MUSCLE SHOALS, AL — Northwest Shoals Community College’s (NWSCC) Adult Education program recently began offering a new option for students who have not completed their high school education in the form of a nontraditional high school diploma.

The nontraditional high school diploma was recently approved by the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and the Alabama State Department of Education. The new diploma helps students who either dropped out of high school without earning the necessary credits to graduate or did not pass one or all parts of the Alabama High School Graduation Exam (which is no longer given).

According to NWSCC Adult Education Director, Tara Branscome, the new nontraditional high school diploma is already sparking a tremendous amount of interest in the community. “We are getting inquiries on the new diploma from our area schools and people throughout the community constantly,” said Branscome. “I believe this is a great initiative by the state and can be a tremendous opportunity for so many people to make a better life for them and their family.”

The new diploma was rolled out by the state at the end of 2016. The NWSCC Adult Education Department currently has 50 students actively seeking the diploma and has had 13 students complete the new diploma requirements.

Students must be 17 years old to be eligible for the nontraditional diploma and must have attended an Alabama public high school. Students can take advantage of two different pathways to the new diploma: students who earned all 24 credits but failed one or more portions of the high school exit exam OR students who earned at least ten credits, but not all 24.

The steps for any student interested in obtaining the nontraditional high school diploma is to: 1) Contact the Alabama high school they last attended, 2) Complete a transcript request for the nontraditional diploma program, and 3) Notify the school they plan to pursue a nontraditional diploma. The school will then send an official transcript and transcript audit form to NWSCC.

For more information about the nontraditional high school diploma and the NWSCC Adult Education program, contact 256.331.5440 or