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ACC provides free classes to help students earn a High School Equivalency (HSE) certificate — commonly known as a GED®. Classes are offered at various times and locations and are taught by instructors focused on your individual needs. Practice tests and study aids are available to boost your test-taking confidence.
HSE (GED®) students must be at least 16 years old. Students under age 19 must provide additional approvals. Individuals with F1 or F2 (International Student), J1 or J2 (Exchange Visitor), or B1/B2 (business/tourism) visas are not eligible for this program. This includes expired, voided or canceled visas. Contact the Adult Education office if you have a question about your visa.
You need to currently live in the Austin Community College service area.
If you don't have a Social Security number you will need to receive an alternate number from an Adult Education staff member. Please come to an Adult Education office when the application is open to receive your number and complete your application.
If you are 17 or 18 years old, you must upload a Parent/Guardian Consent Form (click to download) AND one of the following if you last attended school in Texas:
If you cannot provide these documents, please contact us to request an exemption form.
If you are 16 years old, you must upload a copy of an official court order. A withdrawal letter and parental consent documents are not required with a court order.
Need help? Contact the Adult Education office.
After you apply, you will take a free CASAS placement test to help us place you in HSE classes that fit your abilities. An Adult Education specialist will help you choose and register for HSE classes that work with your schedule.
Classroom and testing accommodations are available for students who need them. Accommodations at the college level differ from those for K-12 students and eligible students must have documentation. View Disability Documentation Guidelines.
Accommodations for Adult Education program orientation sessions and classes must be requested at least two weeks in advance. Accommodations for the GED® exam or other high school equivalency tests must be approved by the testing organization and can take up to six weeks.
For questions or to set up accommodation services, contact the Student Accessibility Services office at 512-223-5265 or email SAS-NonCredit@austincc.edu.
How do I know if I am eligible for the High School Equivalency program?
Students who are at least 16 years old and have not earned a high school diploma from a school in the U.S. or another country may take HSE courses. Students under age 19 must submit additional approvals.
Do I have to enroll in HSE classes to take the exam and earn an HSE certificate?
No, you don’t have to take HSE classes to take one of the three state-approved tests to earn a high school equivalency certificate. Contact ACC’s Highland Campus Testing Center or Round Rock Campus Testing Center to schedule your test. Even if you think you are prepared for your HSE test, you should consider taking HSE classes for access to study aids, scholarships, dedicated advisors, and more.
If I have already passed some of the GED® test, can I just focus on the subjects I haven’t passed?
If you passed parts of the GED® test before January 2014, your scores are no longer valid and you will need to take the revised test. Also, if you passed portions of the GED®, your scores may not be high enough to achieve the required total passing score. Taking classes for all test subjects can help you raise your overall test score.
If I am having a hard time in high school, should I leave and take the HSE test or HSE classes instead?
This should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. HSE exams are not easy and students who have not passed the Texas STAAR exam may find them difficult to pass. Also, 16- to 18-year-olds must have required approvals.
How do 16-year-old students obtain a court order to attend?
A county judge may issue a 16-year-old an order to attend HSE classes or take the HSE test. It typically is only ordered if the judge believes it is no longer viable for the student to regularly attend their district high school. This could be a result of attendance issues, criminal conduct, or other reasons.
What are HSE classes like?
HSE classes cover all subject areas and are matched to students’ reading level. Teaching methods include lectures, small group discussions, and self-directed study.
Where can I find when HSE classes are offered?
View a class schedule on the HSE Class Schedule page. Be aware that the schedule is subject to change.
How long will I need to take classes?
You may attend HSE classes for as long as you need to prepare for and pass your HSE exam. Students stay in HSE classes from three months to six years, with the average being around one to two years.
What if I have passed the GED® exam, but I lost my certificate?
If your HSE certificate was issued in Texas, contact the Texas Education Agency to obtain a duplicate.
If English is not my first language, but my goal is to earn my HSE certificate, should I go to ESL or HSE classes first?
The Adult Education office can help you find the class that is best for you. If you are a lower-level English speaker, beginning in ESL classes might be best. ACC offers a Spanish HSE class, as well as a transition class for higher-level ESL students who want to get their HSE credential.