Learning Support

High School Equivalency Diploma – HSED (formerly GED®)

The High School Equivalency Diploma classes are for adults who left high school prior to completing all requirements necessary to receive a high school diploma. Students make the decision to work toward their high school equivalency diploma for a number of reasons: a desire to enter college or seek better employment, changing requirements in their workplace, or simply the sense of pride that this accomplishment can bring. In Iowa, a preparation class is mandatory before students can begin to take the high school equivalency exam, HiSET™.

Anyone 17 or older can take the Official HiSET® tests. However, 17 and 18 year old students, even if they successfully complete our program to receive their HSED, cannot receive their transcript and diploma from the Iowa Department of Education until May of the year they would have graduated from high school.

Overview of the high school equivalency preparation process:

  1. Students first enroll in an orientation session at their nearest class site.
  2. At orientation, students register for the class, take pre-assessments in math and reading, and set work and educational goals for their study.
  3. Students begin their study. Sessions last 7-8 weeks depending on the location/site. Class attendance is mandatory and students will be asked to enroll in a later session if they have excessive absences.
  4. Once a student has accumulated at least 40 instructional hours (Iowa Dept. of Education recommends 70-100 hours, however), students will take a post-test in the area in which they scored lower at orientation (math or reading).
  5. Students take Official Practice Tests for HiSET™ to determine whether they are ready to take the actual exam.
  6. Students establish a HiSET™ test taker account and register for testing online. (For more information: http://hiset.ets.org/test_takers/) Testing fees are $50 for the 5-test battery or $10 for a single subject.
  7. Students complete HiSET™ online testing in the testing center at NIACC’s main campus.
  8. After passing all subject-area tests, students can then order their official high school equivalency diploma from www.diplomasender.com. The fee is $10 and is payable online.
  9. Students who complete their HSED during the program year are encouraged to attend the annual HSED graduation ceremony.

HSED Accommodations

Accommodations are provided for students with disabilities. Students must provide documentation of a disability and submit an application to the HiSET™ testing service 6 weeks in advance of testing. (HiSET approves the accommodations, not NIACC AEL staff). For more information, see this link: http://hiset.ets.org/take/disabilities

Note to those seeking a high school equivalency diploma:

In Iowa, high school equivalency diplomas are ONLY awarded by the Department of Education through the 15 community college regions in Iowa.

There are many agencies online claiming to offer high school diplomas. Be aware of these. They could be scams.