What is the High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma?

By Angela Kirlin, Region 10 Adult Education Director

The High School Equivalency (HSE) is an alternative for earning a high school diploma. The HSE Diploma can be earned after completing a test based on five subject areas including Math, Reading, Writing, Science and Social Studies.

In 2014, the high school equivalency tests were scheduled to begin gradually increasing in rigor to help students and educators stay focused on fundamentals while increasing the level of knowledge required for a high school level diploma. The High School Equivalency (HSE) is the test students take in Indiana to earn the Indiana High School Equivalency Diploma, issued by the state. The HSE is the test that replaced the GED (General Education Development) in Indiana in January 2014.

Who can take the HSE exam?

  • Anyone living in Indiana for a minimum of 30 days before taking the test.
  • Those who have not already earned a diploma from an accredited high school in the U.S.
  • Students who are no longer enrolled in school and are at least 16 years of age.

How can a person prepare to pass the HSE exam?

How much does it cost to take the HSE exam?

  • $90 which includes all five parts of the test, test scoring, transcripts and diploma.
  • Scholarship funds may be available in some areas to help students offset the cost of the exam.

Adult Education classes are designed to assess an adult student to determine an individual learning plan as well as a career pathway if needed. Learners are allowed to study at their own rate, and they focus on their weakest subjects. As they master one level, they move up to the next level until they demonstrate their readiness to pass the HSE. Students can even work on their own time at home when class is not in session. The instructors are trained to help the adult learners reach their academic and career goals. Math specialists work one-on-one with students who are challenged by the higher level math skills that are required to pass the HSE.

Even after passing the HSE or even after receiving a high school diploma, adults can attend an adult education class to brush up on college and career readiness skills to advance to college, military, apprenticeships, certification training, or a career. Adult Education classes offer numerous online and study materials and administer the Accuplacer for entrance into Ivy Tech Community College.

Angela Kirlin, Region 10 Adult Education Director

Angela Kirlin, Region 10 Adult Education Director

The program employs transition specialists who assist students in making career choices. Adult Education also refers students to various community agencies and resources to assist them in reaching their academic and career goals. WorkOne, Goodwill Southern Indiana, literacy programs, KentuckianaWorks College Access Center, Hope Southern Indiana, the New Albany Housing Authority, the Scott County Partnership, and Vocational Rehabilitation are some of the partnering agencies with Adult Education in Region 10.

As the Adult Education Director for Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Scott and Washington counties, I invite all adults who are interested in increasing their educational attainment and employment opportunities to call now to come back to school. It is never too late to learn.

Angela Kirlin is the Adult Education Director for the Scott County Economic Development Corporation, serving Economic Growth Region 10 including Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Scott and Washington counties.

The Scott County Economic Development Corporation serves as the Region 10 Adult Education service provider and the fiscal agent. 

Region 10 Adult Education Plans to Double Enrollment in Five Years with Community Support

According to the Indiana Business Research Center, American Community Survey 2010-1014, released by the U.S. Census Bureau in December 2015, there are 22,396 adults aged 18-64 without a high school diploma or equivalent (HSE) in Region 10 (Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Scott and Washington counties). Of those, 4,941 are between the ages 18-24, and 17,455 are between the ages 25-64. Most of these adults can improve their level of education by enrolling in a free adult education class.

The goal for adult education in Indiana is to double its enrollment in the next five years. In Region 10, the enrollment in five years should be at least 2,000 students. In order to reach that goal, every adult education program and the community it serves will need to work hard to bring new students into the free classes.

Portrait of a mature student taking notes with others in lecture in collegeFortunately, our schools are doing a good job, and the high school graduation rates are climbing each year. However, there are still too many people in our community who do not possess a high school diploma or equivalency (HSE). Some have been home schooled and did not take the final assessments; some had personal problems with poverty, drugs, alcohol or violence; some moved away and did not finish their high school education when they returned; and some received a certificate of completion instead of a diploma. There are numerous barriers that prevent people from graduating, but in adult education, the goal is to take a person at their current level and assist them in overcoming the barriers to acquire the high school equivalency and transition to postsecondary education or training that will lead to a self-sustaining occupation.

Many people who enroll in adult education are ready to pass the HSE within six to eight weeks. Each student begins by taking a short assessment which tells exactly which areas the student needs to work on to reach the level of passing. Adult education is customized for the learner. Each student uses an individual learning plan, works at his or her own speed, and can work at home when class is not in session. The more time students put into this work, the faster they are ready to pass the HSE exam. The exam consists of five sections: Math, Social Studies, Science, Reading and Writing. The HSE is a rigorous exam, and passing all parts of the test is equal to receiving a high school diploma.

Classes also consist of career assessments and workplace readiness skills in preparation for employment. Transition Specialists and other agency partners assist the students (many who already have a diploma) with workplace preparation skills such as resume writing, job searches, job applications and interviewing skills. Adult education students can be referred to WorkOne, Goodwill, Vocational Rehabilitation, Literacy, and other Consortium partnering agencies who are committed to helping adults reach their academic and career goals. Adult education students can also prepare for college, using online tools to help them pass Accuplacer, the entrance exam for Ivy Tech Community College.

As the Director of Adult Education in Region 10, I challenge the citizens in our six county area to spread the word to family members, coworkers, neighbors and friends that adult education offers free classes to help adults obtaining the HSE and prepare for postsecondary training and employment. When our workforce is better educated and trained, our entire community benefits. Class information is available by calling 812-981-3777 or online at:

Angela Kirlin, Region 10 Adult Education Director

Angela Kirlin, Region 10 Adult Education Director

The Scott County Economic Development Corporation serves as the Region 10 Adult Education service provider and fiscal agent.

by Angela Kirlin

Angela Kirlin is the Adult Education Director for Region 10 which includes Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Scott and Washington counties.