Adults wanting to take the GED but who couldn’t afford the cost of the tests will receive a boost following the announcement that AT&T is donating $50,000 to the Technical College System of Georgia to create GED testing scholarships for qualified, low-income students.
The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), with which Bainbridge College is affiliated, will administer the scholarships through the Office of Adult Education, which manages the state’s GED instruction and testing programs.
The telecommunications company’s generosity will create an opportunity for almost 800 low-income Georgians to receive a $65 voucher to be used toward the cost of the full GED test. Currently, it costs $95 to take the full battery of GED tests.
“Adults who dropped out of high school for whatever reason have an opportunity to improve their lives by successfully passing the GED. And with that GED, adult students often open up more opportunities to improve their lives with higher education,” said Bainbridge College President Richard Carvajal.
“Earning a GED is a first, big step for improving a person’s life through education,” Carvajal said. “Here at Bainbridge College, there are stories after stories of students and former students who have tremendously improved their lot in life through higher education, and earning a GED was that first step. AT&T’s donation will certainly help some people with that all-important first step.”
For entering freshmen to Bainbridge College during last fall semester, 11 percent earned GEDs, 64 percent had high school diplomas and the remaining students were enrolled in technical or certificate programs that didn’t require either a GED or diploma.
In Southwest Georgia, more than a quarter, or 25.5 percent, of adults 25 years old and older don’t have a high school diploma, U.S. Census data show. The average for Georgia is 16.5 percent.
Terrell County had the highest percentage with 34.2 percent of the adults 25 years old and older not having a high school diploma.
Lee County is the lowest with 16.6 percent not having a diploma. Baker County has 24.9 percent of the adults 25 years old and older not having a high school diploma, Calhoun County has 31.7 percent, Clay has 21.9 percent, Colquitt has 28.2 percent, Decatur has 24.4 percent, Doughtery has 19.3 percent, Early has 22.9 percent, Grady has 25.9 percent, Miller has 26.6 percent, Mitchell has 34 percent, Randolph has 29.6 percent, Seminole has 23 percent, Thomas has 18.6 percent and Worth has 26.4 percent.
The costs of the GED tests are expected to rise in the spring when a new, computer-based test is deployed in collaboration with the national GED Testing Service in Washington. The TCSG will announce the new fee in the coming months.
To be considered for the GED scholarship, the learner must attend a state-approved adult education class and have a minimum score of 500 on each of the five GED practice exams that cover reading, writing, science, social studies and mathematics.