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Eligibility for ABE Program Enrollment

General Eligibility for Enrollment
Eligibility of Students Enrolled in Post-Secondary Education or Job-Training Programs
Eligibility of Foreign Students
Eligibility of Adults with Disabilities
Public Non-discrimination Notice
Eligibility of Young Adults (16 to 18 Years Old)
Enrollment Caps for 16 to 18 Year Olds
Guidelines for 16 to 18 Year-old Students Enrolled to Maintain Driver's License
Guidelines for Students under Age 18 Preparing for the GED
Guidelines for 16 to 18 Year-old Students Assigned to ABE by a Court Order

General Eligibility for Enrollment

According to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Title II, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, adult education services are to be targeted for:

  • adults who are 16 years of age or older;
  • adults who are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under State law; and who
    • lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to enable them to function effectively on the job, in the family, and in society;
    • do not have a secondary school diploma or its equivalent level of education or are unable to speak, read, or write the English language.

Eligibility of Students Enrolled in Post-Secondary Education or Job-Training Programs

Students who are already enrolled in post-secondary education or job-training programs (e.g., colleges, apprenticeship programs, vocational/technical schools, etc.) may be co-enrolled in WVABE programs. The student must meet all of the above eligibility criteria for enrollment in a WVABE program and the instruction provided by WVABE in reading, writing, math, or English as a Second Language must be below a postsecondary level.

WVABE programs may not serve a foreign student who is studying in the United States on an F-1 Visa. (For more information, see below and also see Section 14.)

Eligibility of Foreign Students

Federal adult education legislation does not specify the need to prove legal status of foreigners as a condition for enrollment in ABE classes. Thus, it is NOT necessary for foreigners to present passports, visas, work permits, or Social Security cards to prove legal status in order to enroll. However, foreign students (with F-1 Visas) enrolled in universities or private English language institutes may not simultaneously enroll in publicly funded adult education programs. (For more information, see Section 14.)

English language learners (ELLs) who have completed post-secondary education in another country, but lack basic English language skills may enroll in WVABE programs.

Eligibility of Adults with Disabilities

The West Virginia Adult Basic Education (WVABE) program requires that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and services without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, or sexual orientation. It does not discriminate in admission to its programs, services, or activities; in access to them; in treatment of individuals with disabilities; or in any aspect of their operations.

A qualified individual with a disability is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as: “… an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.”

Individuals with documented disabilities may request reasonable accommodations for assessment and instruction (see Section 2). This means that your program may not turn away potential students who are blind, deaf, or otherwise physically handicapped. You must also serve students with emotional and learning disabilities.

Programs should establish reasonable codes of conduct that prohibit disruptive or inappropriate behaviors and may apply these uniformly to all students (even when the effect is to disqualify a person with a disability). See a sample Code of Conduct as part of a statement of Rights and Responsibilities of Adult Basic Education Students (Section 4 Appendix).

Public Non-discrimination Notice

Programs must provide information to applicants, participants, beneficiaries, and other interested parties regarding the rights of individuals with disabilities. Methods of providing this information include publication in handbooks, manuals, pamphlets, application materials, posters, etc.
All program information and brochures should state that accommodations are available upon request to those with a documented disability.

A non-discrimination notice should be posted in all ABE classrooms and a similar statement included in publications (program bulletins, handbooks, and application forms). See Section 4 Appendix for a Sample Non-Discrimination Notice. Contact your county board of education to find out the appointed ADA and 504 Coordinator. Also, determine who will handle accommodations requests for WVABE classes in your county.

At a minimum, the notice below should be used for posters and, in the case of space limitations, on publications:

[Name of Adult Basic Education Program] is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Accommodations are available upon request to those with documented disabilities. To request disability accommodations, please contact [insert name, address, phone number of appointed person] from your ABE program.

Eligibility of Young Adults (16 to 18 Years Old)

According to state policy, 16 to 18 year olds may only enroll in the ABE program if they have:

  • withdrawn officially from the public or private school system; AND
  • provided an official letter from their school principal or counselor verifying the exact date on which they withdrew from school. Young adult students may use the Withdrawal Form within the WV GED® Form (Section 8 Appendix) as verification. A copy of this verification must be maintained in the WVABE permanent program file.

17 to 18 year olds who may be admitted to WVABE programs:

  • Left school without graduating but reached or passed the age of 17
  • Transferred to a non-public vocational school or to a proprietary school with courses of study not meeting standard graduation requirements
  • Enrolled in a non-school institution (such as the military, a corrections facility, or drug rehabilitation clinic) even if they are involved in an education program within that institution

Exception: When a correctional institution or rehabilitation center is part of a special school district or an extension of a regular school district, its students are not admitted.

16 year olds who may be admitted to WVABE programs:

  • Reached or passed the age of 16  and left school without graduating after completing Grade 9
  • Officially began home-schooling prior to July1, 2011
  • Transferred to a non-public vocational school or to a proprietary school and completed Grade 9

16 to 18 year olds who may not be admitted to the ABE program:

  • Temporarily absent from public school due to illness (when the absence is verified as legitimate)
  • Enrolled in alternative education programs which are administered or approved by the school district and considered full-time secondary educational programs
  • Suspended or expelled with an option to return at the end of the disciplinary period (unless they officially withdraw from school)
  • Expelled and have been determined to be too dangerous for enrollment in an in-school alternative education program

Enrollment Caps for 16 to 18 Year Olds

WVABE must serve a variety of target populations; the youth population of students under 18 years of age is one of those target groups. A local program may NOT discriminate against any particular target population. A local program should, however, take into consideration the needs and characteristics of this and other target populations in scheduling adult programs. Class schedules should accommodate all age groups with equitable attendance opportunities for young adults as well as older learners.

Guidelines for 16 to 18 Year-old Students Enrolled to Maintain WV Driver License

State Code §18-8-11, School attendance as condition of licensing for privilege of operation of motor vehicle, passed by the WV State Legislature, states that…the division of motor vehicles shall deny a license or instruction permit for the operation of a motor vehicle to any person under the age of eighteen who does not at the time of application present a diploma or other certificate of graduation issued to the person from a secondary high school of this state or any other state or documentation that the person is…

  • enrolled and making satisfactory progress in a course leading to a general education development certificate (GED®) from a state-approved institution or organization or has obtained the certificate;
  • enrolled in a secondary school of this state or any other state;
  • excused from the requirement due to circumstances beyond his or her control; or
  • enrolled in an institution of higher education as a full-time student in this state or any other state.

Students attending WVABE programs to maintain/obtain a driver's license should have specific attendance requirements. Attendance requirements are determined by your local county board of education and are based upon the availability of resources such as instructional personnel, programs, and materials. These requirements may vary from county to county. It is recommended that, whenever possible, a minimum of 15 hours/week be required for satisfactory attendance.

Each county should have a specific absence policy. For example, more than 10 unexcused absences in a semester will result in termination from the program for the remainder of the semester/year. Your program should adopt an attendance and absence policy at the beginning of the program year based on program availability.

To enroll in the WVABE program, all components of the General Eligibility for Enrollment and Eligibility of Young Adults requirements must be met. In addition, the following procedures should be followed and documentation maintained in the ABE permanent program file.

  • A Student Commitment Contract (see Sample Student Commitment Contracts, Section 4 Appendix) should be sent to the county attendance director. It is not the responsibility of the ABE program to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles. It is the attendance director's responsibility.
  • It is recommended that young adult students (under 18 years of age) use the Student Commitment Contract B, which specifies study time and class time requirements. This contract also includes a clause that if the student misses more than a specified number of hours, he or she will be officially withdrawn from the class. Please note that in order to be non-discriminatory the same Student Commitment Contract must be used for all students within a program. You cannot give Contract B to the younger students and use a different one for the older students.

Once a Student Commitment Contract is completed, or if the student is terminated, the attendance director should be notified in writing.

Guidelines for Students under Age 18 Preparing for the GED

See Section 8 for information and regulations regarding teens who want to take the Tests of General Educational Development (GED® Tests). Also refer to the Orientation for Young Adult Students (16 to 18 Years Old) in Section 4 of the Handbook.

Attendance Guidelines for 16-18 Year-old Students Assigned to ABE by a Court Order

Sometimes a judge will order an individual to attend a WVABE class or take the GED Tests as a condition of release or parole. The court-ordered student may have specific attendance guidelines dictated by the court. If the court has not set attendance guidelines, the county should determine the appropriate attendance requirement, similar to those developed for the driver’s license program.

The WVABE program will enroll these individuals under the following conditions:

  • All components of the general eligibility for enrollment and the attendance guidelines stated above should be followed.
  • Copies of both a signed Student Commitment Contract (see Sample Student Commitment Contracts, Section 4 Appendix) and GED Fact Sheet (Section 4 Appendix) should be sent to the court official (i.e., probation officer or other designee providing oversight).
  • Once the student contract is completed, or if the student is terminated, notify the appropriate court official in writing.

Note: If the student is court-ordered to take the GED Tests, the GEDExaminer must administer the test to him or her, even if the individual is still enrolled in an accredited high school and does not pass the Official GED Practice Tests (OPT®) or does not meet other restrictions. The only exception is age—the GED Tests may not be administered to anyone under the age of 16. It is suggested that the WVABE instructor or GED examiner contact the probation officer with any questions dealing with time spent in the WVABE program, passing the OPT, etc.




West Virginia Department of Education
Building 6, Room 230
1900 Kanawha Blvd. E.
Charleston, WV 26501
Phone: (304) 558-0280
Fax: (304) 558-3946
ABE Hotline: 1-800-642-2670