High School Graduation Requirement or Credit toward Graduation — Service-Learning/Community Service
Education Commission of the States • 700 Broadway, Suite 810 • Denver, CO 80203-3442 • 303.299.3600 • Fax: 303.296.8332 • www.ecs.org

High School Graduation Requirement or Credit toward Graduation — Service-Learning/Community Service

January 2014


This report highlights each state's high school graduation requirements or credit allowed toward graduation for service-learning/community service. Please note that many school districts have graduation requirements in addition to those required by the state.

Statewide high school service requirement Credit toward graduation for service-learning or community service State explicitly permits districts to adopt a service requirement for high school graduation
Alabama No
No
No
Alaska No
No
No
Arizona No
No
No
Arkansas No
A student who has completed a minimum of 75 hours of documented community service in grades 9-12, as certified to the school by the service agency or organization, is eligible to receive one academic credit that may be applied toward graduation. The community service must be in programs or activities approved by the State Board of Education and the local school board and must include preparation, action, and reflection components. Local school boards are authorized to grant a waiver of this requirement with notice to the state board.

Ark. Code Ann. § 6-16-120
Code Ark. R. 005.08.1
No
California No
No
No
Colorado No
No
School districts are required to consider and, if they deem it appropriate, adopt a policy to encourage students to engage in community service or service-learning and to recognize students' contributions to their communities through community service or service-learning. A student who successfully meets the community service or service-learning program goals can earn recognition in the manner described in the policy. The policy should specify how the service is recognized on a student's diploma or transcript as an indication of the student's commitment to service within the community.

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-32-137
Connecticut No
A local or regional board of education is authorized to offer one-half credit in community service, which qualifies for high school graduation credit. The community service must supervised by a certified school administrator or teacher and consist of not less than 50 hours of actual service that may be performed at times when school is not regularly in session and not less than 10 hours of related classroom instruction. Community service does not include partisan political activities.

Beginning with classes graduating in 2020, to graduate, students will be required to complete two credits in career and life skills electives, such as career and technical education, English as a second language, community service, personal finance, public speaking, and nutrition and physical activity.

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 10-221a
No
Delaware No
If a student in grades 9-12 performs at least 45 hours of voluntary community service for 2 semesters, the student will receive 1 Delaware Volunteer credit. The credit may be counted as an elective for graduation requirements if the service is approved by, and conducted under the supervision of, the school principal. To qualify for the credit:
  • The service must be performed outside of the hours during which the student is required to be at school. Service can be performed during the summer or other recess periods.
  • The organization or project with whom the service is performed must have its name submitted to a school guidance counselor by the Delaware Office of Tourism or the Department of Education.
  • The service cannot be of a political or advocacy nature.

A student can only be awarded one Delaware Volunteer credit.

Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 8902A

No
District of Columbia Students are required to complete 100 hours of volunteer community service to graduate. The specific community service projects are established by the local education agency.
   
D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 5-E § 2203
No
No
Florida No
Districts may award up to one-half elective credit for student completion of nonpaid voluntary community or school service work. Students choosing this option must complete a minimum of 75 hours of service in order to earn the one-half credit in either category of instruction. Credit may not be earned for service provided as a result of court action. District school boards that approve the award of credit for student volunteer service are required to develop guidelines regarding the award of the credit, and school principals are responsible for approving specific volunteer activities.

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.497
School districts are encouraged to include service learning as part of any course or activity required for high school graduation and to include and accept service-learning activities and hours in requirements for academic awards, especially those awards that currently include community service as a criterion or selection factor.

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.497
Georgia No
Community Service I, II, III, and IV are elective courses that satisfy credit requirements for high school graduation.

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 160-4-2-.36
No
Hawaii No
Beginning with the graduating class of 2016, one of the six elective credits for graduation may include one elective credit for a senior project. The components of a senior project are:
  • Research Paper
  • Project (career focus, service learning, or student personal interest)
  • Project Portfolio
  • Presentation to a panel
Graduation Requirements. Hawaii State Department of Education. http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/TeachingAndLearning/StudentLearning/GraduationRequirements/Pages/home.aspx. [Accessed December 30, 2013.]
No
Idaho No No No
Illinois No
School districts are authorized to establish a volunteer service credit program under which students can earn credit toward graduation through performance of community service. The amount of credit given for program participation cannot exceed the amount given for completion of one semester of language arts, math, science, or social studies.

105 ILCS 5/27-22.3
No
Indiana No
Students in grade 11 or 12 can earn academic credit toward the student’s minimum graduation requirements by completing approved community service or other volunteer service.

Ind. Code Ann. § 20-30-14-1


The State Board of Education is required to promulgate rules related to community service. Among the required rules are requirements that a student must perform at least 48 hours of service to earn one academic credit and that not more than two academic credits toward graduation may be awarded.

Ind. Code Ann. § 20-30-14-9
No
Iowa No
No A school district or a nonpublic school may require a certain number of service-learning units as a condition for the inclusion of a service-learning endorsement on a student's diploma or as a condition of graduation.

Iowa Code Ann. § 256.18A
Kansas No No No
Kentucky No No No
Louisiana No No No
Maine No No No
Maryland Students are required to complete either:
  • 75 hours of student service that includes preparation, action, and reflection components and that, at the discretion of the local school system, may begin during the middle grades; or
  • a locally designed program in student service that has been approved by the state Superintendent of Schools.
Md. Code Regs. 13A.03.02.06
No No
Massachusetts No No No
Michigan No No No
Minnesota No
A school board is authorized to offer, as part of a community education program with a youth development program, a youth service program that provides young people with opportunities to become involved in their community, develop individual capabilities, make career connections, seek support networks and services, become active citizens, and address community needs through youth service. The board may award up to one credit toward graduation for a pupil who completes the youth service requirements of the district.

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 124D.19
No
Mississippi No
No No
Missouri No
Local boards of education that maintain a high school are authorized to include service-learning as part of any course contributing to the satisfaction of credits necessary for high school graduation and to provide support for the use of service-learning as an instructional strategy at any grade level to address appropriate areas of current state educational standards for student knowledge and performance.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 170.037.3
No
Montana No
No No
Nebraska No
No No
Nevada No High school students who successfully complete an approved community service project are allowed to apply not more than one credit received for the completion of the project toward the total number of credits required for graduation. The credit must be applied toward the pupil's elective course credits and not toward a course that is required for graduation from high school.

Nev. Rev. Stat. 389.165
No
New Hampshire No
If a district chooses to offer extended learning opportunities in middle school, the opportunities must be governed by a policy adopted by the local school board that specifies whether or not credit can be granted for extended learning activities, including, but not limited to, independent study, private instruction, team sports, performing groups, internships, community service, and work study.

NH ADC ED 306.26


If a district chooses to offer extended learning opportunities in high school as part of the required curriculum content, the opportunities must be governed by a policy adopted by the local school board that specifies that credits can be granted for extended learning activities, including independent study, private instruction, team sports, performing groups, internships, community service, and work study.

NH ADC ED 306.27
No
New Jersey No
The 120-credit requirement for graduation may be met in whole or in part through completion of a range of experiences that enable students to pursue a variety of personalized learning opportunities. District boards of education are required to establish a process to approve individualized student learning opportunities, including service-learning experiences, that meet or exceed the core curriculum content standards.

N.J. Admin. Code 6A:8-5.1
No
New Mexico No
School districts must offer student service learning as an elective in which students can earn credits toward the elective units required for graduation.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-13-1.1


Among the items allowed for alternate demonstration of competency of high school exit requirements using standards-based indicators are community-based projects such as internships, service learning, pre-apprenticeship, or after-school job performance.

N.M. Admin. Code § 6.19.7


A career readiness alternative program of study leading to a diploma or conditional certificate of transition is available to students with an IEP. Course work includes a minimum of four units of career development opportunities and learning experiences that may include career readiness and vocational course work, work experience, community-based instruction, student service learning, job shadowing, mentoring, or entrepreneurships related to the student's occupational choices.

N.M. Admin. Code § 6.29.1
No
New York No
No No
North Carolina No
No No
North Dakota No Two service learning courses listed in the high school career and technical supplementary services course codes for grades 9-12 are designed to help at-risk students make a smooth, successful transition from high school to the world of work and will allow students to earn elective credits toward graduation requirements.

Grades 9-12 Course Codes: Career and Technical Supplementary Services. North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, July 2013. http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/resource/corscode/2014pdf/specneeds14.pdf. [Accessed December 19, 2013.]
No
Ohio No
High school credit for a community service education course may be granted if approximately half of the course is devoted to classroom study of such matters as civic responsibility, the history of volunteerism, and community service training and approximately half of the course is devoted to community service.

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.605
No
Oklahoma No
School districts are authorized to establish, as part of the curriculum, a youth community service program for secondary students that includes youth community service activities integrated with study and reflection on the experiences gained through youth community service activities. Students may receive elective credit for participating in a youth community service program as long as the outcomes of the program reflect the competencies outlined in the Oklahoma Learner Outcomes adopted by the State Board of Education. A student may perform youth community service activities for credit only under the sponsorship of an organization approved by the State Department of Education.
 
Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 11-108.2 West
No
Oregon No Students have the option of earning credit required for a diploma or a modified diploma by successfully completing classroom or equivalent work (e.g., supervised independent study, career-related learning experiences, project-based learning) in a course of at least 130 clock hours. The work must meet common curriculum goals and academic content standards.

Or. Admin. R. 581-022-1131
No
Pennsylvania No
No No
Rhode Island No
No The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is required to encourage school districts to establish community service learning programs by developing a model program and appropriate guidelines for implementation of the model program. Local school districts may petition the Commissioner of Education for approval of community service learning programs, which may be used in partial fulfillment of the requirement for obtaining a high school diploma. The commissioner must develop criteria that school districts can use as a means of determining and recognizing community service learning activities for credit towards a high school diploma.

R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 16-22-21
South Carolina No
No No
South Dakota No Students are required to complete at least one unit, in any combination, of approved career and technical education courses, a capstone experience or service learning, and world languages.

S.D. Admin. R. 24:43:11:02
No
Tennessee No
Local boards of education set the number of credit hours that may be earned by students who complete a minimum of 30 service hours in the course “Success Skills through Service Learning.” A maximum of three credits may be earned in any one school year, and at least one credit must be earned in the related classroom experience. Credit is not awarded for paid service learning.

Success Skills Through Service Learning. Tennessee Department of Education. http://www.tn.gov/education/ci/service/doc/SL_Grades_9-12.pdf. [Accessed December 26, 2013.]

Work-Based Learning Policies, Procedures, and Resources. Tennessee Department of Education, April 2013. http://www.tennessee.gov/education/cte/wb/doc/WorkBasedLearningPoliciesApril2013.pdf. [Accessed December 26, 2013.]
Local boards of education are encouraged to consider requirements for students to complete a capstone experience. Capstone experiences may include, among other things, at least 40 hours of service learning or community service.

Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0520-01-03-.06

Texas No
One-half to one credit is awarded for a family and community services course that is designed to involve students in realistic and meaningful community-based activities through direct service experiences. Students are provided opportunities to interact and provide services to individuals, families, and the community through community or volunteer services. Emphasis is placed on developing and enhancing organizational and leadership skills and characteristics.

19 Tex. Admin. Code § 130.249


One-half to one credit is awarded for the principles of hospitality and tourism course and the travel and tourism management course. Students must demonstrate leadership, citizenship, and teamwork skills required for success, and they are expected to participate in community service activities.

19 Tex. Admin. Code § 130.222
19 Tex. Admin. Code § 130.225
No
Utah No No No
Vermont No
No No
Virginia No
No No
Washington No
School districts are required to adopt a policy that is supportive of community service and provides an incentive, such as recognition or credit, for students who participate in community service.

WA ST 28A.320.193
No
West Virginia No
Students in grades 9-12 must be provided structured, on-going experiences for career exploration, decision making, and career preparation. All students must participate in an experiential learning experience at some time in grades 9-12. If credit is granted for these experiences, content standards and objectives will be developed and approved at the local level. Experiential learning is defined as structured work-based, services-based, community-based, or research-based learning experiences.

W. Va. Code R. § 126-42-5
W. Va. Code R. § 126-42-13
No
Wisconsin No
No A school board may require a pupil to participate in community service activities in order to receive a high school diploma.

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.33
Wyoming No
No No


This database will be updated as we learn of policy changes. If you have comments about the information presented or the database, please contact Paul Baumann at pbaumann@ecs.org or 303.299.3608. Creation of this database was made possible in part through the support of the State Farm Companies Foundation.

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