In today's job market it's essential to have higher education to compete for the scant jobs that are currently available. Many people without a high school diploma or GED have recently lost jobs to outsourcing and a poor economy. They find that they can no longer compete for jobs without a high school education or GED. Although it is critical to have a GED in today's job market, how does someone without the financial resources get their GED for free?

Understand that there are many colleges and universities around the country that offer virtual GED classes online. These classes are funded through federal and state grants that are earmarked for GED programs. There is no cost to you.

Contact state colleges and universities in your area, and speak to the registrar. Specifically ask whether their school has been awarded grant money for free GED programs. If not, move on to the next school. Remember, these are virtual classes that are taken online, and it is not imperative that you apply to a school in your home state.

When you have located a college or university that offers a free GED program, fill out the admissions forms online, making sure that your contact information is correct, including a valid email address. An online program will require you to do this process entirely online, although toll-free numbers are usually provided should you need additional assistance.

There are online programs that offer free GED pre-tests and preparatory exams. These free services ensure that you will be prepared to take the actual GED exam when the time comes for certification. See Resources for additional information on where these free services can be found.

Utilize the free services that are available to help you prepare for the GED certification exam. Study during quiet times when there are no distractions, and right before you go to bed in the evening. Your mind will process what you have learned while you sleep. Remember, there is no need to pay for the GED exam when there are state and federal grant programs available to assist people in need.