SF College hoping for grant to ease cost of taking GED


Tara Sankar, right, teaches a GED math class at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, in this Thursday, April 11, 2013 file photo.

Brett Le Blanc / Correspondent
Published: Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 8:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 8:13 p.m.

The price of taking the GED is expected to double in January when a new computer-based version of the high school equivalency exam becomes mandatory.

Beginning next year, students no longer will be able to take the $70 paper-based version of the exam. The computer-based version of the current exam costs $130, and the 2014 version is expected to be the same price.

“That’s quite an amount for the majority of our students,” said Christine Sulander-Smith, assistant professor in adult education at Santa Fe College. “So cost is an issue.”

The Santa Fe College Adult Education Program is working to ease the financial burden for students taking the GED by entering a contest for a State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant.

Keira Simmonds, one of the Santa Fe Adult Education Career Pathways specialists, nominated the adult education program for the $25,000 grant. Out of 3,000 submissions, Simmonds’ project was chosen as one of the top 200 finalists.

Forty neighborhoods in the United States and Canada will receive the grant, according to the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Facebook page. The winners will be chosen based on the number of votes their causes receive on Facebook.

“People interested in voting go onto the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Facebook page and vote for the Santa Fe College Adult Education Program,” Julie Falt, Santa Fe coordinator for adult education, wrote in an email. “It’s very easy.”

Anyone who has the free Facebook application can vote for his or her favorite causes. One person can cast as many as 10 votes per day. The competition ends today. The top 40 vote-receiving causes will be announced on April 29.

Falt said the grant money would be used to help students with fees for adult education courses, GED testing, and career and technical training and certification.

“We have a wonderful, dedicated group of students who want to make a difference in their lives and the lives of their children,” Falt said. “All they need is a little help to begin climbing the ladder to success.”

Sulander-Smith said the program also is trying to work with other companies to help students receive scholarships. She said there is a fund set up for anyone who chooses to donate money so that a student can complete a test.

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