The state Senate voted 41-0 Tuesday to pass a bill, sponsored by Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, that would reduce the cost for an exam to receive a high school equivalency diploma.
SB 183 would replace the term “GED” with “High School Equivalency Diploma” in state law, allowing the state to adopt a better, more cost-effective alternative test, if one should be developed in the future. Kernan said in a statement the language in the law needs to be changed because “GED” is a registered trademarked exam.
There is a commonplace assumption, she said, that the GED test describes any and all high school equivalency test, but GED refers to a specific test administered by two companies.
“Currently, our hands are tied because our state law requires that a test called the GED be administered to students who want a high school equivalency diploma if they have not graduated from high school,” she said. “Because there is no competition and only one equivalency exam, that GED test continues to go up in price.”
She said students, who are already struggling financially because they have not graduated from high school, must also pay for the GED test in order to receive a diploma to qualify for a job.
“A lower priced exam might encourage more students to get their diplomas and find work,” she said. “In essence, it is an economic development bill.”
The bill will advance to the House of Representatives for consideration.