Living in New York City can be quite expensive, but not having a high school diploma can be an even more costly. Whether you are in your 20s or 80s, it is never too late to get your GED diploma. If you live in the Big Apple, there are free Pre-HSE programs, formerly known as GED, that prepare future test takers for the exam, offer employment training and open doors to a college education.

Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation

Nearly 30 students at North Manhattan Improvement Corporation have graduated from its adult basic education and Pre-HSE program. The nonprofit organization provides free learning services to low-income families in both Spanish and English. At the school, adult learners can work to strengthen their skills in reading, writing, and mathematics to help them score well on the Pre-HSE test. The school offers class schedules in the morning, afternoon and evening to accommodate the schedules of working adults.

United Settlement Association

Since its doors opened 100 years ago, United Settlement Association has been serving East Harlem residents through learning and wellness programs. The High School Equivalent class is offered to adults of all ages and on different grade levels. The class prepares students for the Pre-HSE by providing a curriculum that includes high school math, history, reading, social studies and science. Instructors also teach test-taking strategies to help students overcome anxiety as they take the exam. Through workshops, tutoring and community support, the program gives adults a place to acquire academic skills they need to move forward in life.

Literacy Partners

At Literacy Partners, located in Midtown, Manhattan, Harlem and the South Bronx, students, age 16 and over, are engaged in a community-based approach to learning. In conjunction with critical reading, writing and mathematics, students can participate in financial, health and computer classes. They also receive employment and post-secondary education counseling. Remedial classes at the schools help students in need to boost their skills and ready themselves to take part in GED classes. The GED program prepares students to take the Pre-HSE exam. After passing the exam, students can participate in job-readiness training. For learners who are not native English speakers but would like to get their GED diploma, the schools offer ESL courses where students are taught speaking, listening, writing, reading and grammatical structures in the English language. Once students complete their ESL course, they may enroll in a GED program. Literacy Partners also offers an online GED course.

Colleges Programs

The state of New York also offers a program where students can earn their GED by completing a set number of college credits at an approved institution, called the New York State High School Equivalency Diploma Based on Earned College Credit. Students who earn 24 credits can apply for a high school equivalency diploma. The 24 credits must follow a set curriculum including three credits each in mathematics, natural science, social science and humanities as well as six credits each in English and degree program requirements. Schools in New York City that partake in the program include Boricua College, Globe Institute of Technology and Pace University. To learn more about the program, call prospective schools to ask about admission requirements; some schools require participating students to be a certain age and take an entrance exam.