State to stop administering GED tests for free

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Effective January 1, 2014, GED tests will no longer be free of charge in Arkansas.

GED administrators estimate the five-part exam will cost about $25 per section, totaling $125.

Valley View Adult Educational Center director Steve Clayton said Arkansas is the last state to administer GED testing for free, and the change comes as the testing process transitions from paper to computer-based.

Jonesboro native 52-year-old Sarah Anderson said she has worked previously in the certified nursing assistance field, and wants to study nursing at a four-year university once she passes her GED test. "I took the essay part of it yesterday, and I passed it and I'm working on my math now. I been having some problems with math, but I got some good teachers."

Clayton believes the change will motivate people to complete the test before the estimated $125 fee goes into effect. "I would think it would increase our number significantly. I know if I could get it done free, I would much rather do it today as opposed to tomorrow and pay $125 for the same document."

The five parts of the GED test are reading, writing, math, science and social studies. Clayton said test results will not carry over into 2014. Anyone who does pass all parts of the test by December 31, 2013, will have to pay the test fee and retake the entire test.

Clayton said people who have a high school diploma or GED will make an average of $8,000 more per year than people who did not graduate, which is why Anderson believes the estimated $25 per test section is worth every penny.

"Well, some people probably won't like it, and some people will probably agree with me and say it's worth it because I look at my education. I just had a tenth grade education. I dropped out in tenth grade, and if you have to pay for it, it's worth it."

"I just want to add to all of the kids that are deciding to drop out of school, Your education is a blessing. Get it while you can and stay in school because don't nothing come free."

The Valley View Adult Education Center is open 52 hours a week and administrators proctor GED tests every other week.  The center has an open enrollment policy and allows students to work at an individual pace leading up to test days.

Click here for more information about Valley View Adult Education Center or call 870-935-6205.

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