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TCSG State Board Approves New Fee Structure for GED®Test-takers
ATLANTA – Georgia’s adult learners who want to improve their education have easy access to free programs that offer adult education and GED preparation through the Technical College System of Georgia’s (TCSG) Office of Adult Education. 

The only cost that adult learners have to pay is the GED test fee. Now, for the first time since 2007, that fee is set to rise in July to $32 for each part of the test under a plan approved on May 3, 2012, by the state board that oversees the TCSG.

The total cost for the five-part test will be $160 and goes into effect on July 1, 2012, after the TCSG, its colleges, and the local testing centers work to inform Georgians about the price change.

The new price structure applies to all current tests and coincides with the nationwide implementation of a computer-based GED test. The TCSG Office of Adult Education is currently piloting the computer-based test at two technical college locations and plans to implement it at all GED testing centers statewide by year-end. 

This is the first price increase for the GED test in five years, when the previous cost for each of the five test components rose from $13 to the current $19 (or $95 for the full test battery). The new price factors in the cost of the development, implementation, delivery and use of the test, including the computer-based version.

“The computer-based GED test is being implemented nationwide, and Georgia is one of the first states to use it. This is an important step for our state since the new GED test that’s scheduled for release in 2014 will be available on computer only. Our ability to begin student preparation early will be a plus for our test-takers. We’ve been working in close collaboration with the national GED Testing Service in Washington, D.C. to ensure that Georgia’s adult learners can make an easy and successful transition to the paperless test,” said Beverly Smith, TCSG assistant commissioner for adult education.

Evaluations from over 600 GED test-takers who took the computer-based test at the two pilot test centers at Gwinnett Technical College and Ogeechee Technical College have been positive about the experience. Even students with minimal computer skills found that the experience was easier than they first thought.

Once fully deployed, the computer-based GED test will provide additional benefits to Georgia’s test-takers, including the use of basic technology that’s required for many job applications as well as in training programs and workplaces. From hospitals to construction sites, computer use is a common skill that’s expected in today’s job market. Technology integration in the workforce will continue trending upward, and Georgia’s adult learners will gain from using the basic keyboarding skills required to take the GED test on computer.

According to Nicole M. Chestang, executive vice president of the GED Testing Service, “Georgia’s test-takers will also benefit by receiving instant unofficial scores for four of the five subject tests, and in 2014 GED testing on computer will add a significantly enhanced and expanded score report – rather than the current pass/fail approach. Also, in 2014 test-takers will be able to receive not just the traditional high school equivalency, but also a new career- and college-ready endorsement for easier entry into the workforce and college training programs.”

Qualified students who cannot afford the fees will be eligible to apply for grants through the TCSG colleges and local community organizations. All of the other essential adult education programs, including Adult Basic Education, GED test preparation classes, college and career advisement, and English as a Second Language classes, remain available free of charge to any Georgian.  Last year, almost 80,000 Georgians took advantage of easy access to those programs.

Smith stated that the new cost structure should not deter anyone, regardless of their income, from taking and passing a test that will change their lives for the better, including the potential for a higher-paying job and access to a college education.  “Students who think that they won’t be able to cover the cost or who need other assistance shouldn’t hesitate to get more information from their local GED testing center or the TCSG Office of Adult Education. Individuals who qualify based on need can get help with access to grant money from the TCSG Foundation, TCSG college foundations, and local literacy partners.  And we’re actively seeking more individual, civic, and corporate donors who are willing to help the more than 1.2 million adult Georgians who need a GED diploma,” said Smith.

Smith added, “In FY 2011, almost 28,000 people took the GED test in Georgia and over 19,000 passed it and earned their GED diploma. More than 9,500 people received fee assistance to take the test, and we expect to substantially increase that number in the coming year.”  

There are added benefits for completing the program and passing the tests. “Once graduates earn a GED diploma, the state presents those who are Georgia residents with a $500 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.

The HOPE grant, which is separate from the voucher, will pay for a large portion of the state technical college tuition. To keep the HOPE grant, students must maintain at least a 3.0 college grade point average. 

HOPE GED vouchers may also be submitted to an eligible Georgia technical college, public or private college or university to assist with degree-level educational expenses and to enable the holder to be considered for the HOPE Scholarship.

Okefenokee Technical College adult education sites are located in six counties: Bacon (912.632.6659), Brantley (912.462.7923), Charlton (912.496.4941), Clinch (912.487.5673), Pierce (912.449.8081), and Ware (912.287.6580).

Currently OTC tests in Nahunta and Waycross only. Plans are underway for the OTC computer-based testing center to open in mid-July 2012. It will be located in Waycross at the new Economic Development Training Center (former OTC Child Care Center). A list of all Georgia GED testing centers is available at https://tcsg.edu/forAdultLearners.php.

More about computer-based GED testing:

  • Test-takers can register online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • They can go online day or night to schedule a test and even schedule on a test day.
  • Easy choice of a test center location, day and time that’s convenient to the test-taker.
  • Instant unofficial results given at completion of most tests (except for the Language Arts – Writing test).
  • There’s increased time for testing with a substantial reduction of administrative tasks.
  • Increased security - electronic tests are downloaded/uploaded with no internet connection during testing.
  • Ability to expand GED test centers in more Georgia counties with the use of existing local computer labs.

 

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