States Drop GED as Cost of Test Rises

Several states are considering dropping the GED high school equivalency test because of rising costs. Next year the test will only be offered electronically, meaning that testing centers will need to provide equipment and the software necessary for testers.

"It's a complete paradigm shift because the GED has been the monopoly," Amy Riker, director of high school equivalency testing for Educational Testing Service, told the Associated Press. "It's been the only thing in town for high school equivalency testing. It's kind of like Kleenex at this point."

Organizations such as the Educational Testing Service have been working to develop a new alternative, but the GED is by and far the most well-known and accepted. However, with over 40 states looking to reduce costs, those alternatives just might have a chance to become the norm.

It currently costs $140 to take the test in the state of Missouri, which is one of the 40 states looking for a solution to the problem. Many of those wanting to take the GED cannot afford the test by itself, especially if they have to take it again to get a better score.

"A lot of them are just barely making it," Kirk Proctor of the Missouri Career Center, told AP. "Transportation is a challenge. Eating is a challenge. For them, coming up with $140 for an assessment, it's basically telling them, 'Forget about ever getting this part of your life complete.'"

One of the problems is the cost of technology. The GED used to be paper-based, but now is switching to an electronic-based system. Testing sites are unable to come up with the needed funds and are looking to go back to the more traditional paper-based exam. Those tests can cost between $50 and $60 instead of the $140 or higher.

Educators are working to ensure that some sort of high school equivalency test will be available for anyone who wants to take it. Individual states are taking steps to help those "looking to improve their economic situation by obtaining a high school equivalency diploma," Montana's Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said in a press release.