Davidson County, NC-- In January 2014, a new GED test is being introduced. It will be more difficult and the price is going from roughly $35 to $120.
Read here: Students Urged To Finish GED; Changes Due In 2014
According to The GED Testing Service, in 2011, there were nearly 1.3 million North Carolinians without a high school degree. There were 13,162 that passed their GED test in North Carolina in 2011.
One of those people is James Barnes. He's now an automotive technology student at Davidson County Community College in Thomasville.
Like many getting their GED, which is a series of tests equivalent to a high school degree, Barnes started his journey as a high school dropout.
"I quit school when I was 16. My mom and dad needed some help. I just decided to quit school and help them. And I tried to come back to school a couple times to get my GED and I end up quitting," said Barnes.
Years later after getting married and having a daughter, he was inspired to get his life on the right track. It took a lot of studying and two retakes but Barnes got his GED. It cost him $25 for the entire test, including the the ones he had to take again.
Barnes told WFMY News 2 Liz Crawford, "Soon as I got my GED I did my fast fund and starting right into college and I've been doing ever since."
Barnes is on track to graduate in 2014. He made the Dean's list and has a 3.7 GPA at DCCC. He told News 2 that getting his GED opened his doors for higher education and career dreams.
Now, the GED is changing. Starting January 2014, the test will be more expensive, more challenging, and only available online.
"When the test changes, it will be approximately be $120 dollars and when a student takes the test at that point, if they don't get quite enough points in the subject areas, they'll have to retake that test. And at that point, they'll have to pay for that portion of the test again," explained Sandra Thompson, Director of College and Career Readiness at Davidson County Community College.
Another problem for students currently taking or preparing for the GED is the looming deadline. If they don't complete the test by the end of this year, they will need to start over because none of the existing scores from the old format will be applicable to the new test.
Students currently take the five different tests including two literacy, math, science, and social studies tests. In 2014, there will only be four tests, combining the literacy.
The existing test in NC is only taken by paper and pencil. It is all multiple choice and has one essay. The new text will have more short answers and two essays.
The official fee for new tests has not been approved yet. It all depends on how much of the cost the state will pay for.
The last time the GED was modified was 2002. The GED Testing Service told News 2 that they conducted research that proves adults are more likely to pass the GED if taken on the computer.
WFMY News 2, GED Testing Service, Davidson County Community College