GED to cost Students $120

(KATV) Changes may be coming for Arkansans who want to get their GED. Right now the test is free, but it may not be for much longer. The testing process will also become more rigorous.

The changes will start January 2014. It sounds far off, but look at how fast 2012 has flown by. If you are contemplating getting a GED, now may be the best time. Plus if you haven't finished the course before the changes take place you'll have to start over and pay.

At the Adult Education Center in Little Rock, they provide booklets in English and Spanish. Soon this classroom will be a computer lab.

Janice Hanlon is the administrator for the Arkansas GED. She explains, "Our curriculum is changing as it is in High Schools."

There has always been a cost for the test, but it has been picked up by the state, that will change January 2014. The test cost $120. "We're exploring all avenues of trying to get funding to pay for that but at the current time we're not sure about that. We do anticipate some charge to individuals in 2014."

Nationally, the test is undergoing its largest overhaul since it began in 1942. It is still the same subjects (reading/writing, math, social studies and science) but will reflect the common core state standards of high school education. The test will not be written, rather on computer and there will be a second level that will indicate if the individual is career or college ready.

Hanlon adds, "So we are highly encouraging people to come in now while it's free and while it's the same test we've had for a number of years."

About 9,000 people in Arkansas take the test every year. The average age of a student is 17 to 24 years old. Hanlon says someone with a GED makes about $4,000 more a year than someone who has dropped out of school.

The cost and exam changes are a concern, but officials are looking for funding on the private and public sector. They would also like to offer scholarships. Plus, people who are not used to computers will be given a course before having to use a computer to take the test.

The program is under the authority of the Arkansas Department of Career Education.


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