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Silverstein: help homeless youth get GEDs, waive fees

homeless gedSPRINGFIELD– A plan from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) would eliminate a financial burden placed on homeless young people who wish to take the High School Equivalency Test.

Equivalency exams or GED tests are administered by regional superintendents throughout the state. Right now, the fees to take those exams are $30 per test module, and a total of 4 test modules comprise the GED Test. Regional Offices of Education may charge additional fees for a certificate or transcript.

Senate Bill 2840 would allow regional superintendents to waive those fees for homeless young people.


“Homelessness makes it difficult for children to attend school, and if a young homeless person seeks to further their education by getting a GED, we need to help make that goal accessible,” Sen. Silverstein said. “I believe $120 to $130 is too much to ask from a homeless teen or his family to further his education and his future.”

The person seeking the waiver must verify their status as homeless; SB 2840 defines what housing situations are regarded as “homeless” and would limit the age range to 25 or under to qualify.

In 2015, California enacted a similar law prohibiting fees for proficiency and equivalency exams for homeless young people.

“If we help them overcome this obstacle, we put them in a better place to get jobs that pay well enough to afford housing,” Silverstein said. “A bigger pool of qualified job seekers and a smaller population of homeless people can contribute to a better economy and quality of life in Illinois.”

Senate Bill 2840 was approved yesterday by the Senate Education Committee. It will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

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