Missouri’s high school equivalency exam, the HiSET, is now available for free to students taking the test for the first time.
In 2018, Missouri lawmakers passed House Bill 1606, which included a provision that waived the testing fee for first-time takers. This past legislative session, lawmakers funded that provision, making the test free for these students beginning July 1.
Joan Wright, coordinator of Missouri State University-West Plains’ Adult Education and Literacy (AEL)/College Readiness Program, said she is thrilled with the change.
“This is a great opportunity for students in our area to earn their high school equivalency certificate free of charge. We’ve already had several students take advantage of it, and we’re hoping this will encourage others to take the test when they are ready,” Wright said.
The test normally costs $88.75 for all five sections of the exam (math, science, social studies, reading and writing) plus a $10 state registration fee. The legislation waives these fees for those taking the test for the first time.
Students don’t have to take all five sections of the test at one time, Wright noted. Students can choose to take sections of the exam separately and still have all fees waived.
“If a student chooses to do the reading and writing exams together, they can still come back and take the remaining sections later at no cost, as long as it’s the first time they’ve attempted to take those sections of the test,” she explained. “This gives students the opportunity to take the tests when they feel they are ready.”
Test preparation services also free
Missouri State-West Plains helps students prepare for the test through its AEL/College Readiness Program. These services also are free, Wright said.
“We offer our program at several locations in south-central and southeast Missouri,” she pointed out. Those locations include Alton, Ava, Birch Tree, Cabool, Dexter, Doniphan, Gainesville, Greenville, Hartville, Houston, Kennett, Mountain Grove, New Madrid, Piedmont, Poplar Bluff, Salem, Sikeston, West Plains and Willow Springs.
“We have a dedicated network of instructors waiting and willing to help area residents prepare for the exam,” Wright said. “With our services and the HiSET available for free, students can take this important step toward their future without having to worry about the cost.”
During the 2018-19 academic year, Missouri State-West Plains’ AEL/College Readiness Program helped 85 students earn their high school equivalency certification.
Wright noted Missouri’s AEL programs, including the program at Missouri State-West Plains, are ranked first in the nation for student academic gains by the U.S. Department of Education. Eighty-nine percent of Missouri’s adult education students pass the HiSET, she added.
For more information about Missouri State-West Plains’ AEL/College Readiness Program, call 417-255-7744 or visit blogs.wp.missouristate.edu/ael. The program also has a Facebook page. Search for “Missouri State University-West Plains Adult Education and Literacy.”
Missouri State-West Plains also serves as a HiSET testing site through its Testing Center in the Garnett Library. For more information about the HiSET and how to register, call 417-255-7943.