A new study suggests that the General Educational Development, or GED, program offers a key pathway to college for those who didn’t finish high school. Yet, it also notes that few GED recipients go far enough along that pathway to reap most of its benefits.
The study was released last week by the American Council on Education, the Washington-based group that administers the GED.
It found that, among GED recipients who passed the exam in 2003, nearly 43 percent enrolled in postsecondary education within six years. Of those who went on to enroll in postsecondary education programs, however, fewer than 12 percent completed them within six years. Just half stuck around for a second semester, suggesting the first semester represents a high hurdle for many GED students.
Also, most of the GED-passers who enrolled in college chose programs of two or fewer years. They tended to earn associate degrees, while regular-diploma recipients earned bachelor’s degrees, which carry higher future wages than do two-year degrees.
A version of this article appeared in the September 22, 2010 edition of Education Week as GED Diploma