ASHLAND Telephones have been ringing almost continuously at the Boyd County Adult Learning Center since Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday the state will waive the $120 GED test fee, an instructor said.

“Yesterday, from noon on, the phones have never stopped ringing with people wanting GEDs. Everybody is really excited,” said instructor Sherry Combs.

The waiver is made possible through a $600,000 allotment from the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, enough to pay for 5,000 people to take the test, according to the governor’s office.

“That’s a lot of GEDs,” said Contessa Love, adult education director for the Kentucky Educational Development Corp., where she oversees programs in an 11-county area in northeastern Kentucky. “It should pretty much pay for every person who walks through the doors the rest of the fiscal year.”

The state waiver starts immediately, she said.

The GED, considered the equivalent to a high school diploma, encompasses four tests — mathematics, science, social studies and combined reading and writing — each costing $30, Combs said.

Many of the adult students at the center can’t afford the $30 for one test, let alone the entire $120, she said. Many are unemployed or underemployed, and have expenses like child care to deal with, she said.

More than half of the 335,000 Kentuckians without GEDs or high school diplomas don’t have jobs, and paying for GEDs will enable more of them to get the education they need to find jobs and careers, according to the governor’s office.

“Education is the key to a better future for the Commonwealth and our citizens,” Beshear said in a press release.

“This state funding will remove one more barrier for Kentuckians and provide them one more opportunity to earn their GED.”

The number of people taking the test in Love’s 11-county area is likely to almost double, she said.

Another group that will benefit is jail inmates in adult learning classes, Love said. “If they can get GEDs before they are released, it decreases the chance of being incarcerated again,” she said. That is good for both inmates and the community, she said.

The state’s adult education centers, called Kentucky Skills U, provide no-cost adult education services in all 120 Kentucky counties to people wanting to become college and/or career ready.

The centers provide GED preparation, career and employment training, and assistance in transitioning to post-secondary education.

Students also may pursue GED Plus and earn their GED and college credentials through the Work Ready Scholarship.

In Boyd County, the adult learning center is at Ashland Community and Technical College and the telephone number is (606) 326-2457.

The Greenup County center is at 614 Main St., telephone (606) 473-1091.

(606) 326-2652 |

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