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BEdA Handbook
Eligible BEdA Students

Requirements for Enrollment in Basic Education for Adults

Adults and out-of-school youth may not be denied participation in Basic Education for Adults (BEdA, ESL, GED® Prep, HSC, HSE, HS+) because they do not have state residency, do not have U.S. citizenship, or because they will not share their Social Security Numbers.

To participate in Basic Education for Adults in Washington State, an eligible individual is someone who is:

  1. At least 16 years of age;
  2. Not enrolled or be required to be enrolled in secondary school under State law; and
  3. Who also: 
    1. Lacks sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to enable the individuals to function effectively in society; 
    2. Does not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and has not achieved an equivalent level of education;
    3. Is an English language learner who has limited ability in reading, writing, speaking, or comprehending the English language, and—
      1. Whose native language is a language other than English; or
      2. Who lives in a family or community environment where a language other than English is the dominant language.

High School Release

State regulations require that certain students under 18 years of age obtain permission from their high school in order to participate in BEdA: “WAC 180-51-050 … (7) A student must first obtain a written release from their school district to enroll in a high school completion program under subsection (3) of this section if the student has not reached age eighteen or whose class has not graduated.”


There is no state or U.S. citizenship residency requirement for BEdA participation. Proof of residency of citizenship is not required to enroll in Basic Education for Adults classes.


People who are in this country on a student (F-1, M-1) visa are not allowed to participate in publicly (state and federal) funded adult education. 

People in this country as “nannies” or “au pairs” on a study exchange (J-1) visa are required to participate in college-level academic classes, not in BEdA. Homeland Security may have additional procedural rules regarding non-citizens.

Justice Involved Individuals

Justice Involved Individuals in a Washington State prison who meet the requirements of adult education and requirements in DOC policy are eligible to participate in BEdA programs offered at all correctional facilities.


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Last Modified: 8/4/21, 9:55 AM

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