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Unleashing Opportunities: GED in Arizona

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Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

“My life started all over. It may sound childish, but that is what happened.” This is what Tere Lobo, a DACA-DREAMer, tells me when asked what it feels like to have earned a GED certificate.

Immigrants come to this country to better themselves and advance in all aspects. Some young people who grew up in this county saw no hope of fixing their immigration situation, gave up and dropped out of high school. But after June 15, 2012, a door opened.

With the introduction of the process Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), many who unfortunately dropped out of high school saw a second chance to mend their mistake and be able to apply through DACA. Applicants for this life-changing opportunity must have a high school diploma or be enrolled in high school or an educational program like the GED. Many Dreamers like Tere, who is a mother of three children, accepted the challenge to earn a high school completion certificate and apply for DACA.

Tere reached out for help through social media and connected with advocates who guided her on how to enroll in GED classes.

“Because I was full of fear, I saw many obstacles,” Tere says. “For the time I stop studying and daily life, but I focused on the books and spent nights studying and reading.”

Due to Proposition 300, Arizona community colleges and state educational institutions require students to prove U.S. citizenship, legal presence or residency in order to register for a GED preparation course in a traditional teacher-student setting.

However, Rio Salado Community College offers online programs that do not receive state funding and can be accessed by undocumented individuals at a low cost.

MCCCD-Rio Salado GED preparation is called High School Equivalency (HSE). The preparation fee is $125 plus the cost of an access code for the online system. To register, make sure to emphasize you are requesting the online classes.

Nonprofits offer traditional setting student-teacher instruction at different fees. Please check Workforce Development with Chicanos por la Causa and Friendly House for more personalized options in instruction.

Tere enrolled at Rio Salado, subsequently applied for DACA and, most importantly, obtained her GED diploma.

“It was like taking a barrier out or crossing a bridge that looked far away, but I made it for my children and my family,” Tere says.

See an informative GED guide by the ADAC and Tucson-based Scholarships A-Z.