Correction: Rising GED Cost story

Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- In a story Nov. 17 about GED test costs, The Associated Press erroneously reported the expected change in Ohio's number of licensed test administration sites. Officials from the state and GED Testing Service expect the number to be the same or higher, not lower, with the switch to a computer version of the test.

The story also reported that providers set the test price. It should have made it clear that the state determines how much test-takers can be charged.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Some in Ohio worry about rising cost of GED exam

Some in Ohio worry as cost of GED exam is set to triple with new computer version by 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The cost for people without high school diplomas to take a test for an equivalency certificate is expected to triple within the next year, and that has some Ohioans worried about its affordability, especially for potential test-takers working lower-paying jobs.

The fee will be about $120 when a computer version replaces the paper version of the GED test by 2014, The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/Q7KCzY ) reported.

About 25,000 people in Ohio are expected to take the test during the next year.

Among them is Angela Surles, a 22-year-old single mother who hopes passing the test leads to higher-paying work. Surles, who quit working at Sears to participate in a six-week test preparation course and gets by on food stamps and family help, says she can't afford the higher price and knows others in similar situations.

"With the economy right now, everybody is struggling," Surles, of Columbus, said.

The American Council on Education, the nonprofit that owns the GED, is partnering with a for-profit company called Pearson Vue Testing in the GED Testing Service joint venture. They'll set a price for providing the test, but the state determines exactly how much test-takers can be charged, the state and the GED Testing Service said.

States could instead choose to develop their own equivalency tests, but that would take funding and time and raise the possibility that some colleges wouldn't recognize it.

"Right now, the GED brand is accepted at most colleges. It would take time for colleges to accept another test option," Department of Education spokesman John Charlton told the newspaper in an email.

Officials expect the number of licensed test administration sites, now about 100, to eventually be the same or increase with the switch to the computer version.

The Department of Education approved the first five computer test centers in the state last month and will roll out the first Franklin County center, at Columbus State, next week, said Sharon Bowman, state GED administrator for the Department of Education. The goal is to have 40 sites in the state by December 2014, but several will be at prisons, Bowman said.

The state's higher education chief, Chancellor Jim Petro, is concerned that the changes will limit how many students pursue advanced education, spokeswoman Kim Norris said.

"His whole goal is helping students to complete a post-secondary education," she said, "so it concerns him."