Kentucky achieves 81 percent jump in GED test sign-ups after waiving fee

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) - Since Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman announced in January that the $120 GED test fee would be waived for Kentuckians, there has been an 81 percent jump in the number of people who are signed up to get a GED.

Gov. Beshear said there was a 38 percent increase in the number of Kentuckians who have earned a GED, according to Kentucky Skills U, an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC).

“We are so pleased to see the phenomenal response from Kentuckians who were so eager to get their free GED,” said Gov. Beshear. “We removed one financial barrier to education and we are quickly seeing great results that are truly helping many Kentucky families.”

The GED test fee is one of the most common barriers facing adults lacking education in Kentucky. With more than 335,000 Kentuckians without a high school diploma or GED, EWDC allotted $600,000 in state funding to waive test fees in an effort to eliminate financial barriers associated with GED attainment, which is $120 for all four courses in Kentucky.

The GED fee waiver applies to first-time test-takers. Kentucky requires the GED Ready Practice test be taken prior to the GED exam. The GED Ready test is available at no cost through Kentucky Skills U or individuals may take the test online at ged.com for a fee.

“Every Kentuckian has the right to a quality education. It is our job to remove the barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential. As a teacher, I am not surprised that Kentuckians are eager to better themselves and their families through education, but this response has been even better than we imagined. The investment that our state is making in Kentuckians will pay dividends far into the future of these individuals, their families and communities and ultimately our state,” said Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, secretary of EWDC.

“I think a lot of the time there is privilege given to those who go through life in a straight line. Life for me hasn’t been a straight anything. My life has had twists and turns that haven’t always been in my control. The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet making the GED test free says to me that it’s okay to stumble on your journey to success. I feel supported in that journey,” said Amber Wilder, a Louisville resident who is studying for the GED test.

Between January and March this year, an average of 1,230 Kentuckians per month are in the process of attaining a GED compared to 678 for the same period in 2019 for an increase of 81 percent, and 735 people have earned a GED in 2020 compared to 533 people for the same period in 2019 for an increase of 38 percent. In addition, 2,431 Kentuckians or 53 percent more have taken the GED during that same period than in 2019 when 1,601 took the test.

Kentucky Skills U provides no-cost adult education services in all 120 Kentucky counties to individuals seeking to become college and/or career ready. Students can prepare for the GED, transition to post-secondary education or receive career training for employment.

For more information, visit kyskillsu.gov or text MYGED to 74700 to connect with Kentucky Skills U center near you.