For thousands of California special education students, a state exit exam is all that stood between them and a high school diploma. But not for long.

Special education students will no longer need to pass the state exit exam in order to receive a regular education diploma, so long as they meet all of the other requirements.

The change comes as part of a budget compromise reached between the California legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The governor is expected to sign off on the compromise plan Tuesday. Even though the requirement is being removed as part of a budget deal, the change is unlikely to yield a cost savings.

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Initially, Democrats in the legislature wanted to remove the exit exam requirement for all of the state’s students in order to save money. But the governor did not like that idea and the two parties compromised by only stripping the requirement for special education students.

The change will apply for students in the class of 2010 and beyond. It’s unclear what impact, if any, the change will have for students who were unable to earn diplomas in previous years due to the exit exam requirement, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. To read more click here.