Rio Salado College: New Pathway Program Helps GED Graduates Transition to College

Annette Flores
Member Spotlight

Made possible through a new partnership between the Maricopa County Community College District and GED Testing Service, Rio Salado College students can now use their GED scores to demonstrate college readiness and college-level skills. The GED College Ready and College Ready + Credit scores are based on recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE) Credit Program, the same program that backs CLEP and other advanced placement testing college credit recommendations. As is the case with these other programs, students may be eligible to receive college credit for courses aligned with GED test subjects.

The Maricopa County Community College District has joined a growing list of 225 institutions that have approved the GED College Ready score levels for college admissions. “This is just one more way we can help students make the most of their time and resources—and increase their opportunities for college completion,” said Rio Salado Interim President Kate Smith. “This new initiative is in perfect alignment with our adult re-entry programs, which are designed to help students learn the English language, prepare for successful GED completion and seamlessly transition to college.”

Rio Salado College, which is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges, serves as the principal provider of GED test preparation programs for the district and the largest provider of adult basic education in the state of Arizona. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Rio Salado’s adult basic education departments served nearly 4,000 GED test prep students, and its testing centers administered 16,605 GED exams as one of Arizona’s busiest GED testing centers.

Recent research has shown that GED programs are preparing graduates for college programs. Since the launch of the enhanced GED program in 2014, a higher percentage of graduates are attending college programs, enrolling more quickly, and are more prepared than ever to succeed in college and beyond. Research conducted by GED Testing Service aligns with findings made by the National Student Clearinghouse

  • 47 percent of GED grads enrolled in a college certificate or degree program within four years
  • 35 percent of GED grads enrolled in a college within one year of earning a GED credential
  • 90 percent of GED grads persisted by re-enrolling from one semester to the next

“The most recent numbers are very exciting, especially when you compare the 90 percent persistence rate to the pre-2014 rate of 29 percent,” said Randy Trask, President of GED Testing Service. "Education and credentials beyond a GED diploma are the keys to unlocking opportunity for adult learners—opportunities for new career pathways, higher wages, and better quality of life.” 

  • Information about GED College Ready score levels is available here.
  • Information about credit hours awarded for GED test scores is available here.
  • Information about Rio Salado Testing is available here.
  • Click here to learn more about Rio Salado’s GED test prep program.

Annette Flores is a Senior Public Relations Analyst at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona.

Opinions expressed in Member Spotlight are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.