A Program Alternative for GED Fee Waivers in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Education has announced that due to budget cuts, it will no longer offer waivers for the $65 GED testing fee starting September 1, 2009. After that date, the GED test fee will be reduced to $40, and those who do not pass all 5 sections can retake individual tests for $10 per section.

This is obviously an additional hurdle for those students who may already be hesitant to take the GED. The GED practice tests and fee waivers no only eliminate an economic barrier, but also give students the confidence that they will indeed pass the official state tests. However, just because the Ohio Department of Education is no longer offering fee waivers does not mean that adult education programs must force our students to pay.

Funders and supporters love sponsorships and other very specific opportunities that benefit students in a concrete way. Individual programs or groups of programs can offer their own “fee waiver” to cover the costs for students who show they are prepared. This may be bundled with other student sponsorship activities, like paying for materials or school supplies.

I suspect that many programs will be tempted to discontinue paying staff to administer the GED practice tests since students will no longer be eligible for GED fee waivers. While this is unfortunate, it also levels the playing field for community based programs who do not offer the GED practice tests. Programs that currently use the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) have an alternative means to measure if their students are ready to take the GED tests. McGraw Hill offers the TABE 9 & 10 Advance Level Tests, which is designed to assess students skills at 9.0-12.9+ grade level. The commonly used battery or survey tests include Reading and Math scores, and additional tests are available in Algebra/Geometry, Writing, and Science/Social Studies. Tests are packaged in 25, which is more than most programs need, so joint purchasing with other adult education programs is advisable. I am recommending this solution for the Ohio adult education programs who wish to know when their students are ready to take the GED test.

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Ohio Department of Education, CTB/McGraw Hill companies, or any adult education programs. Farrell Ink is in no way affiliated with or compensated by ODE, CTB/McGraw Hill or any other publisher of adult education assessments.

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