Learn how, and why, to earn your high school diploma for free through your library.
By Renee Edwards, FCPL Programming and Educational Services Director
Sobering Statistics on Schooling
As of 2017, Census.gov indicates that 10% of the U.S. population age 25 and older — 23 million out of 217 million — do not have a high school diploma. Every year, more than 1.2 million students drop out of high school; that means one student every 26 seconds or 7,000 per day. Dropping out of high school can have far-reaching implications; someone without a high school diploma will earn $200,000 less than a high school graduate over their lifetime and almost a million dollars less than a college graduate. HuffPost reports that 38% of those without a high school diploma will fall below the poverty line, and are 40% more likely to rent, rather their own, their residences.
Looking closer to home, Fairfax County’s Demographics General Overview indicates that 7.8% of female and 7.2% of male Fairfax County residents age 25 and older do not have a high school diploma.
It’s Never Too Late
To help more of our neighbors achieve their high school education goals, FCPL offers a free, virtual option. Career Online High School (COHS) is an online high school diploma and workforce readiness certificate program that makes it possible for adults to earn their diploma from the comfort of their own homes.
A limited number of COHS scholarships are available from FCPL to adults who meet a few simple eligibility requirements. Any Fairfax County resident who is at least 20 years old may apply. Applicants should have:
- Successfully completed the eighth grade.
- A full-service library card in good standing or be willing to apply for a library card.
- Access to a computer and the internet (click here to learn about computers and internet made available for free by the library).