Verizon Funds GED Scholarships for Low-Income West Virginians

Posted: February 02, 2004
The cost for taking a General Education Development test (GED) will be significantly lower for some adults. John R. Ruddick, Executive Director of Public Affairs for Verizon, presented on Friday a $50,000 check for GED Scholarships to the West Virginia Adult Education Association (WVAEA), with the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) providing administrative support.  

Verizon Foundation’s generosity has enhanced the opportunity for many West Virginia adults to obtain a GED. The WVDE is pleased to accept a grant awarded to WVAEA for the operation of a program to provide free GED testing for individuals who meet certain criteria.  

The GED, which is a tool for success, is well worth the $50 fee that could transform the future of the graduate. However, the GED clientele consists of individuals who do not have a high school diploma and lack the credentials necessary for employment making the fee sometimes unattainable for the individuals thus forcing them to stay in the inescapable life of poverty.  

“The GED plays an important role in adult basic education, workforce development, literacy, and the economic growth of West Virginia,” said Dr. Stanley Hopkins, Assistant State Superintendent. “According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, those who have a high school diploma, including those with a GED diploma, earn $7,400 more a year than those who did not graduate from high school. This difference represents a 35 percent increase in median annual earnings.”  

In 2001, West Virginia tested 7,244 individuals with approximately 5,000 being first time testers, and 4,848 credentials were issued. Nevertheless, the 2000 Census Report for West Virginia indicates that 343,524 adults, 18 and older, do not have a high school diploma. The GED Scholarship awarded by Verizon will help to reduce this number.  

The WVDE’s Office of Adult Education and Workforce Development, will provide facilities, instructors, Official Practice Test (OPT) and materials necessary for the GED preparation classes to the local programs. To qualify for a GED scholarship, the individual must attend an adult basic education program and a GED orientation seminar for a minimum of fifteen hours. The OPT will be administered to determine eligibility for the scholarship. When taking the entire OPT battery, the score for each test section must be at least 450 with a total score of at least 2400. The stated results on the OPT indicate a high probability of passing the GED thus demonstrating a solid expenditure of funds.  

The Verizon Foundation promotes after school programs, sponsors websites and donates to many local non-profit organizations. Their generous contribution to the need of the adult learners will help West Virginia’s economic growth and improve the quality of life so many enjoy in West Virginia.  

For more information about the GED program in West Virginia, contact Debra Kimbler, State GED Administrator, at (304) 558-6315, or by email at dkimbler@access.k12.wv.us.

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