Those who drop out of high school are forever encouraged to go back and finish, if possible, or to enroll in classes that will lead them to a GED, or General Educational Development diploma. The community applauds those who do, particularly ones who finally surrender to the fact that life in these United States can be tough enough without a high school diploma.
Hundreds in Georgia alone find out that every year. They might not want to admit it, but it’s a shortcoming, a deficit, if you will, that follows them from job to job, and sometimes even from town to town. It’s a dark cloud — the difficulty of landing a good-paying job without a minimum of a high school education — that just never goes away.
Fortunately for these people, it is possible to enroll in GED courses all across this state. With a little work matched by an equal amount of determination, they can earn a GED in almost no time. It’s not a high school diploma, mind you, but it is the next best thing to it.
Only now the state might have unwittingly erected an unnecessary obstacle for anyone headed along that path. Saying it needs more money, the Technical College System of Georgia increased the cost of the GED tests needed for a certificate of completion from $95 to $160.
While $160 might not sound like much to some people, it does to someone who is unemployed. The $90 fee was hard enough to raise or borrow. Now it’s almost double that amount.
There are, of course, scholarships available to those who are unable to afford it. That’s good. It means those who know that, who realize they can take the test free if they qualify for assistance, will not be deterred by the higher cost of the tests.
It will, however, repel others, those who are unaware of the scholarship.
The state didn’t do itself or its communities any favors by making the GED tests more expensive to take. It should be free, in fact, if the objective is to arm all members of Georgia’s workforce with knowledge.