Quad City Community Colleges See An Increase In GED Students - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Quad City Community Colleges See An Increase In GED Students

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Local community colleges say more people are taking tests required to receive their GED. The majority of the students are English as second language students and many of them trying to get citizenship.

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges covers Scott, Muscatine, and Clinton counties. Between the 3 counties there are 91 Spanish speaking students enrolled in the GED program. Enrollment in the program has doubled compared to January 2012.

Noemi Maldonado is a professor who taught at a university in Puerto Rico. When Maldonado moved to Davenport she enrolled in classes at Scott Community College.

"I decide to enroll in a program to learn to speak English properly," says Maldonado.

After completing her course Maldonado started teaching the Spanish speaking GED class. When she first started there were only 8 students in her class.

"Now, I have 16 students," adds Maldonado.

An increase in Spanish speaking students pursuing their GED's is happening all over Iowa. Some of the students are trying to get better jobs. Others are living in the U.S., but want to stay longer and need to be enrolled in an educational program to do so.

"This is an opportunity for them to possibly extend their stay in this country and possibly get citizenship," says Eastern Iowa Community College Dean of Adult Education Peggy Garrison.

There are also some people who have completed their education, but have to start over.

"They have degrees in their home country, but possibly they can't get a hold of those degrees for political or other reasons."

The number of Spanish speaking students taking the GED is expected to keep growing. Increasing class size in teachers, like Maldonado's class.

"It's a great surprise when the students have the interest and they have the input to complete the diploma," adds Maldonado.

The GED is also about to undergo changes. Starting in January 2014 the test will be computerized. Students will no longer have the option to use the pencil and paper format. The change means students who have not taken and passed all five tests will have start the process all over again.

"Anyone who has started taking the test since 2002 and has not completed it, needs to complete it by December 13, 2013 or else their scores won't transfer over," says Garrision.

The new test will also cost more money. It will go up to a $120 which is more than double the cost of the current one.

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