Special Education

NYS CDOS Commencement Credential - Questions and Answers

A. Eligibility

  1. Can a student with a disability receive the CDOS Commencement Credential if he/she continues in high school beyond four years?

Yes. 

  1. If a student is expected to be able to graduate with a Regents diploma, must that student participate in the requirements for the CDOS Commencement Credential?

While not required, all students with disabilities should be encouraged to earn the CDOS Commencement Credential as a supplement to their local or Regents diploma. 

  1. Can a student be awarded the CDOS Commencement Credential if he/she has met all of the criteria for the CDOS Commencement Credential; attended school for at least 12 years, excluding kindergarten; has not yet earned a diploma; and is not planning to return to school the next year?

Yes. If the student’s only exiting credential is the CDOS Commencement Credential (i.e., the student has not yet earned a diploma), the credential must be accompanied by a written statement informing the parent that the student continues to be eligible for a free appropriate public education (FAPE) until the student has earned a local or Regents diploma or until the end of the school year in which the student turns age 21, whichever occurs earlier.  The State’s required Prior Written Notice has been revised to incorporate language regarding the award of the CDOS Commencement Credential (http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/formsnotices/PWN/home.html).

  1. If a student turns 21 in August, would he/she be eligible to stay in school for another year?  

No.  The student would not be eligible to remain in school the following school year. Section 200.5(a)(5)(iii) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education indicates that the student continues to be eligible for FAPE until the end of the school year in which the student turns 21 or until the receipt of a regular high school diploma.  Section 4402(5) of NYS Education Law indicates that students with disabilities reaching the age of 21 between July 1 and August 31 are eligible to remain in school until the 31st day of August or until the end of summer program, whichever occurs first.  Students turning age 21 between September 1 and June 30 are entitled to remain in school until June 30 or until the end of the school year, whichever comes first.

  1. May a student who earns the CDOS Commencement Credential as his/her only exiting credential participate in the high school graduation ceremony and “walk across the stage?”  May a student who doesn’t earn either a regular diploma or the credential participate in the graduation ceremony?

Nothing in State law, regulation or guidance prevents a student from participating in graduation ceremonies.  How a school conducts a graduation ceremony and the requirements needed for participation are a local decision made by the school district.

Last Updated: November 5, 2013