By Shirin Rajaee

VACAVILLE (CBS13) — Thousands of California high school students who never officially graduated are now getting their diplomas years later.

Those students met all of the graduation requirements, but failed the California High School Exit Exam. A new law has made them eligible to finally receive their diplomas.

More than 30,000 students across California are impacted by the change that suspended the exit Exam on Jan. 1.

It’s been eight years since Ashley Silva graduated from Will C Wood High School without her diploma. But now she’s getting some good news.

“She called me back the next day and, ‘Oh yeah you’ll be able to get your diploma,’ I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s awesome,’ I’m still excited about it actually,” she said.

She met all of her graduation requirements in 2008, but never passed the exit exam that was put in place in 2003.

“I just got a certificate of completion, not the same thing as a high-school diploma,” he said. “So out there I knew it was gonna be tougher for me to get a job.”

Now a mom to her 5-year-old daughter Faith, not having that diploma has been a struggle.

“They’ve been held back,” said principal Cliff De Graw. “In the case of Ashley, in the employment market, and now she’s able to move past it.”

She’s not alone. Thousands of other students throughout a California who never got a diploma as far back as 2003 are now eligible after Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 172, suspending the exit exam for at least three years because it didn’t meet the Common Core standards in place today.

Vacaville schools are doing what they can to track down about 150 former high school students, some who have been out of school for more than a decade.

Districts aren’t obligated to track down the students, but any affected students can contact their former high schools. Once they’re verified, they can pick up their diplomas.


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