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Tennessee's Free High School Equivalency Classes and Testing Increase Job Opportunities, Earning Ability

Free High School Equivalency Classes and Testing Helps Workers Increase Job Opportunities, Earning Ability

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is now giving students who left high school before graduating the opportunity to earn their high school equivalency diploma at no cost.

“This is a real game changer for those who need this credential to get a job,” said Jason Beard, administrator of the Adult Education Division of the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development. “Our target is to have diplomas in the hands of 5,000 graduates by the end of the year, and we know removing the test fee is a great incentive to meet our goal.”

Tennessee already offers free adult education classes to prepare individuals for the high school equivalency test.

The state of Tennessee offers two test options to earn a high school equivalency diploma. The HiSet is managed by the nonprofit organization Educational Testing Service, and Pearson Education administers the GED. The HiSet’s original cost is $75 compared with $125 for the GED. In order to reach as many potential graduates as possible, the HiSet will be the only test offered at no cost by the Adult Education program. Once a student passes either the HiSet or GED, an official state high school equivalency diploma is issued that does not make reference to which test was taken.

According to the American Community Survey, approximately 700,000 Tennesseans have less than a high school diploma. National figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show employment opportunity and income increase significantly with educational achievements.

“Folks with a diploma, on average, make $10,000 more per year than folks without,” Beard said.

Anyone interested in earning his or her Tennessee High School Equivalency Diploma should contact a local Adult Education office to get started. Free preparatory classes are available throughout the state of Tennessee and online resources are also available.

For general information on eligibility and testing, visit Adult Education’s website at http://www.tn.gov/workforce/topic/high-school-testing or call 800-531-1515 for assistance in finding a local program.

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