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The Real Deal: Changes coming to GED program

Updated: Thursday, April 10 2014, 01:52 PM EDT

The GED program will be changing dramatically soon and if you're a high school graduate, you may think it doesn't impact you but it does -- because you're paying for it.  Right now, our tax dollars pick up the cost of the test for those trying to earn a GED and new changes at the federal level will double the bill.

Jasmine Slade has two kids and one on the way and that's exactly why she's focused on getting her GED.  "I don't want to have people help me, I want to provide for my family and not depend on other people, as far as taking care of my children, I wanna be the best parent I can be," she says.  Slade is taking adult learning classes through Capital Region BOCES until she's ready to take the test, hopefully that will be before the end of next year. 

"We really encourage folks who've passed part of the GED, if they have a section or two left, we encourage them to try and get through it now because if it's after January 2014, the expectation is that they'll have to start all over again," says Kim Brizzell, the principal of Capital Region BOCES. 

The test is changing. The GED Testing Service, which has administered the GED for years is revamping the test to ensure that those who pass it will truly be ready for college-level coursework.  The price will double, the exam itself will be tougher and it'll have to be taken on the computer.  "Our hope is that everyone does make it through (before 2014) or get as many students through as we can before the changes are put forth," Brizzell says.

About 50,000 New Yorkers take the GED each year.  New York is one of just three states that picks up the bill for both the prep classes and the test.  This year's state budget allocated roughly $2.5 million to cover GED expenses, if New York goes along with the new changes, that amount would need to be bumped up to $6 million. 

The New York State Board of Regents will meet on Monday to discuss its options.  It is possible the board will decide to come up with a high school equivalency test of its own but it would be quite and undertaking as it'll have to ensure colleges and universities will accept it from students who want to further their education. 

Whatever the State Education Department and Board of Regents decide, the changes won't be implemented until January 2014, so if you've been thinking about going for your GED, "don't think about it, just do it, that's how I see it.  Three kids is a lot to me, especially not having my education, my advice to other moms is to just get up and do it, you never know what the outcome might be if you don't try, Slade says. 

For more information about adult learning classes:

The Real Deal: Changes coming to GED program

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