2021 Best Colleges with GED Programs [Online & Campus]

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Colleges with GED programs can help you get ready to earn your high school equivalency credentials.

Best Colleges with GED Programs

You might even be able to earn college credits while you get ready to take your GED test. Dropping out of high school may have limited your job and education opportunities, but it’s not too late to get a fresh start.

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GED colleges can help you practice the skills you’ll need for passing this exam and earning your GED diploma.

Colleges with GED Programs

Colleges with GED Programs

If you didn’t finish your high school education, you’re not alone. Many adults are in the same situation.

No matter what ended your first high school experience, it’s not too late to finish your education. You can complete your secondary studies by getting a general equivalency diploma. You can qualify by passing a series of tests.

These exams will cover math, language, science, and social studies. The material on the tests reflects the knowledge that students should have by the time they graduate from the 12th grade.

You don’t have to go at it on your own. If it’s been a long time since you were last in school, you might not remember everything you learned there. Depending on when you dropped out, you may have some new subjects to study too.

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GED courses can help you prepare for the tests. Some GED classes are offered by colleges. You can count on regionally accredited colleges to be education experts.

For convenience, there are even colleges that offer their GED prep programs online. If you’re a busy adult, being able to log in from home may be the best option for fitting classes into your schedule. Online study is only for GED prep, though. When test time comes, the exam has to be taken at an official testing center.

Some schools offer the opportunity to take GED and college courses at the same time. If you have your sights set on a GED and a degree, this could be a strategic way to accomplish both goals.

Getting Your GED and College Degree Simultaneously

GED and College Degree

If you want to accomplish your goals as efficiently as possible, colleges that offer GED and degree at the same time can help with that. You might be able to enroll in just one program but walk away with two diplomas.

The first thing to know is that not every college will let you do this. It’s necessary to find a school that offers this type of dual-enrollment program. If you can’t track one down in your local area, you can try looking online.

Once you find a suitable program, the process might look something like this:

  1. Make sure you meet the program’s qualifications.
  2. Attend an orientation session to learn about getting your GED.
  3. Submit an application.
  4. Take placement tests to show your college readiness.
  5. Work with a faculty advisor to lay out a plan for your studies.
  6. Start taking classes.
  7. Pass your G.E.D. exams before graduating with your college degree.

The qualifications for enrolling in a program like this can vary depending on the rules of your state and school. For example, some programs require you to be at least 16, 17, or 18 years old.

There may also be a rule that prevents you from being in one of these programs while you’re still enrolled in high school. Your former school might have to provide a letter to verify that you’re not a student.

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These steps might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but admissions counselors have helped other students through the same situation. If you have questions or concerns, they can walk you through the process.

The GED-prep portion of your studies can usually be completed in about 1 year. Students typically need to earn around 24 credits. That’s equal to about 2 semesters of full-time study. Then, you’ll likely be ready to take your GED exams.

Once you’ve earned your GED diploma, you’ll often still have more classes to take to complete your degree. Even if you were doing GED and community college courses at the same time, it often takes at least 2 years to finish an associate degree.

Taking the GED

GED courses

Whether online or on-campus, colleges that offer GED courses can prepare you to take the GED exam. Just completing the classes isn’t the goal, though. To earn your GED diploma, it’s necessary to sign up for, take, and pass the exam.

More specifically, there are four different exams to complete. Each one covers a different subject area. Some students take all four on the same day. Others divide them up over multiple test-taking sessions.

Here are the four sections of the test:

  • Mathematical Reasoning: This 115-minute exam will test your knowledge of basic mathematics, geometry, and algebra. You’ll also work with functions and graphs. This test is broken into two parts with a quick break in the middle.
  • Reasoning Through Language Arts: The language test is 150 minutes long and divided into three parts. The topics covered in this exam are grammar and reading comprehension. There’s also an essay portion, which you’ll have 45 minutes to complete. One break is provided.
  • Science: While some knowledge of scientific terms will help, you don’t have to memorize facts and formulas to do well on this test. Instead, the test focuses on reading and interpreting charts, graphs, and passages. It lasts 90 minutes.
  • Social Studies: During this 70-minute exam, you will examine reading selections and charts to find information and draw conclusions. You do not have to memorize historical facts to pass this test. Rather, the focus is on being able to apply social studies concepts.

You can find an official testing site on the GED Testing Service website. You’ll need to sign up for the test ahead of time, and there’s a fee for each portion of the test. On test day, you’ll go to your testing center. The official GED exam cannot be taken online. Online testing experiences are for practice only.

You’ll bring your ID, but you won’t need any school supplies. GED tests are administered on the computer, and you’ll have an on-screen calculator to use when needed. Cell phones aren’t allowed inside. When the test begins, try to stay focused and do your best.

GED Resources

GED Resources

Getting ready for the GED may feel like a big task, but there are resources available to help you.

GED Testing Service is the official administrator of this exam. On their website, you can create an account, learn about the testing experience, sign up for test sessions, and take practice exams.

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Other online services, such as 4Tests and Test Guide, offer practice opportunities too. Plus, you can purchase study books. Many offer online bonus content in addition to what’s in the book. Publishers to look for include Princeton Review, Kaplan, and McGraw-Hill.

Programs and Organizations for Students Without a High School Diploma

Could you use some extra support and encouragement as you go through GED courses and testing? The organizations below may have the resources you need.

There are people in these organizations who have helped students like you before. They understand the challenges that come with not having a high school diploma. In addition to online resources, the organizations may offer support services in your local community.

What Is a GED?

GED tests

The General Educational Development (GED) tests your knowledge of high school subjects. Passing the exam shows that you know what a 12th-grade graduate is supposed to know. It’s a way to earn a high school equivalency diploma even if you didn’t finish high school. GED certificates can help students get jobs or begin college.

You don’t have to remember everything from your high school days in hopes of passing the GED exam. Instead, you can take GED courses to prepare. There are 4 parts to the GED. They cover math, language, science, and social studies.

Is a GED the Same as a Diploma?

Having a GED is similar to having a high school diploma. The two documents show that you know the same material. That’s why a GED is sometimes called a high school equivalency diploma.

One key difference is that GED credentials come from the GED organization. High school diplomas are issued by local schools. In general, when you’re asked to show your high school diploma, a GED certificate will do the trick instead. This credential could help you get into college or qualify for a job.

Can You Go to College Without a GED?

GED college opportunities

Yes, there are college opportunities for students who didn’t graduate from high school or take the GED. Most often, community colleges are a good place to start.

At a community college, you might be able to take advantage of the federal government’s Ability to Benefit (ATB) program that’s focused on helping students like you. Community college courses might also help you prepare for the GED while you earn credits toward a degree.

Some four-year schools may have admission opportunities for students without a GED too. Admissions guidelines may mention enrollment options for “non-traditional” students.

Does a GED Look Bad to Colleges?

getting your GED diploma

You can enroll in college after getting your GED diploma, but that doesn’t mean that every university will give your GED the same regard.

Getting into your local community college might be easy. A highly selective 4 year university could be another story. Such schools often look for students at the very top of their classes. It’s difficult to use GED scores to prove that sort of achievement.

Instead, you may round out your GED certificate with other testaments to your abilities. High ACT or SAT scores, glowing recommendations, or a resume with impressive work or volunteer experience might help.

What Can You Do with a GED?

Getting your GED shows that you have received a thorough 12th-grade education. Because of that, you can do many of the same things with a GED credential as you would with a high school diploma.

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For example, after getting your GED, you can go to college. There are many 2 year and 4 year colleges that accept the GED in place of a diploma. Having your GED can also help you get a job. Positions that require a high school diploma often allow applicants to present GED credentials instead.

How Long Are GED Programs?

GED Testing Services

GED programs typically take 4 weeks to 1 year to complete. According to GED Testing Services, the average student spends 3 months preparing for the exams.

How long it takes you can also depend on how much time you can spend studying each week. If you have only 5 hours a week to spend on preparation, you might not advance as quickly as someone who can devote 10 hours.

Your starting point can also make a difference. The school might give you a placement test to see whether you need to work on basic skills before advancing into subject-specific exam prep.

Can I Get My GED Online?

GED online classes

You can take GED online classes to help you get ready to take your high school equivalency exams. Accredited online courses are often provided by the adult education departments of community colleges.

You can also take practice GED tests online. Some are free, and others cost a small fee. For the official GED test, though, you’ll go to a testing center. The exam is computer-based, but you can only take it at an official testing site. Earning your GED credential requires passing all four sections of this in-person test.

Can You Get Financial Aid Without a High School Diploma or GED?

GED financial aid

Through the Ability to Benefit (ABT) program from the federal government, you might be able to get college grants or loans even though you don’t have a diploma.

There are some qualifications you’ll have to meet, though, such as passing a proficiency test and enrolling in a Title IV-eligible program for career preparation. To learn more, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and talk to your college’s financial aid department.

Other tuition help might be available as well. For example, some workplaces and scholarship programs assist with college costs, even for students without a diploma.

What’s the Difference Between the High School Equivalency Diploma: HiSET vs. GED?

You may hear more about the GED, but it’s not the only high school equivalency program out there. Another option that’s available in some states is the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET).

HiSET GED
  • Available in computer-based and pencil-and-paper formats
  • Consists of 5 separate tests
  • Offered in Spanish and English
  • Passing score is 8/20 on each portion and 45 total
  • Available only on the computer
  • Consists of 4 separate tests
  • Offered in Spanish and English
  • Passing score is 145/200 on each portion

Availability differs from state to state, and costs vary among states as well.

Is a GED Worth It?

GED program education

Yes, a GED is worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers without a high school diploma have the lowest income rates and the highest unemployment rates.

Getting more education may help you secure higher pay and greater job security. Just completing your high school education or GED program can make a big difference.

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Plus, getting a GED can make it a lot easier to get into college. Taking college courses or getting a degree can help your earning potential grow even more. It also reduces the chances of being unemployed.

Universities Offering GED With College Classes

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer GED programs with college classes.

Chippewa Valley Technical College

Chippewa Valley Technical College

Chippewa Valley Technical College offers an Ability to Benefit program.

Students in this program are able to complete credits for both a high school equivalency degree and one of the school’s technical diplomas or associate degrees at the same time. To prove eligibility, applicants must take the ATB ACCUPLACER assessment test to receive financial aid.

Chippewa Valley Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Clackamas Community College

Clackamas Community College

Clackamas Community College has programs to assist students interested in obtaining a GED. These programs must be completed in person.

The JumpStart program is a 3 to 5 week course that assesses students’ skills to determine which classes they can be placed in. Options include GED classes, the Adult High School Diploma program, or the Adult Basic Education program.

Clackamas Community College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Del Mar College

Del Mar College

Del Mar College offers an Adult Basic Education program and an Ability to Benefit program.

While some classes are offered online, students may need to complete the programs on campus. The Adult Basic Education program is designed to help students prepare for the GED test at their own pace. The Ability to Benefit program allows students to complete 6 credits to become Pell eligible.

Del Mar College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Georgia Piedmont Technical College

Georgia Piedmont Technical College

Georgia Piedmont Technical College offers an Adult Education program that is designed for students to earn a high school equivalency diploma and a Technical Certificate of Credit.

Technical certificates can be obtained in nursing, welding, construction, and more. The program can typically be completed within 6 months. Both online and on-campus learning options are available.

Georgia Piedmont Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Guilford Technical Community College

Guilford Technical Community College

Guilford Technical Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Jefferson Community and Technical College

Jefferson Community and Technical College

Jefferson Community and Technical College offers a program that allows students to obtain a GED and a College Certificate at the same time. Students may choose between a Healthcare, Construction, Logistics, or Business and IT Service degree. The program can typically be completed on campus in as little as 4 months.

Jefferson Community and Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Lakeshore Technical College

Lakeshore Technical College

Lakeshore Technical College offers admission to students interested in achieving both a high school equivalency diploma and a college degree. Students may choose between in-person and online classes. Students don’t have to pay for their first 6 credits, and there are financial aid options available for students to pursue for additional classes.

Lakeshore Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Monroe College

Monroe College

Monroe College offers a Career Pathways program that gives students the opportunity to obtain a high school equivalency degree at the same time as an associate’s degree.

The program usually takes 2 years to complete, with most students achieving the High School Equivalency requirements at the end of their first year. Students may choose between online or in-person classes.

Monroe College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Peralta Community College District

Peralta Community College District

Peralta Community College District’s Laney College Campus offers an Adult and Career Education program to help students receive a GED. The program allows students to complete 11 credits for free. Classes can be taken in English or Spanish and may be taken in the morning or at night.

Peralta Community College District is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Portland Community College

Portland Community College

Portland Community College offers the Gateway to College and the Yes to College programs for students who didn’t finish high school.

Both programs are for students who are 16 to 20 years old. The Yes to College program is for students who need help with their English proficiency. The Gateway to College program is for those needing alternative placements.

Portland Community College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Rockland Community College

Rockland Community College

Rockland Community College offers a 24 credit high school equivalency degree that is designed to prepare students for the High School Equivalency test. To be eligible, applicants must take an assessment test in English and Math, submit an RCC application, be a resident of New York, and be 19 years old or older.

Rockland Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

South Texas College

South Texas College

South Texas College offers a Career Pathways program that is designed to help students receive the education they need for their chosen career in a flexible way. Students may choose between one of three tracks: a job that doesn’t require a high school diploma or GED, the Continuing Education program, or the GED program.

South Texas College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Thomas Nelson Community College

Thomas Nelson Community College

Thomas Nelson Community College offers a GED program for students 18 to 24 years old. The program can typically be completed within 8 weeks. Applicants must submit an application essay, have a score of 9.0 or higher on the Middle College Placement Test, and complete an interview with the school’s director.

Thomas Nelson Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Westchester Community College

Westchester Community College

Westchester Community College offers a 24 credit hour GED program to those interested in receiving a high school equivalency diploma. To be eligible for the program, applicants must be 17 years old or older, residents of New York, and out of school for at least one academic year.

Westchester Community College is accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

Wichita State University Tech

Wichita State University

Wichita State University Tech offers a 10 week GED program. The school also offers the Accelerated Opportunity program, which gives students the chance to complete the GED program while obtaining career training. To be eligible for the program, students must submit an online application and take the COMPASS placement test.

WSU Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your GED Degree Online

GED Degree Online

Earning your GED can be a strategic step toward achieving your goals, and you don’t have to do it alone. You can sign up for a college GED program to guide you through the process.

Experienced teachers will review high school material and teach you new things that you’ll need to know for the GED exam. As a busy adult, online GED courses can be a convenient option if you have a hard time fitting on-campus classes into your life.

You can take the first step toward getting your diploma by exploring accredited online GED prep courses.

Ready to start your journey?
Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.