impossible. Don’t give up!

Please call our toll-free Helpline at 1-855-668-1916. We’ll help you navigate the next steps, such as:

  • Finding a school program that is a good fit
  • Helping you get reinstated in school, if you were expelled
  • Facilitating evaluations for special supports, if you have a disability
  • Developing a school plan that works for you
  • Connecting you to resources that can address other barriers
  • Cheering you on!

Not Everyone Finishes School at 18

Students Under Age 20
Students have the right to enroll in general education programs (traditional public schooling) as long as they are younger than 20 years old on September 1 of the school year for which they wish to enroll (according to Section 6 of the State School Aid Act, MCL 388.1606).

Students Ages 20-22 Who Have Faced Extreme Barriers to Learning
Students who are ages 20 to 22 have the right to enroll in alternative education programs if they have dropped out of school or if they are:

  • part of the foster care system. 
  • referred by the juvenile justice system. 
  • refugees from a foreign country.
  • English language learners. 
  • without a parent. 
  • pregnant or parenting a young child. 
  • from extreme poverty. 
  • experiencing homelessness. 
  • abused or neglected
  • at risk of dropping out of school. 
  • one semester or trimester behind in credit.  


Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who have not obtained a high school diploma or GED are eligible to receive school services up through the school year in which they turn 26 (MARSE R 340.1702). Although these students are no longer eligible for traditional public schooling, there are a number of options to earn a high school diploma (high school completion programs) or GED in an alternative setting. See suggested support and resources for further information.


Youth who become disconnected from school are extremely resilient, but they can greatly benefit from additional supportive programs and mentors to help them seek alternative education. A great place to start is by calling your Intermediate School District (ISD), regional educational service agency (RESA) or and local community college to ask about adult education, high school completion and / or GED program options. Below are two other school options for older youth:

My Virtual Academy. Call (878) 203-8519
A tuition-free online school for Michigan residents providing a flexible method of learning for grades K-12.

Success Virtual Learning Center (SVLC). Call 616-794-6329
A tuition-free online school for young adults ages 14-21 (grades 9-12). Find a convenient location near you. For more questions about enrollment, contact