"The increased cost to take the GED tests could not be avoided due to the higher fees from the national test administrator," said Beverly Smith, TCSG assistant commissioner for adult education. We don't want to catch anyone by surprise, and we'll be doing all that we can to inform everyone about this change."
According to the TCSG Office of Adult Education, the statewide provider for the GED test, "Georgia's GED test-takers currently pay $95 to take the full battery of five tests that measure reading, writing, social studies, science, and mathematics skills. Starting on July 1, 2011, the new fee structure will be $50 for each test, meaning the entire battery will cost $250 if the five tests are taken on separate days. The expense will be lower if two or more tests are taken together, and someone taking all five tests in a day can save $75."
Jon Collins, executive director of adult education at Chattahoochee Technical College's North Metro campus, said although the new rate passed down is higher, it could open the door for more individualized testing versus group testing.
"For years people have been asking if they can do the test online," Collins said. "... Now you go from paper-based into a computer-based test, which realistically had to happen sooner or later, but it happens as a cost."
Collins, who heads GED test preparation at the college, said details on the extent of how individualized the new testing process will be have not be revealed, but in May the college should know if applicants can schedule to take the test at their convenience.
"It's been our experience that our students score better if we can break the test up like we currently do," Collins said, "they come in fresh both days and that's worth points."
Mike Light, director of communications for TCSG, said the fee change will likely be difficult for those who have to take the test over multiple days -- a common method of test completion, according to Light -- but there are financial opportunities involved with passing the GED.
For example, those who pass the test will receive a $500 HOPE voucher to be used toward postsecondary education, which Light said then opens the door to receive a HOPE grant.
"The bottom line is a lot of these folks that don't have their high school diploma are the same ones who are having a hard time [in the economy]," Light said. "And so we're very cognizant of that and our college is going to be working with these adult learners to help them try and find a way to pay for [testing]."
Light said the system is encouraging those who are close to completing the exam to do so before July 1.