Putting Education Reform To The Test

Should Students Pay Fees To Get A GED?


Enrollment is down in Florida’s adult education classes, and it may be because of money.

High school dropouts looking to prepare for a General Educational Development test (GED) now have to pay for classes that used to be free. The same applies to those who want to take courses in English as a second language. The cost is minimal, but it could be a deal breaker for people having trouble making ends meet.

The Sun Sentinel lays out the numbers. Nearly 340,000 adults took basic education classes last year. That number is expected to shrink this year by at least 38 percent. In Broward County alone, there’s been a 70 percent drop in students taking GED preparation courses.

The amount of money that may be keeping some people from furthering their education is as little as $45. That’s the cost for state residents to take a six month prep course. Those who can’t prove residency must pay $180. State lawmakers approved the fees this year in part because of people signing up, then not showing up.

The cost of classes does not include official testing. The Florida Literacy Coalition says the cost of the Official GED Test is determined at the local level, but cannot exceed $75.

The Florida Department of Education offers information about adult education initiatives and the GED. The department’s Tara Goodman told the Sun Sentinel other states that have implemented similar fees “have seen enrollment initially drop and then start to rise again.”

She said many GED hopefuls will find a way to take and pass the exam, regardless of the cost, because they know it can mean a brighter future.


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