Cost of GED test will be almost five times higher in 2014
SALISBURY — It will cost almost five times more to take the GED test starting in 2014.
The fee for the test will go up by $10 in January from $25 to $35. Then it will soar to $120 as it moves from being a paper-based test to an online model.
“Anybody you know who wants to get a GED, next year is the year to get it,” President Carol Spalding said. “My first job was as a GED instructor and I know firsthand how important a GED is for a person’s future.”
Officials at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College are urging those who are interested in obtaining their GED to do so now.
“We will certainly be trying to encourage all students to get in and complete it as soon as possible,” said Gaye McConnell, vice president of student services. “This represents some challenges, but it’s also a chance for our college to do some additional outreach.”
The college plans to launch an aggressive marketing effort to let community members know about the rising cost.
Ace and Pearson, which distributes the test nationally, opted to charge $24 per section when it switches to the computerized version in 2014.
The tests includes a language arts, reading, social studies, science and math portion.
McConnell said right now students who fail can retake it for free, but in 2014 they’ll have to pay each time a section has to be taken again.
“We know the people in our community who are least prepared to pay for this pretty high dollar exam are the ones who will need to take it,” she said. “We’re trying to work out ways to offset the cost.”
McConnell said Scott Ralls, president of the North Carolina Community College System, is exploring funding options to provide vouchers for people who are prepared to take the GED test but find the cost prohibitive.
Rowan-Cabarrus administered 2,271 GED tests from Jan. 1 through Nov. 27. McConnell said they expect to see an influx of test-takers next year before the cost skyrockets.
About 60 tests were completed each month by Department of Corrections inmates.
McConnell said reaching that population could be a challenge in the future as the test is given strictly online, but the college is hoping to nail down a plan.
The college offers free GED classes to help people get prepared to take the test. For more information about the courses contact Gary Connor, director of GED and adult basic education programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-216-3723.
“Support is available right here in Rowan and Cabarrus counties,” he said. “We’re here to help you … Even with your busy schedule, you can prepare, plan and succeed at taking the GED test.”
Connor said the passing the GED test opens up the door to college and a better job.
“It gives the graduate the respect they deserve and the satisfaction of earning a high school credential with the hope that they will continue with their education,” he said.
Spalding urges people to encourage anyone they know who needs to take the GED to do so before 2014.
“Today’s unemployment rates are evidence that without a high school diploma or a GED, future salary is limited to near poverty levels,” She said. “By all means, use 2013 to complete your high school equivalent education so you can better prepare the years ahead.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.