GED costs to quadruple in 2013
by Anna Oakes
Because of the changes coming down the pike, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, which has campuses in Caldwell and Watauga counties, encourages those who lack a high school diploma to complete GED exams by the end of the year.
“Those two deadlines are facing our students,” said Edward Terry, public information officer for CCC&TI. “We're encouraging them to try and finish by the end of 2012.”
The GED (General Educational Development) test, administered by the American Council on Education, is the only nationally recognized high school equivalency credential. The ACE is responsible for any changes to the GED and its costs, Terry said.
The GED Testing Service estimates that more than 39 million Americans lack high school credentials. By obtaining a GED, persons can become eligible to attend college, receive occupational training and find better-paying jobs.
Prior to taking the exams, students may participate in self study or in preparation courses offered at community college campuses, work sites and other community centers.
“Currently, you can take all five tests for a cost of $25,” said Terry. In 2013, the cost increases to $24 per test — for a total of $120.
Another significant change taking effect in January is that students will no longer have the option of taking GED exams by computer or with paper and pencil. All GED exams will be administered via computer.
“That's going to be a big change,” Terry said. “For some students that's a challenge. They might not have computer skills.”
In 2014, the GED exams will be condensed into four tests, and the material will more closely align with the common core curriculum for public schools adopted by multiple states across the nation, including North Carolina.
“Frankly, it will be more difficult,” said Terry. “It's going to be a whole new battery of tests.”
Generally students can take as long as they need to complete GED exams, but to help students who want to finish GED exams before changes take effect, CCC&TI will offer a “fast-track” GED program in Lenoir beginning Sept. 11.
“We are creating this fast-track (course) to get them through before this price goes up,” Terry said.
The five-week program will take place at Mulberry Recreation Center in Lenoir from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. To register, call (828) 726-2230.
In Watauga County, GED classes and exams are held at the Watauga campus of CCC&TI on the N.C. 105 bypass, at the Children's Council office in Boone and at the Deep Gap Fire Department.
For more information about GED programs in Watauga County, call (828) 297-5253.