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Removing the stigma of high school equivalency

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jul 19, 2022

A high school diploma can be a barrier for someone wanting to pursue higher education. College of Lake County (CLC) offers adult secondary education (ASE) courses to help prepare those looking to earn their high school diploma for the different tests they can take to earn it.

Adult education classIllinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker passed legislation recently replacing references to high school equivalency certificates to State of Illinois High School Diplomas. The hope is that any stigma that came along with earning one will be erased.

“Words matter, and now the perception will change,” said Adult Basic Education and GED Reading Instructor and Department Chair Mary Lynn Carver. “Equity and inclusion are promoted just by changing the name.”

Two tests, the GED and HiSET tests, are offered in Illinois as nontraditional ways to earn a high school diploma. CLC’s ASE courses prepare students to take either test. The tests are also available in Spanish.

With the name change, it becomes clearer to students that the degree they’re earning is equal to what a high school graduate earns.

“The previous name made some who earned the degree feel like they weren’t included with those who graduated from high school,” Carver said. “It’s tough to earn this credential. The tests require higher-order thinking skills. It’s the same knowledge you get out of high school, just another pathway.”

Along with the name change, the Illinois College Board is increasing GED test discounts to encourage test taking, bringing the cost down to $40 for in-person tests vs. $120 without the discount. An online home-based testing opportunity comes to $56 using the code ILSAVE20.

The code isn’t automatically applied to the test, but CLC instructors are encouraged to share the information with their classes. The code is for anyone taking the test in Illinois, not just CLC Students.

Along with ASE courses, Adult Education offers courses for Adult Basic Education and ESL.

In the Step Up program, adult education students are prepared for college and a career. The first step is the free Bridge to Careers program, which helps students improve their language, math and computer skills for select fields. After Bridge, students Step Up to the Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System program where they can earn a career certificate in one year or less.

To learn more about Adult Education at CLC, visit

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.