Michigan legislators propose to fund GED programs in community colleges


State legislators are working on getting more students into community colleges by helping them commit to education.

The House Community College Appropriations Subcommittee approved an amendment in March that would put a placeholder in the budget for a GED incentive program that would allow more students to sit for the test at community colleges around the state.

Rep. Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) said that this incentive would “have the state offer to pay for the test if there was a commitment from the student to pursue post-secondary education.”

Zemke explained that there are about seven community colleges that have GED programs, and that the test has been revamped in the last year, making it harder for students to sit for it.

“The test is pretty expensive,” Zemke said. “In the state of Michigan, it is $150.”

Bonnie Truhn, adult transitions manager at WCC said that this would benefit the community greatly.

“We want our community members to be educated,” she said. “The GED is a jumping off point and it gives you access to enroll in the college.”

Once students have their GED, she said, students are qualified for financial aid.

“It’s going to encourage students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged to be able to take the GED test,” Zemke said, “and to pursue higher education… They are going to be better off.”

Truhn concurred.

“People would have access to higher education,” she said. “It benefits them in a way that allows a student to actually enroll in the college.”

Zemke’s proposal will go to conference committees after the House and Senate votes on this year’s budget’s for community colleges.

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