Ability to Benefit

Get Help Paying for College Without a High School Diploma

How to Get Help Paying for College without a High School Diploma

If you do not have a high school diploma or GED, you may be able to get financial aid to help pay for college through Ability to Benefit.

What is Ability to Benefit (ATB)?

It’s a federal financial aid rule that allows students without a high school diploma (or an equivalent like a GED or home school diploma) to qualify for financial aid if they prove they have the ability to benefit from a college education. Financial aid can help you pay for tuition, books, fees and other educational expenses for college-level classes.

Who is eligible?

You may be eligible if you:
• Don’t have a high school diploma or GED
• Are 17 or older by June 30 of the academic year.
• Participate in an eligible career pathway program.

Participate in PTCC’s Ability to Benefit program and take classes that lead to a high school diploma at the same time.

This is a great option for students interested in an eligible career pathway who would like additional support in career and academic planning, introduction to college processes, and who have the academic potential and career interests to be successful.

Eligible career programs:

Partnership with SCRED-Adult Basic Education

St. Croix River Education District logo


PTCC partners with St. Croix River Education District (SCRED) and Adult Basic Education to help students earn their high school equivalency diploma (GED/Adult Diploma), while providing additional support to students enrolled in an eligible career program at PTCC. This partnership is essential to provide students with a strong foundation to succeed in completing their GED and attaining  postsecondary credential.

How do I Apply?

All students must submit an application to PTCC. Complete all requirements of the admissions process.


Visit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) webpage for step-by-step instructions. Use PTCC FAFSA code 005535.

If you have questions, email

Email Jami Kritzeck to make an appointment. Jami will guide you through the Ability to Benefit application and initial orientation.

You’re welcome to register for/attend more than one session.

Student Requirements

Once in the program, students are required to complete the following:

This includes an orientation to participating in the ATB program, and a required program orientation.

Students will be required to complete appropriate assessments needed for completion of the GED and course placement at PTCC.

Throughout the ATB program, students will have access career development resources such as advising, the PTCC Career Center, STRONGS interest inventory assessments, etc.

Students will be assigned an ATB advisor, program advisor, and Student Success Advisor to assist the student in their success.

Stay on track! Students will work closely with their assigned advisors to ensure they are staying on track towards GED and post-secondary program completion.

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