In a difficult economy, where money is tight for governments as well as individuals, GED programs face cutbacks. The state of New York is considering a substantial cut in funding for GED programs, from $3.9 million to $2.4 million dollars, because they cannot find other areas to cut the budget. It’s a 38 percent cut in a program that directly impacts many people’s lives and their ability to find better jobs and improve the economy. In the scope of a $9 billion dollar budget deficit, the benefit is minimal. In a state that ranks 48th out of 50 in the GED pass rate, the budget cuts will only make the state’s GED problems worse.
Still, budget cuts affecting GED programs don’t stop in New York. The Conejo Valley Adult School in Thousand Oaks, California is facing a 40 percent budget cuts, and that means increases in fees and decreases in classes. Ultimately, it means a less well-prepared workforce. GED preparation classes are endangered at Cochise College in Nogales, Arizona because of a budget bill that cuts state funding for adult education programs. The problem is widespread. There is a drive to save money, right now, at the risk of sacrificing future benefits.
Where is the solution? No one wants a budget deficit, but it’s undeniably important to have a better prepared workforce to fuel economic recovery. Adults without a GED or high school diploma are the first to become unemployed and the most dependent on government aid, causing the biggest drain on the economy. The GED can be a door to independence.
Budget cuts put a bigger responsibility on individuals to get the preparation they need to pass the GED. One part of the solution may mean more adults finding private means of GED preparation, such as online GED study programs like The GED Academy. But online GED preparation programs can also be a boon to financially strapped adult education programs.
Online programs can provide education to a wider audience of students for lower costs. Online GED preparation programs can provide individualized instruction for a wide range of students at minimal costs, and can be accessible from home as well as from classroom computers. Combining online education with traditional classroom instruction can provide the best of both worlds, and lower costs at the same time. This isn’t a complete solution to GED programs that are the victims of deep budget cuts. Still, it is a path worth investigating, because sacrificing the future is not the best plan.