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Educational access for adults, bring successful diploma programs

A new law was signed September 22 that will enable adults who did not finish high school to acquire high school diplomas. The law also allows for the creation of quality adult diploma programs.

The new law allows adults of any age to take advantage of certified programs in order to earn a high school diploma. Currently, those older than age of 21 who did not finish high school cannot receive a high school diploma; a GED is the only option available to adult learners seeking to obtain high school equivalency.

A high school diploma is more advantageous than a GED because it equips adults with better skills for post-secondary education and the workplace.

Provisions in House Bill 2527 also pave the way for the creation of Excel Centers, like the Goodwill Excel Center opening in Rockford. Modeled after a successful program in Indiana, Excel Centers allow adult learners to not only earn high school diplomas, but offers the option of career and technical education classes and dual-enrollment credits. Graduates of Excel Centers have been shown to earn much higher wages than those without a high school diploma.

An estimated 1 million Illinoisans lack a high school diploma or GED.

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