Georgia’s adult learners who want to earn their General Educational Development (GED diploma) will soon have to pay more for the test following changes to the fee structure by the national administrator of the GED Testing Service.
The American Council on Education (ACE), which is the administrator, and Pearson VUE, a specialist in computer-based academic testing, are collaborating in a partnership to expand student access to GED testing nationwide. They announced the new testing fee structure in March.
The TCSG Office of Adult Education is the statewide provider for the GED test. Last year, almost 20,000 Georgians changed their lives for the better and improved their job opportunities by passing the test and obtaining their GED diploma.
Georgia’s GED test-takers currently pay $95 to take the full battery of five tests that measure reading, writing, social studies, science, and mathematics skills. Starting on July 1, 2011, the new fee structure will be $50 for each test, meaning the entire battery will cost $250 if the five tests are taken on separate days. The expense will be lower if two or more tests are taken together, and someone taking all five tests in a day can save $75.
The GED testing fee increase for Georgia adult learners had to be formally approved by the state board of the Technical College System of Georgia, which oversees the state’s Office of Adult Education. The board voted for the measure during its meeting in Atlanta on April 7.
The increased cost to take the GED tests could not be avoided due to the higher fees from the national test administrator. We don’t want to catch anyone by surprise, and we’ll be doing all that we can to inform everyone about this change,” said Beverly Smith, the TCSG assistant commissioner for adult education.
Persons who are ready to take GED tests now or who will soon complete their test preparation will be strongly encouraged to save money and take the test before July 1. The TCSG Office of Adult Education will be working closely with the staff at each of Georgia’s 45 official GED Testing Centers to ensure that adult learners, their families, and local communities are fully aware of the new fees before they take effect this summer.
Although the tests fees are increasing, Smith noted that the State of Georgia continues to offer all other adult education and GED preparation services free of charge to more than 90,000 adult learners, and there are added benefits for completing the program and passing the tests.
“Georgia’s adult learners can still receive individualized GED instruction, test preparation and readiness assessments, and college and career advisement at no cost at numerous locations throughout the state, including on most technical college campuses. And, once they earn a GED diploma, the state presents them with a HOPE voucher that can be used to enroll at a TCSG college, which in turn opens the door to receive the HOPE grant,” said Smith.
Georgia residents who pass the GED tests receive a $500 HOPE voucher to help pay for their expenses at an eligible Georgia postsecondary institution. The HOPE grant, which is separate from the voucher, will pay for most of the state technical college tuition. To keep the HOPE grant, the student must maintain at least a 3.0 college grade point average.
There are almost 1.1 million Georgians over the age of 25 who are still without their high school or GED diploma. The odds work against individuals without a secondary education credential, especially in the 21st Century economy where as many as four in five jobs will require some level of postsecondary education. Today’s high school dropouts earn an average of almost $9,000 less annually than a person with a GED or high school diploma.