New Law Removes High School Diploma Age Cap


Thousands of Stateline adults don’t have a high school diploma. But, thanks to a new law the Governor signed in Rockford, that could soon change.

With the stroke of a pen, a new opportunity for adults. Governor Bruce Rauner (R-IL) signed a measure eliminating the age cap to receive a high school diploma. It allows non-profits and the Illinois State Board of Education to create an adult high school. Sen. Dave Syverson (R-35th) says he hopes people take advantage of this second chance. “You may have made some mistakes, you might’ve dropped out of high school, you may not have finished high school. But there are opportunties for you to get the education you need so you can move and become you’re all intended to become.”

While adults could always get a GED, Syverson says there can be a stigma when comparing it to its counterpart.

“Some employers look and see a diploma differently then they really look at a GED. Even, though they are equivalently about the same.”

Getting a GED can also be costly, since students have to pay for their own books and classes. But, this new program will be designed to be free.

“This is the key to more job opportunities,” said Rauner. “[The key] to better careers and higher wages, higher salaries for the people of Illinois who now have access to a high school diploma, that they didn’t have access to before.”

Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-69th) is the author of the bill. He says not only will this serve as a catalyst for an economic boost, it could also help public safety. “There’s a lot of great opportunities. It’s just going to help people. Educational attainment [will] hopefully… turn people away from crime, away from those negative alternatives.”

He says he will be working with Goodwill of Northern Illinois to start an adult high school  program here in Rockford soon.

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