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It is never too late to get your GED or HiSET

By: Marlana Ward
Freelance Writer

With its formation in 1986, the Johnson County Literacy Council began what would become a source of encouragement and advancement for adults wishing to complete their high school education.  Almost 30 years later, hundreds of determined individuals have made their education goals a reality with the help of the Johnson County Adult Education Program and the dedicated staff there.
People seek out their General Education Degree (GED) or the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) diplomas for a variety of reasons.  Some of these reasons include a better job, to enter post-secondary education such as technical colleges or universities, to gain employment, to set a good example for their children, or even to be able to help their children with homework.  The ages of those enrolled in the adult education program varies from 18 to 80 as people in all stages of life work to realize their goal of obtaining their degree.  “You’re never too old to come in and get your GED or HiSET/HSE diploma,” Adult Education Supervisor Carol Russom encourages.
Once only serving Johnson County, consolidation of adult education programs by the state in 2013 brought about the combining of services in Johnson and Carter counties.  “Our program offers day, afternoon, and night classes as well as jail classes in both counties,” Russom explained.  “We also have a volunteer who works one-on-one with low level learners in both counties.”
With the option of taking the HiSET test instead of the GED test, people are now given the opportunity to choose which test is best for them.  “Most of our students are opting to take the HiSET instead of the GED due to cost,” said Russom.  “There are even state vouchers to pay the total cost of the $75 HiSET fee for some students who qualify with high scores received on the official practice test.  We have also had donations from both county and city governments as well as private organizations in both counties that have been used to help defray part of the cost of the test for our students.”  
The number of students enrolled in the adult education program varies with the local economy. “When the economy is doing well, we don’t have as many students because everyone is working,” stated Russom.  “When the economy is not doing well, people are looking for work and they have more time to take classes or study for their GED or HSE diploma.”
The work of the adult education program does not end when a student obtains their degree.  The instructors in the program also help students write resumes, apply to college, apply for financial aid, and study for the ACT or SAT if they wish to continue their education.  “Your relationship with us does not end when you successfully get your GED/HiSET,” Russom shared.  “We are here to help you with whatever you need to be successful in your life.”

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