Students who never finished high school have another motivating factor to finish a GED program before the end of the calendar year. In January 2014, the test to get the certificate equivalent to a diploma is changing, and the price will almost quadruple.
Any student who has not completed all five parts of the exam by that date will have to start their studies from scratch.
Michelle Sealey, a GED graduate who went on to get a college degree, returned to a Wake Technical Community College GED class to encourage current students to follow in her footsteps.
"Something that I say here today may encourage you, and you can take it away and encourage others," she told them.
Sealey dropped out of high school to help her father battle drug addiction. She was pregnant and 18 when an employee at the county health department put her on the GED path.
"I owe her a lot," Sealey said.
Wake Tech offers GED training at 19 locations countywide and online. They have a hotline (919-334-1527) for students worried they won't finish before the new tests begin.
The new exam will come in four sections, down from five, and will cost $120. Students sign up, pay and take the test on a computer.
The current exams, administered on paper, cost just $35.