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How to Get Your GED and Get a Student Loan

How to Get Your GED and Get a Student Loan

Continuing your education and working toward your goals is always worth doing. There are many reasons students are unable to finish high school — they could be financial, personal, or other circumstances. You cannot get a student loan if you do not have your high school diploma or a GED.

However, getting a GED is not a difficult process and is well worth it. Once you do receive your GED, then you will be eligible to apply for financial aid and a community college or trade school.

Getting Your GED is Worth It

Lacking a high school diploma or GED only hinders those who would like to advance to a higher education. Once you pass your exams and earn your GED, you can move forward with any educational endeavors you set your mind to. Earning a GED is the equivalent to a high school diploma in the eyes of higher education.

Whether you want to apply to a trade school, vocational school, university, or community college, your GED will qualify you to do so.

How to Get Your GED

Every state has different requirements for receiving your GED. For information regarding GED testing in your state and pricing, visit the official GED website, and select your region and state to begin.

Below is a general guide for receiving your GED:

  • Most often, you must be 16 years old to apply for your GED, but some states will require you to be 18.
  • The exam is broken into 4 subjects: mathematical reasoning, reasoning through language arts, social studies, and science.
  • Prepare for the exam. You can enroll in an online program called GED+, or open a free online GED account to get access to study materials, or purchase online practice tests.
  • Scoring:
    • You must score a 145 or higher on all 4 subjects to pass your GED exam.
      • Scoring between 165-174 can qualify you for waivers from placement testing or any developmental education requirements your college of choice may have.
      • Scoring between 175-200 (on any test subject) can qualify you for up to 10 college credit hours.
  • If you do not pass your GED exam the first time, you can retake it at a discounted rate. In some states, there may be a waiting period of 60 days before you can retake your test.
  • The GED exam generally takes about 7 hours to complete if you are testing all 4 subjects in the same day. You can, however, break your exam apart over multiple days as well.

What to do After Passing the GED

After you pass your GED, here’s what you can do:

  • Continue your education. You can either apply to a university, your local vocational school, or community college. If your goal is to earn a bachelor's degree but you'd like to save money, you can first go to a community college for an associate degree, then apply to a university for your bachelor's.
  • Get a job. Having a GED opens up many more doors. All those job postings that mention high school or GED as a prerequisite are now within your reach.
  • Get a promotion at the job you’re already with. Maybe it was the fact that you didn’t have a GED or high school diploma that was holding you back from career advancement. If you have your GED, you may be able to receive that promotion or raise.

Getting a Student Loan With a GED

Once you have your GED, you can apply for financial aid. Here’s how:

  • Apply for the FAFSA.
  • Look over your Student Aid Report, which will be mailed to you within 3 weeks after applying. Once you understand what you are agreeing to, be sure to sign it and send it back.
  • You’ll have to wait a bit to hear back from your chosen school. If you qualify, a student aid award letter should show up in your mailbox.
  • Once you receive your award and you feel ready to agree to it, sign it and send it to your school.
  • Once you’ve accepted the student aid award amount, it will take a few weeks for the school to process.

To sum it up, without your GED, your options for postsecondary education and financial aid are very limited. But your world opens up upon receiving your GED; you can apply for financial aid, and work toward your dreams. A GED is well worth it!

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