SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - While 2014 brought a completely new GED test and increased fees, there has been some relief for test-takers. Thanks to a new arrangement between the GED Testing Service and the North Carolina Community College system, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has been able to lower the cost per exam from $30.00 to $20.00 for each of the four tests that make up the high school equivalency.
This fee change, a reduction of $10 per test, will take place this summer once all of the 58 community colleges have completed the necessary paperwork.
2013 marked an important year for the College to reach adults without a high school diploma or GED. Rowan-Cabarrus committed to help local individuals finish the GED testing process before testing fees increased.
Last year, in order to meet student needs, the College personally reached out to every adult in Rowan and Cabarrus counties who had not yet received their high school diploma or GED. To encourage the community to act before the changes took place, the College held a "one-day only" event where the College paid the test fee for interested individuals.
The effort paid off with nearly 630 local residents completing their GED in 2013. This is the largest number of GED graduates that the College has served in about ten years since the closing of Pillowtex. Further, this group of GED graduates represents the largest percentage of students moving directly onto to college courses at Rowan-Cabarrus.
As part of the College's efforts to keep costs as low as possible, Rowan-Cabarrus has been offering students who enroll in the GED program the option to apply for funding that would cover the cost of the test fees.
"I don't want students to abandon their GED efforts because of a cost factor," said Gary Connor, director of the College's GED and Adult Basic Education programs.
Rowan-Cabarrus provides both instruction and resource materials to students preparing for the GED at no cost. Classes are scheduled on the North and South Campuses and at a variety of community locations for convenience and access.
"Our goal is to bring education to the students. It's our 'meet them where they are philosophy,'" said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. "While it's not possible for every program, our overarching goal is to be available and accessible to students. That's why our students can now earn 14 degrees completely online. It's why the GED classes are offered morning, afternoon, evening, online and at multiple locations across the college's service area."
Students work at their own pace, so the time to complete a section of the GED may take weeks or months based upon the individual readiness for the test.
"The GED test opens the door to college and better jobs. It gives the graduate the respect they deserve, and the satisfaction of earning a high school credential with the hope that they will continue with their education," said Connor.
"We are committed to helping the people of Rowan and Cabarrus counties gain the skills they need to become employable," said Spalding. "In addition to free GED classes, we also offer free classes that prepare them to take the WorkKeys assessment to earn the nationally recognized Career Readiness Certificate (CRC). Armed with these two credentials, an individual's chances for employment are greatly improved."
Unfortunately, this reduction of price cannot be retroactive. If a student has already paid full price to take all four tests, that student would not receive a reimbursement. A student who is paying for individual tests would pay the lower price for any test he/she takes after the rate changes.