Post Classifieds

Fee for GED certification a burden on success

By Ebony Linzy
On February 13, 2013

The other day, as we enjoyed a convenient meal of ramen noodle soup, a friend mentioned that starting in 2014, the General Education Development program would no longer be free.

Initially I thought, this couldn't be true - obtaining your GED certificate had always been free. As thousands of people participate in these programs each year, one of the best things about it was its financial accessibility.

So, once I'd been informed that this would soon be ending, it was only right that I looked more into it, and I found that my friend was right - beginning in 2014, the GED certificate test will no longer be free.

According to GED Testing Service, taking all five components of the exam will cost $120 per attempt, though pricing may range depending upon the state. Unfortunately in this case, range refers to possibly being more expensive, without the options of any fee waivers being offered thus far.

The current exam, administered by the GED Testing Service, is set to expire in December 2013, leaving the same company to release its latest computerized exam Jan. 2, 2014.

In conjunction with its release, paper exams will no longer be offered, leaving prospective students the only option of completing and passing the computerized exam at a considerable fee.

Although the new exams are said to be more efficient and better prepare students for college and careers, those aren't means to associate price with progress.

For years, students like us have gone through GED programs as a means of placing themselves in a position to access higher education.

People who either struggle through school or are in no position to attend, turn to GED programs as their best or sometimes only option.

So now that there's a fee associated with the program, who's to say that the success or participation rates will stay the same?

Some might say $120 isn't a lot, but I can only imagine how those who don't have it to spare may feel. Not to mention that the fee applies each time you take the exam, regardless of whether you pass it or not - meaning in many cases, it may actually cost you more than $120.

It's slightly sickening knowing that a program as great and convenient as the GED program now has a price. I mean, at the rate we're going I wouldn't be surprised if a fee is placed on a middle school diploma.

As a student who struggled through junior high and high school, I knew that if I ever got to the point of dropping out, I could always get my GED certificate and still attend college. I knew there would be no fee, and at my convenience, that was my first option had I reached the point of no return.

When I think about it now, I didn't have $120 up front to take the exam, let alone if I failed it. Without a job and limited funds available, I would've had to possibly put off the exam, which defeats the purpose of providing free preparation programs.

Afforded the opportunity to attend Buffalo State, I think about those who are enrolled in a GED program or with high hopes of coming to BSC. If they don't have the funds, their dreams will be delayed or even shattered.

Just thinking about the thousands of students who were able to attend college with their GED certificate, I can only question had this number been the same if this fee was in place.

There's no doubt that in many instances, fees are justifiable. I just don't believe that it should apply to a program as popular, convenient and successful as this one is.

Ebony Linzy can be reached by email at

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