Applying to University of the People Without Proof of High School Diploma

University of the People is opening the gates to higher education for all qualified students. In order to facilitate this mission, we have opened a pathway for applicants who cannot provide proof of a high school diploma.


What Qualifies as Proof of a High School Diploma?

According to the Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education in California, all students applying to University of the People must present proof of high school completion. This can come in the form of:


(a) official copies of a diploma (or transcript showing date of graduation) sent directly to University of the People from the high school or an official authority like the Ministry of Education in the country in which the high school is located.


(b) photocopies of the original diploma or transcript certified by an official authority or by a notary, or


(c) the original diploma or transcript.


For those applicants, such as a refugees or asylum seekers or others that are unable to provide (a), (b), or (c) listed above, the applicant shall take an Ability to Benefit test approved by the U.S. Department of Education.


What is Ability to Benefit Testing?

University of the People allows students who cannot provide proof of a high school diploma to take an Ability to Benefit test through ACCUPLACER [1]. If an applicant cannot provide proof of a high school diploma or equivalent (GED, etc.), they must take an ability to benefit test to qualify for application at University of the People.


ACCUPLACER is a computer-adaptive test that determines a student’s ability to study at the U.S. Postsecondary Education level. As such, the Academic level of this test reflects the Academic level of United States High School Graduates from the past three years.[2]


When a student passes the ACCUPLACER test, they will be immediately qualified to apply to University of the People with a functional equivalent of a high school diploma.


The Content of the Test

Each ACCUPLACER Ability to Benefit test includes three separate sections: Reading Comprehension, Sentence Skills, and Arithmetic.

The ACCUPLACER test is untimed. In addition, the ACCUPLACER Ability to Benefit test must be proctored. Students must take and pass all three sections during one proctored test.


Sentence Skills (20 questions)

The Sentence Skills test measures your understanding of sentence structure—what makes a sentence complete and clear. Some questions deal with the logic of a single sentence, and others with the relationships between sentences.


Reading Comprehension (20 questions)

The Reading Comprehension test measures your ability to understand what you read, to identify main ideas, make inferences, and distinguish between direct statements and secondary or supporting ideas.


Arithmetic (17 questions)

The Arithmetic test measures your ability to perform basic arithmetic operations and to solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts. There are three types of arithmetic questions:


• Operations with whole numbers and fractions: topics included in this category are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, recognizing equivalent fractions and mixed numbers, and estimating.

• Operations with decimals and percentages: topics include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with decimals. Percent problems, recognition of decimals, fraction and percent equivalencies, and problems involving estimation are also given.

• Applications and problem solving: topics include rate, percent, and measurement problems, simple geometry problems, and distribution of a quantity into its fractional parts.


According to the U.S. Department of Education standards, the following are passing scores for each sections of the test:


Reading Comprehension – 55
Sentence Skills – 60
Arithmetic – 34


How to Sign Up

If you think you may be qualified to take an ACCUPLACER Ability to Benefit test, please contact your Admissions Advisor. You will receive a remote testing voucher number, which you will need in order to register for your test. Please note that your voucher must be used within 90 days, otherwise it will expire.


Next, you will receive a link to register and schedule your test with BVirtual, a remote proctoring company. You must select your institution from the drop-down menu, and note that University of the People will be paying for all proctoring fees. Your test with remote proctoring by BVirtual can be scheduled 24/7 worldwide.


Taking the Test

To take the remote proctored test, you must have the following:


– A secure location
– A decent internet connection
– A basic webcam


Please note that you will be asked to present at least one form of identification at the time of the test. The identification must be checked before you begin testing and rechecked at the end of testing. The ID must include your name and a recognizable photograph.


Acceptable forms of photo identification include:


– A current driver’s license
– A state-approved ID
– A middle school ID
– A high school ID
– A college ID
– A current state or federal ID
– A current passport
– A tribal ID
– A naturalization card or certificate of citizenship
Other forms of ID will not be accepted.


Prepare for the Test

Prior to taking your test, we highly suggest reviewing free practice materials provided by ACCUPLACER. You can find a sample test here: 

Note – you should work only on Sentence Skills, Arithmetic and Reading Comprehension sections.


In addition, you can register to use the free ACCUPLACER practice app by going to this link:


Retest Policy

The University of the People ACCUPLACER retest policy is in accordance with U.S. Department of Education standards. Within any three-month period, ATB candidates are permitted an initial test and one retest. There must be a two-week waiting period between the initial test and the retest.


We highly recommend using the two-week waiting period for study and review of test content areas in which they did not obtain a passing score.
Please note: students are allowed only 2 chances to pass the Ability to Benefit Test within any given Academic Year.


For any further questions on the Ability to Benefit test, please contact your admissions advisor, or email [email protected]


[1] It is approved and regulated by The College Board, who can be contacted at: The College Board, 250 Vesey Street, New York, New York 10281. Telephone (800) 607-5223; Fax (212) 253-4061


[2] The Academic level of this test is equivalent to one standard deviation below the mean of United States High School Graduates from the past three years. See: